Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Comic Review: Star Wars At War With the Empire

    The time leading up to and during the original Star Wars trilogy remains the most interesting explored in comic, book, and film.  The Tales of the Jedi comics were pretty cool, though.  Anyway, this volume starts just before the Battle of Yavin, which ended the first film, and goes up to about eight months after.  The stories are by various writers and artists, some better than others.  The later stories are the best in the collection, though the one that starts things out is pretty good.

    Though still featuring a good deal of characters we’re all familiar with, it does what I want to see from this sort of material, expands the universe.  The creators take us to several cool worlds, introduce us to several interesting characters, and splash the pages with some daring adventure.  I’m not going to go into a great deal of detail on each story, but mention the highlights.  The art in Betrayal is interesting.  I can’t say I really like it, but it has a kind of Moebius thing going on that works.  The Short, Happy Life of Roons Sewell is probably the most adult, or ‘deep’ story in the book, dealing with the difference between appearances and truth when it comes to heroes.  What Sin Loyalty? should have been a longer story, with more adventures of TK-622 and Akobi, leading up to this as a finale.  It’s OK, but doesn’t have the proper emotional resonance because we haven’t lived with the characters long enough.  Target: Vader isn’t all that great, but features some very cool panels, especially when it comes to Vader fighting.  I liked Alone Together quite a bit, in spite of its vaguely ‘Mary-Sue’ vibe.  The art is interesting.  Sometimes it’s a bit ugly, but I like it.  Many of the other stories have worthy aspects and cool bits, but aren’t as memorable.

    The stories are chronological, but mostly unconnected.  Even the ones that go back to Leia, Han, and friends, while they’re usually about tracking down new places to set up rebel bases, rarely play into the next or reference the previous.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but I think a slightly more unified vision would have been cool.  Even if each were written and illustrated by different people, a single editor pushing a theme or what have you might have worked a bit better.

    If you’re a Star Wars fan, and have enjoyed previous comic work from Dark Horse, this is a worthy read.  I don’t think it’s good enough to draw in a first time reader or make a new fan.  It’s not bad.  But it’s not great, either.

Star Wars Omnibus: At War With the Empire Volume 1
Author: Scott Allie, etc.
Artist: Ryan Benjamin, etc
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
ISBN: 978-1-59582-699-2


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