Released On: 29 May 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli & Cam Smith, Andrea Broccardo, Kerry Gammill & Ze Carlos, Jan Duursema, Stefano Landini, Luke Ross, Leonard Kirk
A long time ago on a spinner rack far, far away…STAR WARS comics were a LOT different than they are now! With wild and intricately plotted storylines, MARVEL’s historic original run introduced an array of unique heroes and villains to play alongside GEORGE LUCAS’s incredibly popular science-fantasy characters. In celebration of MARVEL’S 80TH ANNIVERSARY, this Legends-era sequel to legendary comic book writer Archie Goodwin’s “Crimson Forever” reunites HAN SOLO, LUKE SKYWALKER, PRINCESS LEIA, CHEWBACCA, C-3PO and R2-D2 with JAXXON, AMAIZA FOXTRAIN, DOMINA TAGGE and VALANCE THE HUNTER in a galaxy-threatening, nostalgic roller coaster! STRAP YOURSELVES IN!
I better begin this review by explaining my experience of the original Marvel series, which is to say, not a lot! As a child I had a couple of annuals; it was only last year that I read issue one. It is something that has always been on my to do list, yet never got round to. As these were written before I was born, they almost seemed to belong to another time, whereas when I did begin reading comics I had more recent ones to catch up on from Dark Horse Comics. So when this issue (108) was announced, it didn’t immediately turn my head as I imagine it would some fans. However, I was very intrigued to see what they would do with it and if it could persuade me to finally get round to going back to read the original series.
The first chapter of ‘Forever Crimson’, is drawn primarily by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Cam Smith. The look for the first story is perfect, reminding very much of the traditional way comics were drawn. That’s perfect for this chapter as it’s a recap of what happened in the old series (at least that’s what I’m presuming). We are introduced to the main character, Valance. Having not long read Imperial Cadet, it was great to see the original character that the newer version drew its influence from, it makes sense (now) why he was brought back for that series. I felt brought up to speed quite quickly and I love how it’s almost like a myth being told. There is a spooky element here that I have always liked with Star Wars.
The second chapter sees Solo and Chewbacca up to their old tricks; smuggling. I like that Han and Chewie are alone at this point, as too often we see them with Luke or Leia. Here they work well, just the two of them. It allows the humour to work really well, and you get a real A New Hope feel to Han. There is also the appearance of a familiar character of Jaxon. Now having not read the original series, I only know Jaxon by reputation so I imagine the payoff is a lot more for fans of the original.
Chapter three is very short, but starts to show where the story is heading. The art feels like an old Marvel issue and the ‘Republic’ ship is a stunning design.
Chapter four is illustrated by one of my all-time favourites, Jan Duursema. Her artwork for Dark Horse Comics still remains some of the very best and she is the reason I started reading Star Wars comics. I have greatly missed her absence since Disney took over and it is wonderful to see her here. The artwork is not what I’m use to from her, yet seems perfectly in line with the original series. The characters all feel right and seeing Luke use force powers on the Falcon was pretty darn cool! The chapter also helps to explain who Domina Tagge is, who from my point of view, I have no idea about.
Chapter five provides with an almost Terminator style part. We get to see Tagge here and I like the very eighties vibe from her crew. Although I didn’t read much of the original series, the designs seem to reflect the style.
I’m sure chapter six will tick a lot of boxes for original fans. From what I can tell, all these story points refer back to older issues. If they do, then it is quite an achievement to have everything linked so well. The artwork here is superb, the action shots with the Falcon and Tagge’s ships bring the momentum of the story to your eyes with ease.
Luke Ross does the work in chapter seven and it’s superb. The artwork is fantastic. There is a definite feel of traditional science fiction, almost Buck Rogers in style. It suits the issue well and the attention to detail is incredible.
The final chapter seems like a worthy finish. Even though I haven’t read the originals, I was eager to read the end. It didn’t disappoint!
With so many artists contributing, I felt like each chapter needed a very brief mention. I’m not quite sure why there needed to be so many contributors, although thankfully, the comic never felt disjointed. I put this down to the writing by Rosenberg, who I feel has done an excellent job of bringing back this comic book series for one issue. As someone who doesn’t know the originals, this was a fun read of a ‘what if’. Where could Star Wars have gone? As a fan of traditional science fiction, this worked. The baggage that seems prevalent in Star Wars was nonexistent and instead what was being told was a fun and engaging story. What more could you really ask for? I imagine that for fans who have read the comics, there are a lot of subtleties I will have missed. Yet judging by the reoccurring characters and storylines, I imagine this will take many fans back to their childhood days and allow the, to revisit old friends. Whether old or new, this comic has something for everyone, and at the size of the comic, you certainly get a lot of Star Wars…
Star Wars #108 is a one-shot comic from Marvel and available from all good comic stores now. This issue retails at $5.99.