In Review: Star Wars: Age of Rebellion-Princess Leia #1

Bridging the gap between Episodes V and VI, this belongs in every Star Wars fan's collection.

The covers: Five fantastic frontpieces to pick up for this one-shot. The Regular cover by Terry and Rachel Dodson is a stunner. Leia is holding a blaster in her right hand as she turns to the reader, her white cape billowing out. She’s wearing the white pants and long sleeved top that she’s worn in other Star Wars adventures and is standing before a sphere that looks to be one of the maps the Rebellion uses. She really pops on this white background. You cannot ever go wrong when the Dodsons create a cover. The Concept Design Variant cover by Paul LeBlanc has Leia in profile with her hair braided as seen after she’s been captured by Jabba the Hutt. She’s on an artist’s blue grid art page with her image colored. This is terrific. The Giuseppe Camuncoli & Elia Bonetti Variant features Luke in the foreground wearing his Episode IV clothes, wielding his blue lightsaber. Just behind him is Leia in white, holding her blaster with her hood up. Behind the pair is Han, his blaster up. Lando is to Han’s right. In the bottom left corner is Grand Moff Tarkin. In the upper left is Boba Fett. In the upper right is Darth Vader holding his crimson lightsaber with both hands before him. In the bottom right a bit of Jabba can be seen. This is a really cluttered cover that doesn’t feature the title character in the predominant position. This is a generic Star Wars cover that could be dropped on any issue. The Photo Variant cover features Carrie Fisher holding her blaster in an iconic image from A New Hope. This is a photo I’ve seen often and I never get tired of seeing it for it makes the princess look absolutely cool. This was the cover I purchased. The Puzzle Piece Variant by Mike McKone & Guru-eFX has Leia in her classic pose with left hand on hip and blaster held up in her right. Behind her is a Rebel Blockade Runner with twenty-one TIE Fighters flying beneath it. The background is a blue star field and a partial red oval on the right. Outstanding. If one bought the Age of Republic Puzzle Piece Variant covers, this, and the ones that follow, will be must-own items. Overall grades: Regular A+, Concept Design Variant A, Camuncoli Variant C-, Photo Variant A+, and Puzzle Piece Variant A

The story: Taking place after the events of The Empire Strikes Back, Leia is aboard the Millennium Falcon packing for war. She checks a thermal detonator and a blade, but her blaster pistol is empty. Chewie tells her that Han keeps the power cells in his quarters. She goes in and finds the cell, but stops in her tracks looking at the bed which has pillows and his iconic vest on it. Chewbacca peeks in as she lifts one of the pillows and puts her head to it, only to have a surprise. As she and the Wookiee talk about missing their scoundrel, she gets a message from the Rebellion that one of their ships has been shot down by bounty hunters on Arkanis and it’s Lando that’s about to be caught. Greg Pak then moves his tale to the Outer Rim world where Calrissian is on the run with blaster shots just missing him. He stumbles and finds he’s being pursued by Boushh. Lando tries to work the bounty hunter over with some smooth dialogue, but the Ubese isn’t falling for it. There’s a terrific reveal on Page 6 followed by some great dialogue that’s quickly interrupted by a shocking scene on page 8. The heroes quickly join on a mission to save one of their own while avoiding trouble from another infamous bounty hunter. There’s lots of action, excellent characters, and some very clever twists that lead to key characters getting into position for the start of Return of the Jedi. I loved every page of this story. This is what Star Wars is all about! Overall grade: A+

