In the face of endless criticism, I am happy to say that I really enjoyed the Last Jedi. Sure, it wasn’t perfect but I found myself in awe of a universe who I’ve come to realise had been absent from my life for far too long. The problem I faced upon viewing the Last Jedi was that I left wanting more Star Wars to explore. Admittedly, Solo: A Star Wars Story was released a great deal sooner than the habitual Christmas release fans have become accustomed to. However, I can be rather impatient and 5 months is an awfully long time to wait (Though then-pending examinations ensured that it felt like no time at all, a simultaneous delight and torment). Thankfully, Marvel had the droids I was looking for.
In case you aren’t aware, Marvel regained the rights to publish Star Wars comics in 2015, resulting in a veritable avalanche of ongoing and limited series. Basically, I had a lot of catching up to if I wished to embark on this journey into the expanded Star Wars Universe.
The main title is set (currently) between the events of Episode IV and Episode V, providing a veritable treasure trove of potential expansion. Volume 1 follows on directly from the events of A New Hope:
Luke Skywalker and the ragtag rebel band opposing the Galactic Empire are fresh off their biggest victory yet – the destruction of the massive Death Star. But the Empire’s not toppled yet! Join Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the rest of the Rebel Alliance as they fight for freedom against the evil of Darth Vader and his master, the Emperor! But when a Rebel assault goes very wrong, Han and Leia will have to think fast to make their escape… while Luke finds himself face-to-face with Darth Vader!
(Description sourced from Amazon.co.uk)
I think the best place to start is saying that I enjoyed the fact that this was a trade as opposed to a set of single issues released over a period of 6 months. Though it was a few months ago now, I vaguely remember reading the first issue and feeling mildly underwhelmed. I can’t quite put my finger on why this was the case but for some reason it hadn’t quite caught me hook, line and sinker. Being able to read the first 6 issues in quick succession confirmed that these expansive tales were worth the investment. Whilst issue 1 fell ever so slightly short of my expectations, the following issues were excellent.
The first half follows a rebel assault on an Imperial weapons factory. Whilst the action was entertaining, it was great to see how the great Imperial machine functioned behind the scenes, proving as dastardly as one can probably imagine. It broke down just how severe a blow the destruction of the Death Star was to the Empire and the extent with which they were willing to regain control, moral ambiguity and dodgy dealings galore. You are probably going to get sick of hearing this particular line but it really helped expand an aspect that was brushed over with little insight.
The character development seen in this first volume is simply phenomenal. Whilst Aaron is able to capture the essence of our beloved heroes and villains, he takes it a step further in fleshing out their personalities and relationships. The spark between Han and Leia is conveyed spectacularly yet it is achieved with a wonderful subtly. Personally, this was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book as it adds greater depth to that iconic kiss in Episode V. Boba Fett is given a chance to shine, his encounters on Tatooine adding some weight to his supposed formidable reputation. Again, I’m going to sound like a broken record, but developments seen here only enhance the experience of viewing the films.
The volume’s strength also lies in the fresh content that it adds to the Universe. Be it brand new locations or mysterious new characters, it only helps enhance ones’ reading experience.
Cassaday and Martin do a phenomenal job on the art front. Whilst they capture the likenesses of the characters perfectly, its still feels like a comic. They capture the detail and colour of the Star Wars universe wonderfully and, to jump on the comments of ComicVine.com’s review, it feels like you’re watching the awesome antics of the Rebellion on the big screen.
Whilst they aren’t essential, I recommend picking up at least the ongoing title and associated crossovers. Personally, I have yet to be truly disappointed by a Star Wars story, the expansive natures of them at the very least providing substantial enjoyment. If you have any thoughts or questions please feel free to leave them in the comments below.