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Star Wars Legacy begins with Jedi Knight Yalta Val being kidnapped by Sith lord Darth Wredd, who then takes Val’s position, impersonating him with the goal of building a communications link in order to murder Val in a transmission beamed across the galaxy. Val’s apprentice, Jao Assam, figures out there is something wrong with the situation and travels to find him. Along the way, Jao crosses paths with Ania Solo, a junk dealer, and her friends, a Mon Calamari named Sauk and an assassin droid AG-37, because they’ve come into possession of Val’s light saber. So they begin to work together to stop Wredd. The pace in these issues is pretty brisk, so there is a lot of plot with twists and unexpected conclusions.
Although it didn’t necessarily show itself just in issue #5, there is also enough character development that the reader cares about these characters. Ania and Jao get a number of good moments, but other characters shine, too. In particular, AG-37 comes across as a total badass, which is generally a departure for droids. His nature as an assassin explains this, but his thin, pipe-like body (which reminded me of Beaker from The Muppets) belies his deadliness. Bechko and Hardman makes some choices in the first arc of their Star Wars Legacy run that are unpredictable, which is important for a franchise that has hundreds of stories and creative permutations. I particularly liked their move of beginning the first issue with Yalta Val. Since he’s a Jedi Knight with an important task, we believe he will be a central character. However, he’s captured within the first few pages and other characters take up a more prominent place.
Although Ania is really the heart of the series, she doesn’t dominate the pages the way one might expect. Assam gets his own story until he crosses paths with her. We are also shown Wredd’s (as Val) totalitarian style of building the com-link, which raises suspicion, but Wredd intimidates his way to his goals before Ania and Jao get in the way. Hardman is also the artist on these issues and his style really meshes with the material well. The characters are distinctive. Though they wear the same uniform, it’s easy to tell the difference between Yalta Val and Jao Assam. Sauk’s expressive face and AG-37’s unexpressive face makes for a nice contrast in their group. The action scenes are also well drawn and maintain the swift pace. The covers were drawn by Dave Wilkins, and while some are strong, I thought others had a stiffness that made look odd.
I have continued to read Star Wars Legacy (issue #9 came out last week) and the series shifts ground after Prisoner of the Floating World, so that’s promising. The same characters (and new ones) are there, so I would recommend starting with this trade and then trying to catch up with Star Wars Legacy.