“The Star Wars” is nothing if not ambitious. Through this ambition there must be some context. Sadly the story doesn’t provide us with enough on the various institutions and people at war. The result is an undercooked narrative that borrows familiar elements but feels disjointed. Luckily the fantastic art helps to save the muddled story.
The task of reimaging an original draft of a screenplay is daunting. Often first drafts are filled with plot holes, superfluous characters, and overly long scenes. There are elements to this second issue that appear to stem from these problems. The entire narrative feels slightly disjointed. The characters are new, as are the dynamics of the universe, along with the motivations for the conflict. Instead of being slowly introduced to a galaxy at war, Rinzler decides to throw us into the middle.
The result is a rather dizzying issue that never lets up. The stakes are high but the emotional investment is low. The characters we’ve just met are fighting tooth and nail for their beliefs, but we’re never really given context on their oppression. Instead war itself is supposed to be exciting enough to keep us turning the pages.
The familiar elements will keep invested readers interested. The biggest draw of this series is to see the little tweaks given to the Star Wars universe. Leia is present here, and her first interaction with Annikin is a little more interesting than that of Luke and Leia in A New Hope. The assault on the Death Star occurs much earlier in this story, and while it isn’t called the Death Star here, the familiar shape and powers imply everything we need to know. Suffice to say the familiar is the only thing to hold onto here, because the new stuff doesn’t take time to introduce itself, it’s just there.
Mike Mayhew’s work continues to be stellar. His depiction of the characters is spot on. Luke’s facial range is spectacular, and the devastation when he is thwarted at the end of the issue is all Mayhew. The subtle differences Mayhew adds to the familiar elements help to stylize this version of the world in a unique way. He ensures that X-Wings look similar but different, and his depiction of the Death Star is fantastic and menacing in its own way.
In the end, the book still feels like an unproduced screenplay. The elements of a story are there, but they are too sporadic and unfocused to take us along for the ride. Sadly this reflects onto J.W. Rinzler’s ability, however, we must remember that he was given the impossible task of bringing this screenplay to life. There are fantastic things within this book that deserve praise. The sheer fact that it exists is something to celebrate, and hopefully with a few more issues the story will find its footing.
Rating: 2/5 Skulls.