Pick of the Week

Pick of the Week – 01.09.2013 – Star Wars #1

What did the
iFanboy
community think?

914
Pulls
Avg Rating: 4.4
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 10.1%
 
Users who pulled this comic:
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D'Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Artist: Alex Ross

Size: 32 pages
Price: 2.99

Why not start out my first Pick of 2013 with something new that is also something very old? Let’s begin with the admission of bias: I am a Star Wars fan. I’m not an insane person who has no other interests, and I think George Lucas is just a regular guy, and I understand that it’s a business, and some things are going to happen that you like, and some things are going to happen that you don’t like, and not even Jar Jar Binks can ruin the fact that I really love those original three movies very much. I guess what I’m saying is, I’m a reasonable Star Wars fan. How’s that?

I get the sense that Brian Wood is a reasonable Star Wars fan as well. He’s the right age, and he’s working in the right industry, where more like than not, he’s going to know the trilogy pretty well. Still, I was a bit surprised when I heard that Wood would be starting up a new Star Wars series, but I was neither terribly excited, nor was I “worried” (which is a thing that people who take fandom more seriously than I do say. They say they’re “worried,” which I think is usually quite silly). But, I’ve also become a pretty big fan of Wood’s work lately, between the stellar recently-ended Northlanders, and the currentย Conan the Barbarian and The Massive. Of course I’m going to give this a try, and it was a bit of all right!

I’ve never really been too interested in the extended universe of Star Wars, so I was pleased to know that this comic takes place directly after Episode IV ends, and features characters such as Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo, and Wedge Antilles (Hero of the Rebellion). The story starts up after Chewbacca got shafted for a medal, and the Alliance is looking for a place to set down their roots, all their previous bases having been blown up by the Empire. But it’s hard out there for a rebel, and the Empire is chasing them all over the place, resulting in some sweet T-65 vs. Tie action. The thing is, we all know that, plotwise, not much can be done to surprise us, since the story must pick up where Empire Strikes Back left off, accepting that we ignore some Timothy Zahn books I didn’t read. What we’re really doing here is spending some time hanging out with these characters that some of us know so well, and hoping to have a good time. That doesn’t mean Wood can’t tell a story, but one of the things I really like about Wood’s work is that he can sometimes place us in the company of interesting characters, and just hang out with them, watch them, and help us understand them. I’m all for more stories about Leia, Luke, and Wedge (H.o.t.R.) just interacting, going about their day to day affairs, which is exactly what I’m getting here. That’s not all there is though. We also spend some time with Han and Chewie, who we actually rarely get to see just with each other, and darn it if Wood didn’t make the voices feel authentic. Han, more so. Obviously. Then we get to hang out with Vader, who no one in the Empire seems to like, and who tries to throw Tarkin under the bus, even though he’s dead. The whole thing really feels like it’s informed by the characterizations in the first Star Wars movie in the very best way. The Rebellion isn’t a grand thing. It’s a scotch tape and shoelaces affair, and the Empire is much scarier as a bureaucracy which is just as terrible to work for as it is to be ruled by. In short, Wood gave me exactly what I would have wanted if I’d ever bothered to ask.

The art in a Star Wars comic is probably trickier than the story. Likenesses can be dubious. If they look too much like the actors, then it’s stiff and unrealistic, like watching wax dummies put on a play. If they don’t look anything like the actors, that’s just as bad. You can exhale though, because Carlos D’Anda got it right. It’s not the best art I’ve ever seen, but it does exactly the job it needs to do, which, in comics, is sometimes more important than being really pretty. It’s a little more cartoony than some people might expect, maybe having read the Dark Empire Trilogy, but overall, it’s a very nice fit. The work really comes alive during the dogfighting, with the X-Wings zipping around, fending off Tie Fighters. He puts a nice youthfulness in the Skywalker twins (no, they don’t know yet), and Vader has a bit of a bulky, musclebound menace to him that breaks convention a bit, but it’ll do nicely.

Listen, I am not made of stone. If you poke me in my Star Wars parts, and you do it just right, you’re going to give me a warm, fuzzy feeling, and if it’s a comic book and I have the Pick of the Week, then you just might get lucky. I was not aware I wanted a Star Wars comic book, and since they’ve been publishing them non-stop for years, and I didn’t bother to read them, there’s a good chance I actually didn’t. Yet, here we are, so well done Dark Horse Comics. Let’s ride this thing out in style.

