Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Ania Solo and Luke's Legacy

A new start for Legacy moves away from Jan Duursema and John Ostrander's story and brings in a new team to tell the tale of a junk dealer descended from Han Solo and Princess Leia. The first issue boldly sets its tone and starts to bring Ania Solo into her own. She's basically a rehash of Han, and while so far the side plot about wakening Sith and galactic politics has more going on than her plot, it's nice to see a female hero in a starring role.

(In case you were wondering like I was, it's pronounced "Anya."

 Legacy Volume Two #1 is written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman and set in roughly the same time period as the earlier Legacy series. I wasn't interested in the earlier Legacy, but Ania and her family tree, plus the writers mentioning Kurosawa influences and a monthly release, might mean I'll follow this one. 

Ania and Sauk
Ania discovers an Imperial Knight's lightsaber.
 Legacy's first scene is a tense, exciting beginning with an epic feel, which features an Empress Fel. Ania hasn't fared as well as the other side of the family, though: as she's introduced basically conning some con men out of cargo in her junkyard. She gets some gendered insults shouted at her, but drives the perpetrators away with the help of a droid. Her planet is crowded and run-down, and I can see interesting plot points in the future involving the plight of the refugees and how Ania got there.

Of course there's pressure on Ania as a female lead when the previous Legacy starred Cade, a decidedly non-Luke-ish Skywalker.. The fact that he didn't have enough charisma to work as an anti-hero for me contributed to my disinterest in that line of comics.

Ania's story mirrors Luke Skywalker's story a bit more, as she finds a lightsaber and a droid in a junk heap and takes off to sell them. It got me thinking on how little agency Luke really had in the beginning of A New Hope: he's reluctant to do more than return R2-D2 to Obi-Wan before the farm burns down, leaving him with nowhere else to go. After that, Obi-Wan does the work of recruiting Han and Chewbacca while Luke has to be rescued from a lowlife. His first real success is letting Leia out of her cell, after which she holds off the stormtroopers and C-3PO has to rescue everyone. In hindsight, Luke's slow development as a hero was one of my favorite things about him since it seemed so realistic, but I certainly wouldn't have called him strong in the first act.

LegacyisbackBut in most regards, Ania is more like Han, and she definitely shoots first. It's her own decision to try to sell the lightsaber, and then to fight for her right to carry the weapon. Ania comes off as tough, a leader, and a little cold and impetuous. Even as she's pushing Sauk toward a better life there's a bit of a selfishness to her: she wants credits, and for him to come with her, more than she wants equality for the refugees or for him to keep his job.

It might be emerging that I like Luke more than Han, and Ania is a lot more like the latter.

Ania's existence as a female hero keeps the story feeling innovative and entertaining for now, though. With Sauk as her sidekick, human/Mon Cal romance seems unlikely, and I'm glad that romance hasn't featured at all in the story right off the bat. Wondering how Ania's story is going to collide with that of Yalta Val, the Imperial Knight from the first scene, does keep the story interesting, and the art is very different from Jan Duursema's bright, clear lines. A lot of blacks and grays make the colors pop, especially in the lightsaber battle. It takes some getting used to, but it isn't distracting, and as someone who looks more at story and dialogue than art I mean that as a good thing.

In terms of appearance, Ania herself is a nice change from characters with "fiery" looks to match their personalities, with long, nondescript black hair and a modest costume in what is basically a more complicated version of Han's color scheme. She looks older and more thin-lipped on the comic pages than she does on the covers.

Legacy's debut issue uses a striking art style and mixes classic Star Wars elements up into an entertaining melange. It works hard to be exciting, and so far it's found a precarious foothold.  In the long run, Ania will have to have more than her gender going for her to carry a series in a different way than either Han or Luke. I'm curious to see whether it will at all tie into Episode Seven or pave the way for a heroine in the movies.

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