Star Wars: Vol. 1 – Skywalker Strikes

Writer – Jason Aaron

Artist – John Cassaday

Colourist – Laura Martin

Let’s just set the scene. Early 2015. Star Wars Issue 1 arrives. I bought it. I devoured it.

I had a complaint. Why is Luke facing Vader? I really didn’t like that aspect of the story (I have grown to accept its place in the story but at first it was almost blasphemous). The sabotage of the Imperial facility on Cymoon 1 was a great story, Han, Luke and Leia heading up a mission to slow the Imperial war machine that little bit was fantastic. Luke rescuing slaves, a brilliant touch and a nod to ‘The Phantom Menace’ but Luke vs. Vader really didn’t sit well. But I enjoyed it. I carried on collecting the comics.

Skywalker Strikes really helps set the timeline the comics are working in, the three years between ‘A New Hope’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, of course the Rebels would keep fighting the Empire and this is a logical next step for them after the Death Star.

This volume really feels like two storylines put together, the first being the assault of Cymoon 1. The sabotage of the base, the epic battle between the the Rebels in a stolen AT-AT against the Empire and Vader is great. Luke using his piloting skills to save the day and the escape just feels like a fast paced storyline to allow us to deep-dive into the series head first.

The last three issues slow the story down. Leia wants to help the Rebellion find a new base, after asking Luke who decides to go to Tatooine to try to find some form of Jedi teaching material at Kenobi’s old home she enlists Han. They are intercepted by TIE Fighters and after Han panics they are attacked. Han sets them down on a mysterious planet enveloped by a tropical storm that Han and Chewie used as a hide-out in their smuggling days but manages to set off a tracking beacon.

Luke finds Ben’s house and after chasing off a group of Tusken Raiders manages to find a box that has ‘For Luke’ written on it.

Meanwhile, Boba Fett has been hired by Vader, who is visiting Jabba the Hutt on a business deal to negotiate supplies for the Empire. Fett interrogates the patrons of THE Mos Eisley Cantina and finds an old friend of Luke. Fett tortures him and gets Skywalkers name. Not far away another, unknown Bounty Hunter inquires about the whereabouts of Han Solo.

Fett finds Luke at Kenobi’s home and uses a flash-grenade to disorientate Skywalker. Luke fights blind and with R2’s help manages to knock Fett out. Luke leaves Tatooine with Ben’s journal.

On the mysterious planet, the unknown Bounty Hunter tracks Han and Leia. Her ship lands and she disembarks. Leia asks who she is, the Bounty Hunter takes off her mask and reveals herself to be Sana Solo, Han’s wife.

The final scene is Fett meeting Vader and telling him that he had failed to bring him the Rebel Pilot but gives him the name ‘Skywalker’. Fett leaves and Vader uses the Force and breaks the window he is looking out of.

The final three issues run simultaneously to the first story-arc in Keiron Gillen’s ‘Vader’ series. The two titles really complement each other. Here we get to see Vader’s actual meeting with Jabba but we see Fett’s part of Vader’s story which is expanded on at the end of Vader’s run with the ‘Skywalker’ revelation and Vader’s reaction where he speaks to Palpatine but hides that he knows the truth.

I really wish that Fett and Luke hadn’t encountered each other in this arc and that Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen has used Black Krrsantan to find Luke, although I do like seeing Fett doing his brutal Bounty Hunting the whole storyline feels a bit too fan-service to me. Needless to say it still works as a story and it sets up Vader and Fett’s relationship in ‘Empire Strikes Back’.

Overall a good start to the main series of Star Wars comics, though somewhat reliant on fan-service and Cassidy’s tendency to copy the characters expressions directly from the films which at times don’t fit the moment somewhat takes you out of the story a little it sets the bar for the series and as a companion piece to ‘Vader’ it works brilliantly when read together.

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