Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 Review & Spoilers
Mark Waid, writer
Terry Dodson, pencils
Rachel Dodson, inks
Jordie Bellaire, colorist
After the commercial and critical successes of its Star Wars and Darth Vader comics, Marvel goes for the hat trick with a Princess Leia miniseries.
Story picks up immediately where “A New Hope” left off: Luke and Han received their medals for destroying the Death Star. While the movie ends on that happy, uplifting scene, things are far from positive once the cameras stop rolling.
With the Rebel Alliance still in formation in front of her, Princess Leia asks for a moment of silence to honor her parents and the rest of Alderaan. To some of the gathered Rebels, her words are woefully inadequate, and add to her supposed reputation as an “Ice Queen.”
Before Leia gets the chance to say anything further though, the Rebel commander, General Dodonna, interrupts her and addresses the troops. With the Death Star destroyed and the Rebel base’s location no longer a secret, it’s time to evacuate to a new locale. Dodonna’s sense urgency is understandable, but it’s still a less than subtle show of disrespect to the Princess.
Amidst the organized chaos of retreat, Leia feels underutilized. Her wandering through the Rebel headquarters does present the opportunity for an Admiral Akbar cameo!
My excitement is short-lived though, because the guy famous for uttering the line, “IT’S A TRAP!” comes across as a racist (specist?) jerk off.
Moments later, Leia meets with a distracted Dodonna. As Leia requests additional responsibilities, Dodonna suggests she focus on grieving for Alderaan, and essentially serve the Rebellion as a symbolic figurehead. Further discussion is ended when Dodonna curtly dismisses Leia. Naturally, none of this sits well with the Princess.
An unpleasant encounter with a pair of pilots brings Leia further disrespect, but also presents her with an opportunity. One of the pilots, a native of Alderaan, motivates Leia to embrace her position as a princess and leader in order to protect the surviving citizens of Alderaan.
Disregarding Dodonna’s command to remain with the Rebels, Leia, her pilot and R2-D2 rocket off in a stolen shuttle. Luke and Wedge quickly pursue, but are ditched before they have a chance to bring the Princess back to base. With that out of the way, Leia directs her pilot to plot a course for Naboo.
It’s pretty jarring to see how the Rebels treat Leia, and her reactions are completely justifiable. Here’s a person who was instrumental in the Rebellion’s greatest moment to date, but she receives no true respect from the leadership or the lower ranking soldiers.
Comparing the Vader and Leia comics, I find the parallels between the two interesting. Both characters endure disrespect within their respective organizations, and are looking to advance to a better position. Vader, coming off a colossal failure, selfishly plots and schemes his way back to a loftier spot within the Empire. Leia, on the other hand, is fresh off a success that she deserves far more acclaim for, yet she’s given an infuriating amount of disrespect. Unlike her father though, she strives to be more by assisting those in need. Clearly, Leia is an ambitious woman, and her mission isn’t completely selfless, yet her intentions are still noble.
A few other random thoughts:
Covers . . . eleven cover variants to this comic! In a kind of rarity though, the standard version looks the best.
Why is General Dodonna only now searching for a new Rebel hideout? I can’t believe there wasn’t some kind of contingency plan in place even before launching an attack on the Death Star.
The characterization of Evann is a bit inconsistent. At one point, she explains at great length her duty to respect the Princess, and she even tut-tuts a fellow pilot from mocking Leia during the victory ceremony. Later though, Evann’s shown insulting Alderaan’s princess while talking with a different pilot after the ceremony.
Lastly, Admiral Akbar is a jerk.
The main Star Wars comic series is all about the swashbuckling and action. Darth Vader is all about enjoying the iconic bad guy do bad stuff. Princess Leia is a subtler, more complex story. I found myself rooting and empathizing with Leia, which is something I didn’t expect to do before picking this comic up.
I can’t really say Princess Leia is better or worse than the other current Star Wars titles, but it is different, in a good way.
If you’re a Star Wars fan, then pick this book up. Issue 2 should provide for some interesting opportunities, as Leia will be vesting the home of her true mother.
Tags: Marvel, Princess Leia, Star Wars