The second Star Wars comic title to come from the Marvel / Disney studio in the run up to the new trilogy, Princess Leia is a five issue miniseries set directly after the events of A New Hope with our heroes receiving their medals at the Massasi Temple on Yavin IV and dismantling the Rebel base, a story which focuses on Leia coming to terms with the recent destruction of her home world of Alderaan.
As the Princess of a world which no longer exists, what exactly is her title or role? Without a purpose and a task to occupy her she will have to face the reality that her home is lost, her people annihilated, she finds herself being coddled the Rebel leaders, told to stay put and keep safe as in retaliation for the destruction of the Death Star the Empire have also put a bounty on the head of any Alderaanian survivors, the Princess included. They mean to wipe all trace of Alderaan and her people from the galaxy.
As a companion to Leia the story introduces a female X-Wing pilot and Alderaanian royalist Evaan. The outspoken nature of the character and her feelings toward what she sees as the “frost blooded” Princess give the opportunity for great character interaction, and lead Leia to decide her own path.
Not content to be locked away and protected she will do her duty as the last of the Royal family of Alderaan, and protect what remains of her people, and drafting Evaan as a pilot and stealing a ship she sets out against orders on her own mission to find the survivors of her race before the Empire can and to save what is left of her world.
Exploring an emotionally rich area for a character that was never covered in depth in the movies gives this story from the pen of Mark Waid (Kingdom Come, Superman: Birthright) a brilliantly solid start. While Leia has always been a strong character, giving her a comic title of her own in which to explore the culture of Alderaan and the after effects of its loss is a great way to develop her further.
Evaan is a fierce and interestingly conflicted character, a royalist who strongly dislikes the only royal left giving great range for the two to play off against each other.
The artwork by Terry Dodson (Harley Quinn, Wonder Woman) has more far personality to it than the other Marvel Star Wars comics on offer, the eponymous lead title, Darth Vader and Kanan – The Last Padawan. While at times that individuality means some panels may not be as sharp as others or allow for more variety in the reproduction of characters it gives much more emotional content.
The quality jump from the main ongoing to Star Wars to Princess Leia is huge, and this is the one which feels like the publishing house let the writer and artists loose to really put heart into the story, dialogue and artwork; definitely one to put on the pull list.
Star Wars: Princess Leia issue 3 is scheduled for release on 15th April 2015