The Star Wars #1

Variant Covers

The Star Wars #1 (of 8)

Writer: J.W. Rinzler
Artist: Mike Mayhew
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Cover Artist: Nick Runge (variant cover artists Jan Duursema and Doug Wheatley)

Until the recent GREAT REBELLION, the JEDI-BENDU were the most feared warriors in the universe. For one hundred thousand years, generations of JEDI perfected their art as the personal bodyguards of the Emperor. They were the chief architects of the invincible IMPERIAL SPACE FORCE, which expanded the EMPIRE across the galaxy, from the celestial equator to the farthest reaches of the GREAT RIFT.

Now these legendary warriors are all but extinct. One by one they have been hunted down and destroyed as enemies of the NEW EMPIRE by a ferocious and sinister rival warrior sect, THE KNIGHTS OF SITH.

The opening of The Star Wars #1 is a mixture of familiar and strange elements. The lore of Star Wars is something that has permeated our culture to the point that when someone gets the story wrong, it compels us to correct them. That sense of familiarity is like a comfortable room. We have our favorite chair, are cherished mementos on the walls and the items that keep us entertained when we’re bored. We know every corner of that room so well that we can walk through it in the dark without bumping into anything. But The Star Wars #1 takes that favorite room of ours and rearranges all the furniture. They change the color of the lighting, they put in a new carpet and replace the knick knacks on the bookshelves. It’s still the same room, but it’s barely recognizable. Thankfully, the new environment that The Star Wars reveals is one that is so captivating, that I could care less what color the carpet is.

Just holding this issue in your hands, you know you’re in for a treat. Within the heavy carded stock cover is a 22 page story filled with lush illustrations and a great story. On a hazy moon, Kane Starkiller instructs his sons, Deak and Annikin, in the ways of the Force. Right off the bat, the old familiarity creeps in: from the look of Deak and his yell of “Yippee!” to names like Annikin and Utapau. The imagery brings back hints of the binocular scenes and rock outcroppings in A New Hope, but it isn’t long before things change drastically. The story wastes no time in getting to the action. Yet in this story there are Sith, instead of Tusken Raiders, making the attack.

Later in the issue, the story ventures to Alderaan. No longer the peaceful homeworld of Princess Organa, Alderaan is instead the capital of the New Galactic Empire. Here we are introduced to the Emperor and his anti-Jedi rhetoric. We catch a glimpse of white armored troops and an anxious Governor Hoedaack. And then there’s Darth Vader. General Darth Vader. With no mask, Vader still retains some of his iconic imagery with a black cape and familiar shoulder armor. But what his role is in the Empire isn’t exactly clear yet, other than his association with Governor Hoedaack and a strange, gluttonous alien named Vantos Coll. Coll speaks of the armies of Aquilae and the Jedi who leads them: General Skywalker.

Without recounting the entire story, you can see how the comic blends recognizable elements into an entirely different creation. By taking such a drastic change in direction, The Star Wars captures an awe of discovery and surprise as new things are revealed and hinted at. The story, dialog and imagery inspire a need to know more. It’s like watching Star Wars again for the first time. Everything is new and fresh. As readers, we have no idea what will happen next. Each page is completely unexpected and it’s truly a joy to read.

I certainly didn’t expect anyone to die in this issue, nor did I expect huge reveals and poignant drama. However, the story delivers all of that and more. J.W. Rinzler presents the dialog in a way that reads perfectly for a comic. The panels are filled with gorgeous visuals that do a superb job of bringing the imagery to life. Some of the close up shots of the character’s faces are extremely lifelike. The lighting effects are perfect and really make the art pop from the page. There’s also a nice, subtle shift in the coloring as the environments change. It all works together wonderfully to present a great visual story.

In the long wait leading up to the release of The Star Wars #1, there were a ton of interviews, early artwork releases, and general hype about the project. Such a build up can sometimes backfire by building expectations too high. Yet this issue fully delivers the story they promised. With all the early looks and snippets of what was to come, none of it spoiled the story. The artwork by Mike Mayhew and the colors by Rain Beredo are top notch. J.W. Rinzler’s crafting of George Lucas’ original 1974 rough-draft screenplay is a thing to behold in this first issue. Everything comes together for the perfect storytelling experience. As a comic reader, I was beyond satisfied. I give The Star Wars #1 a five out of five metal bikinis and can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.

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