To celebrate the releases of the Special Edition, Dark Horse decided to do an
all new comic adaptation of the first film. It was made available in four
monthly issues or as part of one collected book along with reprints of the
Marvel ESB and ROTJ adaptations.
It's obviously a significant challenge to attempt to adapt a story as familiar
as Star Wars. Not every line can be included, so what do you keep and what do
you throw out while attempting to maintain some pace and tell the whole story?
I felt the pace in this series was very uneven. The first issue absolutely
blew through details at such a pace that I don't think it would be followable
to someone who hadn't seen the film. The second and third were a little
better, but the fourth kept so much from the films that I felt that it really
dragged and didn't work well as a comic.
Of course, Dark Horse felt obligated to include panels showing most of the
changes to the special edition film. (See a complete illustrated annotation of
these film changes at the SW:SE Annotations) This
further slowed down the pace in a few places, just to get the movie tie-in.
For film adaptations, I like to see a good mix of film frame reproductions, as
well as shots from different angles. As a series, I get that. However the
first issue has mostly new shots (because the script demanded such
compression) and issue four has mostly reproductions.
Barreto is pretty good at biologicals. The heroes weren't dead likenesses, but
nor was he trying for it. Tarkin and Chewie were well done. I was impressed
with the care taken to maintain the likenesses of the many background
characters. (Wolfman's still in the cantina!)
Where this book is VERY weak is in the technology. Vader, 3P0 and the
Stormtroopers consistently look wrong. I always thought that TIE fighters were
the easiest ships to draw, but they look terrible here.
Generally inconsistent. 5.5/10. Not recommended.