Fair warning… my perspective on this is going to be relatively unique.
I don’t know much about Star Wars. I saw the original trilogy when I was a kid, when it was re-released in theaters in 1997, one per month beginning in January and ending in March. I remember liking it well enough. I remember the gist of the characters and plot. I remember asking my dad a lot of questions about ewoks, and that he kept saying, “Just watch the movie.” Honestly, that’s about all I’ve got. It wasn’t a formative part of my childhood or interests, and I haven’t seen it since. See, my journey into the wonderful world of geekery would take place later in my life and, because of their spot toward the top of the science fiction, I felt as if I had to go back and watch. I mean, I wanted to, I planned on it, but it just never happened. When your friendly neighborhood Scott Tipton told me that Star Wars would be a big focus for January’s movie month at Blastoff, I planned on watching the original trilogy again. I’m certain I’ll love them now. But I stopped myself, because I’d say the vast majority of folks who are picking this up, even the vast amount of reviewers, already love Star Wars. I thought it’d be interested to hold off on revisiting the films until after reading the comic… and approach the new Star Wars comic with no expectations, nothing that needs to be proven – just evaluating it as any new Marvel #1.
So let’s get to it.
I checked some info the series for context, and saw that it takes place between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Which is interesting, as I’d assume that since Star Wars is with the big dogs now, Disney/Marvel would do the hip thing and tell stories that take place after the films. Not so. This made me wonder if this would feel a bit robbed of tension, but a few pages in showed me that I was far off base. This issue is big (30 pages of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia getting into a situation that gets worse by the minute), action-packed (a light saber fight, an assassination attempt on Vader, and some good, old fashioned hand to hand combat), and thrilling. There’s nothing that you need to bring to this story, as everything you’d need to know is introduced organically – something that can’t be said about all licensed comics, especially one based on a property as big and ingrained in the culture as Star Wars . So if this is someone’s first Star Wars story… hey, come on, with sales and hype unlike anything I’ve ever seen in the comics industry, I’m damn sure there’s at least a handful like me or who haven’t seen the flicks at all! Anyway, if this is someone’s first, it’s a damn good start.
Something that really intrigued me, aside from the story being good and the art being great, was a scene early in the book that unlocked a memory for me. Jason Aaron must have the voices down perfectly, because, again, I haven’t seen the films since I was ten years old, and I was able to identify C-3PO’s voice from his off panel narration. That stunned me, and brought me back to specific memories about seeing the films with my dad that I didn’t think I’d held onto. That took my enjoyment of the comic beyond just appreciation of the story from the perspective of an outsider – it gave me a foot in the door, which was something I didn’t expect at all.
Now… I really have to watch those movies again, don’t I?
PAT SHAND is a comic book writer (Robyn Hood, Charmed, Grimm Fairy Tales) and pop culture journalist (Blastoff Comics, Sad Girls Guide). He may not know much about Star Wars, but that might be because he spent all of his adolescence watching his VHS tape of Jurassic Park over and over and over again.