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TFN Comics Review: The Star Wars #1 by J.W. Rinzler

Posted by Justin on September 4, 2013 at 04:58 PM CST

Synopsis: When tragedy strikes his family, Jedi-Bendu in hiding Kane Starkiller returns to his home planet of Aquilae, just as the forces of the New Galactic Empire are preparing to attack.

There’s a quote by Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie that was appropriated for the reimagined Battlestar Galactica, “All of this has happened before, and it will all happen again.”

This saying never strayed too far from my mind as I read this first issue of The Star Wars, a series adapted from George Lucas’ original rough draft screenplay for what would later become A New Hope.

There’s a certain degree of familiarity to this interpretation of the Star Wars myth. This is largely due to planets, equipment, and characters sharing many of the same names as their film counterparts. But this version has more in common with its Flash Gordon and The Hidden Fortress sources of inspiration than the finished product ended up with. That’s a good thing, because it keeps this version far enough away from the tone of what we already know to prevent from being a just a retread of an existing story.

Noted author and Star Wars historian J.W. Rinzler (The Making of The Empire Strikes Back) does a good job of adapting Lucas’ screenplay into a comic book script. There’s a great deal of exposition required in order to establish this new (old) take on a galaxy we’ve come to know over the last 36 years, and Rinzler weaves it all into the story in an effective manner that seems natural. His introduction of each plotline flows in a logical manner that builds on the last to give the saga a sense of momentum and there isn’t a wasted space throughout the whole issue, giving each panel a sense of purpose.

Artist Mike Mayhew’s (no relation to Peter) drawings capably convert Ralph McQuarrie’s legendary conceptual art to the pages of the story, occasionally blending them with more recognizable production designs from the films. This results in artistry that balances the established feel of Star Wars, but in a way that doesn’t detract from the elegance of McQuarrie’s classic styles.

For fans interested in the history of the galaxy far, far away, The Star Wars is a must read. Seeing the concepts and versions of characters we’ve heard about for so long actually have their story told is fascinating. I enjoyed it from that perspective, even if I’m not fully invested in most of the characters just yet. The issue succeeds, however, in introducing enough intriguing ideas to make you look forward to continuing the story.

I’ll be there for the next issue.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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