Almost a year ago at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel announced that they would be releasing a new bundle of Star Wars comics helmed by various all-star creative teams. One of my favorite from that announcement is Star Wars, an ongoing series by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday. All canonical within the Star Wars universe, each book penned by Aaron will pick up where Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope left off, filling in important, previously unexplored gaps for some of the saga’s most iconic characters.
Why should you care? What could a comic book offer that all the other canon books could not? If you don’t read comics, why start now? Well, whether you are a fan of the galactic series, or just a person who likes a good story, let me take you through a few reasons why you should give the new Star Wars comics a chance.
It Feels Like Star Wars:
One of my biggest pet-peeves is when TV, books, or comic spin-offs feel like a contrived and forced version of the original creative content. But in the case of Star Wars by Jason Aaron, this can’t be further from the truth. Aaron, and his team of artists, inkers, and colorist have created something magical that feels straight out of the movies. The characters that we’ve come to know so well are uniquely and completely characterized with the amount of depth and vigor you would expect. You are never left wondering if Luke would do this, or Han would say that. Aaron does a beautiful job of ensuring each individual in the story stays true to form, not only in actions, but in dialog, and quirky idiosyncrasies. From the simple beep-bop-boop of R2D2, to the patronizing wail of Chewbacca, each detail is meticulously and brilliantly brought to life.
It Looks Like Star Wars:
Not only are the characters very well represented, but the space and planetary travel feels just as organic. In the series, Luke, Leia, Han, and other characters old and new travel the galaxy on adventures concerning the safety and protection of the collective empire. The thing about this is that every time we go with the main characters to a new planet, or even an old familiar town on a planet we’re accustomed to recognize, it all feels the same. Old and new, melding together, in a nice pot of intergalactic space travel. The artists (which circulate depending on the issue) do a fantastic job of capturing each planet’s terrain and species in a very appropriate way. Small and large creatures alike are atmosphere bound, and you can see it in their design and clothing. Town buildings, vehicles, and external scenery are as visceral as they are charming. You get lost in the moment when the story progresses, yet you feel like you are at home.
The Stories Are Compelling:
You’d think that with all the Star Wars content, fanfic, and novellas, there is no way a new comic series would hold it’s own in the market place. But if you did think this, you’d be wrong. Aaron’s ability to weave each character, conflict, and plot line together is above reproach. Simply put, the stories are amazing. You care what happens to each person because Aaron has the unique ability to give you just enough to get hooked, but leave out minor pieces to let your imagination fill the gaps. This kind of writing, especially in comics (where visuals are ever present), is hard to do. But Aaron does it and he does it with class. Characters are given strengths and weaknesses we’ve not seen before, yet know are there. The exploration between Darth Vader and Luke’s relationship is surprisingly fresh and complicated. We all know where Han and Leia end up, but the journey of how they connect is moving, because it feels real. I’m confident that these stories are good enough that you will be left pining for the next issue… issue after issue.
There’s room to Grow:
Good writing, familiar scenery and characters not enough for you? Never fear, the series has room to grow, and grow it shall. Currently there are 12 different titles to choose from. I understand that may sound like a lot to most novice comic readers, but hear me out – look at the 12 titles as opportunity to expand the Star Wars universe any which way you seem fit, kind of like “choose your own adventure” but with a compass, and brilliant storytelling. Personally my favorite is the main titled comic Star Wars which is set right after the events of A New Hope, written by Jason Aaron. Other ongoing titles I recommend are as follows:
- Darth Vader – Written by Kieron Gillen. Art by Salvador Lacrocca. This is the other main Star Wars title which focuses on our favorite mask breathing villain and is also set directly after A New Hope.
- Star Wars: Poe Dameron – Written by Charles Soule. Art by Phil Noto. Poe’s story will be set before The Force Awakens, and will follow him on his many adventures.
- Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin – Written by Charles Soule. Art by Marco Checchetto. This small series is set between The Phantom Menace and The Clone Wars and will be told over 5 issues.
- Star Wars: Kanan – Written by Greg Wiesman. Art by Pepe Larraz. This ongoing series is based upon the character Kanan which ties-in with the animated series Star Wars Rebels.
Marvel has been releasing a string of Star Wars miniseries. These are all self-contained and don’t require you to be reading the other Star Wars comics (note, no cross overs are listed):
- Star Wars: Shattered Empire – Written by Greg Rucka. Art by Marco Checchetto.
- Star Wars: Princess Leia – Written by Mark Waid. Art by Terry Dodson.
- Star Wars: Lando – Written by Charles Soule. Art by Alex Maleev.
- Star Wars: Chewbacca – Written by Gerry Duggan. Art by Phil Noto.
- Star Wars Han Solo – Written by Marjorie Liu. Art by Mark Brooks (releasing in June, 2016).
- Star Wars C3PO – Written by James Robinson. Art by Tony Harris.
- Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – Written by Chuck Wendig. Art by Luke Ross.
So, whether you are a Star Wars junkie looking for your fix in-between movies, or a casual reader, I implore you to give the comics a chance. There’s something to be said about good storytelling mixed with rich and interactive visuals. The experience is like no other. Comics can be silly, and daunting, and down right confusing at times. But Marvel has done a tremendous job of ensuring the Star Wars comics stay true to form, true to fans, and true to a galaxy far, far away.
One last thing, Marvel is releasing a fun array of “True Believer” issues today in celebration of Star Wars Day! The issues are $1 reprints, mostly of first issues and range from what I’ve mentioned above, plus other fun titles like “Droids” and “Star Wars Classic.” Be sure to check that out over at Marvel.com and May The Fourth Be With You!
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