STAR WARS was never centrally about politics. Sure, the Prequel Trilogy firmly established what politics were at play; and even the Original Trilogy hinted at the politics of the past and present influenced some of the iconic characters to ultimately be who they were. No, STAR WARS is always at its best when it’s about action. Adventure. Stargazing. Lightsabers. Blasters. Light speed. It’s the essence of motion – of movement – and the consequences that evolve from being in motion. Action has always been easy to do in comic books, but rarely these days has it come to such great display than in those titles with stories penned by Brian Wood.
I hate slobbering over the guy. I love what he’s done with Conan, though I know I’ve had detractors who disagree with me; and I’m growing particularly fond of his forays in the planets, systems, and cultures created by George Lucas. STAR WARS is back in a big way in this monthly, and I hope everyone whose reading this enjoys it half as much as I do.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
Leia finds herself one she believes could be an ally … but is he? Luke and Wedge finds themselves facing a squad of stormtroopers … but is that all that’s waiting for them on their mission aboard a Star Destroyer? Han, Chewie, and Perla suspect they’ve escaped the bounty hunters for the time being … but have they truly? What secret does Darth Vader discover, and, more importantly, what will it mean for the fate of a galaxy?
Brian Wood’s run on Dark Horse’s current STAR WARS title has been nothing less than consistently stellar. Right out of the gate, Wood established the proper tone for the piece – the Rebel Alliance is struggling to survive – especially given the fact that as all of this takes place chronologically before THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (hereafter TESB) when we know for certain that the Rebels were still in dire straits. His grasp of the characters has served him well, though I’ll admit that, at this point, it’s very difficult to get all that jazzed about the newcomers he’s brought to the game. They’re there, and I’ve no doubt that he’s stocked some big things for them; it’s just hard to get all that excited by the handful of small, connecting scenes they’ve been granted thus far.
Without spoiling it too much, Wood gives Vader perhaps his biggest moment of this new title thus far. It involves a personal revelation for him – the identity of a certain someone – that was established in TESB but wasn’t given any greater explanation. It’s little moments like this which go a long way toward cementing the relevance of this story, told as it is in the here and now, and gives yet one more reason for readers to jump on board. With Woods plotting (much of this wild ride has felt once again like the motion picture serials of old, like the very first movie did), the emphasis stays on action, raising the stakes even more than he did thirty days ago in #8.
Where all of this may climax is still impossible to see (“Visions of the future are always in motion, my padawan”), but, rest assured, this is still looking like the title to read for any and every STAR WARS’ fan around.
STAR WARS #9 (ongoing) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The story is written by Brian Wood; the pencils are by Ryan Kelly; the inks are by Dan Parsons; the colors are by Gabe Eltaeb; and the lettering is by Michael Heisler. It all comes with a cover price of $2.99, and that is money well spent, my Jedi apprentice!
HIGHEST RECOMMENDATION POSSIBLE. At some point, I suspect it’ll slow down, but for the time being nothing feels as natural, as inviting, and as rewarding as another installment of STAR WARS written by Brian Wood. Jump aboard when you can, or you’re likely to miss making this Kessel Run one worth boasting about.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of STAR WARS #9 by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.