So, my box at the local comic shop got completely forgotten for a month as I had to rush to move in the wake of some unpleasant circumstances late last year.
Today, I went by the joint to see if I could exchange a t-shirt for a different size, and was informed that my box was brimming with comics! I grabbed them up, came home, gave Baby Smeaguette her bath and put her to bed, and then devoured them all.
The one I was the most interested in, of course, was Star Wars, issue 001. Now, I know that Dark Horse had been publishing their own Star Wars series and that it was widely regarded as some of the very best inbetweequal material out there, but sadly I never had a chance to read it. I understand that many fans scratched their heads in confusion and anger over Disney/Marvel launching a completely different series that would cover the same time period (between ANH and ESB) with completely different tales and artists. I'm not here to debate the business practices of the House of Mouse.
The last Star Wars property I read in comic book form was The Star Wars, the miniseries that brought George Lucas' rough draft of the original film to four-color life. The first issue was great, every issue after that, not so much.
However, this new comic wasn't written by Papa George, and it was officially part of the 'new canon' going forward. Throw in approximately a bajillion alternate covers for the first issue, and I've got to say, I felt what can only be described as A New Hope.
ANYWAY. Minor spoilers ahoy.
Holy STANG, you guys. This was RAD. Maybe it's just because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Browncoat, but this issue read like an episode of Firefly (and read more like Firefly than the recent Serenity comic miniseries did, for that matter).
SERIOUSLY. I can FINALLY see how Joss Whedon based Mal Reynolds off of Han Solo; given the right writer and art direction, they're the same damn character. Likewise, Princess Leia is doing her best Zoe Washburn impression throughout much of the comic, Chewbacca is pulling Jayne duty, and Luke...
Well, Luke is actually great. I'm guessing this picks up a few months or weeks after the destruction of the Death Star, because it very much feels like things aren't maybe quite as balanced in the Empire as they could be. Luke seems to be making the transition between A New Hope's whininess and Empire Strikes Back's fledgling Jedi abilities. He slices a few limbs with his lightsaber, he attempts to copy Obi-Wan's mind trick action (and rolls a 1 in the process,) and he manages to stick a great big thorn in the paw of the Empire by the end of the issue, after finding out that their 'fully automated' construction yards aren't quite so 'fully automated' after all... which, if you're a longtime Star Wars fan, you'll probably know exactly what that means.
The whole plot of the issue feels very much like the episode of Firefly when Mal and the crew go to an Alliance world so Simon can scan River. Luke and gang go to an Empire shipyard to do... something rebellious, while posing as emissaries from a certain corpulent crime lord to negotiate with a representative from the Empire. The Empire's negotiator shows up, and things quickly go sideways from there. I won't spoil the surprise for you, but the ending made me shout out loud.
The Light Side: The artwork is pretty great, although Han Solo looks oddly plump in a few panels. The colors pop off the page, the dialogue is tight and, at times, hilarious (seriously, Han and C-3PO should get their own Odd Couple-style series).
The Dark Side: The aforementioned few artistic speedbumps, almost too much action in the first issue to keep up with, and a meeting between a couple of people that, while awesome, made me scratch my head, wondering why they would do this so early on in the series.
Overall, I'd give this issue an 8/10. It was a fun, fast read, and since I was so darn late in reading it, issue 002 is coming out tomorrow, so I don't have to wait like the rest of you chumps who bought it when it came out! Best time travel method ever.