30 in 30 - Day 11: Star Wars vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes / by Frank Gogol

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When I’d heard that Marvel would be taking over publishing Star Wars comics and that the entire extended Universe would be thrown out, I said, “This is why I don’t invest in franchise comics.” Flashforward two years to when I’m writing my own comics, and I feel pretty much the same. What’s different, now, is that I’m interested in how books based on properties get written.

Shifting gears quite a bit from yesterday’s Kill or Be Killed vol. 2, today I read Star Wars vol. 1- Skywalker Strikes. I have to admit, too, that it was more enjoyable than I’d imagined. And Aaron and Cassaday understand what makes an accessible comic book.  

Synopsis

Title: Star Wars vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes
Storytellers: Jason Aaron & John Cassaday
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Year of Publication: 2015
Page Count: 296

The greatest space adventure of all returns to Marvel! Luke Skywalker and the ragtag rebels opposing the Galactic Empire are fresh off their biggest victory so far — the destruction of the massive Death Star. But the Empire’s not toppled yet! Join Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2 and the rest of the Rebel Alliance as they fight for freedom against Darth Vader and his evil master, the Emperor! But when a Rebel assault goes wrong, Han and Leia must think fast to make their escape — while Luke comes face-to-face with Darth Vader! In the explosive aftermath, a humbled Luke returns to Tatooine to learn more about his mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi. Meanwhile, Leia and Han undertake a vital — and dangerous — secret mission. But can they succeed without Luke? Plus: the menace of Boba Fett!

SPOILERS FOR KILL OR BE STAR WARS VOL. 1 – SKYWALKER STRIKES BELOW

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Writing

As I mentioned, this is an accessible book. Aaron, smartly, writes both an interesting story that highlights the recognizable characters, but also one that doesn’t conflict with the established canon of the movies. This series, set between Episodes IV and V, looks and feels like a Star Wars story, buy treads new enough ground that it doesn’t feel derivative or unrelated. Just like The Force, Aaron seeks balance in this series.  

What’s more, there are fun little Easter eggs in the writing that also act as foreshadowing, like Darth Vader recognizing Luke’s lightsaber. Aaron’s approach to this is that less is more, so the handful of references have more impact.

What I learned about Comic Book Storytelling in Art

Part of the appeal of publishing Star Wars comics for Marvel is that it’s got a built-in audience that’s not necessarily traditional comic book fans. With that in mind, Cassaday opts for gorgeous, but simple art. The layouts are uncomplicated, often relying on stacked widescreen panels (likely to mimic the aesthetic of a movie). The benefit here is that non-comics readers who pick up the book won’t be turned off by harder-to-process pages that veteran comics fans could read with ease. The result is a good-looking, but easy-to-read, comic book that will please new and old fans alike.

Recommendation: B (Entertaining, worth a read)

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