I'm tempted not to review this series, just to enjoy it. I mean, it's "Star Wars." How do you critique "Star Wars?" Part of me wants to read it just so that it can be fun, approaching it with the same uncritical joy that I had for the franchise in 1983, when "Return of the Jedi" was the first movie that I ever saw in a movie theater. But, honestly, after Jar-Jar Binks, it's been clear for a while that we're not in 1983 anymore.
Except, maybe we are.
I don't know how Jason Aaron does it, but he manages to make you feel like you're watching the same characters on screen. It was obviously a wise choice to stage the series between the first and second movies, since the characters retain some of the innocent charm that they lose with the setbacks that "The Empire Strikes Back" hands them. Han Solo sounds like Han Solo. Threepio sounds like Threepio. Somehow, even Artoo sounds like Artoo. It's not just limited to the good guys. Darth Vader is sufficiently evil, using Storm Troopers to block Chewie's shots at him. In other words, it's not a struggle to engage with these characters in a new setting, even after all these years; it's like slipping into a warm bath.
Moreover, it's not just the characterization that Aaron gets perfect. Everything goes wrong for the team exactly the way that it always goes wrong. Of course Luke wanders from Han and Leia to stumble upon some slaves and, then, Vader. Of course Vader is the "negotiator." Of course scavengers have been quietly dismantling the Falcon so that it's not ready when the team needs to escape. Again, it all goes exactly how you'd expect it.
I don't know how long Aaron will be able to keep up this level of perfection, but, for this moment, at least, I am remarkably excited to essentially get a new "Star Wars" movie, in comic form. I can't think of higher praise to heap on Aaron than that.
***** (five of five stars)