Brian Woods Star Wars….. A New Hope.

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STAR WARS #1

19812
STORY BY: Brian Wood
ART BY: Carlos D’Anda
COLORS BY: Gabe Eltaeb
LETTERS BY Michael Heisler
COVER BY: Alex Ross

 

Do you remember where you were when you discovered Star Wars? Was it in a movie theater in 1977? Was it at a buddy’s house on VHS or, like me, was it in a comic shop? That’s right, I know, I’m one of the only people out there who read the comics before I saw the movies. So when I finally saw them it was like they made a movie for me, they had adapted my favorite comic into a huge movie, and what’s this, they made TOYS from my favorite comic? Be still my seven year old heart. I remember how those comics smelled, I remember all the weird little inconsistencies between them and the movie, most of all I remember it all being fun. You all know as well as I do that there’s something so innate about Star Wars that can make you feel like a child again. I don’t care how old you are, when that scrawl starts, you’re twelve. I think that feeling of limitless wonder is what makes Star Wars so special, and I think Brian Wood thinks the same thing.

With the adjectivless Star Wars, Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda have given us another piece of the Star Wars puzzle that not only fits neatly into place, but is as good of a jumping on point for new fans as the New Hope (see what I did there?) was for all of us when we started. Yes, there are a few , blink and you’ll miss them, Extended Universe references in there, but on the whole, this is as new reader friendly as it gets. The setting and plot (Right after the Battle of Yavin. Searching for a new planet to house the rebel base) are nothing new, but that’s not what this book is about. This book is about Luke and Leia and Han and Chewie and everyone you love, it’s about how they deal with the very real consequences of their assault on the Death Star. It’s nice to perceive Luke as the stalwart hero who bounds time and time again into battle, never looking back. But in this issue we get to see the other side of Luke, a scared fighter pilot who has lost his mentor and father figure, with no idea whatsoever of the hero he’ll become.

Leia gets the same treatment here, we get to see a tougher side of her in this issue, and much of the central plot falls squarely on her shoulders, she’s a princess and a diplomat and a soldier and a stone cold badass, but when Luke asks her if she still thinks of Alderaan, her quiet answer of “Not enough” is a very real and beautiful look into the burden she carries. And yes, Luke and Leia are a bit playful and flirty in this book, which is going to creep some people out, but I think it’s a great move on Brian Woods’s part to write their relationship the way it really happened. Creepy or not, it felt real.

But enough about emotions and stuff, let’s talk about big awesome space ships fighting with lasers. That’s what you’re here for right? Carlos D’Anda’s artwork on this book is outstanding (some lesser writers might even stoop to calling it “out of this world” but not me, I have integrity.) Often times when you have a cover by Alex Ross it can be a drag to see the interior art by comparison. But not here, D’Anda’s clean line work and almost obsessive attention to detail fit this book like a glove, on every scratch and bit of grime on a rebel ship to the clean and militant sheen on the Imperial ships you can tell the guys done his homework. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the colors of Gabe Eltaib. The palette choices in this book are hands down stunning, the giant purple lightning storm? Come on…

I could very well go on and on about this book; its intricate pacing, it’s use of formatting and panel placement, how BAD ASS Vader looks ….but I was tasked with writing a paragraph and I’m decently sure Nicole Sixx will kill me if I write another two pages of slack-jawed approval of this series. Brian Wood has done something very special with his issue, after reading so much Extended Universe books and seeing prequel after prequel of methodical plodding and dour sub plots, this book has reminded me that Star Wars is just a ton of fun. Let this be a bench mark of how Star Wars books are written in the future, let’s have some fun.

I’m re-reading the issue now; Luke, Leia and Wedge (Wedge!) are fighting for their lives against a Star Destroyer and a full compliment of Tie Fighters. Suddenly a disembodied voice comes to Luke in the cockpit…

“Trust your instincts, Luke”….. “Your friends will follow you”
And I’m twelve again.

Donny Cates