Star Wars #15 Review: Princess Bride
Brian Wood's run on Star Wars
has been really fantastic, especially considering that he has a difficult challenge in that the series follows the main characters from the original Star Wars
movie trilogy and takes place between Episode IV
and The Empire Strikes Back
. This means that we know what has happened to the characters in this comic book and what will ultimately happen to them. It's like a prequel but even trickier because many of the origin stories of these characters have already been told. What Wood is doing is filling in the in-between story and developing character. Somehow, he's been able to do it while telling an exciting story.
The latest development in Star Wars
might be a misstep, however. Princess Leia Organa has agreed to marry a prince on the world of Arrochar in a mutually-beneficial arrangement. Leia gets the resources and cover of Arrochar for her fledgling rebellion group, which even after some high-profile victories still faces an uphill battle against the Empire. For Arrochar, marrying into the rebellion and Leia's ancestry is significant cache that will elevate the planet into more serious consideration around the galaxy. In issue #15, Leia agrees to the marriage with representatives of Arrochar and the rebel alliance starts setting up on the world.
There are a few levels on which the idea of Leia's marriage to Prince Kaspar of Arrochar is problematic for me. For one, we know that she doesn't marry him since we know that she's not married in Empire..
. So there's no suspense as to whether the marriage arrangement will work out. The suspense is entirely predicated on how
the marriage arrangement won't work out – which feels less interesting to me. The second problem is that this marriage seems like a significant moment for Leia. Even if the marriage doesn't happen (which it clearly won't), it's the kind of thing that you'd figure would have been mentioned in Empire...
or Return of the Jedi
. It's one thing to constitute battles, strategies and character growth in between movies without needing them to be referenced in the movies, but creating marriages feels like too much.
While Wood's characterization of the characters in Star Wars
has been pretty wonderful thus far in the series – and he just finished a great two issues delving in Vader's complex psychology – the way he portrays Luke Skywalker in this issue is a bit odd. Seeing Leia agree to marriage, Luke gets jealous and starts sulking. While it's true that Luke doesn't realize Leia is his sister and does have a crush on her in Episode IV
, it feels a little creepy to linger so much into this. Luke is clearly a changed character at the beginning of Empire...
compared to Episode IV
, and I understand Wood is trying to show that development. So I hope this side of Luke is part of that change, but right now Luke is annoying in addition to being a (unintentional) creep.
As with most issues of Star Wars
, the art in issue #15 is very effective, conveying certain comic book-y qualities that makes for fun illustrations and easy reading while also giving a sense of the scope of the world. I have a slight preference for Gabriel Hardman's art on Star Wars Legacy
, but Stephane Crety's pencils and Gabe Eltaeb's colors in this issue are very nice. I was sort of hoping that the world of Arrochar would be a bit more "alien," but it's still well rendered. Perhaps we'll see more of the wild side of it in upcoming issues
One other problem that I have is that this issue seems entirely like set-up. Other than Leia agreeing to marry, which had already been indicated earlier in the series, nothing significant in the plot happens. The issue itself is still well written, but it's much less involving than most issues of Star Wars
thus far have been. I also couldn't help but think of the finite amount of pages left in the series and whether an issue that's so slow is appropriate given that context. I suppose that will be determined when the series is concluded.
That the Star Wars license for comics went to Marvel could not have been a total shock to the creators on Dark Horse's Star Wars comics. So now all of these titles have a final act to prepare. This means, though, that there are limited issues and wasted space within those issues just isn't wise. Star Wars
#15 isn't a wasted issue but it is a slow one that isn't quite as thrilling as many of the recent issues have been.