Star Wars #1
w. Jason Aaron
a. John Cassady
5 out of 5 Space Monkeys
Because, as soon as you open the cover, if you listen very carefully, you can hear John Williams’ orchestra triumphantly playing. Well, anyway, at least I did. Jason Aaron and John Cassady were the perfect choice for a creative team to re-introduce Star Wars to the world, now under Marvel’s banner,…and probably the only reason I got this.
I gave up on non-cinema Star Wars stuff awhile ago. I was all into the Zahn trilogy and the subsequent novels that further added to the Star Wars Universe. I collected Dark Empire ( and II ) and most of the Dark Horse minis that came out in the nineties. But then Phantom Menace came, and I saw that the torch had been passed. Now I’m not one of those Brian-Posehn-Patton-Oswalt-George-Lucas-Ruined-My-Childhood type of guys. I actually really enjoyed the prequels. I just realized that this was Star Wars for the Next Generation of fans. I got lost among the various Darths (where I come from there’s only one), Jango Clones, Wars of Clones etc. Plus the rising price of comics and a case of sudden onset adulthood syndrome ( i.e. cars, women, taxes and rent ) led me to cut back to mainly superhero comics.
When I heard Marvel snatched the rights to Star Wars in comic form from under Dark Horse, my initial reaction was: Good! Another franchise series I won’t have to collect, plus I can make fun of how bad Marvel was gonna pimp this (ahem, 12 plus variant covers and store homage variants, see below), Then the announcements came. Jason Aaron, writer of Thor: God of Thunder, and Original Sin, the guy who made Wolverine cool again in Wolverine Weapon X and Wolverine and The X-men, is writing an ongoing Star Wars series taking place after Episode IV?? Aright you almost got me; Who’s drawing it? Oh John Cassady! Planetary and Astonishing X-men John Cassady.
And I’m glad I did. From the opening “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” , to the Luke/Vader showdown-cliffhanger, this books just screams Star Wars. Aaron’s writing is its usual top-notch, capturing everyone’s personality perfectly within the snappy dialogue that peppers this well paced space action story.
Luke, Leia, Han and R2 attempt to infiltrate and destroy an Imperial weapons factory under the guise of working for Jabba the Hutt as negotiators, with Chewie and C3P0 backing them up. At first the mission seems successful, but a pen full of slaves in the supposedly automated factory and the arrival of the Empire’s top negotiator throw things into a tailspin. The Rebels can’t blow up the factory with innocent lives aboard, oh and that negotiator…..
The crew’s quick in-and-out demolition job, turned into a rescue/escape rather fast, but the Rebels have a once in life time chance to assassinate Darth Vader, at the expense of giving up their position. I don’t know what was more stunning, who the assassin was, or who gives the kill order???!!! Or maybe how Vader survives??!!
John Cassady’s cinematic style (remember how cool the action and fight scenes were in Astonishing X-Men,??…well add lightsabers!) brings Aaron’s tale to four-color fantasy life. Just as Aaron captures all the characters personalities in his dialogue, Cassady renders everyone sharply realistic, without looking like swipes from movie stills.
From Han’s lip curling smirk, to Leia’s furrowed brow all the way to Luke’s wide-eyed innocence and more, each a reflective example of the actors from 37 years ago. His Vader evokes the scary-coolness he did when you first met him.
This creative team seems not only to have gelled as collaborators, but the fun they had doing this book radiates from the page. There is a certain familiarity to the book, but the good kind. I would almost say nostalgia, but that would make me feel old. It’s exactly what you want from a Star Wars comic.
Thanks Aaron and Cassady, not only for giving me a happy flashback to my childhood, but for giving us a Star Wars comic worthy of the name. May the force be with you both…..
On to the Variants!!!
and stay tuned…… Darth Vader and Princess Leia series are coming soon…..