Living Up To The Legend – Star Wars Legacy #1

w1w2Mark Robert Bourne writes for Bleeding Cool.

Script: Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman
Art: Gabriel Hardman
Colors: Rachelle Rosenberg
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dave Wilkins
Assistant Editor: Freddye Lins
Editor: Randy Stradley

Star Wars: Legacy returns with an all new #1 and the creative team of Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman who we last saw producing a fantastic Planet of the Apes series for Boom. The series cover artist Dave Wilkins is no stranger to Star Wars having done the covers to the recent Darth Vader mini- series. The “Phantom” variant show above was done by Hardman. Since getting the license to Star Wars, Dark Horse has consistently produced numerous comics based on that Universe in a galaxy far, far away. Some were worthy, some not so much. Recently a new Star Wars series from creators Brian Wood and Carlos D’Anda hit the stands to a positive fan response and a book I highly recommend. Equally, I can’t recommend this new book enough. It captures the quality we all come to expect in a Star Wars saga.

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This new volume takes place several generations beyond the original trilogy and introduces us to the great-great grandchild of Han Solo and Leia Organa-Solo. Of course, what about the questions of what kind of powers does this Solo/Organa offspring have? Ania looks a lot like Leia. Obviously she’s related to one of the more powerful Jedi family lines ever mixed in with one of the finest smugglers in the galaxy. At least in this first issue, we get a taste of where that mixture leans. Thrusting the story beyond what we know about the Star Wars universe leads to little baggage and brings out new opportunities with story and character. Thankfully, though we may be in a galaxy further away, there is something vaguely familiar about all of this.

Guy on the right cracks me up!

Guy on the right cracks me up!

The designs on the various ships were smartly crafted in that there are subtle reminds of what we had seen in the past. The center of the Empire Coruscant, once a shining bustling world is now showing its age. Shuttles, like the design below, uniforms and the various off world ships keep the same ideas but advances them as technology and design would naturally do some 130 years later. Equally, we see familiar races like the Mon Calamari, who plays a role as Solo’s sidekick. I was kind of hoping to see some sort of breathing effect in the characters dialogue. Like with Admiral Ackbar? Maybe it’s just his personal speech impediment.

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The artwork in this issue by Gabriel Hardman reminds me of Klaus Janson in the sense of the use of foggy blacks and harsher brush lines especially in the landscape details and the vacuum of space. Where typically we would see black with stars, Hardman brings in textures so we believe that there is more to space. There are gases, light, and free moving objects that give as depth on the page. I will tell you the opening panel sent me back to the original films with seeing a shuttle zooming through space heading on its mission. I could swear I heard John Williams’ music swelling.

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What also makes this book work is the coloring pallet of Rachelle Rosenberg. It’s not flashy or overpowering and complements the mood of each panel perfectly. In scenes taking place on a ship you could almost breathe the heavy atmosphere based on the color choices and where we are on Coruscant; there is the familiar blue shimmering sky that reminds us we are someplace else. One minor issue I came across with the coloring was a panel where, without divulging the story, a saber is lost in battle. As the reader I didn’t see the saber fly off because it wasn’t colored and blended into the background and action lines. Initially it threw me but after discovering it there, the re-read made perfect sense.

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I won’t say much more about the story written by Bechko and Hardman because I don’t wish to spoil anything. There are some really wonderful moments in the script which hark back to what was great about the original trilogy. You’ve got betrayal, action, power struggles, epic lightsaber fights and political turmoil. You should pick it up and enjoy the journey as much as I did.

As a lifelong fan, I am personally very pleased with the direction Dark Horse is taking creatively with Star Wars. Yes, I saw the original 1977 film at the Drive-in and the Marvel series is what started me reading comics (I have all 107 regular issues and 3 annuals). I also drive people crazy with reciting the dialogue whenever it’s on and I have the original movie poster hanging in the living room. For a large chunk of the last 15 years, we were really missing the ’77 Star Wars in comics during the exploration of the expanded Universe and with both Legacy and the other Star Wars series; it’s nice to have that feeling back. Creators Corinna Bechko & Gabriel Hardman, along with colorist Rachelle Rosenberg create a new legacy that lovers of the original trilogy can fully embrace. I am very excited to see questions answered, raised and just where the journey leads.