Comicscape: The Star Wars #1, Superior Spider-Man #17 - Mania.com



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Comicscape: The Star Wars #1, Superior Spider-Man #17

A long time ago, in 2099

By Joel Rickenbach     September 05, 2013
Source: Mania.com

Welcome to Comicscape! Each week we'll be taking a look at a few of the week's new books in hopes of informing your comic shop purchases, or at the very least giving you 4-color thrills and chills. Read on!

The Star Wars #1 (by J. W. Rinzler, Mike Mayhew and Rain Beredo): Now this is cool. Dark Horse Comics and some of the Lucasfilm intelligentsia have taken George Lucas’ early draft of A New Hope, and adapted it for the world of panels and word balloons. This could easily be just a fun look at what could have been, but instead, thanks to an extreme amount of care and talent, The Star Wars is an instant must read for any Star Wars fan. This is soul of the Star Wars universe we all know and love, but looked at from some alternate dimension where Luke Skywalker is a grizzled “Jedi-Bendu” general, and Annikin is his would be Padawan. 
 
This isn’t just a rearranging of characters and ideas, this early take on the Star Wars universe has a life all its own. We open on Kane Starkiller and his two sons, Annikin and Deak, hiding out on the fourth moon of Utapau. Kane, one of the few remaining Jedi, is teaching his sons the ways of the force, but they are interrupted by a Sith who has tracked Kane to this remote system. The Sith, replete with black robes, a red lightsaber and an Asian-style demonic mask, is an instantly striking and memorable figure- a Star Wars hallmark to be sure. The ensuing fight holds some surprises, as does the rest of this issue. It’s fascinating to see the elements George Lucas has always incorporated into his stories present in this book, and how you can connect them to the original and prequel trilogies. Including people getting cut in half, someone who is more "machine than man" and boggy political intrigue involving trade routes and rebellions, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
 
I don’t know how much of what’s present is the work of a young Lucas, and what has been filled in by writer J. W. Rinzler, but it is undeniably a Star Wars tale, it has that “feel” if you know what I mean (and I’m betting you do). Even outside the Star Wars wrapper this would be engaging Sci-Fi in the 70's era/future primitive sense. Artist Mike Mayhew and Colorist Rain Beredo deserve a great deal of praise. The art is gorgeous, and values a realistic and very Ralph McQuarrie inspired feel, which helps sell the fantasy of an alternate Star Wars. The character work uses real life references, and you can almost feel actors inhabiting the roles. The whole package has a living, breathing quality, and after one issue I would be ecstatic to see more stories, beyond this series, in this alternate take on our beloved universe.
 
I’m an unabashed Star Wars fan, it would take far more than the problematic prequels to get me out of Lucas’ sandbox, and The Star Wars #1 is a great example of why I continue to play in it- there's always something to see.

Superior Spider-Man #17 (by Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman): There are still legions of irked Spider-Man fans that refuse to buy what Dan Slott is selling, and that's a shame. Slott has not only managed to make Spider-Man engaging again, but he's made it fun again. Take the big brouhaha surrounding this issue's fanboy reveal- Spider-Man 2099 dropping in for a present day appearance. It seems the fabric of Marvel's space-time continuum really is broken thanks to Wolverine's joyrides, so Miguel O'Hara (the Spidey of 2099) hops back to present day for some answers. What makes this all work is Slott's meticulous research into the Spider-Man 2099 mythology, and how he's woven plot points and ancestors into his present day Superior Spider-Man. It keeps the "crossover" from being a gimmick, and actually makes the meeting of the "Men" matter. Hell, he even pick up the 2099 slang, such as "What the shock?" and "Jammit". 

If you haven't guessed by now, Slott is in this for the long haul, and if he keeps spinning his web of ideas (even if they can feel a bit goofy at times) with the kind of glee and nostalgia he's displayed over the past year plus, then Superior Spidey is aces in my book. I can't wait for the Spider-Ock/2099 showdown next month.

 
Joel Rickenbach is a curator of cult cinema at the Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA, and can be heard every week talking film, TV and other geekery on the You’ve got GEEK podcast. Follow him onTwitter and hilarity will no doubt ensue.

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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millean 9/5/2013 10:32:57 AM

I liked The Star Wars.  Really looking forward to seeing how everything plays out on the pages.  Definitely seems like McQuarrie was the artist, and I love that.

I dropped Superior Spider-Man a couple of months ago.  Not because I hated it, mainly because I need to cut back on the funny books.  I may pick up this 2099 arc, then again, I may not.

 

SarcasticCaveman 9/5/2013 2:54:58 PM

 I had to quit collecting comics years ago, but I just may have to check out The Star Wars...the premise sounded neat, and I'm glad to hear it's playing well  in the books.  As for Spiderman...wasn't the whole 2099 universe pretty much a gimmick?  Seriously, it was entirely a product of the 90's - shiny covers, guys with shoulder pads bigger than Cable's...I might agree that Spiderman 2099 was the "best" of them (thanks to Peter David), but it was still a turd and a gimmick.  How the shock (*eyeroll* I swear, South Park is better at coming up with new "curse words") do you not realize this?

jedibanner 9/5/2013 7:23:43 PM

The Star Wars was a great book to read but the art is even better, highly recommend it.

As for Superior Spider Man....he's not dead?  :-P

 

How long are people going to push this book when they know, they KNOW they screwed up the character so long ago and so many people still don't buy the book.

Sometimes it's ok to let go...

Dazzler 9/6/2013 4:21:26 AM

I am still waiting for Peter Parker to return.  It has been interesting watching Doc Oc take on things.  But Spider-man is Peter Parker now and forever. 

RTD2013 10/11/2013 7:06:15 PM

Would love to see a full-time return of Spider-Man 2099.  Just his title, no other 2099 stuff.  Miguel was a great S-man, just needs people willing to live in the future with the character, and not try to just 2099 every past villain into the tale.  Build up his support cast, keep it interesting... he's tailor made to be a more investigative, corporation-busting hero for a new age.  So much potential to take an awesome hero and break free into a new world. 

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