Review: Princess Leia #1

It seems right that Princess Leia’s solo book should debut in March, the month of Women In Comics. It’s sad that it’s only meant to be a mini-series, but here’s hoping that can change after this story runs its course, because I would love a series about Princess Leia. In too many extended universe stories she becomes a supporting character to Han or Luke.

STK665807PRINCESS LEIA #1

(Writer) Mark Waid
(Pencils) Terry Dodson
(Inks) Rachel Dodson
(Colors) Jordie Bellaire

COVER by TERRY DODSON
Teaser Variant COVER by JOHN CASSADAY
CONNECTING VARIANT COVER C BY J. SCOTT CAMPBELL
VARIANT COVER BY ALEX ROSS
SKETCH VARIANT COVER BY ALEX ROSS
VARIANT COVER BY MARK BROOKS
YOUNG VARIANT BY SKOTTIE YOUNG
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
VARIANT COVER BY BILL SIENKIEWICZ
MOVIE VARIANT COVER
BLANK VARIANT COVER ALSO AVAILABLE
Rated T

SYNOPSIS:

• When Princess Leia Organa was captured by the Empire as a Rebel spy, she never betrayed her convictions, even in the face of the complete destruction of her home world, Alderaan. When her rescue came, she grabbed a blaster and joined the fight, escaping back to the Rebel Alliance and helping strike the biggest blow against the Empire-the destruction of the Death Star. But in the aftermath of that victory, the question remains…what is a princess without a world?
• Writer Mark Waid (Daredevil, S.H.I.E.L.D.) and artist Terry Dodson (Avengers & X-Men: Axis, Uncanny X-Men) bring us a story of Leia’s quest to help her people and find her place in the galaxy.

REVIEW:

Like many critics, I am not a fan of Terry Dodson’s work. In the beginning his work was very derivative of Adam Hughes, and as Adam Hughes evolved, his style never seemed to. Recently, though, that has changed, but looking at this issue, you wouldn’t know it. His art seems to have regressed to the point that it resembles Adam Hughes before he learned Photoshop. It’s not bad art, just not very original. As a matter, I rather enjoyed that he remembered how short Carrie Fisher is compared to most of the actors in Star Wars. The new character for this story, Evaan, is consistently a visually strong character that shows how much reverence the royalty, and especially Princess Leia have with people. When technology is required that already existed in the films, Dodson does a great job of rendering it. Unfortunately, when a new ship is called for, the design doesn’t match the same aesthetic of the films.

Princess-Leia-001-005x495Paired with that is a very bothersome coloring job by Jordie Bellaire, who covers the linework with color for hair, lips and reflective metal, despite the fact that even reflective gold has dark values in it. The practice is jarring, taking me out of the story almost every time it shows up. It also takes away from when that effect is required in holograms, making them less effective, which wouldn’t be bad except that holograms are integral to the plot.

The saving grace to this issue is the story. Mark Waid picks up where Episode Four stops, and shows us the part of Princess Leia that we didn’t see in the films, the one who picked up her royal duty. He keeps it within her character, as she wants to be of assistance to the Rebellion in finding a new base, but is the most high profile person in the Alliance. The ancillary characters are almost all given the same personality, resentful that the Princess doesn’t seem broken up at the death of her parents and home world. That almost gets explained by Evaan as a sense of the tradition of Alderaan. It’s a great starting point and I’m glad to see that it is being addressed in the proper time frame for it to have occurred, rather than years after the planet’s destruction.

For Star Wars fans, this book is a must buy, and it holds up there with some of the best Extended Universe that Dark Horse published. While I personally find fault with Dodson’s style, it’s just that, a difference of opinion on style. The storytelling is on, and the inconsistency in likenesses is minimal, with Leia and Dodonna looking like themselves enough to accept them as the characters that they are supposed to be. The environments feel real, and the anatomy is, as always for Terry Dodson, spot on. I recommend that Star Wars fans pick this series up, but if you’re just a fan of comics, give it  a browse before you commit.