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‘Star Wars by Jason Aaron Omnibus’ (review)

Written by Jason Aaron, Kelly Thompson,
Jason Latour, Kieron Gillen
Art by John Cassaday, Simone Bianchi,
Stuart Immonen, Mike Deodato Jr
Published by Marvel Comics

 

This epic Star Wars tale gets off to a rough start, but quickly falls into a solid grove that takes us on unexpected and exciting journeys in only the way Star Wars can.

In the aftermath of the destruction of the terrible Death Star and the evacuation of the Rebel base on Yavin IV, the heroes of Rebel Alliance, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa, Han Solo and Chewbacca, are determined to be royal thorns in the evil Empire’s side.

After pulling off yet another daring mission, our heroes find themselves torn in different directions.

Luke discovers he can’t learn the ways of the Force while constrained by the plight of his friends in the Rebellion.

Han Solo struggles with his newfound calling as a hero while being hunted by his past. Worse yet, C-3PO has been captured by the Galactic Empire and could potentially reveal devastating secrets that could quash the Rebels once and for all.

All the while, the sinister Darth Vader uses the might of the Empire (as well as unsavory Bounty Hunters) to find the force-strong Rebel pilot who destroyed the dreaded Death Star.

This is a large volume and covers a lot of ground over its 47 issues. Thankfully, the story threads are well thought out and well executed.

An early story centers on Luke traveling back to his home planet of Tatooine. There he searches his mentor Obi-Wan Kenobi’s hovel for everything and anything that could help him learn the ways of the force. However, someone has anticipated Luke’s move and beats him to the punch. That someone is non-other than the legendary bounty hunter Boba Fett. An interesting match-up, pre-The Empire Strikes Back.

Luke going to Obi-Wan’s home makes complete sense.

Yet, there’s something about this that doesn’t ring true for me within the continuity of the films.  We get the impression that Luke was a self-learner between the time he made the shot heard around the galaxy and prior to Obi-Wan’s ghostly message on Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back, never having access to anyone or anything that could guide him. Never returning to his home plant before the events of Return of the Jedi

Although I don’t buy this story in context of Star Wars continuity, it generates one spectacular benefit. Luke finds The Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi, well told Obi-Wan stories that are a reoccurring highlight.

The uniquely charming rouge archeologist Doctor Aphra makes a few welcome appearances and as always, manages to hijack the story. In one of her best adventures, “The Screaming Citadel”, Aphra cons Luke into accompanying her on a visit to a Vampire-esque Queen. Why? She intends to trade Luke for an ancient Jedi artifact so that the Queen could feed off Luke’s force energy. A rare delicacy for her kind.

Whether or not you can buy this Queen as part of the Star Wars Galaxy, it’s the character interactions that grab you and keep you reading. The elegant character designs and world building for this story doesn’t hurt either.

I was geeked out to see a Hutt squeeze into the Millennium Falcon, a scenario ripped right out of my childhood imagination. This occurs when Mon Mothma convinces Han and Chewie into transporting Grakkus the Hutt to a Rebel prison faculty for interrogation.

We even get a pre-Empire Lando Calrissian story that involves the re-occurring character Sana Starros who will eventually end up traveling with Doctor Aphra. This volume book-ends with C-3PO’s plight with the Empire and oddly enough, this story works. Especially after 3PO is rescued single-handedly by R2-D2!

As you’d expect with a volume this size, a variety of artists bring life to our favorite characters. Regular Star Wars artist Salavador Larroca covers the most terrible e issues and his lush work in the Doctor Aphra “Screaming Citadel” issues truly stand out.

Three annuals and a Tusken Raider story called “The Sand Will Provide” round out this sprawling series of adventures. Dash Aaron assists Jason Aaron with writing duties in The Sand Will Provide which ends with a nice little surprise; we’ve actually been reading from The Journals of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ultimately, this is great collection. The more I read, the more I found myself getting sucked into each story because everything worked – the intriguing stories, great dialogue, sympathetic characters and tone perfect illustrations.

I was experiencing well told Star Wars adventures, which is what I expect from my Star Wars.

 

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