Star Wars #1: In the Shadow of Yavin
Star Wars #1: In the Shadow of Yavin, Part 1
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Artist: Alex Ross
Despite its victory at the Battle of Yavin—which ended with the destruction of the Galactic Empire’s fearsome space station, the Death Star—the fledgling Rebel Alliance is still struggling to find new allies, new sources of supplies, and, most importantly, a new location for a permanent base.
In the quest for a new home, three of the Rebellion’s greatest heroes have journeyed to the edge of the Outer Rim . . .
If Star Wars #1 is a sign of things to come, then this new series is in good hands. Brian Wood unveils a nice story that delves into some X-Wing action and takes time to spotlight one of the unsung heroes of the Rebellion: Princess Leia. On top of the story is some gorgeous interior art and a wonderful cover by Alex Ross. So begins the first arc of In The Shadow of Yavin (part 1 of 3).
Skuldren: First off, I love the cover. It combines warm and cool colors in an eye popping arrangement of the classic characters. There’s also a canny resemblance to the famous 1977 Star Wars poster by Tim and Greg Hildebrandt. Unlike the famous Star Wars poster with Luke holding his lightsaber up in the air, this image uses Vader as the central figure, but with the same pose. Instead of X-wings flying in the background, there are TIE fighters. And this time the ghostly face images hovering on the page are Luke and Leia. Even the use of the warm and cool colors reflect the style of the original poster, but like everything else, their use is flipped. Altogether it makes for a beautiful contrast and a great nod to the past.
Synlah: It’s a step into the past we go with this comic, and it’s a good step with effective touches that pull us right back into the OT era: Obi-Wan as Ben or General Kenobi; reflection on recent events: Yavin, the destruction of Alderaan and the Death Star.
We first encounter our heroes as they’re about to check out a new location for the Rebel Alliance. Luke and Leia are discussing all the death they’ve seen — very personal death. We’re reminded that these losses are very real to them, and they’ve had scarcely any time to process all the loss. And then the Empire makes an abrupt, surprise appearance, and it’s back to business as usual. Or as Han would say, “That bad, huh.” Our heroes — Luke, Leia and Wedge — shift gears and go into action. Of course, they succeed in escaping with the assistance of a ghostly Ben voice telling Luke to, once again, trust his instincts. And it’s back to the Rebel Alliance for our heroes — a Rebel Alliance that, despite its victory at Yavin, is very much struggling and on the brink of failure.
Flash over to Han and Chewie departing for somewhere, and Mon Mothma ordering Han to check in at the the designated times and keep to the schedule. Evidently Mon Mothma and the Rebel Alliance don’t know Han like we and the writers know him. Han’s going to do what Han decides to do. We also get a partial motivation for why Han sticks it out with the Rebels. His assistance at Yavin has earned him a death mark on all Imperial Worlds, including the ones with thriving black markets. He’s also apparently, by virtue of his reward money, turned into the Alliance’s credit union.
There’s also a bit of exposition where the Emperor goads Vader over his failure at Yavin. Palpatine even takes Vader’s star destroyer away from him and hands it off to one Colonel Bircher, who clearly has some kind of death wish since no one in their right mind would accept that assignment. As you can imagine, Vader isn’t pleased (bit of an understatement), but his anger has the effect Palpatine is seeking. It wipea away Vader’s shame over Yavin, but Yavin raises the ghost of fear in Darth Vader. He knows the name of the young, hotshot rebel who blew up the Death Star, but he doesn’t yet understand what it means*.
*I don’t know why it would take Vader longer than 2 seconds to figure out: one in a million shot by hot shot pilot > last seen with Obi-Wan (who was last seen with pregnant Padme) > named Skywalker > Son!
Anyway, long story short, issue #1 of In the Shadow of Yavin sets up a spy hunt and a hunt for a new base.
Skuldren: At Star Wars Celebration VI, writer Brian Wood indicated he was a fan of the X-Wing novels. Star Wars #1 makes that evident. In fact this could almost be the first issue in a brand new X-Wing comic series. The issue kicks off with Luke, Leia, and Wedge flying X-wings as they look for a new rebel base. There’s space action, a dogfight, and some beautiful artwork of the ships in space, including a great two page spread of a Star Destroyer and TIE fighters in pursuit. It’s also worth noting that one of the biggest stars of this issue is none other than Leia. Most noteworthy of all, she’s not playing senator or princess but starfighter pilot.
Brian Wood does a great job of making Leia a credible pilot and giving her some good action scenes. Where some writers would have given Luke or Wedge another dogfight scene, Wood hands it off to Leia. There aren’t any punches pulled with her character either. In one startling scene, Leia takes the battle to a TIE pilot up close and personal. While there isn’t any narration exploring the thoughts going through Leia’s head during that moment, it leaves plenty for the reader to imagine. Is Leia just tying up loose ends to prevent detection? Or might she be working out a little aggression from the destruction of her entire planet? Regardless, it’s a nice change of pace and hopefully we’ll get to see a lot more Leia as the series progresses.
All in all, the story is great. There’s a perfect mix of all the iconic characters, a bit of action, a bit of plot setup, and some nice character focus. The interior art is pretty good, too. While there is a little artistic leeway with the likeness of the characters, some of the space shots are almost breathtaking. The coloring stands out to tremendous effect. This is most evident with the lighting effects. Whether it’s the depiction of the engines or the glow of a nearby star or planet, it adds a level of detail that makes the art pop.
Synlah: I couldn’t agree more with Skuldren. No false notes here; these are the Star Wars characters we know. With this first issue, I’m already happily caught up in this story. We give it a five out of five metal bikinis.