Star Wars #4 Review


Star Wars #4
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by John Cassaday
Colored by Laura Martin
Published by Marvel Comics

In the first three issues of Marvel’s flagship Star Wars title, Jason Aaron and John Cassaday gave every fan exactly what they wanted to see. I mentioned in my review of issue #3 that in some ways, those three issues read like a checklist of every fan’s want list in the perfect Star Wars comic. While that was an outstanding way to launch the book, it wasn’t going to sustain it over the long haul. Readers need more than Imperial walkers and speeder bikes and lightsaber duels to make Star Wars a must read comic for years to come.

So now that we’ve hit issue #4, you can notice a very deliberate change in focus in the story Aaron is telling. Instead of wall-to-wall action, readers are getting the beginnings of a more nuanced, personal story being told about Luke Skywalker.

If you watch A New Hope and then The Empire Strikes Back, you’ll notice that the Luke Skywalker in those two movies is vastly different. The Luke in A New Hope is cocky and brash, but unsure about what the Force is and what he can do with it. In Empire, he is much more confident in his abilities and has accepted his role as a leader in the Rebel Alliance.

How exactly did that transformation occur?

This is the story that Aaron is beginning to tell in the pages of Star Wars #4. In what may be the best issue of the series yet, Luke makes a fateful decision that marks the beginning of his hero’s journey from farmboy to Jedi. It’s an untapped area of the character’s history that I am very excited to read and discover.

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In addition, we also get a large helping of the Dark Lord of the Sith in issue #4 as the Star Wars comic catches up to what has been going on in the monthly Darth Vader title. It would appear that the Boba Fett subplot, began in Darth Vader #1, is going to play out in the pages of Star Wars. It’s a nice touch, and a great way to make the titles interconnected without being totally dependent on one another.

Seeing Vader on Tatooine again is also a great bit of storytelling as he has dealings with Jabba the Hutt. Hutt’s line about, “Who knew anyone of note was ever born on Tatooine?” when talking to Vader was just perfection, and beautifully rendered by John Cassaday, who after a few issues is finally getting a handle on making Vader look like Vader. It’s almost a shame to see him leave after only six issues, but I’m looking forward to seeing what Stuart Immonen can do beginning with issue #8.

Star Wars #4 has a lot of moving parts and a ton of plot lines going at once, but you never come away feeling confused. That’s the sign of a great writer who knows how to pace a comic while keeping things moving. Everyone had a moment to shine or a great line to deliver even as the focus of the issue was clearly on Luke and Vader. Also, Aaron introduces us to some Rodians who clearly demonstrate that maybe Greedo’s bad luck was more a trait of his species and less about him specifically.

The Bottom Line: So far, Marvel seems to be hitting all the right notes on their two monthly Star Wars series. After a great first three issues filled with action, issue #4 takes the story into new, uncharted areas of Star Wars lore just at the right time. It’s a perfect mix of great writing and solid artwork that will make you run to your computer and watch the trailer for The Force Awakens for the umpteenth time.

Next: Previously: our review of Star Wars #3