Josh Flanagan
Let’s end this destructive conflict, yeah?
josh@ifanboy.com

 


Comments

  1. Wow! I bought this, but hadn’t read it yet. I was ready to be disappointed, but now I’m excited. I hope it pokes me in my Star Wars parts, too.

  2. too bad its not offered digitally. I would have picked it up. It sounds like a fin book.

  3. The achievement for me with this book is that we already know the story but yet Wood made it feel fresh. Probably that way for me given the Legacy and Old Republic comics I used to read a few years back and eventually got tired of them. This was great stuff all-around.

    Also…..WHAT?!?

  4. It was alright, perfectly fine comic book. Not as good as Thor: God of Thunder #4 was or anything, but Wood has a handle on all the characterizations and he’s set up an interesting plot, I think. I’ll check out the first story arc, at least.

  5. I can’t wait for the Hardman / Becko one, it sounds good and I don’t even like Star Wars anymore.

  6. It’s nice to know there are others out there that liked the first three movies (episodes I-III). I think people probably feel they have to hate on those three movies because it’s what’s expected.

    • I don’t not like them because it’s expected. I don’t like them because I saw them. And paid money for it.

    • They are truly atrocious pieces of film-making and I say this as someone who’s studied film criticism but even when I first saw Phantom Menace as a child I knew it was rotten.
      If you want to know exactly what’s wrong with each film RedLetterMedia did a series of reviews that spell it out but they’re 90 minutes a pieces because there’s so much to cover, they’re really entertaining though espeailly if you like dark humor which they’ve sprinkled in the reviews to keep things interesting.
      Not only are the films awful themselves, which has nothing to do with them not living up to the high expectations of the ordinals, but they have some of the most offensive caricatures I’ve seen in mainstreams films in the past 20 years.

    • I think Raul’s confused. No one here has said they liked I-III (yet). Josh said he loved the original three. Ya, know, the real ones. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Well Raul, you are not the only guy here who liked the first three movies. However I will say that the episodes 4-6 are much better. Great review Josh. After reading you review, I will be picking up this book.

    • I like episodes I-III.

    • Indeed.
      I’m not saying they were perfect films but I don’t think they were as bad as most people say. And yes I might have been confused after my initial read through of the review. I read it pretty fast and at times it can be confusing when a person says “the first three movies.” Depending on how you look at it the first three movies could be (eps I – III) or the first three movies (eps IV – VI), so yes at first read through I might have understood it as you liking the first three movies (ep I – III). Well, maybe there is one more person that has come out of hiding, sitara119, regarding their enjoyment of eps I – III, unless you are joking.

    • If you enjoy them, more power to you. That’s perfectly ok, but claiming that people hate them because its ‘expected’ or ‘cool’ isn’t fair. Its just a cop-out excuse.

      Besides, when I saw Phantom Menace, all my friends were huge Star Wars nerds who love all things SW and liked the films, even still liking them while admitting they had faults (though, that midichlorian thing I don’t think was EVER forgiven). If anything, I was influenced to be positive about something I genuinely didn’t like and it took me awhile to accept and finally admit I didn’t have to like them.

    • @JesseCuster
      Well, I’m not so much saying that people only don’t like the movies because it is expected, but it seems to me that it’s just cool to rip on them. and I’m basing this on pop culture and how much those three movies get picked on.
      Maybe I should say that it has become cool to joke about the movies’ lack of greatness.
      and example I would use would be one of my friends: He would constantly go on about how he hates Superman and how the Death of Superman was stupid and whatnot. After days of listening to him I wanted to understand which parts he hated and why he hated The Death of Superman, so I asked him questions about it. He replies saying he has never read that story and has never really read any Superman books.
      I feel perhaps that is what is happening to episodes I – III of Star Wars.

  7. WHAT?!?!

  8. WHAT?!

  9. WHAT?!?!?!

  10. Don’t forget that Josh gave the Dark Empire Trilogy HC Book of the Month a while back! The force is strong in this one….

  11. This was a lot of fun. More fun than I’ve had from any Star Wars licensed work in years.

  12. Comic book Chewie has more range of facial expression than movie Chewie. I like it.

  13. New Star Wars ongoing that takes place after episodeIV?
    32 pages for $2.99 ?
    Sweet Alex Ross cover?
    I’m down!!
    It’s 2013 and Josh apparently had a fun o’meter installed in his cerebral cortex

  14. Well this is a surprise.

    This was lower in my stack until I saw that Josh POTWed it. I read it immediately. Good stuff. Wood realy nailed some of the language and rhythms. There were parts that felt a bit wordy, but most of it was tons of fun. When the artwork was good, it was really good. When it wasn’t, it reminded me of the Pizza Hut giveaway comics.

