Star Wars, from Dark Horse Comics, continues its bridging story between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back” by assembling a team of black-ops X-Wing pilots to sniff out an imperial mole in the rebellion. Led by Leia Organa, Wedge Antilles, and Luke Skywalker, the team will have to live off the grid in order to finally secure a new base to fight against the Emperor.
Brian Wood writes the kind of Star Wars that you remember from your childhood. Not only does it capture the magic of the original three films, it also gives us a lot more starfighter battles with some of our favorite characters. The focus on Wedge and Luke’s relationship, as well as Leia’s struggle to accept the destruction of her home planet, fit perfectly with the characters story arcs at this point in the narrative. The prequels made many fans think that filling in the blanks was a bad idea, but Wood proves that it can be done as long as you focus on characters, not plot points.
The artwork by Carlos D’Anda really comes through in this issue. Dogfight scenes with the X-Wings and Tie Fighters really get the ion engines running on the page. It’s also important to note that D’Anda puts his own spin on the character designs. They clearly resemble the characters that fans know and love, but they’re not carbon copies of the actors. It was a stylistic choice that really works for this book, because it lets the characters speak for themselves instead of being avatars for the films.
Another interesting aspect of this series is the middle management aspect of the imperial infrastructure. Colonel Bircher, Darth Vader’s replacement for the Devastator Star Destroyer, has high expectations for the storm troopers and other imperial officers. It’s a concept that wasn’t elaborated on the film, but it’s a welcome and humorous addition to the franchise.
If you love the original Star Wars trilogy and want to relive those moments with a brand new story, Wood and D’Anda’s take will leave you with that nostalgic feeling.