Star Wars

Marvel Strikes Back

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Pub­lisher: Marvel Comics Writ­ers: Ja­son Aaron, Kieron Gillen, Mark Waid Artists: John Cas­sa­day, Sal­vador Lar­roca, Terry & Rachel Dod­son

The Force

Awak­ens is now only months from re­lease, so it’s time for the next phase of Project Re­mind Ev­ery­one What They Liked About Star Wars: the re­launch of the fran­chise’s comics line, fol­low­ing the end of Dark Horse’s lengthy stew­ard­ship. There’s a pleas­ing “cir­cle of life” as­pect to Star Wars’ re­turn to Marvel, the pub­lish­ers of the very first on­go­ing Star Wars comic back in 1977, and this new era is al­ready off to an at­ten­tion- grab­bing start.

The flag­ship ti­tle Star Wars ( ) is ba­si­cally do­ing what Dark Horse’s sim­i­lar 2013– 14 se­ries did be­fore con­ti­nu­ity was re­set, and goes back to the af­ter­math of A New Hope to tell fresh sto­ries with the clas­sic cast. As an at­tempted raid on an Im­pe­rial out­post turns danger­ous, Ja­son Aaron’s script goes for a bright and thrilling ac­tion­ad­ven­ture tone that per­fectly cap­tures the mood of Episode IV. There’s oc­ca­sional creaky dia­logue and over- en­thu­si­as­tic con­ti­nu­ity ref­er­ences, but oth­er­wise th­ese first three is­sues are great en­ter­tain­ment backed up by typ­i­cally stylish vi­su­als from artist John Cas­sa­day.

For those who pre­fer their Star Wars tales with heavy doses of in­trigue, there’s Darth Vader ( ), which fol­lows the tit­u­lar Dark Lord of the Sith as he tries to strengthen his pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion with the Em­peror fol­low­ing his fail­ure to pre­vent the de­struc­tion of the Death Star. Writer Kieron Gillen is an ideal choice for this kind of pulp SF thriller and brings the cor­rect mix of majesty and men­ace to Vader, while also build­ing up a strong sup­port­ing cast in a se­ries that’s ob­vi­ously go­ing to be ex­plor­ing the more danger­ous edges of the Star Wars uni­verse. The first two is­sues are both sat­is­fy­ing and packed full of plot twists, while Sal­vador Lar­roca’s art­work gives the story a sharp vis­ual style, bring­ing im­pact to the ac­tion scenes – although he does lean heav­ily on familiar photo- ref­er­ences, es­pe­cially in the open­ing con­fronta­tion in Jabba’s Palace.

Along­side th­ese two on­go­ing se­ries, we also have Princess Leia ( ), a six- is­sue minis­eries that takes Leia on a char­ac­ter-cen­tric jour­ney as she tries to come to terms with the loss of her world by pro­tect­ing the few re­main­ing sur­vivors of Alder­aan. At the time of writ­ing we’d only seen the first is­sue, but vet­eran comics writer Mark Waid is al­ready giv­ing Leia plenty of depth and main­tain­ing a healthy bal­ance of emo­tional drama and ac­tion, while the gor­geous art from Terry and Rachel Dod­son makes this the most vis­ually im­pres­sive of all the ti­tles.

Over­all, this is a trio of strong de­buts which have so far de­liv­ered the kind of well- crafted sto­ry­telling every­body hoped would re­sult from Marvel’s reac­qui­si­tion of the fran­chise. Right now, the comic­book fu­ture of Star Wars is look­ing down­right healthy. Saxon Bul­lock Be­gin­ning in April: the minis­eries Star Wars: Kanan, which ex­plores the back­ground of

the Star Wars: Rebels char­ac­ter.

A healthy bal­ance of emo­tional drama and ac­tion

Vader had spot­ted the CCTV in the cor­ner and he was not happy about it.

Se­ri­ously, how does she get that much hair un­der a hel­met?

Aaaah, but will he shoot first?

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