J.W. Rinzler’s “The Star Wars” manages to create a wildly original tale in a familiar universe, and show us what could have been a much more complex and imaginative version of the Star War’s universe. The issue hits the ground running and doesn’t stop, but at a certain point it may leave even the most diehard fans behind.
J.W. Rinzler’s hotly anticipated series makes it debut this month. Using George Lucas’ original script. This is a vast departure from what fans are used to. Which isn’t a bad thing; in fact it is what excited people most about this series. However, the script is so incredibly dense that some people may feel left behind by the scope of what they are experiencing.
Rinzler begins the issue with the comic version of the famous title crawl. It’s effective in establishing this universe, and the current state of political affairs. On the first page Rinzler introduces us to our hero Annikin Starkiller in four absolutely beautiful frames. He is proficient with a lightsaber from the get-go, and undergoes personal tragedy that is sure to plague him for the run of the series.
Rinzler’s script has the impossible job of rebuilding the Star Wars universe. It does so with a particular confidence that is admirable. Yet, it sometimes feels overwhelming. As after Starkiller’s incredible introduction, we are taken to Alderaan. This is entirely new to this series, we’ve never seen Alderaan like this, where a very different Emperor addresses legions of people about the political climate of the galaxy.
Rinzler gives us rapid fire introduces of the key players in his story. All of them are familiar but distinctly different than we know them. It is clear that all of the elements of the story are similar, but the motivations of the characters are entirely different. Adapting an early version of a screenplay implies an inherent list of problems. The story lacks a distinct focus in the middle, which manages to muddle the story. However, by the end he returns focus to Starkiller, and the issue regains its footing.
Mike Mayhew’s art is a force to be reckoned with. His pencils are incredibly detailed. The world of Star Wars is present in all of the architecture, and attention to detail. His character work is stunning. Every character looks wildly original and unique. Mayhew puts his own spin on each of them, and no two look quite like we have come to expect.
Not to mention his action panels are handled with a certain mastery. Lightsaber duels shouldn’t work on paper, yet, within the first couple of pages, Mayhew flexes his muscles. The character art is so incredible and original that the issue is propelled into the stars. The facial expressions on the last two pages will move you, and bring you down. You’ll feel the weight of Kane’s struggle, because Mayhew made you.
Finally, Rinzler’s use of Luke Skywalker is fantastic. We have no idea who this character truly is yet, but it seems he has taken the mentor role. The script takes enough twists and turns through familiar territory without ever bordering on fan service. What results is incredibly original, weird, and a little overwhelming. In any event, it works more than it doesn’t and is bound to get even more compelling with every issue. While a little dense, its nothing a second reading can’t solve. I can’t wait to see where things go from here.
Rating: 4/5 Skulls.