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.
I've never read an adaptation of a Star Wars movie (or any movie, on second
thought) in any medium that captures the spirit of the original as well as
this one does. I truly believe that someone could read this without ever
having seen the movie, and enjoy the true Star Wars experience.
This adaptation takes same time to explore the depth of this universe as Lucas
did in ground-breaking fashion in the first film. The best example is the
cantina scene. In last year's Special Edition adaptation, the time from Ben
and Luke entering the bar to when Ponda Baba gets his arm hacked off takes
five panels (less than one page). In Manga #2 it spans over seven pages,
taking the time to explore this exotic and alien locale.
To the best of my knowledge, Tamaki did not have the Special Editions when he
created this adaptation, but one way or another his Jabba scene is very close
to how I imagine Lucas wanted it to go originally. The scene starts very dark
and eventually Jabba's form is revealed... much more like the original Jabba
unveiling in 1983's ROTJ. The Fett cameo is so much like the one in the SE
that I'm really left wondering which came first. (If the SE came first, why is
this the only change used?)
The Alderaan explosion scene is SEVENTEEN pages long. This is really the
pivotal scene in the film to show why the Empire needs overthrowing, and the
manga version is actually better than the film. If there's ever another update
made to ANH, I hope this scene is choreographed just like this comic
(including the very effective new shots). It adds more emotion to the film
than the Anchorhead Biggs scenes ever would.
The other interesting change is the moving of the scene reporting the capture
of the Falcon to Vader and Tarkin. I'm still undecided on whether this is an
improvement or not, but it's an interesting placement.
It's sufficient to say that the art alone justifies the existence of this
book. It captures the mythology and spirit of Star Wars in a way no other
comic ever has. The pure essence of the characters come across so well that it
doesn't matter that they don't look like the actors who played them. (I think
that's the same quality I loved in the HTTE adaptation.)
A few of the artistic highlights for me were... a surprisingly menacing Greedo
(no one objects to this seedy character being shot without provocation), Han
and Luke getting into each other's faces a few times (totally redefining the
relationship), and the much bumpier Mos Eisley take off.
Despite the increasing cost to me (due to a diving Canadian dollar), I think I
got what I paid for. This is a fantastic book and I hope that this was
mandatory study material for the Episode I adaptation team. (It's probably too
much to ask that the four Ep I issues will be 90 pages each, isn't it?)
9/10. (If it were cheaper, it'd be a 10.)