Han Solo is a giant, green alien. I could end this review right now. That line should be enough to sell you on this series. Although he doesn’t appear in this issue, just you wait.
The Star Wars Lucas Draft #2, written by J. W. Rinzler, pencilled by Mike Mayhew (no relation to Peter), and colored by Rain Beredo, is published by Dark Horse Comics this week in full force. We find our heroes, Annikin Starkiller and Luke Skywalker, on Aquilae in preparation for an attack by the empire. Something appears on their radar that is definitely not a moon. The issue is a build up into a huge pay off. I haven't read Lucas' original rough draft, which is freely available online, so I'm not sure what dialogue is original and what is Rinzler's, but I enjoyed the dialogue. I especially like the line, "Do as you're told but think for yourself."
Aside from the space battles, there are also quite a few personal fights. Annikin and Luke come to blows, whereas Annikin and Princess Leia also get physical. I did find it odd when Annikin struck Princess Leia, as I imagine hitting a foreign diplomat could cause some blowback.
The cover by Nick Runge is eye catching. It's got all the great imagery from classic Star Wars: the Death Star, explosions and an epic lightsaber duel. This will be sure to get your attention.
The art is great to say the least. It is modeled after Ralph McQuarrie's original designs. Outdoor and space scenes are where Mayhew really shines. You get a feel for the massive size and vast scope of the set pieces, and the colors by Rain Beredo serve their purpose well: desert scenes are warm and space scenes are dark and cold. Star Wars wears Lucas' love of classic cinema on its sleeve. Mayhew draws a pitch perfect C3PO using McQuarrie's original design based on Maria from Metropolis. The lines are clean with the tighter shots and are not overwhelming with detail.
It's very difficult to not compare this to A New Hope. I view this as an alt universe version of Star Wars. I'm glad things such as Darth Vader being a normal guy and R2D2 speaking were changed eventually. It's a fun read and filled with action.
Did I mention eventually we'll see a giant, green alien named Han Solo?