The Star Wars franchise is more popular today than it has never been, no doubt spurred on by the relaunch of the Expanded Universe, and a forthcoming feature film this December. It has also been a landmark time for Star Wars in comic book form; Marvel Comics has regained the rights from Dark Horse Comics to create new Star Wars comic stories.
To date, since regaining the comic rights, Marvel has put out a number of Star Wars comic lines which are still ongoing – Star Wars (AKA Skywalker Strikes), Darth Vader, Kanan: The Last Padawan, and Princess Leia. A Lando Calrissian series is slated for release starting this summer as well.
All of the comic released thus far with the exception of Kanan are set in the time period between Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (AKA the original 1977 film) and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Princess Leia is actually set immediately following A New Hope, so it takes place prior to the other two concurrent series. Against the wishes of her superiors and teaming up with a female Rebel pilot, Princess Leia embarks on a mission across the galaxy to try to rescue survivors of the destruction of her home planet of Alderaan. Of course, in a galaxy far, far away, things rarely go as planned, and unexpected complications and Imperial obstacles get in the way of the Princess’ mission.
After having read the first three issues (the series is supposed to last for five issues total) I am torn on my feelings regarding the Princess Leia series. The Skywalker Strikes series succeeds because it gives Luke depth and character development between the two movies, and does the same for other characters as well. The same is true of the Darth Vader series; we see what happens to the eponymous villain there between the two movies and get an idea of his overall plots and motives. Leia’s comic should hold the same dramatic weight and development, but sadly, despite the attempts at development and traveling to exotic locales, this particular series just falls flat by comparison.
This is a tough review to write, because it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is wrong with the series. The other series instantly drew me in and I became a fan quickly. Sadly, the Princess Leia series simply did not have the same effect on me. Leia’s behavior is a sharp contrast to the end of A New Hope; she is suddenly frantic and concerned out of nowhere about her planet being destroyed, so much so that she would jeopardize her own safety and that of the Rebellion to go out and find survivors? The other comics introduce a few new characters but rightfully keep them to a minimum; the Evaan character introduced here, however, becomes a main character and is just bland and uninteresting. There are a few exciting and suspenseful scenes here and there, but Princess Leia simply cannot hold a candle to the other Star Wars Marvel comic series. A shame, considering the character was one of the best in the classic trilogy of films.
In the end, it is hard to say whether or not to recommend the Princess Leia series. It does not live up to the other Marvel Star Wars stories, though is not necessarily a total loss. The series is worth checking out, but do not over-expect. The other stories are superior and deserve your attention before you check out this one.