Dark Horse's new Star Wars series got a lot of hype. It was easily one of the most hyped Star Wars comics since the original Dark Empire. Dark Horse claimed that this would be a comic for people who had only seen the original "Star Wars" movie (not even the movie as released with the "A New Hope" subtitled). Unfortunately, while I love the idea, I just don't find this very compelling.
The story takes place in between "A New Hope" and "The Empire Strikes" back. That's potentially a great period for storytelling in the Star Wars EU as there hasn't been much out, besides the old Marvel comics and some of Timothy Zahn's more recent books. But I just don't think this comic has much of a story to tell.
The story begins as Leia and Mon Mothma attempt to find a new location for a Rebel base. They soon realize that there is an intelligence leak and the Imperials seem able to anticipate Leia's every move. Meanwhile, Han is out on a mission to buy arms for the Rebellion.
In six issues, the story doesn't advance all that much. One of the problems is Brian Wood's narrative style. He uses a lot of long text boxes to narrate information that, quite frankly, is probably quite obvious. He uses these boxes to provide background or convey a character's internal emotions. However, comics work best as a visual medium with a focus on imagery and dialogue. Storytelling in comics works best when it's fast-paced and tells readers what they need to know through art or dialogue. I'm just not a fan of all the third-person narration. It just bogs the story down. By the end of issue 6, I felt like we really hadn't learned anything new about the characters or seen them get much closer to resolving their problems.
Speaking of the characters, I don't think Brian Wood quite gets them right. I understand this is his first time writing Star Wars and it shows. Han, Luke, and Leia are iconic characters. We know a lot about them and about their concerns. That's why when an author gets them wrong it really shows.
Brian Wood writes characters with the names Han, Luke, and Leia, but I don't recognize them. They behave very differently from anything else we've seen before. Leia is a hotshot X-Wing pilot, Luke flirts with a fellow pilot, Han seems totally unconcerned with the bounty on his head, and Vader says "May the Force by with You." Let's think about this for a few seconds. If Leia were such a hot pilot, wouldn't she have flown against the Death Star in Episode IV? If Luke were a flirt, wouldn't he have been smoother with Leia in Episode V, rather than acting like a klutz? If Han were so blasé about the bounty, why was he so desperate in Episode IV to get the money to Jabba? Again, it doesn't fit.
Finally, the art is a bit too anime for my tastes. I know some people really like Carlos D'Anda's style, but I didn't think it fit Star Wars. I didn't even recognize the characters in some frames. I think the story, and the sometimes grim and bloody nature of some of the scenes, really called for more realistic art, something along the lines of Jan Duursema's work in Legacy.
I think the one redeeming value is that Brian Wood did manage to find a way to craft a story that has some mystery. I really don't know who or what the leak is. I'm somewhat curious to find out. I just don't know if I'm curious enough to buy the next issue.
I realize I might be in the minority and that this comic series is selling out. But I just can't recommend it. It doesn't feel like Star Wars.