REVIEW: Star Wars: The Last Jedi #1

STAR WARS THE LAST JEDI #1 / Writer: Gary Whitta / Artist: Michael Walsh / Colorist: Mike Spicer / Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham / Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo / May 9th, 2018

Star Wars: The Last Jedi #1 is the first part of Marvel’s adaptation of the 2017 film, Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi. While it adapts the story of the film, it also includes new elements. Issue #1 follows the Resistance as they attempt to evacuate their hidden base on the planet D’Qar and flee from an attack by the First Order.

I am a bit confused by these movie adaptations that Marvel has done for the last few Star Wars films. For this one, the movie came out in theaters in December. The Blu-ray and digital versions came out a month ago, and this first issue finally came out in May–six months after the theatrical release. It used to be that adaptations helped fill the gaps during the long wait between the initial release and either the home video or theatrical re-release. Now, with home video release coming so much quicker and in so many different formats, I wonder if modern comic readers still want movie adaptations.

This first issue opens with the classic “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.”  As a big Star Wars fan, I love opening the books and seeing the familiar beginnings with the logo and crawl; you can almost hear the John Williams score blasting away. It always feels like I’m holding the movie in my hands. Immediately, I can see this is different than the film. The first pages focus on Luke Skywalker’s hidden planet of Ahch-To and give us a glimpse into his thoughts for being there. I’m glad they opened on a new scene. While the rest of issue #1 follows the beats of the film, this gives us something new and shows us that it isn’t going to be the same experience we’ve already had.

Writer Gary Whitta follows the film pretty closely, but it’s more than just reading the script of the film. In addition to the new Luke Skywalker opening, Whitta also reincorporates some of the deleted scenes from the film to give us a new look at the same events. Although, I was sad to learn one of my favorite scenes–Poe calling for “General Hugs”–did not make the transition from film to comic. I like the brief moment with Luke Skywalker in the beginning, but I also would’ve liked a little bit more of the character’s internal monologues as opposed to just dialogue.

Michael Walsh’s art with Mike Spicer’s colors gives this a classic comic book look. The character designs resemble their film counterparts without going for an off-putting photo realistic style. The coloring is more subdued than most Marvel comics out these days, but I think it works with the tone and style here. The layouts are more than just copies of the film cinematography and camera direction; I wouldn’t mind if this artistic team took over duties on some of the other Star Wars books out now.

Even without thinking of the film, you can read this issue and get the same enjoyment. The creators are faithful to the source, while at the same time making this their own. It’s the same story but told in a different style. This is a comic book first, and it doesn’t feel like they are forcing anything that does not work within a comic book medium. It works as a companion that doesn’t require the film to enjoy it.

VERDICT 4 out of 5

Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.

Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.

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