    I’m down for more. At least an arc or two.

    • Haha, You’re right on the Pizza Hut thing. I’d classify myself as a reasonable Star Wars fan at least, but I found myself a bit underwhelmed at this issue. That dogfight was a bit choppy, and I didn’t like that Vader seemed to have “facial expressions”. Overall though, it’s still fun and a great concept.

  15. WHAT?!?!

  16. i wish dark horse would put these on comixology ๐Ÿ™

  17. Impressive… Most impressive.

  18. DAMN!

    I was going to get this but my pull bin is full as it is. Maybe I’ll reconsider and get this next week. So surprised at this pick, but it looked pretty damn good flipping through it. D’Anda is a pretty underrated artist so it’s good to see he is getting some love over this.

    My pick was Sweet Tooth #40 though. Fantastic ending.

  19. I agree that this was a fantastic issue and I can’t wait to see where the story takes us. My only complaint is that this issue was very heavy with the dialogue. When you weigh the events of the book, there is a considerable skew in the ratio of talking to action. Most of which was devoted to explaining the events of Episode IV, which is absurd as I think maybe, at best only 0.1% of all readers haven’t seen the movies. Hopefully, with that out of the way, the rest of the series will flow a bit smoother.

  20. If there was some way to read this on my Kindle, I’d be all over it. As it is, I guess Dark Horse doesn’t want my money.

  21. With the original Marvel Star Wars comics being some of the first I ever read and the first I collected this was a pretty good issue. To me the art had Carmine Infantino feel and since he did many of the Marvel Star Wars comics that drew me in right away. I really liked the Dart Vader. The story was good in the fact that blowing on (giant) Battle Station wouldn’t really stop an Empire that was in control of the galaxy. I want to read more so I would say this is a success for however short lived it will be.

    On the debate of the old/new movies. As a kid I used have dreams of new Star Wars movies. I don’t think anything George Lucas would have done would really live up to those expectations. That being said those movies are a let down. If they started with Episode III it might not have been that bad. Darth Vader as a whiny 10 year old was just terrible and really turned me off of Star Wars for years.

    • Exactly! Episode I-III turned me off so much that my only enjoyment of Star Wars was the RedLetterMedia reviews. With this issue though, I feel things are back in place. Everything about this issue felt right and made me forget all about those other three movies.

  22. This book scratches an itch I’ve had for a long time.
    A long time.

    Even with books set during the OT, the stories have almost always focused on everyone EXCEPT Han, Luke, Leia, or Vader. Having a comic centered around these characters is plain awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Hard pick of the week choice to be fair, I thought Spidey would of pipped the post!

    Glad you chose SW #1 First time i’ve been excited about star wars since I was a wee little one. Have to say the art is great honestly a little bit scared of Vader again it’s like looking at him as if i were a child again!

    He looks like a total bad ass.

  24. Yes, my friends. This will do.

  25. I can’t wait to read this. A Star Wars comic, with Star Wars characters I care about, set during the time of the Star Wars movies I like. It’s a wonder Dark Horse hasn’t done this sooner.

  26. I think Wood’s sensibilities might do a lot for Star Wars. Much better fit than his work on Conan, which have not been true to the character, at all.

    Just wait until Han Solo drops everything for some nasty goth chick.

  27. Is this a direct sales (comic stores) only book, or will it also be at Barnes & Noble next week? The two closest local stores are sold out, and at one shop they checked and said DH is sold out as well. I might have to wait for a second printing.

    • I went to Jim Hanley’s Universe in NYC on Thursday, and they were completely sold out. Then I went to two other stores in my area on Long Island, and they were sold out too. So now do I wait for a reprint, wait for the trade, or read it digital for the first issue? DECISIONS.

  28. I loved it. I always buy the first couple of any new Star Wars book but I’m always disappointed. Does anyone know how much longer Dark Horse will hold onto this franchise? I’m sure with the recent deal with Disney that Star Wars books will have the Marvel banner back on them in the future.

  29. Brian Wood on Star Wars, it had to be good. Still wanna see that Frank Quietly one we got teased with.

  30. This really felt like it would fit right in with the rest of my Marvel Star Wars run. In fact, I believe that this same ground this issue is pointing us in was covered for a long time (check out the Pariah storyline) by the team in the 80s It’s not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Some of those stories were great.

    I’ll be reading and hopefully i’ll find a series that I’ll happily dump in alongside the first series I ever collected.