Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Princess Leia #1 - Marvel Comics

PRINCESS LEIA No. 1, May 2015
Declared the best-selling comic of March 2015 by Diamond Comic Distributors due to it shifting 253,655 copies, this “Star Wars” based mini-series spear-headed an incredible month for “Marvel Worldwide” which saw the publisher own nine of the ten most popular titles for that period. Yet apart from a rather nice variant cover depicting a typically chibi-style cute Organa by Skottie Young, it is actually rather hard to establish why Issue One of “Princess Leia” was so incredibly successful.

Spot-lighting the angst and woes of a bereaved adopted daughter straight after the Battle of Yavin, Mark Waid’s script disappointingly does little but pointlessly push the surviving head of the Royal House of Alderaan around the fast evacuating rebel moon base. Indeed the character’s meanderings appear so directionless that the majority of scenes would seem to have been solely orchestrated to allow the writer to parade a plethora of cameos before the reader. Han Solo, Chewbacca, a smitten Luke Skywalker and his two droids, all make fleeting appearances following their celebratory awards ceremony in the Great Temple of Massassi. But such obvious ‘guest-stars’ are soon passed by in favour of the Princess interacting with General Dodonna, Corellian pilot Wedge Antilles and even Admiral Ackbar. 

Regrettably even the personality of the Eisner Award-winner’s own character, Evaan Verlaine, is rather lifeless and bland despite the woman clearly despising her recently rescued sovereign. Indeed the American author misses a real opportunity with the Amazon-like pilot from Alderaan to bring some much-needed energy to his dialogue-heavy narrative. For instead of injecting some real fire and friction between Evaan and ‘her highness’ Waid instead has the rebel pilot conceal her contempt through platitudes of lifelong service to the Organa family and polite etiquette…

Even when Verlaine’s temper does eventually get the better of her, and she informs Leia that the Princess' plan to defy the Rebel Council by single-handedly rescuing any Alderaanian survivors “reeks of impulse” and “will put valuable ships and pilots in harm’s way”. It is done in a very matter-of-fact manner, and immediately stamped upon by the titular character with the quietly spoken words “That’s quite enough for now”.

Fortunately this comic book’s saving grace is undoubtedly its extremely stylish artwork created by the husband and wife team of Terry and Rachel Dodson. Slightly cartoony but wonderfully detailed, the pencilling is particularly impressive as a result of the American artist steering away from any attempt to replicate the exact facial features of the actors involved in the “Star Wars” motion picture trilogy. Instead he has simply tried to present each characters' vague physical likeness, and paid far more attention to their identifiable and unique clothing.
The regular cover art of "PRINCESS LEIA" No. 1 by Terry Dodson

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