Review – Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes TP (Marvel/Turnaround)

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Release Date: October 7th, 2015

Taking place between the events of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, this series serves as the flagship of Marvel’s reclaiming of the Star Wars comic book franchise from Dark Horse Comics.  Written by Jason Aaron and featuring artwork from John Cassaday, the series sees our familiar Rebel heroes trying to capitalise on their impressive momentum following the destruction of the Death Star at the Battle of Yavin.

Okay, so let’s cut to the chase; this is fan service of the highest order, with all manner of grin-raising and air-punching situations crammed into the pages of this six-issue collection.  Ever wanted to see Han and Leia piloting an AT-AT?  Vader and Jabba making shady business deals? Luke and Boba Fett going one on one?  If so, then this is most definitely the series for you.

Cassaday’s artwork helps hammer home the familiarity of the universe, with each of the characters faithfully recreated and looking very much like their cinematic counterparts.  The inking is a little harsh at times, and some of the frequent action set-pieces don’t necessarily flow as well as they should, but for the most part, this is most definitely a visually impressive book.

It has to be said, Aaron’s writing is a little on the nose at times here, lacking in some of his usual nuance and flair, almost like he couldn’t contain his own excitement to quote and make reference to the beloved source material.  It definitely works in places, but occasionally comes across as rather clunky and contrived.  “Oh, if only Obi Wan would come and tell me exactly where to go to be trained as a Jedi”, muses Luke.  Patience, young Padawan.  I’m sure by the next movie, all will be resolved.

Aside from occasionally becoming bogged down by referencing A New Hope and foreshadowing Empire Strikes Back, there are some truly great moments to be had here, such as the explanation of how Vader learned the (somewhat familiar) name of the rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star.  Aaron also absolutely nails the voices of the characters, something that shouldn’t necessarily be all that tricky given their numerous portrayals, but which definitely adds to the authenticity of this series.  Han and Leia’s quasi-flirtatious bickering definitely felt the most real, and while Luke occasionally comes across a little whiny – almost like Anakin in the prequels – he still feels like Luke, y’know?

The story covers a lot of ground, from assaults on Imperial weapon factories to a return to the dune seas of Tatooine, and ends in truly dramatic fashion with a boldly ambitious change to Han Solo’s backstory (made even more eyebrow-raising by the fact that yes, this is all canon now, folks) which may not necessarily please a lot of readers.  Oh, and that final page of Vader makes picking up the second volume of this collection when it becomes available all but compulsory.

Niggles aside, the good far outweighs the bad here, resulting in an exciting, authentic Star Wars experience that will have you humming John Williams’ familiar theme tune as you excitedly flick through the pages.

Rating: 4/5.

You can purchase Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes TP from Turnaround Publisher Services (who generously provided the review copy of this title) from their official website.

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The writer of this piece was: 576682_510764502303144_947146289_nCraig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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