Star Wars #1
Written by Brian Woods
Art by Carlos D'Anda and Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering by Michael Heisler
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Review by Aaron Duran
'Rama Rating 10 out of 10
For over 20 years, Star Wars has been in the hands of Dark Horse Comics, and in that time they've told some great stories. But no matter how good some of those tales of a galaxy far, far away might have been, they always had an air of niche to them. As if every story was intended for the loyal. For the fan that carried the torch of Star Wars long after they saw that Star Destroyer loom larger than life on the big screen. The comics never felt like something you could give to a fan that just liked the movies. With Star Wars #1 by Brian Wood and Carlos D'Anda, all those feelings are gone. This is Star Wars. No question.
It's only been a few weeks since the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin and the Rebel Alliance is in a dire need of a new hidden base. With such a simple and obvious concept, Wood immediately hooks the reader and introduces action and intrique without a moments hesitation. Indeed, one of the greatest strengths of Star Wars #1 is the ease with which the reader enters this universe. It doesn't matter if you've only seen the original films or if you're in line for every new toy release, this book will grab you. Wood has managed to distill each character to their core and in doing so, reawakens the icons George Lucas tapped into all those years ago.
Better still, these are the characters as they grow and evolve. Luke isn't the whiny kid from Tatooine, but nor is he the confident Jedi of the later films. And while it's fun reading the early shift in Han and Chewie, the standout element for me comes with Princess Leia and the Empire. We all know Leia is so much more than that gold bikini, and yet over the years she's lost that inner strength. It's so easy to forget she's essentially a teenage revolutionary with the weight of a society and the ideals of freedom on he her shoulders. Wood brings that power and tenacity with pin point precision. As for the Empire, it's a real pleasure to read the balancing elements of an Empire that is both all-present, and secretly, reeling from the economic and materialistic loss of the Death Star. It's simply great writing.
Joined by wonderful art. Ask any artist and they will tell you that drawing Darth Vader is hard. Frustratingly hard. Carlos D'Anda makes the Dark Lord of the Sith appear more dangerous than ever before. His helmet forming an almost demonic scowl as he shakes down those he deems beneath him. And yet, when he's humiliated and shamed by a rightly angry Emperor, we see slight hints at the human that still lurks far within his tortured soul. The amount of detail D'Anda uses when drawing the various fighters, Star Destroyers, and Rebel cruisers is just a joy to behold. It's this focus that elevates a standard comic book space battle into something truly cinematic. And, without giving away spoilers, D'Anda has drafted an image that will forever replace that gold bikini. Tapping into World War II imagery, this new image of Princess Leia is how I will always picture her from now on. In fact, there isn't a character in this issue that isn't spot on in their look or mannerism. Combine that will vibrant colors by Gabe Eltaeb that match the pulp setting and you've got one fantastic looking book.
For the first time in years, Dark Horse Comics has published a Star Wars comic that will reach far beyond the hardcore fan. Brian Wood and Carlos D'Anda truly have the making of a classic on their hands. If you ever wondered if Star Wars could ever recapture that childlike glee of those earliest of memories, wonder no more. Star Wars is back and it's never been better.