As far as franchise entertainment goes, Star Wars was my first love. I don’t remember the first time I found out that Vader was Luke’s father, or the first lightsaber toy I got. It’s always been there. None of this makes me unique in any way, but I think it’s important to know if only so you know that I love Star Wars, even when it’s terrible, and I’ve consumed a good amount of terrible Star Wars.
This is not terrible Star Wars, not at all. It’s actually really really good Star Wars! Its also a pretty good comic, which isn’t a guarantee with Star Wars, even when I’ve generally enjoyed the title since Marvel launched it in 2015.
Star Wars Vol. 1: The Destiny Path tells the story of what happens immediately after the events of Empire Strikes Back. Really, it plants itself before the ending of the film, to my personal delight, and plays through the aftermath. It’s not surprising that they’re playing with the period so close to the film, especially after seeing how the previous series got so much play out of the period between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. It feels good here, especially with the leap between these films being particularly significant.
The biggest strength of the series is Charles Soule and his ability to absolutely nail the voice of every character in the series, from Threepio to Vader. The way the series has been structured so far has allowed for Luke, Leia, and Lando to act as co-leads, at least to some degree, and uses the episodic nature of comics to its peak. Even with those three getting the biggest moments, Vader, Threepio, Chewbacca, and Artoo all get to shine as well, and new characters are entering the fore as well. Of course, Soule getting to write Lando again is particularly great to see, and I hope he gets to continue writing him for some time. Star Wars, even at its best, struggles to find a place for its Black characters (well, anyone not a white dude, really), and it’s nice to see him treated well. I hope Soule’s great treatment of the character can lead to them seeing the value of Lando in particular, and it would be nice to see another solo (not Solo) title with a more diverse creative team.
As for the art, I find it mostly serviceable. Jesús Saiz does a fine job with the line work, and the characters all look accurate. Star Wars feels like it would be a particularly difficult comic to draw since the characters are already so defined, and you can’t really do much when it comes to their designs.
The coloring is largely where I am dissatisfied. Arif Prianto is credited as the color artist, but the trade also credits Saiz, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Dan Brown on issues #1, #4, and #5, respectively. The colors in general give everyone a bit of a wet look, which isn’t terrible, but it isn’t an aesthetic I really like. More than that, though, are Shara Bey and Ames Dameron’s skin tones. Maybe they get a hell of a tan between issue #2 of this series and issue #1 of Shattered Empire, or the Rebels’ lighting really washes them out, but I’m guessing this is
as some of the ones on the mutant side of Marvel’s line, but Star Wars has so few people of color in general that this feels like an obvious misstep. These are the parents of a character played by the gorgeous Oscar Issac! They should be colored appropriately.
While those issues shouldn’t be minimized, I still enjoyed my time with this collection, and will continue to do so. In many ways, it wouldn’t be Star Wars if it didn’t disappoint me on some level, and yet, I will always come back for more and love it all the same. If anything, I think this series, like the Marvel Star Wars comics that came before it, can comfortably stand next to The Mandalorian as something that all Star Wars fans can enjoy.
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