The Best Sequential Art I Read Last Week – January 14 – January 20, 2015

I am a comic book collector and happy to be one. I might say “proud” if I hadn’t, over a year ago, switched to reading digital as opposed to print comics. I feel a bit robbed of the tactile sensations of the hobby – of the turn of the page, the sneaking look to the panel a page over, the bagging and shorting and stacking and filing. Though I read my comics in a different medium than I used to, I still treat each Wednesday (comic book delivery day to specialty shops around the country) as different from the other days of the week. I subscribe and now, rather than go to the comic store to be handed the books pulled for my “Hold Slot,” I click a button on my iPad and watch them download.

Then I read them.

Rare is the week that I don’t read them all between Wednesdays and some weeks I have, well… let’s just say more comic books in my digital downloads than a grown man should. Comic book legend Will Eisner (creator of The Spirit) is one of the most influential men even to put pencil to drawing board in the pursuit of making comics. So influential was he that the industry awards (think the Oscars or the Emmys or the Grammys) are named The Eisner Awards. He called comic books “sequential art,” perhaps because he became embarrassed by his profession when he had to admit what he did for a living. This is my weekly reaction to the comics I read.

I read 13 comics last week: Batman Eternal #41, Star Wars #1, Avengers #34.2, SHIELD #2, Avengers #40, Batgirl #38, Daredevil #12, Grayson #6, Justice League United #8, Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #9, Spider-Verse #2, Star Trek #40 and Superman/Wonder Woman #15.

The best comic I read last week was Star Wars #1.

 

Star Wars 1 Cover

There is a lot that can be said about Star Wars #1. It is the best-selling comic book in over a decade.  It is Marvel’s first issue of a Star Wars title since reclaiming the license from Dark Horse Comics. It’s the vanguard of the “Year of Star Wars” that will culminate in December with the release of Star Wars Episode VII The Force Awakens. It nicely captures the flavor of 1977 and the original Star Wars films.

It’s also a very good comic book. Writer Jason Aaron clearly knows his Star Wars and each character is written exactly as fans would want her or him to be, from Princess Leia’s boldness to Luke Skywalker’s gentleness to Han Solo’s scoundrel-ness, these are the characters we’ve come to know and love. Aaron knows enough to feature Solo right off the bat and to put the team together. I always thought the only weakness (and it’s a minor quibble) of The Empire Strikes Back was that the “Big Three” were only together for one scene on Hoth and then were scattered throughout the rest of the film. Aaron seems to agree and knows that the strength of these characters – especially at this time in their history – comes from their interplay. The dialogue could be spoken by Ford, Fisher and Hamill.

John Cassaday provides the art here and his work, which can be uneven, is very good and evocative of a galaxy far, far away. His character-work looks like the actors he’s drawing – though I can say that I am not in love with his C-3PO for some reason – his spaceships are spot on and his panel design is great. He seems back at the top of his game, and that’s a good thing for this title.

If future issues of Star Wars live up to this one, readers are in good hand until the main event in December.

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