This week, ‘Star Wars’ fans can continue to look into the world of “What If?” as the second issue of ‘The Star Wars’ has finally hit shelves. Dark Horse’s newest book from the Lucasverse written by J.W. Rinzler adapts George Lucas’ first draft of the film that eventually became ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ and with this new chapter now available, we can catch up with Annikin Starkiller, Luke Skywalker, and the rest of the inhabitants of Aquilae as they encounter the deadly attack of the New Galactic Empire.

When we last left off, Jedi Kane Starkiller and his son, Annikin, fled to their home planet of Aquilae after his youngest son was killed in a Sith attack. Once there, they find an old ally in the form of Jedi General Luke Skywalker, who agrees to take on his old friend’s remaining son as an apprentice after discovering that Kane is dying. Meanwhile, Darth Vader and the Empire prepare to attack Aquilae with the massive Death Star.

Now, in this week’s issue, the Empire strikes and the war has begun! Luke and Annikin rush to protect the royal family and to convince the king to provide the code necessary for the planet to engage in the coming war. But as the attacks begin, the two must split up so that the young padawan can retrieve Princess Leia from school and the old Jedi can lead a squadron to victory. At least, that’s the plan.

First of all, I know that someone out there is going to complain about Starkiller’s tactics while picking up the princess. I can already hear the angry sounds of keyboards going a mile a minute all over the internet. Not gonna lie, my jaw dropped when I got to that panel where he… persuades (?) her to come with him to safety. Sure, his methods are unorthodox and a bit brash, but I don’t think that Leia will take such actions like that too kindly. I look forward to her response to her protector’s ways in the next issue.

Then, it was fun to see some familiar names scattered throughout this issue. Chewie and Mace (presumably Windu) were among the pilots in the battle and Kane went to see Han Solo in Gordon, but the icing on the cake was R2-D2 and C-3PO on the Death Star. In this version of the story, R2 has the ability to speak, so his tightly wound companion doesn’t do all the talking. Obviously, these droids are still the comic relief of the story, so I can’t wait to see what other situations they get themselves into as the story progresses.

Finally, while I definitely do not agree with Annikin’s ways when dealing with the princess, I find myself attracted to his story because I want to see him shape up and be the Jedi he’s meant to be. He’s still rough around the edges and not as focused as he should be, but I’m hoping that he’s the one to rise up to his full potential and achieve greatness like his father and mentor before him.

Overall, with things starting to heat up, this series certainly has my attention. Also, it’s getting easier to separate this from the existing ‘Star Wars’ mythology as each issue passes, so I think that I’m beginning to enjoy the story more with each new chapter. Hopefully it continues to be engaging in the coming issues.

Final Score:

Written by J.W. Rinzler
Art by Mike Mayhew & Rain Beredo
Cover by Nick Runge