Lovefool 02.02.15 | Awakening

Luke, Leia, and Han return as Marvel takes over telling the tales of a galaxy far, far away in the new Star Wars series from Jason Aaron and John Cassaday.

 

 

I wonder if it’s just Americans that are taught that injustice sucks. Many of us grow up watching sanitized versions of injustice, racism, and violence, but we fail to recognize these things actually happening in front of us until it’s reached a flashpoint and we’re forced to. But we immerse ourselves in parables about them, even in the comics universe. What is X-Men if not, for better or worse, a reflection of the Civil Rights Movement? Civil War was born out of the chaos after 9/11. And Star Wars has layers upon layers of meaning—religious, political, classist. We watch the battle of light and dark, the mighty oppressors and the underfunded rebellion, a mix of cultures clashing in a universe we’ve only begun to explore—sometimes it works, sometimes it backfires horribly. We just have to wait and see each time, much like anything.
Last summer, I started that extended break because the world reached one of those flashpoints where we all had to look up and pay attention, and comics and romance and love just didn’t seem important. So, really, I should’ve known to write my column before we went to see Selma, but I didn’t. And, as I sit down to write about the new Star Wars comic, I can’t help but think of the immediate backlash to the new Star Wars trailer because, gasp, it featured a black Stormtrooper. While not the first time we’d seen a non-white Star Wars humanoid, obvi, we’re now in the age of ignorant internet comments and that trailer brought all the racists out to play and it was gross. Have they not been paying attention to the casting leaks? Even if they gave the prequels a pass, do they not remember a conflicted dude named Lando Calrissian? Ahem. Anyway. All nerd tsking aside, Star Wars has a pretty varied history with minorities, so I’m interested to see where they go with the new cast. I hope it’s great places.
Of course, as of Star Wars #1, this is all wool-gathering on my part. Theoretically, this comic could possibly, with writing magic, tie into the new movies. In fact, it probably will, if recent events are any indication. In the meantime, here and now, Marvel’s reboot of Star Wars has stepped gracefully into the familiar gap between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back so, of course, it features the much beloved characters we all grew up with. They’re all there to blow up an Empire base and there’s a bit of a sticky surprise at the end of the issue. But, wait, let me back up. The issue starts with a text scroll against a dark spacefield.
And, really, now that I’ve typed it, that’s really the important part. For all the problems we’ve all had with Star Wars—Jar Jar Binks, the casual sexism, the creepy thing with Luke and Leia, most of the prequels in general—that text gets our attention. “Look,” it says, “you know this, this is something familiar.” Jason Aaron keeps that attention by being uncannily good at capturing the voice of these beloved characters that some of us have known our entire lives. John Cassaday draws them…well, shit, he draws them like John Cassaday drawing Star Wars. Laura Martin does a beautifully evocative job with the colors. The story itself is an easy romp, but who cares? We’re reading Star Wars and it captures the feel of the Star Wars that we actually liked, the one we know.

 

Fans of the original three movies, of which I am one, will be delighted by this series. It takes something we grew up loving so much and sweeps us back into that past. For a group of fans who reacted with glee to the news that Han, Leia, and Luke would appear in the new movie, this is a wonderful way to spend the next 11 months while we’re waiting to see what the new Star Wars is going to reflect—t he past or the present or a future that’s still a dream now. | Erin Jameson
See below for a preview of Star Wars #1, courtesy of Marvel!
 

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