This is an annual done right. I’m really tired of reading annuals that are just direct continuations of the main series’ storylines — this messes with the series’ numbering and also leads me to ask why even have an annual at all?, why not just have an extra-sized normal issue?, how is the general reading public supposed to know that an annual is integral to the main series???…

“Star Wars” Annual #1, by writer Kieron Gillen and artist Angel Unzueta, mechnically, is an annual done right. It’s a stand-alone story that seems like it could feed into future storylines of the “Star Wars” comics, but isn’t integral to the main series. If you’re picking up the main series but decide for whatever reason (like the fact that the annual is five fucking bucks) to not pick up the annual, no biggie, you’re not missing out on anything integral to the main series. However, if you do pick it up, you get a nice bonus story to complement the main series.

Creatively, the annual is also well done. Gillen tells a great, dark story showing the perils of being a rebel spy embedded in the empire, and introduces a new character, Eneb Ray, the spy, who I so hope to see again. More generally, the story, well illustrated by Unzueta, is a dark adventure, showing the fight of the puny rebellion against the might of the empire, and, realistically, feels more like “The Empire Strike Back” than actual “Star Wars”.

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