Review: Star Wars #1 by Brian Wood & Carlos D’Anda

Star Wars #1
In the Shadow of Yavin Part 1

Written by: Brian Wood
Art by: Carlos D’Anda
Colored by: Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering by: Michael Heisler

Published by: Dark Horse
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from Dark Horse Digital

Warning! This review contains quite a few spoilers!

While I am a life long fan of the Star Wars movies (and yes, for the most part I even like the prequels), my interest in all the comics, books, video games, etc. that come out for Star Wars tends to wax and wane. There is just too much of it, a lot of it contradicts each other, and to be honest, most of it isn’t even that good. With the announcement of a new Star Wars coming in a few years, I have sort of had some interest in the whole Star Wars thing again.

Though, when I heard Dark Horse was doing ANOTHER ongoing Star Wars comic set during the original trilogy, my initial reaction was “Who Cares?” Yes, I love Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie, but I just didn’t think there was much that could be added to their story.

But then I realized that Brian Wood was writing it. I have loved his work on The Massive, and the idea of him writing a series set in the Star Wars universe was impossible for me to pass up on. Thankfully, it seems like Wood has a lot to say about these characters and this time period!

Summary (contains spoilers): The series starts a few weeks after the events of A New Hope. Leia, Luke, and Wedge are scouting the Dominus sector to try and find a new base for the Rebellion. Luke is a bit down because of all the loss he’s seen lately. Leia tries to bolster him by talking about the Rebellion’s need to capitalize on the “victory at Yavin” but Luke sees it all as a bit hollow.

This conversation is interrupted by the arrival of an Imperial Star Destroyer and a squadron of TIE fighters and interceptors. Leia is shot down, but manages to take one of the TIE’s down with her. She finds the pilot and kills him with several blaster shots. SHE’s HARDCORE!

Meanwhile, back at the fleet, Han finds himself sort of stuck with the Rebellion. Because of his actions at Yavin and on the Death Star, the Imperials have put death marks on him.

Back on Dominus, Luke, Leia, and Wedge have repaired Leia’s ship enough to get in back into space, but the Imperials are bombing the planet looking for them. They managed to make a hasty escape back to rendezvous with the Rebel Fleet. Leia meets with Mon Monthma, who believes there must be a spy feeding information to the Imperials. She asks Leia to select a small team she trusts and work in secret to find a new for the the Rebellion and/or the spy.

Over on the dark side, the Emperor has seriously demoted Darth Vader over his “failure to stop a single snubfighter that set the Empire back trillions of credit and nearly two decades of work.” He has sent Vader by unmarked cruiser to an unspecified region of space. He had been replaced by a Colonel Bircher. During all of this, Vader is very preoccupied with the name Skywalker.

The issue ends with Leia asking Luke to join her small team.

Review: The scope of this book was brilliant. Something that Robot Chicken got stuck in my head for a while now has been what did the victory against the Death Star really mean for the Rebellion? Sure, they got rid of a powerful weapon, but at the same time lost their base, and would put the Empire hot and heavy intent on crushing the puny little rebellion. Somehow, despite all this (and even after the beatdown the Rebellion took on Hoth), by the third movie, the Rebellion is more powerful than ever and able to basically crush the Empire themselves.

Brian Woods clearly noticed this too and seems inclined to provide some of the answers to these questions.  He gives a lot of insight into what Leia and Luke were feeling in the weeks after Yavin, and the struggles the Rebellion went through, and how they worked to deal with them.  Mon Mothma talks about desperate times, and that was a strong theme of this book for both the Rebels and the Imperials.

One complaint about this book was that showing Leia as a great pilot seemed way out of character to me. We never really saw any sign that she would have any idea how to fly anything, much less a fighter.  I also think it is a little strange that the Rebellion would have such an important asset on the front lines in that way with just two pilots (one fairly inexperienced, even if he is the hero of the Battle of Yavin) with her. This kind of scouting mission doesn’t seem like the best in continuity use of these characters. Sure, it made for some terrific story telling, but at the expense of some logic.

I also thought that while it was cool to see Han, it would have made sense to expand the scene or leave it out entirely. The whole sequence felt rushed and confusing. It was never really clear if he was giving money to the Rebellion or taking it from them. It might have helped if we got both sides of the conversation, but since it was Chewie, that definitely didn’t help make things any clearer.

Carlos D’Anda’s art on this book was real good for the most part. I loved the massive shot of the Star Destroyer dropping the Tie Fighters. The Interceptor leading the charge was a nice touch.

And he draws a gorgeous Vader!

I did think Leia’s look sometimes seemed a little inconsistent (sometimes she looked real young, sometimes she looked a little older), and Chewie was a little too expressive, almost comicly so. It never really detracted from the rest of the comic, but I definitely noticed it, so it bares mention.

I should also point out that I loved the cover, but that is no surprise. I am a huge Alex Ross fan boy, much to the constant annoyance of my editor 😉 I even have a signed Alex Ross Starman poster in a very expensive frame hanging over my couch. I love see Ross’s take on iconic characters outside of the typical superhero fare he’s known for. His covers for Voltron was pretty much the only thing I liked about that book.

Every month, Dark Horse manages to nibble it’s way further and further on to my shopping list. The Massive, Ghost, and now Star Wars! This definitely was one of the better Star Wars comics I have ever read. Wood definitely has a strong take on this time period, and he has shown that it is ripe for storytelling potential. Add in the great art, and this definitely has me on board with this series!

Final Score: 8.0: A solid first issue. There were a few things that bugged me, but never enough to detract from my enjoyment of this series.

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