In the fiendish pursuit for anything “Star Wars” related geeks often find disappointment. However, in Dark Horse’s “The Star Wars” based on George Lucas’ original rough draft of the iconic films (now known as episodes 4, 5 and 6), J.W. Rinzler successfully wrangles and reinterprets classic myth. Primarily “The Star Wars” is a gripping tale that demands your attention and makes you look forward to the unfolding of a world familiar, unlike the one you have seen before.
A young teenage boy must be trained. An unexpected death occurs early on and the audience believes they know what is going to happen next. That assumption couldn’t be more wrong. This new world brings familiar characters to a new setting in which a father who feels more like a mechanical thing, is swiftly losing his battle with his own mortality and humanity at the same time. All this is set to the backdrop of an empire riddled with backstabbers and betrayal. And then there’s Darth Vader. All red eyes and looming presence, he doesn’t need a mask. He’s formidable enough with a cowl and a scar.
What makes this origin so compelling is that you don’t know who the good guys are. Jedis are nearly extinct and General Luke Skywalker is trying to hold his forces together to take action against the empire. But that may be a good thing. Maybe the Jedi are a plague among the universe Perhaps Vader is a good guy. After all the name Starkiller doesn’t exactly evoke warmth and hope. This seems to be a brutal world where you need to be careful who you root for. That person may turn out to be the scourge of the solar system. And while Leia has a brief appearance as a teenager we have yet to know what role she plays in this unfolding drama. Essentially it’s a world of players known to us, but turned on its head.
The artwork adds dimension and elements necessary for storytelling. When lighted swords are drawn, red glowing eyes are seen and that proverbial hairstyle worn by Leia are shown, they can add to the narrative without the characters having to say a word.
In the near 40 years that have gone, the time is right for a new telling of an old classic. In the issues to come the force may be with you. Or for this new universe, in the time ahead “may the force of others be with you all.”