Star Wars Legacy: “Prisoner of the Floating World”
By Andy Mansell | Contributor Published: 11/22/2013 10:00 am EST
Publish date: November 20, 2013 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Well, what a disappointment Star Wars Legacy Volume II Book 1: Prisoner of the Floating World has proven to be—especially with a title like that! I was hoping for some real excitement; perhaps a metamorphosis of the Jedi Order or a shake up for the nefarious Sith. Instead, Legacy II gives us a lot of political intrigue. It was all the politicking (along with Jar Jar Lloyd) that brought The Phantom Menace to a screeching halt and the complete lack of political intrigue that kept the original trilogy so fast moving and fun.
My guess is that any writer making his living in the Star Wars Universe cannot make any sudden moves without getting the okay from the top. The whole thing feels like the New York entertainment world of Sweet Smell of Success with J.J. (Hunsecker) Abrams and his whipping boy Kathleen Kennedy (riding the Millennium Falco!). Okay, I’ll stop, but I detect a stranglehold in the Force. With the Dark Side, there are always two.
But this isn’t the first time the Hutts ran things from their hideout. We set the Wayback Machine to 1977 and remember what Archie Goodwin and Al Williamson had to deal with as they created the classic Star Wars newspaper strip. From what I understand, they were told not to mess with any future plans and then they were not told what the future plans were and they still created one of the last great adventure strips.
In all fairness, the creative team of writer Corinna Bechko and artist Gabriel Hardman do their un-level best (I lauded their work previously in the Station to Station one-shot). They are given three factions of galactic management trying to unite the galaxy. The new Empress (but she is a good guy empress, I think, even though those poor, inbred stormtroopers report to her and are now good guys although they look like bad guys a la Terminator 2) has decided the best way to unite a splintered galaxy is by bringing bundled Internet services to the Outer Rim (Real Housewives of Yavin—I am so there!).
And the art is nothing short of spectacular. Hardman’s work here reminds me of Al Williamson inked by either Tom Palmer or Klaus Jansen. The mix of high tech and brooding atmosphere make Legacy a fast, fun read. But once we’ve enjoyed those tremendous splash pages, what do we have? A galaxy in a total mess, a Sith threat, a budding hero/wanted fugitive named Solo who proves that she has the dexterity (and will?) to handle a lightsaber, a reptilian sidekick, and two droids—one old and experienced and one loyal beyond its mechanical means that even provides a tell-tale holocaust projection. Sound familiar? Yer darn tootin’.
Now there are a lot of unanswered questions, but so far Ania Solo lacks any real character development and hardly any humor. All you twenty-somethings can knock Harrison Ford (the gold guy who’s married to the skinny girl from Brothers & Sisters) all you want, but there has never been another movie star that could juggle action and humor as well as him. Han’s descendant Ania has huge gravity boots to fill (oops—wrong franchise).
The storytelling is mostly clear and fast paced. There are a few segues that confuse—especially since part of the plot hinges on mistaken identity—but the saber duels are mercifully short. And each and every establishing shot that offers large space ships or alien landscapes kept me checking eBay to see if any Hardman original art was up for auction. It really is terrific eye candy. But the by-the-numbers plot with the Mister Roberts style miscommunication climax left me feeling disappointed and even a bit sad. The last page informs us that Legacy is “…To Be Continued,” but unless I am fortunate enough to get a gratis review copy, I am going to take a pass on it that is unless J.J. Abrams lets his creative teams leave the island.
Andy Mansell lived in Chicago for over 40 years until his doctors advised him that he would die soon unless he got as far away from the land of Italian combo sandwiches and soft serve frozen custard. He is currently growing rather old rather quickly in Charlotte, NC as a member of the Waistline Protection Program. He lives for four things: his family, baseball, opera, and of course great comics. He is also looking for a ride back to Chi-town for just one more breaded steak sammich. He will provide gas, guaranteed. Contact him at this address.