Pros: The stories and characterizations here are very faithful to the films. The second half of the book features two very interesting plotlines with a lot of potential.
Cons: The first half of the book is a little bit generic.
Overall: This is a great start to the new Star Wars comic book universe. It features everyone’s favorite character’s from the movies on brand new adventures filled with a great combination of action and character development. Though the comic’s opening story is a little generic, the second story arc introduces cool additions to the Star Wars mythos and some mystery to keep readers guessing. Overall, this is an optimistic start to a series with tons of potential.
Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes sets out to fill the gap in time between the destruction of the Death Star in Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope and the attack on Hoth in Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back. This is a pretty risky task since this is a currently unexplored section of time, so the events in this story will set the tone for the new expanded universe. Despite this being a risky task, it is one Jason Aaron is up to as he starts the journey on a high quality and thrilling beginning. This is a book that Star Wars fans are bound to enjoy, and one that will leave any reader wanting more.
(spoilers start here)
This series starts out with our heroes infiltrating and destroying an Imperial weapons factory. It is a thrilling start that thrusts readers directly into the action from the first few pages. Every member of the Star Wars main cast makes an appearance and has their moment in the spotlight in a way that reintroduces their personalities and characters to the reader. All in all, it does a pretty nice job at being an intro to the series while not feeling as boring and drawn out as intros usually feel.
However, this entire first mission, which takes up the majority of this collection’s first half, concludes feeling a little bit generic. It seems like something from an episode of The Clone Wars or Rebels animated series, or even something from the non-cannon expanded universe. For fans who have not had much Star Wars exposure outside of the film series, this may not be an issue, as the arc is rather enjoyable on its own. However, those with more Star Wars experience may not be nearly as thrilled by it.
From here, the story has a chance to diverge from the standard, a chance which it makes pretty fantastic use of. One storyline details Leia and Han’s trip to the outer rim to find a location for a new rebel base, and the subsequent trouble they have in doing so. This is a fresh adventure ripe with Leia and Han’s classic love/hate bickering. Not only that, but it also delves a little bit deeper into Han’s character than ever before. Here readers see him using a few smuggler’s tricks, which he often brags about but rarely shows off and are introduced to a mysterious new character, his wife. So far this has been a very compelling storyline and is something that I am greatly looking forward to continuing in the next volume.
The other storyline follows Luke returning to Tatooine and Boba Fett hunting him while there. This gets incredibly entertaining because readers get to see Luke struggling to use the force without any real training and also get to see fan favorite Boba Fett interrogate witnesses and hunt for evidence. The contrast between Luke’s uncertainty and Boba’s complete confidence is a nice frame for this story that sets up their battle perfectly. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see Boba Fett make a jetpack powered charge at Luke? Though there isn’t as much character development here as there is in the Leia/Han story, it is still a cool series of events that ends with an interesting mystery to top it off.
(spoilers end here)
John Cassaday does the artwork throughout this volume. While it is not incredibly special or unique in any regards, it does look great and matches the art style of the Star Wars movies almost perfectly. This allows for a wonderfully immersive experience which helps to ease the transition from watching the films to reading these comics. Though not as visually pleasing as Salvador Larroca’s art in Darth Vader Vol. 1: Vader (Review), this collection still looks great and is exactly what one would expect from a Star Wars comic.
This book takes place between the movies Star Wars: Episode IV- A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V- The Empire Strikes Back. While you could theoretically read this without watching the movies, it is highly recommended to watch them first, as much of the story builds off of them.