Right up to the end, the creative team behind the comic adaptation of George Lucas’s original draft of Star Wars has taken what was never meant to see the light of day and created a unique, yet familiar vision of a universe so many fans have loved for decades. The eighth and final issue of The Star Wars is action-packed but still feels a bit rushed as the conflict between the Empire and Jedi comes to a head aboard and above the Death Star Imperial Space Fortress. Princess Leia is captured and Annikin Starkiller is on a one-man mission to rescue her while Luke Skywalker and Han Solo lead a squadron of fighters piloted by Wookiees in a massive assault. Yes, it’s Star Wars.
As we have seen throughout the series, The Star Wars has featured many scenes found in the on-screen saga, and issue #8 is no exception. A familiar rescue involving armored disguises and a garbage chute unfolds while a spectacular dogfight occurs in space, but there are still a few surprises new to this version of that tale that add an element or originality. Writer J.W. Rinzler has used these moments to color what is still a brand new story to the mainstream audience, but also maintains a grandiose atmosphere that has carried through from issue #1. Characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker bear the same names as icons of film, but their portrayal here has been so different, both outward and inward, that they become new characters entirely. However, there are still a handful of elements that may leave the reader scratching their head as the final issue plays out. Ewoks building log traps is one thing, but an army of primitive, tree-dwelling warriors piloting a squadron of starfighters is just downright unfathomable.
The most consistently appealing part of this series has been the artwork by Mike Mayhew and Rain Beredo. The aforementioned atmosphere created by Rinzler has been accentuated by the pair’s art in every issue, rendering worlds, characters, and action in a manner atypical to most comics, but appropriately cinematic for this epic. The multiple story threads are being wrapped up, but since this is the big finish, the climactic action takes center stage. Annikin slashes through a few Stormtroopers, fighters streak across the surface of the Space Fortress, and Darth Vader and Governor Hoedaack meet their end in a stunning display of explosive chaos. If there is one overwhelming selling point for this comic series, it is definitely the visuals.
This final chapter concludes our look at what could’ve been in the Star Wars universe. Being derived from the first draft, it’s clearly a different story, but still shows the roots from which the successful saga grew. Like its on-screen counterpart, this first arc of The Star Wars ends with victory and celebration, but unlike A New Hope, we get an ominous tease of what may come next. Darth Vader and company may have been defeated, but our heroes will soon face the “Saga of the Ophuchi”! With the future of Star Wars comics in the hands of Marvel, it is unlikely that this series will continue with Dark Horse, but we’ll keep our ears to the ground for news about the next chapter of The Star Wars.
The final installment of The Star Wars is available now from Dark Horse Comics!