The exploration of an alternate Star Wars universe continues this week as Dark Horse Comics debuts issue #3 of The Star Wars.
This month’s installment hits a bit of a stumbling block as it loses focus on the grand story for part of the issue and spends what feels like way too much time on recreating a familiar Star Wars sequence. While the droid duo of C-3P0 and R2-D2 are two of the most beloved characters in the SWU, writer J.W. Rinzler goes out of his way to reuse the banter we all know and love as the two bicker among the dunes of Tatooine Aquilae. As it turns out, all those beeps and boops spouted by the rolling trash can were really angry complaints, bordering on vulgarity at times. The issue suffers greatly from this, as the forced dialogue feels shoehorned in and completely takes the reader out of the story.
The forced inclusion of the nearly word-for-word exchange is shortly overshadowed by the subsequent scene, which elicits more laughter than anything. Rather than be discovered by scavenging Jawas, the droids are picked up by Annikin Skywalker and Princess Leia as the young Jedi rushes to return her home. However, while the pair travel across the desert, the Princess is relentless in her nagging, sounding more like Princess Vespa of Spaceballs than the Princess of Alderaan.
The story manages to regain its footing shortly thereafter, but by then, it almost feels like it’s racing to make up for lost time, jumping ahead to the queen and the princess picking up the pieces in the wake of the king’s death. By then, you’re thinking, “Oh right, there’s an invasion occurring on this planet!” This is when we rejoin Luke and the other interesting characters as they don the only garment found on desert planets: the poncho. The latter half of issue #3 should draw the reader back in with the progression of the invasion story. Stormtroopers, mounted on both indigenous creatures and airspeeders, advance on Aquilae, causing some trouble for the fleeing band of heroes. It’s right around these pages that artist Mike Mayhew gets to cut loose, showcasing some lightsaber action any Star Wars fan can appreciate.
While issue #3 of The Star Wars may have been somewhat of a disappointment, the merit lies in the overarching story. Villains slowly emerge from the shadows, and new heroes will doubtlessly join the cause in the pages to come. The name Han Solo has been dropped more than once and the issue #4 tease, “Next: Cantina Showdown”, should be enough to keep a fan’s attention for at least one more month.
The Star Wars #3 is available today from Dark Horse Comics!