When describing this comic, I feel like the old grandpa in “The Princess Bride” expressing the book to his grandson. While asked if the book “The Princess Bride” has any sports, the Grandpa replies: “are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, True Love, miracles…. ”
The first volume of Marvel’s Star Wars has all that too. Doesn’t sound too bad does it?
Set between the events of “A New Hope” and ” The Empire Strikes Back”, volume one’s story is split into two halves. The first is an undercover mission led by a group of Rebels on a Correlian industrial cluster called Cymoon 1. Their objective is to destroy one of the biggest weapons factory’s in the galaxy. The second half swaps action for adventure. Luke while soul-searching is also on a quest for clues Obi-Wan may have left him in his quest to become a Jedi.
With the covert mission, it starts with a welcome surprise. Han Solo reveals himself to the Empire unit in charge of the weapons factory. He is pretending to be part of a envoy still working for Jabba the Hutt. This checks out as no one other than the Rebels would know that Han had a part in bringing down the Death Star. The Empire has planned a meeting with Han to ‘negotiate’ terms involving weapon materials in exchange for pay. However, the real reason for the Rebels presence is to destroy the factory’s energy core and thus destroying one of the biggest weapon supplies used by the Empire.
Along for the ride with Han is the whole gang. Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, C3PO and R2D2. The comic does a wonderful job of giving each of them purpose and a notable presence. Its impressive how just in this first volume, each member is given good page time.
What we start to see even early on is character growth. There are moments where Han and Leia’s famous love/hate relationship is on clear display. Where (like the movies) they go from dismissing each others skills and talents to then fearing for the others life. Each drawing perfectly reflects the contradiction of emotions the both of them are feeling. It works fantastic because “The Empire Strikes Back” is so etched into our brains that everything in it makes sense because our mind tells us it must. Perfect example is how Han and Leia’s romance was barely touched on in “A New Hope.’ Yet at the beginning of “The Empire Strikes Back” they already seem to have strong feelings for each other (even if they were not ready to admit it). So now because of this comic book, there is more context to their eventual romance.
It’s not just Han and Leia’s relationship that is given more colour. Vader learns that the boy who destroyed the Death Star is none other than a Skywalker. You have to give this comic some credit. It’s just volume 1 and yet it’s clear Marvel are not holding anything back. Being the big Star Wars fan that I am, I can’t express how much of a relief that is.
A lot more could be said about the first half, but I want to leave you with some surprises.
What makes the second half of “Skywalker Strikes” so intriguing is seeing how Luke’s coping with the death of Ben.
Luke currently lacks any real Jedi skill, so he starts to question why Ben would die for him. Surely Ben would have left something for him, something that could help Luke continue his training. It’s here Luke goes on a mission to look for what ever it is Obi-Wan would of wanted him to find. Of course, things do not go smoothly on this journey and a fan favorite character ends up appearing whose story coincidentally interlaces with Luke’s mission. Without giving away the character’s name, bringing this player in shows what the comic is doing great. It’s bringing more life into the Star Wars universe! Especially on characters that many of us would have loved to seen more of in the movies.
I never read Dark Horse’s Star Wars run. So unlike some, I have nothing to compare this to. Even so, I still think this was marvelous. The fear is that with Star Wars movies coming out every year, the comic series would be afraid to delve deep into existing stories just in case they bring out a movie that contradicts the comic. But it looks like Marvel is smarter than I give them credit for and that’s awesome.
Remember, everything now is cannon. Do you want to see characters you have grown to love in more fun, exciting stories that are just as cannon as the movies themselves? Check out Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes