No time to discuss this in committee! Dennis has the full review.
Spoiler Alert: This article discusses plot details of issue #1 of Marvel’s new Princess Leia series and contains minor to major spoilers.
Princess Leia #1
Writer: Mark Waid / Pencils: Terry Dodson / Inks: Rachel Dodson / Colorist: Jordie Bellaire / Letterer: VC’s Joe Carmagna
Marvel continues its line of new Star Wars titles this month with the first issue of Princess Leia. While the core title, Star Wars, and Darth Vader, have interrelated stories, Princess Leia tells a story from slightly earlier in the timeline. This story begins with the medal ceremony after the Battle of Yavin. Upon bestowing medals to Luke Skywalker and Han Solo (still no medal for Chewbacca) Leia delivers a small speech and requests a moment to remember the fallen of Alderaan. General Dodonna then puts the Rebels to the task of evacuating Yavin before the Empire can regroup and attack.
I had hoped to see Leia receive some sort of recognition for her role in acquiring the plans to the Death Star and delivering them to the Rebel Alliance. After all, without her quick thinking during Darth Vader’s attack on the Tantive IV, the stolen plans never would have been concealed inside R2-D2 for delivery to Obi-wan Kenobi. If Artoo hadn’t dragged Threepio along to find Old Ben, Luke and Han never would have become part of the adventure. Not to mention, Leia was no helpless bystander during her rescue. She was more accurate than either Han or Luke in shooting stormtroopers after all. However, she was a leader of the Rebellion, and decorum must be maintained. The upper echelons of the Rebellion would unlikely inspire their troops be rewarding themselves for their bravery.
But not only did Leia not receive any praise for her actions, she drew the ire of some of the pilots and troops attending the medal ceremony. At least one pilot dubbed her the “Ice Princess” after Leia offered what he perceived to be minimal words of remembrance for the Queen and Viceroy Organa. I can only hope that these pilots were unaware of the horrors that Leia experienced at the hands of Darth Vader and Grand Moff Tarkin in A New Hope. I can’t imagine they wouldn’t have more sympathy if they had known she was forced to witness the destruction of her home planet and endure torture at the hands of Vader for her refusal to disclose the location of the secret Rebel base.
One of the more vocal characters in expressing her dissatisfaction with the Princess is a fellow Alderaanian and Rebel Pilot named Evaan. Leia first notices Evaan as the pilot is paying her respects to the departed Queen and Viceroy of Alderaan at a memorial after the conclusion of the medal ceremony. Leia then recruits Evaan to assist her in seeking out surviving Alderaanians and protecting them from Imperial reprisal.
Evaan is an intriguing addition to the Star Wars universe. She has a conflicted relationship with Leia. Evaan is a “confirmed Royalist” that was mentored by Queen Breha Organa. She is crticial of Leia though, as she does not believe that Leia has properly honored the Queen and Alderaan’s dead. Unlike Queen Breha, Leia has not earned her respect. Despite this, Evaan insists on following royal etiquette in her relationship with Leia lest another piece of Alderaanian culture dies. She appoints herself as Leia’s protector. Perhaps because she realizes that she and Evaan are amongst the few surviving Alderaanians, Leia is desperate to earn Evaan’s friendship, and I suspect this will be an ongoing theme for this series. I also suspect that at least some of Evaan’s disdain for Leia is misplaced anger stemming from Evaan’s inability to protect or rescue her respected mentor.
Admiral Ackbar makes a cameo in this issue. Leia approaches Ackbar in order to determine General Dodonna’s location. Ackbar, busy with busting the chops of Rebel soldiers as they proceed with the evacuation of Yavin, points Leia in the right direction and then exits the story. I’m glad to see that Ackbar was at Yavin and active this early in the new canon chronology. I’m hoping he’ll have a larger role to play later in the series, and if not here then later in Star Wars.
General Dodonna takes on new significance in this series. In A New Hope, Dodonna was a plot device. His function was expository, and he served to describe to the reader the task ahead of the Rebels as they prepared for the attack of the Empire and the Death Star. In Princess Leia, Dodonna becomes a surrogate parent of sorts for Leia. In light of the destruction of her home world, Leia seeks a new purpose and a new way to contribute to the Rebellion. Dodonna acts as a concerned parent, denies her request for an assignment, and forbids Leia from straying far from him out of a sense of loyalty to Bail and Breha. However, Bail and Breha weren’t as overbearing as Dodonna. Bail permitted his daughter to take a position as a Galactic Senator and a role in the Rebellion.
Therefore, it is no surprise that Leia acts the rebellious teenager, and with the aid of Artoo Detoo and Evaan, plots a way to “sneak out of the house” so to speak. Except, Leia is not just an average rebellious teenager. She is the last surviving Royal of Alderaan. She will not accept the role of grieving daughter and deposed princess that so many believe she should be. She is the woman that stood up to Darth Vader onboard the Tantive IV. She is the princess that stood up to Grand Moff Tarkin on the Death Star. And now, she will stand up for what remains of her people and protect the legacy of Alderaan.
Overall, I liked Princess Leia. I rank it third in the new series, but it is a worthy book. I think Mark Waid did a fine job of capturing the spirit of the Princess from a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. I liked the art, but not quite as much as the art in Star Wars and Darth Vader. I think Evaan is an interesting and welcome new character. I applaud the decision to feature Leia with a female accomplice instead of pairing her with Luke or Han, which would have been the easy and safe choice. With this being a Star Wars book, I had hoped for a little more action, which was chiefly limited to Leia and Evaan’s escape from Luke and Wedge as they set off on their mission, but in the confines of a comic book, this was a good first chapter.
Now, on to Naboo in issue #2.
Upcoming Star Wars Comic Releases:
- March 11–Star Wars #3
- March 18–Princess Leia #2
- March 25–Darth Vader #3
- April 1–Kanan: The Last Padawan #1
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.