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Published on February 5th, 2015 | by Noel Thorne

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Star Wars #2 – Review

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Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Leia has led the rebels in an attack on the Empire’s weapons factory on Cymoon 1 – only to find Darth Vader there! It’s Luke vs Vader as Leia and Han navigate a hotwired AT-AT against the stormtroopers, while Threepio does his best to stop scavengers from taking apart the Falcon!

Much like the first issue, Jason Aaron and John Cassaday have put together a fine comic in Star Wars #2, the flagship title from Marvel’s new Star Wars range. However, the thing about setting it in between the two movies means that there’s an element of tension taken away from the story. When Luke and Vader lightsaber fight, you know nothing’s going to happen to either because they’re both in Empire. Ditto the rest of the cast.

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But if you ignore that aspect, and the fan fiction angle that it feels like its coming from, no matter how accomplished, you can just enjoy it as a great story. It’s fun to see all of the familiar characters back in a new adventure, Leia and Han bickering away as they and Artoo figure out how to make the AT-AT work – and how awesome is the AT-AT design anyway? All of the classic Star Wars tech is here in its glory from the Falcon to the speeder bikes unashamedly evoking nostalgia.

It’s worth mentioning too that, though he’s restricted in how much he can do to the characters in this story, Aaron still makes the comic very exciting to read. This issue is cover to cover action as the rebels try to escape from the near-unstoppable, possibly greatest bad guy of all time, Darth Vader.

And that’s who the star of this issue is: Vader. From the opening lightsaber duel with Luke (where he begins to suspect Luke is more than some wannabe Jedi) to taking on the AT-AT single-handedly, Vader is at his ruthless best, and it’s enormously satisfying to see. There’s even a moment where the usually dignified villain is forced (yuk yuk) to unceremoniously hustle to avoid getting shot – we rarely see Vader’s feathers ruffled.

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I know Jason Aaron is going for the same kind of tone that the original trilogy had but the only part of the issue I disliked was the silly slapstick of Threepio. I’m not sure why Star Wars can’t do away with scenes of clownishness, even with a character like Threepio, and just go for straight drama, and I would’ve liked it if Aaron hadn’t bothered with this element in his story. Then again, while I’ve never really enjoyed this part of Star Wars, I’m sure there are fans who loved Threepio’s antics in this issue precisely because that’s the kind of stuff he gets up to in the films.

John Cassaday gives the comic a gorgeous look. Besides drawing the characters with the original actors’ likenesses from back in the day, the backgrounds have the uncluttered simplicity of classic Star Wars. Cassaday pulls off the action perfectly so you can follow everything that’s happening with the rebels and the freed slaves against the stormtroopers, to when the chaos of Vader and the Han-driven AT-AT explode onto the scene. There’s also a lot of wide cinematic panels to suit the epic movie-esque quality to the story. And that final full page visual of Vader walking out of the wreckage flanked by stormtroopers on speeders is absolutely superb!

Star Wars #2 is a wonderful comic. It’s well written and drawn but also very entertaining and fun. Marvel aren’t doing anything groundbreaking with this title but telling a great story is more than enough and a great many Star Wars fans will find plenty here to enjoy.

 

star wars 2

Star Wars #2

Writer: Jason Aaron

Artist: John Cassaday

Colourist: Laura Martin

Publisher: Marvel

Noel Thorne

Probably reading comics as you're reading this.

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