Sunday, March 1, 2015

Star Wars Comics by Marvel (Are Those The Nerdiest Words Ever Uttered?)

The ‘Star Wars’ mythology primarily relies on six movies, with a lot of backstory in between, such as the long-running animated series ‘The Clone Wars’. Marvel’s latest go at a ‘Star Wars’ comic book series – the first being in the 1970s – mines the period not long after ‘A New Hope’ for its stories. Do we really need another comic book series filling in the space between films? Fans have said yes – buying up a million copies of ‘Star Wars’ #1, making it the highest selling comic book for twenty years.

In any case, since Disney bought both Lucasfilm and Marvel Comics, new ‘Star Wars’ comics published by Marvel were a likely outcome. Actually, ‘Star Wars’ comics have never really gone away, with Dark Horse Comics having published comics that expanded on the Star Wars universe for over twenty years. Dark Horse’s continuity is, however, wiped out by Marvel’s latest offerings, giving Marvel the freedom to rewrite the stories between movies.

With writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday on the series Marvel’s ‘Star Wars’ is a bit slicker than a non-comics fan may expect. It is more akin to what one may expect the new J.J. Abrams films to be like rather than the somewhat dopey prequel movie episodes. It is not mind-blowing storytelling, but it is solid. The plot so far involves our main heroes – Luke, Han, Leia, and crew – infiltrating an empire base, only for Darth Vader to show up. Those who missed the camaraderie of the original characters should be happy to see their return here, but hairstyles aside the series does not feel like a retread of stories that have long since been told.

The other ‘Star Wars’-related book that Marvel has released so far is ‘Darth Vader’. The creative team on this series, as one may expect, is not quite as strong as the main title, but it is still quite readable. In it we get to see a bit more regarding the workings of the Empire other than Vader killing off another general. The main danger for the book which could eventually count against it is whether the story tries too many times to establish that Darth Vader is a heartless bastard. A new Princess Leia book comes out in March, and together the three titles should help build the anticipation for fans ahead of the new movie to be released late this year.

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