To begin, I have a terrible confession to make. I love Star Wars. But, I love the world more than the movies. Even Empire.
Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda’s series manages to nail the sense of wonder and the feeling that the characters actually live in the world that the movies (all three of them) captured so well. What the comic adds is dialogue that is fluid and natural sounding, as well as political maneuvering and intrigue that doesn’t slow down the action.
The story takes place soon after The Battle of Yavin at the end of Episode IV – A New Hope and well before Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. The Rebellion is on the run and desperate, since the Empire discovered the location of their hidden base at the end of the first movie. I won’t spoil any specific plot points, but the Rebellion is perhaps more fragile than they first appear. The core group of players is spread throughout the galaxy as they try to find a location for their base of operations.
Brian Wood’s script does an amazing job of moving the story along and finding new depth in these characters that we have all known and loved for 36 years. By spending more time on character, Wood’s portrayal of Luke Skywalker transitions from bratty farm-boy to calm Jedi in a much rockier manner than the movies suggested. This detail makes his subsequent heroics and selflessness more impactful. Every character seems to benefit from the extra time and attention that Wood is able to spend with them. Heck, Mon Mothma is complex and bada– here.
What really impressed me about this book is how it fits into the canon. I think that this comic would work as well for someone who has lived and breathed Star Wars from birth as it would for someone who is (somehow) not familiar with the world. The story does not rely on a familiarity with the property, although there are some moments where they allude to things that are revealed in Empire. Instead, it preserves the surprise, while allowing us to nod knowingly. The result is a comic that can add to your enjoyment of the movies without stealing any of the wonder and excitement that the movies (all three of them) offer.
I can easily recommend this to everyone who is interested in Star Wars, from the most die-hard fan to the complete newbie. The story here is as strong as any I have seen in this world and is well worth checking out.