Translates and reprints a Japanese adaptation of the classic film, Star Wars: Episode 4 -
A New Hope. Farmboy Luke Skywalker meets Ben Kenobi and disaster searching for his new droids.
As a straight-forward retelling of a story we've all seen dozens (hundreds
for me) of times, there shouldn't be much to talk about writing-wise
should there? There's nothing to discuss about the dialog because it's
pretty much taken word for word from the movie script. The story is no
Out of interest sake, I reread DH's ANH:Special Edition adaptation created
last year. Surprisingly, the issue of writing became very prominent in my
opinion of this Manga adaptation. These two adaptations vary drastically
in terms of detail and pacing in a way that may be a reflection of the
cultures that spawned them.
The ANH:SE adaptation has a very uneven pace. I really doubt that a person
who hadn't seen the film would enjoy or fully understand it. It races
through the story catching only random snapshots with random significance.
This Manga adaptation is meticulous and deliberate. We don't just see the
major events. We see how each scene flows from setup to action to the end,
and we see how the characters think and feel. Yet, the pace is never
slow... it's rich. If Lucas had made Star Wars as a comic rather than a
film, this is how he'd have scripted it. I can only hope that it's not too
late for Dark Horse to take a few lessons for its upcoming Episode I
It's worth noting that there are a few panels that deviate from the film
in a way that should delight the cut scene freaks out there. The story
begins with Luke and Treadwell and binoculars, we see Biggs on Tatooine in
a few flashback sequences, and there's a fantastic new Jawa scene that
would have added more to the Special Edition than most of the changes we
Obviously, we all know the story of ANH. The only reason for this title to
exist is for the new art. A good portion of Star Wars fans have little, if
no, real experience with serious manga work (mine is limited to the film,
"Ghost in the Machine"). I can't tell manga purists out there how this
title fares, but in my uninformed opinion this art rates much higher than
a simple change of pace.
The first item of note is that the title is in black and white. Tamaki
simply could not rely on a talented colorist and expensive technology to
deliver the goods. Second, the manga style itself dictates a certain level
of simplicity and abstractness, so the whole thing must be conveyed
keeping the lines on the page to a minimum.
Despite the cartoony style, Luke was heroic, Vader was frightening, Tarkin
was evil, Ben was wise, the Jawas are a blast, and we're treated to the
best depicted R2-D2 and C-3P0 I've ever seen. (The "Droids" comic series
would have lasted a lot longer with art like this.) This art is deeply
rich and profoundly simple all at the same time.
Reading this book made me very aware of Star Wars' status as a modern
myth. Like Robin Hood or Zorro or the Knights of the Round table, this
story was being retold from a different world view blending timelessness
and freshness. Star Wars is very eastern in nature, and it shows here.
Both the story and art are fantastic, so this should be a must buy, right?
Well, unfortunately the answer is no. Priced at $9.95 US per issue, this
is a premium item. You already know the story, the radio drama is much
better at presenting new scenes, and the novelization is much cheaper if
you'd rather read than pop the tape in the VCR. This is a luxury. If you
can afford it, you'll love it... but if you can't, you might want to save
your money for Mara Jade and X-Wing: Mandatory Retirement. (Still, it's
cheaper than buying the Japanese originals.)
8.5/10. Fantastic quality, but too expensive for a familiar story.