Sunday, March 8, 2015

Star Wars: Princess Leia #1 - A Review

The Death Star has been destroyed but the Rebel Alliance's victory came too late for the people of Alderaan. Now, The Empire hunts for the Alderranians who were off-world at the time of their planet's destruction. Princess Leia is determined to save them and prove her own worth to the Rebellion as more than just a figurehead, despite the considerable bounty now posted on her own head.

Thus far the new Star Wars books by Marvel Comics have attempted to answer some of the more nagging questions regarding the universe of the original trilogy.  This issue is no exception, as writer Mark Waid tackles two common questions - how can Leia be both a princess AND a senator and why did we never see her grieving over the destruction of her home world?

As the comic industry's top continuity cop, Waid is more than capable of answering these questions while simultaneously telling a good story. And while the answers to the first question prove easy enough - Alderaan has a Royalist tradition similar to what may be found in the United Kingdom today - the second question lies at the core of Leia's character and central conflict.

Leia was born and raised as a noble and reflexively tries to keep a stiff upper lip no matter what - a trait that does little to endear her to some members of the democratically-based Alliance. At the same time, her own populist leanings drive a wedge between Leia and Alderaanian royalists like Evaan - a pilot who proves to be Leia's most loyal subject and harshest critic. The interplay between the two characters is a highlight of the issue.

Unfortunately, the artwork doesn't quite equal the script. Terry and Rachel Dodson have done some fantastic work in the past but it seems unlikely this series will be counted among their triumphs. While there are individual panels that look quite good, the flow of story between those panels is erratic, Additionally, there are many moments where the characters go off-model and the detailing of panels focused on medium and far shots leaves much to be desired.

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