So a lot of us are happily bouncing around like Jawas on crack, eagerly awaiting more Star Wars as Episode VII is right around the corner. Because of this, I have taken it upon myself to remind you all that Star Wars comics exists, the current run is great, and you should probably go read it.
For those of you who have never really thought about it, there’s a three year gap between Episode IV and Episode V. Marvel Comics’ Star Wars v3 takes place in that gap, right after the Battle of Yavin, with the Rebels pushing their advantage against the Empire post-destruction of the Death Star. As of this writing, we’re about four issues in, and the story has been nothing but great.
In this series, we have a Luke Skywalker who has absolutely NO Jedi training, and still feeling pretty cocky. After all, he just blew up the Death Star, that’s gotta mean he’s pretty special, right?
Luke finds out pretty quickly though, exactly how green he is when he faces off against Vader for the first time after Ben’s death. The comic even gives us a little variation on the iconic exchange in Bespin, from Empire Strikes Back.
The comic also sees Han officially jump from being a “small-time smuggler” to the top of the Empire’s most wanted as he heads a mission to press Rebel advantage against the Empire- even going so far as use his rep as a criminal to get this first mission started, despite him now being officially associated with the Rebel cause.
Have I mentioned yet how Vader is done in this series? Because seriously, this is the Vader I think we would have seen in the original trilogy if the movie magic was up to it. Vader is terrifying here, his mere presence screwing up the Rebel mission something awful, and we see why the Sith Lord is feared by both the Rebel Alliance, and his underlings in the Empire. We see him casually deflect sniper fire with his lightsaber, then throw Stormtroopers into the line of fire so he can bring down the nest Chewbacca is taking potshots at him from. We can practically hear the amusement in his voice as he finally meets Luke, casually swatting aside this poor farm boy who has delusions of being a Jedi. Not to mention the walker scene. Holy shit.
I think what I’ve enjoyed the most about this series so far is seeing Luke’s development. Han seems to be comfortable in his new role as hero, Chewie’s wherever Han’s at, and Leia’s great at what she does, being the leader and keeping everyone together long enough for things to happen. But this isn’t the Luke we know. This is still the farm boy who barely has any idea what the Force is, who was told just recently that his father was a hero of the galaxy, and watched the man who was supposed to mentor him be killed before his eyes. He starts to believe that he has a destiny– then gets shut down quick.
I’ve always wondered about that myself, because one lucky proton torpedo shot does not a hero make. How does Luke go from being the kid in A New Hope to being the jedi-in-training from Empire Strikes Back? The Luke we see here isn’t a hero. Or at least, not yet. He’s not doubting the Rebel alliance or the Force, he’s doubting himself. Is he worth the faith that Leia and Ben have placed in him? Can he live up to the legacy of the Jedi?
Hopefully, the series keeps up the great storytelling. While we wait for Episode VII, Star Wars v3 is doing a good job of filling my Star Wars fix, and I honestly can’t wait for more.