STAR WARS: “A New Hope” for fans of the axed Clone Wars.

With J.J. Abrams taking over yet another immense Sci-Fi franchise, Dark Horse’s new Star Wars ongoing comic couldn’t have come at a better time. And who would have thought my friend full of hoops, raps and circumstance would introduce me to the best cartoon since Batman: The Animated Series, too?

Yes, I’m talking about Star Wars: The Clone Wars.

Yes, I live in a galaxy all to myself.. far, far away….

…and my expensive punishment for such a late pass is: cancellation.

Not because “Clone Wars” sucked. Not because “Clone Wars”didn’t have enough viewership. Not at all. More rather, because Disney bought the franchise and has a cartoon network of their own, in Disney XD, a network which also recently added a couple of Marvel toons to the mix, Avengers Assemble and Hulk: Agents of S.M.A.S.H. There are rumors of a season six of “The Clone Wars” switching over to Disney XD, but since Lucasfilm is labeling the end of my current addiction as “bonus” stuff, that shouldn’t really give us any hope of that happening.

Not just a tiny jump for any of us created pre-Dis!!

Thankfully, another animated series — hopefully supervised once again by the Master-ful Dave Filoni — was announced to set in a place where no Star Wars adaptation had ever gone before.

And do remember, there’s only so much of “The Clone Wars” you can lightsaber. The cartoon takes place between Episodes II and III, meaning that the tightly-constructed, often empirical continuity of the SWU prevents our favorite drones and clones from going any further.

Lucasfilm may also have the obstacle of dishing out anything too “dark” with its new parent company. Though, do remember just how dreary “The Clone Wars” itself was, as the orbit rolled from midway through Season 4 onward. So the Dark Jedi saga surrounding Dark Forces and the Dark Empire would work as far as exciting new content to cover, especially since it centers solely on Boba Fett. Not only is he a major selling-point in terms of marketing and merchandise, but there’s plenty of back-story and origin greatness to give, as well. Such familiar, or at least extremely likable, characters like Boba would be zeroed in on the youth portion of the audience — and some of these kiddies adore Mickey Mouse and “Spidey” (so one must be more careful) — so I’m unsure whether dynasties set too far back (“Knights of the Old Republic”) or too far forward (“Legacy”) would do such the trick.

But anything is possible. Even the indefinite postponing of an already impressive-looking video game, Star Wars 1313.

—Can we please have a moment of silence?—

Now, onto the good stuff. As good of a job that “The Clone Wars” has done in rehabilitating the onslaught of disappointed Jedi Masters — after George Jar-Jar’d us with his prequel trilogy — Brian Wood has done nearly the same in revitalizing the classic Star Wars comics. Sure, there’s a swarm of stories that have fully fleshed-out the Star Wars saga to this point; but the first two issues of  Star Wars has thus far captured the original essence of the Rebel Alliance and Imperial Guard.

Arkham City Sketcher Carlos D’Anda’s characters thankfully don’t veer off of from the traditional likenesses, and thankfully don’t succumb to “copycat” status, either. Leave those stunning replicas to the legendary Alex Ross and his vividly-painted covers.

If you’re a digital reader, this is a series you need to own in the physical.

Goosebumpy.

Star Wars #3 gives everyone a little panel shine, but more importantly starts to push the death of the, ahem, Death Star to the brink. With the creation of the second Death Star — wonderfully handled in both its feat and scale by D’Anda — Colonel Bircher rouses some rather impressive-looking troopers to even cooler splash page at book’s end.

We love when the more “grounded” commanders become sci-fi monsters.

Frontcover stars, Han Solo and Chewie, only do what they do best and that seeps into more shit. The mixture of headaches and games from Mon Mothra won’t stop, and the humor Wood finds in such madness is handled in the only way you’d remember from these two (meaning: Harrison Ford). Leia also handles some more business following last issue’s political grievances, despite getting handled herself when it comes to some jealous one’s envy. There’s a little moment out of canon for ya there (they just couldn’t wait, could they), and, hey, it was bound to happen.

It’ll be interesting to see the impact of Wood’s own shining stars, such as the Emperor’s new apprentice in Bircher, and Death Star-survivor, Wedge. Any more of these compelling additions to the Rebellion-era legacy should help separate the current comic book writer’s lore from the Lucaspast. Hell, that’s basically what “The Clone Wars” did with Ahsoka Tano, General Grievous, and the mindless droids.

“Whaaaaaaaaaaoooooowwwwwwwww!!”

Rarely does my pull-list stray away from the Big 2 powerhouses, as I tend to collect my other comics in trade; but this was one series I simply couldn’t wait for. This Star Wars saga is as fresh as ever, so use the Force at your LCS and snatch these up.

Star Wars #3 = 4 (out of 5) Bibles.

 

 

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