The announcement that Marvel will begin publishing Star Wars comics again in January 2015 brings to a close the 20 years of Dark Horse’s great Star Wars run. We will be reading the Marvel Star Wars comics together here on Dork Side of the Force but wanted to spend the weeks leading up to that release enjoying the 20 issues of Dark Horse’s recent Star Wars series written by Brian Wood. So if you haven’t read these comics before, I would encourage you to pick them up as we read and talk about them every Monday, and engage in conversation with us. Even if you have read them, read them again and bring (spoiler free) insight to the comment section as we celebrate Dark Horse’s great time in Star Wars comics.
One of the most disturbing lines of any Star Wars movie is given by Ben Kenobi after the destruction of Alderaan.
"“I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.”"
It is in the wake of the destruction of Alderaan and the victory at Yavin that we find Luke and Leia in Star Wars #1. The rebels are searching for a new planet on which to set
up a base so Luke, Leia, and Wedge Antilles are at the deepest corners of space. Luke and Leia have a conversation about how they are dealing with these events that were so costly for the rebellion and for them personally. The three pilots are immediately found and attacked by a large Imperial force who had to have known they were there in order to have attacked so quickly.
Meanwhile, Mon Mothma seems to have tasked Han and Chewbacca with “smuggling” rebel money from one location to the next. They are criminals (Han shot first after all) and are wrestling with being a part of this cause. Part of them wants to take all of this money and run but they are now wanted on all the major systems and seem to have no choice but to help the rebels for now.
Mon Mothma also meets with Leia and gives her a special, and secret, mission to find out how rebel information is getting into the Empire’s hands. What makes this conversation interesting is that Mon Mothma seems uneasy with a team free of accountability and transparency because it feels to her like something the Empire would do. Leia, on the other hand, seems willing at this point to do whatever it takes to destroy the Empire.
Finally, we see an exchange between the Emperor and Darth Vader. The Emperor is less than forgiving about the loss at Yavin and holds Vader responsible. He is removing Vader from command of his star destroyer and giving him another mission. Vader sees this as a demotion and is obviously extremely upset with the Emperor. He also can’t stop thinking about the name “Skywalker” and he isn’t sure why.
There are a number of themes I hope they develop in this series. One, involving Leia and the rebellion as a whole, is how
we deal with loss after great tragedy. There have been many tragedies in the history of the world but imagine the destruction of an entire planet. Races of people and ways of life were all erased in an instant. While the destruction of Alderaan is only dealt with in episode IV by a smirk from Grand Moff Tarkin and a “look away” from Leia, we have to feel the atrocity of this action. This utter disregard for life shows the complete depravity of the Empire and the need to stop them. But I believe there is going to be a constant question from the Rebel Alliance. How far are they willing to go to defeat the Empire? What are they willing to give up and what rules are they willing to break in order to defeat pure evil? We see a little of that tension in the conversation between Mon Mothma and Leia. I hope they develop it further.
Leia has always been one of the strongest female characters in movies. We see in this issue that she is not to be underestimated in battle and, it seems to me, that the destruction of Alderaan may drive her to fight with an extreme passion. It makes me wonder if she will struggle with keeping her anger in check throughout this story. I really hope they continue to write her as the great wartime leader she is. They are off to a great start and I’m excited to see where they take her.
Another major question in this series has to be about Han Solo. How does a criminal who seems to be unable to think about anyone but himself become a trusted part of the Rebel Alliance between episodes IV and V? How does this guy change his character so much and how does it change so quickly? Hopefully, there will be real character development to show us this change throughout the series.
We also begin to see why Vader is so willing to betray the Emperor when talking with Luke in episode V. There is tension between Vader and the Emperor and I’m hopeful to see some character development for Vader that we didn’t get to see in the movies.
I’m excited about where Brian Wood can take this series and the potential for great character development. It also seems that Marvel’s first series to be released in January is going to be about the same time period so we’ll see what similarities and differences there are between the Dark Horse and Marvel books. Let’s enjoy!
What stood out to you in this issue? What are you hoping to see in this series? What character are you hoping they take a lot of time to develop? What major themes did you see and what themes do you hope they develop?