Marvel’s title Star Wars series is speeding in the right direction.
FIFTY SHADES OF EMPIRE
Star Wars #3 continues the story of the Rebels’ strike on Cymoon 1. Getting caught in the battle and divided, the story takes some of the best elements of A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and mixes them into one.
We witness some tension early on between Han and Leia that possibly leads the ground work for what happens in Empire and Return of the Jedi. The dynamic of Chewbacca rescuing C-3P0 feels like Cloud City all over (not to mention 3P0 is a broken mess). We witness a speeder bike chase where Luke fends off Storm Troopers. And of course we witness Darth Vader stomping around as the man with a big stick.
Vader’s epic walk through the battlefield helps establish his dominance as the second baddest person in the Galaxy. If you ever played the Xbox 360/PS3 game The Force Unleashed, you will recall the opening level of that game when reading this. Vader decides to single-handedly take down an Imperial Walker being piloted by Han and Leia, as they bicker back and forth.
I enjoyed this sequence because if gives our main heroes even more background with Vader then before without giving them too much experience. Part of what I liked about The Empire Strikes Back is the sheer intimidation Vader carried partly due to the unknown. Sure, we had seen some instances of how powerful he could be but the on-screen heroes hadn’t in high dose. This kind of gives the sense of “oh crap, he’s coming for us!”
There were a few stills in particular of the book that totally nailed Luke and Leia’s images respectively. Their classic looks of determination were ripped right out of the films. I have to hand it to Artist John Cassidy and his team – they truly get Star Wars and know how to portray it for a new generation while calling back to the old.
We see Overseer Agadeen briefly. I enjoyed his character and felt that he was pegged as a true Imperial, capturing the essence of some of Vader’s other commanders over the years (Tarkin, Needa, etc.). Where the plot truly gets interesting is in the final pages. We see a trip back to good ol’ Tattooine, where a clever Easter Egg is placed. We also hear of Vader’s intentions regarding Luke for the first time and witness the birth of his obsession to bring Luke to the Dark Side.
Part 3 of the story has me just as enamored as I was the first time I read and enjoyed Part 1. I love the direction that Marvel is taking this, both artistically and creatively in story telling. I just wish this one was a little longer.
+ Art depicts Luke and Leia superbly and is consistent throughout.
+ Shows the roots of major plots seen in the original trilogy.
+ Introduces some new twists that will excite long time fans while remaining faithful to the broader stories.
– A touch too short overall.
Josiah LeRoy is The Geekiverse’s resident Star Wars comic nerd. Follow his ramblings on Twitter.
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