Instead of April Fools, I’m going to introduce New Year Fools. Because I got this book for Christmas and just have to share how outrageously kooktastic it is. Also, what else does anyone have to do on New Years Eve at 20 to midnight? Oh, yeah, play Star Wars The Old Republic . . . which is why this is a scheduled post XD
The ultimate thing to have mixed feelings about. First of all, it’s extremely visually appealing — that’s the best thing I can say about it. It’s got truly beautiful artwork. It’s also truly insane. On the one hand, I think it’s a very interesting concept, but on the other hand, especially given its copyright date, I feel like it was partly created just to lampoon George Lucas and further undermine his work. “Look, look what kind of stuff he’d give you. But the great Disney will give you better Star Wars.” I’m probably importing a great deal of subtext to even have that thought, but the comic itself doesn’t acknowledge just how much creative license it inevitably took. “This was George’s vision!” they insist — when Lucas himself insisted that his vision was pretty fluid and ended up having little to do with either this comic or the 1977 theatrical release the fanboys crave so much.
Anyway, when I got it for Christmas, it was something I had never heard of at all. And I remain the most impressed by the really amazing artwork. Since I don’t get anything else out of comics, I do require them to look good, and it looks very good. I really enjoy the style although I don’t know why they used Jay of Jay and Silent Bob as the model for the protagonist.
You thought I was exaggerating? I wasn’t. That is clearly the model.
On the other hand, Vader as the non-Force-sensitive military commander with a cyborg eye is some definite eye-candy. So’s Valorum, the Sith prince who is not Vader. But I’ll get to that in a second.
Anyway, the plot does its job by being an early draft version of the movie we’re all familiar with. Jay Annikin Starkiller is the son of a former Jedi-Bendu; his younger brother has been slain by the evil empire. His father apprentices him to General Skywalker, who is seeking a war with the empire because they’re evil and must be stopped. Princess Leia wants to be heading off to college, but since the Empire has attacked her peaceful homeworld and her father has been killed, that option is off the table. Starkiller and Skywalker escape the planet with Leia’s younger brothers with the aid of the reptilian Han Solo, and they all go to the Wookiee homeworld for some reason. Leia has been captured by Darth Vader and a Sith, so of course Starkiller comes to rescue her. Valorum decides to help Starkiller escape, and then Queen Leia gives Starkiller accolades or whatever.
Apart from the sheer novelty, the only thing I liked about the story was the Sith Prince fighting alongside the Jedi Padawan to free the princess. That part was actually really cool and I’m sorry no element of it made it into any of the six films. A lot of their dialogue was really charming and it made the villains a little more complex than they ultimately end up being in the movies themselves.
The comic actually manages to have even fewer women than the original trilogy, by virtue of adding nearly 20 men to the character roster but leaving Leia as the only female with any lines. (Her mother and an instantly-abandoned handmaiden appear only briefly.) Normally I prefer my literature light on the ladies, but there was something pretty tired about it in this one. Maybe because the “love story” kicks off with Annikin Starkiller literally beating his love interest unconscious the first time he meets her.
This is so wrong on so many levels, I was left speechless. First of all, Starkiller is established as a young soldier who has led men into battle, so he’s not some kid. Princess Leia on the other hand is literally departing for her first semester of college — so, a fresh high school graduate is punched unconscious by a war veteran. The real kicker is that he beats her unconscious because she’s insisting he also bring her teenage handmaiden with her to safety. He refuses because his orders didn’t explicitly mention bringing anyone else. So he beats her unconscious. This is NOT okay and I don’t know whose idea it was. Horrifying.
The comic also features some other fun instances of abuse — the senior Starkiller is a hilariously unbalanced half cyborg who whips his son with a whip for being distracted at the news that they are under attack.
Our heroes! Woo!
So, yes, a novelty, very entertaining, which I have given a place of honor among all the Star Wars apocrypha that I own. Still more canon than Disney! *ba dum tiss*