Marvel’s Star Wars Comics: A Not-So-New Hope

Princess Leia #1 by Terry Dodson
Princess Leia #1 by Terry and Rachel Dodson © Marvel Comics

A new Star Wars ongoing comic book series, coming in January, that covers the period of time between Episodes IV and V. Princess Leia grabbing a Rebel pilot helmet and taking center stage. Does all of this sound familiar? It’s because the same thing was announced in 2013.

Star Wars #1
Star Wars #1, Art by John Cassady © Marvel Comics

This weekend at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Comics announced three new Star Wars comic book series coming in 2015. All three titles boast impressive creative talent. Star Wars: Darth Vader, an ongoing series, comes from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca in February. A mini-series, Star Wars: Princess Leia, by writer Mark Waid and artist Terry Dodson, hits comic book store shelves in March. And Jason Aaron and John Cassaday are taking the helm of Star Wars, an ongoing series with a story that begins shortly after the Battle of Yavin as the Rebels begin to plan their next move.

This premise is the same as the Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics that wraps up next month. In the Dark Horse series, writer Brian Wood has taken us from action-packed space battles to Leia-centric storylines that do the character justice through the twenty issue series, and combined with the brilliant artwork from Carlos D’Anda, each issue has maintained a “this feels like Star Wars!” quality.

I’ve enjoyed the series so much that I find it hard to be excited for the new ongoing from Marvel. Of course I’ll pick it up—these comic books, unlike the Expanded Universe, are actually going to be in Star Wars canon. That makes them practically required reading for any Star Wars fan. I’d just be more excited if this wasn’t the same ground that Dark Horse’s series hadn’t already covered well.

I am, however, happily intrigued by Mark Waid writing the five-issue Princess Leia mini-series beginning next March. I’m a fan. But why couldn’t it be an ongoing series? With the other two Star Wars series as both ongoing, this is a noticeable move by Marvel Comics, which has made some otherwise fantastic strides in the number of ongoing female-led books recently. Like the other Star Wars titles, I’ll gladly pick up my five issues of Star Wars: Princess Leia, but… I want the whole cake.

Kelly Knox is a freelance writer in Seattle, WA, where she contributes to local parenting magazines. She also writes for StarWars.com, Geek & Sundry, and more. You can find crafts and art projects for geeky families at her blog The St{art} Button.