Synopsis: Resuming seconds after the end of the last issue (so seamlessly you already know this series will be amazing to read as a whole), Issue #2 finds the planet of Aquilae under imminent attack from the New Galactic Empire’s dreaded Space Fortress. Meanwhile, Jedi General Luke Skywalker has just taken on Annikin Starkiller as his apprentice.
The excitement surrounding The Star Wars’ first issue was largely academic. After years of seeing Ralph McQuarrie’s legendary pre-production designs in concept sketches and hearing about or reading George Lucas’ original draft, Star Wars fans everywhere were interested in exploring a version of our beloved galaxy far, far away that was different from what we’ve come to know over the past 36 years.
While author J.W. Rinzler and artist Mike Mayhew delivered a highly enjoyable first entry, the issue’s (necessary) focus on establishing its interpretation of the Star Wars galaxy didn’t leave much time for character building. This prevented me from investing in the story’s characters, who seemed to exist only in order to propel the plot further when the events of the story should be a natural progression of their actions.
But in Issue #2 of The Star Wars, the story gets moving in earnest because its characters are firmly back in the driver’s seat. With this issue, Rinzler and Mayhew hit their stride, skillfully adapting Lucas’ original draft and merging it with McQuarrie’s concepts for a comic book experience that exceeds the mere curiosity that heralded its release last month. This issue definitively demonstrates that this is a story capable of standing on its own, and one worthy of being told even without its link to Star Wars as we know it.
To steal a quote from an old smuggler friend I’m excited to see again very soon, “Here’s where the fun begins.”
There’s a terrific sense of urgency to the early events of this issue, the war room sequences, Skywalker’s brief meal with King Kayos, Annikin’s… unexpected retrieval of Princess Leia, these scenes and more successfully build a great and growing sense of momentum that rapidly gives way to a desperately frenetic feeling during the battle between Devil Squadron and the Space Fortress.
Rinzler and Mayhew show an incisive ability here to take story, dialogue, and visual sequences Star Wars fans know intimately and utilize them in such a way that the dramatic tension still remains as the issue unfolds. They also prove quite adept at knowing when and how to subvert your expectations so that just as things begin to feel a little too familiar, the story takes on an unexpected quality or adds a visual flourish that insures your attention is kept until the issue’s end.
When I finished Issue #1, I was intrigued. When I finished Issue #2, I was invested. If the remaining six issues of this series can continue to tell their story in a way as engaging and exciting as this one did, we’re really in for something special here. Looking forward to Issue #3!
Impressive, The Star Wars, most impressive.
Rating: 5 out of 5
TFN Review: The Star Wars #4 by J.W. Rinzler
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