By Todd Matthy

Star Wars is on everybody’s mind these days. Between Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the announcement of Episode’s VII-IX, interest in galaxy, far, far, away is hitting a fever pitch and it couldn’t be a better time for Dark Horse to launch a brand new, new reader friendly, comic book. So how is it? Lets find out.

As I’ve said before, the Star Wars Expanded Universe is so vast that it’s almost impossible for a casual fan to enter. Star Wars # 1 is Dark Horse’s solution to that problem and who better to write this new, accessible, book then Brian Wood. Brian Wood is one of the hottest writers in comics. His body of work includes everything from historical fiction like Northlanders, science fiction with The Massive, political commentary like DMZ and Mara, fantasy with Conan, and Ultimate X-Men.  Now he’s turned his attention to Star Wars and bringing something to the Expanded Universe we haven’t seen in awhile, feelings.

Without spoiling anything, the perfect way to sum up the first issue of Star Wars is it’s a book about youth and their feelings. Set two months after the events of the first movie, the heroes and villains are dealing not only with the political consequences of the Death Star’s destruction but how the events have affected them as people. Luke has lost his family and best friend. How does that affect him emotionally? What about Leia? She may put up a tough front and accomplished a goal but she’s lost her home world? How does that affect her? How has Han Solo’s affiliation with the Alliance affected his career as a smuggler? These are feelings the characters are wrestling with and will ultimately have to confront if they are to become the heroes we all know and love. That emotional journey is what makes this series so interesting and accessible. Though I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Wood’s characterization of Darth Vader. All I can say is he’s added a dimension of schizophrenia to the character that perfectly sums up the change Vader underwent between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

When Dark Horse first got the license to produce Star Wars comics, their mission was to produce the sequels to the movies the fans wanted to see. Over the years, the direction shifted from creating sequels to building on and expanding the mythology.  Star Wars #1 is a return to the original mission. You don’t have to be well versed in Star Wars lore to enjoy it; you just have to love Star Wars.

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