We peer back through the veil of time again this week with a new 'The Star Wars' and the continuing adventures of General Skywalker and gang. On the run from the invading forces of the Empire, Skywalker has to find a way to smuggle the Aquilean princess off world to preserve the royal line. More shivers of 'The Phantom Menace', to an extent that I wonder how many ideas Lucas held onto to reuse when the prequel trilogy came around. It's hard to ignore the familiarity of the scene where the veteran Skywalkwer and his young rash apprentice have to convince a reluctant teenaged queen to flee her home planet. An interesting quirk however is the influence 'The Phantom Menace' has in Mike Mayhew's designs; actually further inviting that comparison, with Stormtroopers riding S.T.A.P. like hovercraft and the baroque design of Leia's traditional vestments.
As usual the art is exceptional, but this might be the best looking issue yet with plenty of dramatic battle scenes and desert vistas. Many times during the course of the book I was compelled to stop and ponder on the beautiful artwork, with it's realistic lighting and concept art polish. If it has nothing else it certainly claims no deficits in the art department, one of the most attractive mainstream books on the shelf.
And alas, it really doesn't have much else going for it. 'The Star Wars' is a professionally rendered experiment and little more, with J.W. Rinzler presumably just making editorial decisions with Lucas's stiff and unlikeable script. From the meaningless kid sidekicks to the more openly hostile tone of the Threepio/Artoo relationship when both of them are capable of speech, it's really amazing that 'Star Wars' ended up the classic it is today. Nobody is worth rooting for, I can't tell who the main villain is supposed to be, and I'm lost as to what the end goal of our heroes is. Boy, is this like the prequels or what? Despite this, it's gorgeous and fascinating from a historical perspective since I've never read the original screenplay the comic is based on, so it's worth buying for the curious enthusiast. For everyone else however? Better off sticking with the movies.
Writer: J.W. Rinzler Artist: Mike Mayhew Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 11/6/13