Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope, by Chris Warner, Drew Johnson and Al Rio 7.5
‘Star Wars Infinities’ is a series that first started in 2002 with the release of its three-part miniseries based on ‘Star Wars‘. Subtitled “A New Hope” (sure, give in to George Lucas’ insulting revisionism!), it continues the story of Luke, Leia and Han after the Death Star attack on the rebel base of Yavin 4 – from an alternate perspective, as though the rebels had failed.
In this alternate take on the ‘Star Wars’ universe, Luke’s torpedoes detonate early, causing damage to the Death Star, but not hitting their intended target – leaving the Empire with plenty of firepower to obliterate the Rebellion. It then follows the characters on the run, with Luke pursuing his training with Yoda, Han going back to smuggling and Leia… well…
You’ll just have to read the book.
I was extremely curious -if not eager- to read this book, because I love the idea of exploring the “what ifs” of situations – especially in the context an iconic story that is so beloved that it is immersed in pop culture. It’s a little like that episode of ‘Star Trek’ when a demented McCoy goes back in time and is about to change the future so that the Nazis won. Brrr…
That was a classic “what if” tale.
Unfortunately, ‘Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope’ (damn you, Lucas!) doesn’t quite deliver the jaw-dropping and riveting story you’d have hoped for. Instead, it puts together some interesting pieces, but it doesn’t flesh them out enough or in such a way that we actually care. It also presents a few minor turns of events that seem quite out of character or out of place.
The worst of it for me was that I consistently had the impression that the dialogues weren’t quite right for the characters. Maybe it’s just my interpretation of these sci-fi icons, but it seemed to me that, while the intention was spot on, the delivery wasn’t accurate. That kept me from being fully involved, incapable of fully believing what I was reading.
The most dramatic problem of them all, however, is that Leia’s shift to the Dark Side isn’t developed whatsoever. We know she’s been drawn in by Vader, but we don’t really know why. Whereas Luke had a three-movie character arc to explains his transition from fresh-faced farm boy to weary Jedi Knight, here we are presented with a fait accompli in Leia’s transition.
This felt empty and meaningless because the outcome isn’t that relevant; what makes the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy potent is the process by which the characters change. To make matters worse, her salvation at the hands of none other than Luke is far too easy, a matter of just a few words and two panels. I felt cheated; it was a simplistic and cheap wrap-up.
The Force isn’t strong in this one.
As for C-3P0 being able to take Han hostage…? Give me a break! Even if Han was taken by surprise, he’d eventually have gotten the upper hand!
Where the art is concerned, it’s quite satisfactory. The style is clean and pleasing, even if the characters don’t always resemble themselves from one panel to the next. The main problem for me is the inking, which is heavy-handed at times, burying some of the art in heavy shadows. But, overall, the book looks good and most readers would be pleased with it.
Ultimately, though, ‘Star Wars Infinities: A New Hope’ is a great concept, but it wasn’t meaty enough to delivery a satisfying alternate take on this ground-breaking film. It’s a damned shame because Chris Warner inserted some excellent ideas, but he either didn’t get the chance or didn’t have the skill to fully develop this project into the poignant epic it deserved to be.
Still, it’s decent, and I remain very curious to see how the series will spin ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’.
We’ll know soon enough.