The Star Wars #1 Review
I was equal parts intrigued and nervous when I picked up The Star Wars #1, an adaption of George Lucas' first draft screenplay of what later became the six Star Wars films. I could almost smell the weight of expectation as I cracked open issue one, this is after all an untold preliminary version of one of the most popular movie franchises of all time. So no pressure guys.
As I'm not usually big fan of licensed titles, and I haven't read any of Dark Horse's Star Wars comics before, I was intrigued by what I might find enclosed between the 22 pages of The Star Wars #1. What I found was more or less what I expected.
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On one level this comic displays a heavy reliance on the already established visual feel of the Star Wars universe. Architecture, ships, weapons and of course light sabers all look more or less the same as they do in the films. The dialogue and level of violence are also in line with what we've come to expect from the films. So writer J.W Rinzler and Mike Mayhew aren't exactly re-inventing (or 'pre-inventing' as it were) the wheel, but that isn't to say the book doesn't have it's own unique voice.
If you look with care you will notice many minor visual tweaks such as the Storm trooper helmets and Jedi attire which look like raw versions of their on screen counterparts And that's where the originality and charm of this book lay, in the tweaks. Oh and the art which is nothing short of gorgeous.
Artist Mike Mayhew has taken on the mammoth task of capturing the epic and cinematic visuals of Star Wars and cramming them onto the comic book page. Mayhew not only succeeds at this, but makes it look effortless. From the cold icy tundras of the Fourth Moon of Utapau to emotional scenes between Kane Starkiller and his sons, Mayhew's art rises to the occasion and is a delight to look at.
As for the actual plot and story, it plays out like an unpolished version of the films. All of the key elements are there; an evil empire, a hopelessly outgunned rebellion, an elderly Jedi Knight taking on a young padawan...etc. They are just not as streamlined as they appear in the films. The dialogue in particular suffers from a lack of refinement and the classic "May the force be with you" is instead the not so quotable "May the force of others be with you all". A couple of pages into The Star Wars #1 and it becomes apparent that its hook (an alternate vision of Lucas' Star Wars based on an early draft) is also its weak point.
Admittedly this is just knit-picking and it certainly didn't stop me from losing myself in this first issue. I can only imagine the despicable lengths hardcore Star Wars fans will go to to get their hands on this. In short it looks great, reads great and completely hooked me in.