In my effort to fully catch up on all things canon Star Wars before Episode VII, the comics have been my biggest blindspot. I’ve just about finished all the novelized material, but the good ol’ comics have remained relatively untouched on my part. That’s going to change, especially after having read the first volume in the title series run of Star Wars, aptly titled Skywalker Strikes. Taking place in-between Episodes IV and V, and falling into chronological line directly after the Kevin Hearne novel Heir to the Jedi.
Back when Dark Horse owned the Star Wars comic book rights, the Star Wars comics one could pick up were weak at the best of times. They rarely felt like Star Wars stories, often only sharing the same galaxy – but many series would feel highly disassociated with the films or other Expanded Universe tales, occupying different sectors, or time periods. With Marvel’s reclamation of the Star Wars brand, and with the advent of a solidified, cohesive timeline, the series feels as though it’s in the right hands, with people willing and able to make this galaxy worth rediscovering.
This first volume of the comic feels astoundingly like Star Wars. Many logical leaps made in episodes V and VI are given birth and understanding here, namely – how Vader knows who Luke is; how bounty hunters get involved; and how Luke continues his Jedi training in the several years between Kenobi’s death and Yoda’s introduction.
The banter written for Han and Leia is spot on. His cocky arrogance and her reluctance to be wooed fit right in with the characters as we know them up to that point. C-3PO is as useless as ever, and R2 as reliable as it gets. Really, the only character that I didn’t care for was Luke. His blinding loyalty to the way of the Jedi (a path he only just discovered) is as if he were brainwashed. He’ll talk aloud about how the Force will save him in front of his enemies, and how Jedi’s don’t require conventional means of sensing situations. It’s a wonder nobody rolls their eyes whenever he opens his mouth. Even I, being able to understand the Force as it’s meant to be understood by the general audience, feel that he’s a raving idiot at times. Sure, the Force does help him, but c’mon man! And sadly he’s not just written like that in this story, but also in the films on occasion.
The art is spot on in just about every panel. The faces and gestures of the original cast are scarily present at times, particularly Leia’s features. Carrie Fisher has a very featureless facial structure, but the subtle cheekbone height and jaw structure that artist John Cassaday gives attention to brings her straight to life. The closer the perspective, the better the art seems to get. Sadly the same is true for the opposite. The further the camera pans away from the characters, the more crude their expressions become.
The Rebel Alliance is in search of a new planet to call their base of operations, and yet they still have smaller targets in their site. Namely, Cymoon 1, the Empire’s largest weapons manufacturing plant. The Rebel’s goals are to take that out, delivering another decisive blow to the Empire’s infrastructure and resources. They send the Millenium Falcon crew to complete the task. But there are complications. The biggest being Vader’s unlikely presence.
Each issue was packed with action, daring, and fun, developing the Star Wars story just a bit further. There isn’t anything hinting directly towards The Force Awakens, and that’s completely okay. This is merely a story to get lost in, just as you did the original trilogy, and writer Jason Aaron knows just the right notes to keep you hooked.
Oh! And Han Solo is married to some girl named Sana! That was unexpected.
Skywalker Strikes collects the first 6 issues of the Star Wars run and is available anywhere comics or books are sold.