The art: There are several artists on this one-shot, Chris Sprouse and Karl Story (Pages 1 – 12 & 20) and Will Sliney, Marc Deering, and Karl Story (Pages 13 – 19), but their styles are close enough that the reader won’t notice anything drastic when the change in illustrators occurs. Sprouse and Story are an exceptional team and Marvel should consider getting this pair on their own limited series. The first panel’s introduction of the Falcon is marvelous and it’s followed by close-ups of the three weapons Leia is readying. The princess is beautifully revealed in the final panel on the page as she turns her head to yell at Chewie. Han’s disheveled quarters suit his personality to a T. It’s a nice touch that the final panel on the second page has the reader believing she’s focusing on one thing when it’s actually something else. The emotion in the first two panels on Page 3 are heartbreaking, and the humor that follows in the next two are funny. Lando’s entrance into the book on 4 is neat and there’s a slick action panel on the page that follows his fall; it’s very similar to the way Spider-Man is shown to move about. The entrance of Boushh is a good scare, not only for the design of the character but the point of view. The reveal on 6 is outstanding. The setting in this location also deserves a major shout out for looking very alien, but absolutely appropriate for the Star Wars Universe. The action on 8 is startling. The top of Page 10 is only missing music from Ennio Morricone. The close-up at the bottom of the page is superb. The action of the book really kicks in on 13 with some gun play and actual kicking going on. 14 is a full-paged splash from an outstanding point of view as a character makes a dramatic entrance. I love the opposing close-ups on 16 and 17 which is the same character from two very different points of view. I will admit that there’s an action on Page 18 that made me gasp as one character seems to cross the line. The looks Lando gives in his final two panels on 19 are killer, while Chewie’s final panel just makes me smile. The final page is another full-paged splash that has two characters on a fateful path. The visuals on this book are outstanding in every possible way. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Also incredibly well done on this book are the colors by Tamra Bonvillain. Star Wars does have its dark moments, but I prefer my Star Wars to be bright, and Bonvillain does not disappoint. I like how in the opening panel the narrator’s text is given a dark blue to have it stand out against hyperspace that the Falcon is zipping through. The sounds that accompany each of the three weapons that Leia shows have bright colors that add a lot of punch to them. The tones on Leia’s skin are exceptional on every page. Take note of how Chewbacca partially blends into the background as he looks upon Leia at the top of the fourth page. The red blaster bolts immediately show the danger Lando is in when he first appears. I love the dark blue used for the scene settings — really makes them stand out! The foliage on Arkanis is wonderful for it’s contrasting pale limes and oranges. The lack of colors for the background at the top of Page 6 makes the character shown stand out exceptionally well. Love the greens on 8, as well as the reds used for the pained outburst. The setting that’s entered on 10 is appropriately dim, but not so much so that the artwork is lost. The campfire on 12 provides an excellent orange to cast on the characters and the locale. Page 19 has great oranges to create an alien environment. I also really like the last page with the face given normal colors, the duo a cool blue, and the background a blinding yellow. This is great! Overall grade: A+

The letters: VC’s Travis Lanham creates narration, dialogue, and transmissions (all three the same font), sounds, Wookiee roars, whispered text, scene settings, and Boushh dialogue. HOORAY! The dialogue in this issue is not the frail font that’s been in other Star Wars titles for years. THIS is what dialogue should look like in a Star Wars book! Unfortunately, it’s also used for the opening narration and, surprisingly, a transmission. Both should have been unique fonts, since they are different forms of communication. The balloons and boxes that contain each easily differ them from one another and the dialogue, but I would have liked them be their own fonts. Chewbacca’s speech is also vastly improved in this issue with it being centered in the dialogue boxes and equally protruding from the beginning and ending of the balloons that contain them. There’s some whispered text to communicate heartbreak, concern, and disgust and they’re great! I really like the Boushh dialogue which is composed of unreadable text which fits the character perfectly. This is a MAJOR improvement in text in Star Wars books. Overall grade: A

The final line: Bridging the gap between Episodes V and VI, this belongs in every Star Wars fan’s collection. The story is exciting, touching, and fun, while the visuals are gorgeous. This issue sets the bar incredibly high for all other Age of Rebellion books that will follow! Highest possible recommendation. Overall grade: A+

To order a digital copy go to

To see the covers visit my Instagram account: patrickhayesscifipulse

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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