By Brian Wood, Stephane Crety and Gabe Eltaeb
Star Wars #15 was facing a struggle to win readers over from the start, with its storyline focusing around the Wedding of Princess Leia. It’s a bold movie from Brian Wood to marry a major character to a virtual unknown, especially when it’s already been done before in the 1994 novel The Courtship of Princess Leia. So what could Wood bring to the table that gives this issue the fresh excitement that it needs following the interesting Darth Vader-centric storyline?
As it turns out, that familiarity is the biggest problem. Obviously we know something’s going to happen to break up the marriage due to the events of the original trilogy, and as a result this issue feels like a let down from the previous ones and it’s really lacking the awesomeness that we’ve had in the past, which is a shame as this series started off so strongly in its early few issues. However, the last few issues – including the Darth Vader storyline, haven’t impressed despite some of them having some good moments, and the worst part of all this is that Brian Wood is capable of putting out far better work. His X-Men series has been pretty strong – and even Star Wars readers have by now read enough to learn that he’s capable of putting out better than this.
To make matters worse, Stephane Crety’s artwork is a disappointment and not as strong as what we’ve had in the past as well. It doesn’t really feel Star Wars-y enough which is the same problem that Georges Jeanty is having with the Serenity: Leaves on the Wind mini-series at the moment. The characters don’t look a lot like their on-screen counterparts and they bear little resemblance to their portrayals in the movies. However, Crety’s artwork does shine in some circumstances – such as the medieval fantasy design on the planet Arrochar, and it’s not all off putting. It just feels like the artwork would have been better suited to a fantasy tale than a science fiction one. Gabe Eltaeb’s colours are pretty strong however – and keep the book feeling much more in tune with the Star Wars Universe and the tone of the previous books.
To make matters worse, characters, or at least one – degrade by several steps in this issue. Sure, whilst Luke Skywalker may not yet know that Leia is his sister, it still feels a bit too uncomfortable when he is the one who has feelings for Leia over say, the one you’d expect in this case – Han. His character as a result suffers heavily in this book, and whilst Leia and Han are relatively kept in good light, it’s safe to say that this issue is something to stay clear of if you’re a fan of Luke.
Are there any redeeming elements that Star Wars #15 has to offer? A few. The highlight of the book is the training run of the Rogue Squadron through the Arrochar canyons. With so many missteps by Brian Wood here it’s almost refreshing to have a good X-Wing mission that reminds us that we’re reading a Star Wars book and not something from another franchise. However, things are going to have to change, and quickly – for this book to be as good as it once was. If it was a lesser writer than Brian Wood it’d be doubtful that he’d be up to the task of salvaging this book. However, given the work that he’s put out in the past, there’s always hope.