Star Wars: Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes

Writer: Jason Aaron

Penciler: John Cassaday

Colorist: Laura Martin

Distributed By: Marvel Comics

Reviewed by Melissa Minners

                When I was a kid, I collected Star Wars comic books by Marvel, beginning with the six-issue comic book adaptation of A New Hope and several comic books in the series afterwards.  Of course, I was just a kid and I didn’t have the money to collect the whole series, but I did collect enough adventures to keep me amused for months until the next movie arrived.  Then I bought the adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back…and more.  Eventually, I came back to Star Wars comics when they reappeared, published by Dark Horse Comics.  Now, they’re back at Marvel.  Feeling nostalgic for the early days of Star Wars comics, I decided to check some out.

                I started with Star Wars: Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes, a trade paperback compilation of the first six issues of the new Marvel Comics Star Wars series originally released in October 2015.  The trade paperback begins with the telltale movie scrawl explaining that the Rebellion has just come off of a great victory.  The Death Star has been destroyed, but those who lead the Rebellion know that they can’t stop there.  More must be done to keep the Empire on its toes.  Thus, Leia, Luke, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2 and C-3P0 travel to Cymoon 1 to destroy a huge weapons factory.

                Disguised as emissaries from Jabba the Hutt who has recently been contacted regarding material resources the Empire needs, the group enters the factory, looking for the main reactor and hoping to take it out with explosives.  But the mission changes when our heroes discover that the plant is not entirely automated, but uses slaves for the real dirty work.  They decide to rescue the slaves and destroy the plant.  Things don’t exactly go to plan, especially when Darth Vader shows up.  The two have a brief encounter, forcing Luke Skywalker to realize he is a long way away from being a true Jedi.

                After their mission, Luke decides he must travel to the Tatooine home of his mentor, Ben Kenobi, searching for answers regarding his Jedi training and how to pursue it.  Meanwhile, Darth Vader has hired Boba Fett to hunt down this pesky apprentice of Kenobi and bring him back to Vader, who hopes to possibly train the boy in the use of the Force himself.  What he will learn about this young man will shock him to his core. 

                And when Han and Leia embark on their own mission, searching for a safe place for the Rebellion to settle down and hide while conducting missions against the Empire, an old acquaintance has different plans.  Tracking down Han Solo is difficult, but worth it to the woman who calls herself his wife.

                Wow!  Star Wars: Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes took me way back.  I felt like a kid again, reading the new adventures of Luke, Leia and Han.  I read this trade paperback on a Kindle Fire and I loved the cinematic movement of the panels that comics read in this format allows.  It’s like watching a stop-motion animated film.  It adds drama to the visuals of the comic and is just plain fun to use.  The adventure is in keeping with the adventures of the original Star Wars comic books by Marvel – humor mixed in with action and adventure, with Luke, Leia, Han and the rest constantly searching for a way to stick it to the Empire while finding new bases for the Rebellion to operate from safely.  I loved the dialogue between Leia and Han – that sexual tension-tinged banter that was so prevalent in the films -  and the comic relief provided by C-3P0 who always seems to get disassembled somehow.

                With the comic book series taking place such a short time after the Battle of Yavin, Darth Vader still has no idea who the Force-strong pilot is that he had attempted to take out in the Death Star trenches.  On Cymoon 1 (none to original, that name), Vader realizes that this boy is Kenobi’s apprentice, but that he is not strong enough or far enough in his training.  Interesting that even then, Vader is seeking an apprentice of his own…so interested, he is willing to use a bounty hunter to track him down, but we can see that he is totally unprepared for the information Boba Fett has uncovered about his nemesis.

                The writing may not have been terrific in some areas – the name of that moon for one thing – but the artwork was terrific.  I would say it was definitely an improvement over the older comic books’ artwork, with rather lifelike renderings of our favorite characters in some spots and rather detailed landscapes and battleships. 

                I have to admit, I had a great deal of fun reading Star Wars: Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes and was mighty sad when I came to the last frame.  I loved that they added in the letters page I remember perusing all those years ago in the old Marvel Star Wars comic books.  It simply made me smile.  In fact, the whole trade paperback was a happy trip down memory lane with new tales, but the same spirit as the comics I collected as a kid.  Any fan of those old Star Wars comics by Marvel or any fan of the original trilogy of Star Wars films in general will love getting their hands on the new Star Wars comic book series by Marvel Comics, starting off with Star Wars: Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes.



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