Despite their own history with Star Wars, many fans bristled when it was revealed that Marvel Comics would take over the Star Wars comic book license from Dark Horse Comics. Debuting its first Star Wars book back in 1986, Dark Horse had solidified its brand and enhanced the Star Wars expanded universe over the course of almost three decades, but in the end, they suffered from one fatal flaw — they weren’t a part of the Disney family — and now we’re at a point where Star Wars fans have been waiting for some time to know what happens with the baton is passed.
Thanks to the Cup O’ Joe Marvel Comics panel at San Diego Comic Con today, we have a good idea and it seems that Star Wars is about to be put into the care of some very capable hands.
Before we talk about the talent associated with these books and what these stories will be, though, we have to call out something that is fairly disappointing, but probably not a massive surprise: the first three Marvel brand Star Wars comics will all take place during the original Star Wars trilogy. So, no new expanded universe elements just yet from Marvel and it seems, absolutely nothing that will skirt anywhere near either the prequels or the upcoming sequels. Does that seem a bit limiting? Perhaps, but at this time, it’s the most prudent strategy, so here we are. With that said, though, the talent roster more than makes up for the rather meat and potatoes character lineup and if anyone can squeeze something new and interesting out of these characters, it’s the likes of Jason Aaron, Mark Waid and Kieron Gillen.
Here are the lineups, courtesy of CBR:
“Star Wars” as written by Jason Aaron and drawn by John Cassaday.
“Star Wars: Darth Vader” by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov.
“Star Wars: Princess Leia” by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.
Let’s talk about these folks a little.
Cassaday is a tremendous, multi-Eisner award winning artist who I know best from his interior work on Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-Men run. I can’t imagine why you’d doubt his abilities, but if there are any stragglers, take a look at this image (which is, obviously, not yet colored) from Star Wars #1. I hate to tear down one artist to build another up, but with licensed books, I personally prefer the characters to look as much like the actors that portrayed them as possible and Cassaday’s depiction of the main cast is spectacular and a vast improvement over the interior work in Dark Horse’s most recent main Star Wars series.
As for the writer on the book, Gerry Duggan (Nova, Deadpool) would have been more of an “alright, yeah I see that” kinda choice, but Jason Aaron, has done a bunch of Marvel work on Wolverine, Original Sin and Thor: God of Thunder and his new Image series Southern Bastards is on a whole other level, so he’s a talented guy and I’m confident that he will do quite well with this assignment.
Kieron Gillen and Mark Waid are both Marvel stalwarts whose choices inspire confidence. I can’t wait to see the electricity that Gillen puts into Vader but I’m most curious to see how Waid fleshes out Leia Organa in his five issue mini-series about her time after the destruction of her home planet. I’m also happy to see Waid keeping his plate diverse with a few mini-series like this one and the one that he is on the way from Boom! after he pulled back a little by handing the Hulk to Duggan recently so he could focus on his run on Daredevil (which is now approaching legendary status) and Thrillbent comics.
Terry Dodson will team with Waid for the Leia book, he’s a two decade industry veteran who worked with Waid on the 12 issue Silver Age miniseries for DC back at the turn of the millennium. Captain Marvel, Wonder Woman, Emma Frost, Storm I don’t think that there is an iconic female character that Dodson hasn’t drawn marvelously, so this is another great choice, though his Carrie Fisher isn’t exactly Fisher-esque in the above illustration. Salvador Larroca is another Marvel lifer who has done some great stuff on Iron Man and X-Men. He’ll team with Gillen (who he’s worked with on Iron Man) on the Vader book, though he didn’t draw the Vader image that is posted up top, that’s Adi Granov.
So, that’s your initial Marvel/Star Wars team; highly qualified and interesting, these choices definitely seem like an olive branch to potentially uneasy Star Wars fans and an indication that Marvel is coming at this with guns blazing, so really, 2015 and the debut of these books can’t come soon enough.