When I found out Greg Pak was taking over Star Wars, I was elated. His ability to write team superhero books is bar none some of the best in the business, so matching him with the rebel heroes we all know and love was a no brainer instant buy. His first arc starts with issue #68, which is collected in the new volume 12 trade all the way up to issue #72. In it, Luke, Han, Chewie, Leia, and the droids all go on an adventure that puts them in grave danger. Would we have it any other way?
In the opening pages, it is very clear Pak has a lot of great ideas at work here. I’d argue there are two or even three good plots to hang an entire arc on let alone this one. Early on we learn Chewie and C-3PO are jetting off to a planet close to exploding to lure a Star Destroyer and take it out. Han and Leia are set on another mission to essentially lure the Empire into attacking a majorly strong mob boss. Finally, Luke needs to lure probes away from a Rebel refueling station before they find it. In the opening pages, they’re all given their mission Charlie’s Angels-style via a commander. Much of the remainder of the book cuts between the three plots showing how well each group is doing and how things always seem to get a little more complicated when our favorite Star Wars characters are getting into an adventure.
Of the three stories, Luke’s delves into some interesting character development as we learn he wishes to learn and be better. Han and Leia’s story plays with their constant flirting, and Chewie gets to show C-3PO a kindness or two as they attempt to get their mission completed. Each story throws a wrench into the plans and effectively keeps your interest up at every turn.
Pak does a super job with character writing, giving Luke the naive nature we’ve come to love in the first film. Han is also well written with perfect banter you can imagine Harrison Ford saying. Leia is also well written as strong and cocksure, never straying from what you’d expect from her.
Phil Noto is without a doubt one of the best in the business and it shows in the little details. Luke Skywalker is incredibly rendered — possibly the best of the bunch, as his youth and naivete comes through loud and clear. New characters Luke and Han interact with are interesting figures that have the spunk you come to expect from the series, but faces you haven’t seen before. Aliens that pop up are quite unique too and that goes for the design. The Millenium Falcon and Star Destroyers look great too, although there’s less of that due to the narrative focusing on characters in their respective settings.
I had two minor gripes while reading this series. The narrative kicks off abnormally quickly, with three missions set for the characters and they all accept quickly. It doesn’t seem natural they’d be split up and run off so quickly, but that’s a narrative choice likely due to page count forcing the creators to speed it up. The other issue is how there isn’t a conclusion of any kind. I know this series is still unfolding in single issues, but it would read better if the next few issues were combined with this. As it stands this feels like an incomplete read. Thanks to three very different narratives playing out–all of which are unconnected–the general feel of the entire book is slow. Again, if this collection came with the remaining story I might not feel that way, but it’s slightly unsatisfying knowing we need to wait for payoff with the next volume.
This is a great series, and while we know now Pak and Noto won’t be continuing the series it’s nice to know this is their first best shot at Star Wars comics. Considering how well they’ve nailed the characters, stuffed this with great plots, and given us more experiences that are in canon you have to cherish what they’ve done here.
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