How To Do Star Wars Comics, Successfuly (Star Wars by Jason Aaron)
STAR WARS BOOK ONE
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: John Cassaday, Stuart Immonen w/ Wade Von Grawbadger & Simone Bianchi
Colorists: Laura Martin & Justin Ponsor
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Ever since Marvel published the first Star Wars comics in 1977 with a six-issue comic adaptation of the film, there have been good and bad series. Some of the best came during the years Dark Horse Comics held the rights. Books like DARK EMPIRE, LEGACY & KNIGHTS OF THE NEW REPUBLIC, to the adaptations of the beloved Thrawn trilogy, these showed what great Star Wars comics could be. So when it was announced that Marvel was getting the licensing back , after acquiring Lucasfilm in 2012 , I was a little weary as many of us were.
But all that was put to rest January 2015, which saw the release of Jason Aaron and John Cassaday's STAR WARS #1 was released. It had it all, from the spot on characterizations to all the familiar faces and locales. But there was something else, not easy to replicate, that "feeling" of adventure and se se of wonder you get when you watch the Original trilogy, and Aaron and Cassaday delivered.
While Aaron would have a slew of artists on the book (Stuart Immonen, Lenil Francis Yu, Mike Mayhew to name a few) his run was some of the best Star Wars comics you'll ever read. It honored the past while also adding a few new elements to make it interesting. The first 2 arcs, are probably my favorite though. Which is what I'll mainly be talking about today.
In those first 12 issues, Aaron picks up shortly after the Battle of Yavin where the Death Star was destroyed. But there was so much left untold, of the time between that battle and the events of Empire Strikes Back. He does a great job of using all the elements of Star Wars we all love, the best being his depiction of Han Solo. But really it's all the characters personalities that shine through. Not to mention Cassaday does an impeccable job of getting each detail of their faces spot on. From details of the droids to the ship's and planets, the art elevates the story in ways I wount have thought possible.
The best part of the first arc is when Luke goes off on his own to Obi Wan's home on Tatooine after suffering a close call with Darth Vader. He seeks to unearth anything that might help him in his training. He ends up finding annold journal but has an encounter with Boba Fett that almost costs him his life. Since we never really got much, in terms of backstory, from Boba Fett, this was a welcome addition. Plus all the new Marvel produced Star Wars comics are now considered cannon, which makes these stories feel much more consequential than those of the past.
The second arc saw the introduction of Sana Solo, yeah that right Han had a wife. Or at least that's what we're led to believe at first. While Han and Leia deal with Imperial ships stalking them and Sana trying to collect the bounty on their heads, Luke heads to a Smugglers moon, Nar Shadda, as he seeks passage to Coruscant in his hunt for Jedi knowledge. Luke ends up getting captured by a Hutt, who has a thirst for Jedi history and artifacts. While the story was good, it was the art of Stuart Immonen that really stood out. I'll never forget that scene where Han, Leia and Chewie picked up lightsabers as they rescued Luke from his captor. While he may not have got what he wanted, Luke was still able to hold o to Obi Wan's journal. Which lead some to one of the coolest things about Aaron's run.
Over the course of his run we were treated to little interludes that focused on some of those journal entries. Thus transporting us back to Obi Wan's time on Tatooine in exile. We got to learn events where he watched over Luke and how hard it was to live this life of exile. It gave us insight into the mind of this great warrior and his sacrifice to ensure Luke's survival. Simone Bianchi brought this first "journal entry" to life and made me think, how great it would have been to see an Obi Wan book drawn by him. Even in exile, this jedi warrior still protected the innocent and was a thorn in Jabba's side.
So, while there have been other writers that have written Star Wars comics over the past few years, it's Aaron's run that stands out the most to me. I will say though, that Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca's DARTH VADER book that ran concurrently as this series, was just as amazing. But that's a story for another time.