Star Wars #1, as they've somewhat uninspiringly called it, has caused somewhat of a meltdown on the internet and not for the usual reasons - you know, someone having the wrong colour light saber or contradicting a minor plot point from a largely forgotten Expanded Universe book. No, this is far far worse. They've made Leia an X-wing pilot. Not just that – a crack-shot ace who leads her own squadron of fighters during undercover missions.
How dare they! A woman flying a space ship? What a ridiculous concept! I mean WW2 era dog fights in space (complete with sound in the vacuum of space) is perfectly believable; but a woman flying? Never! And anyway how would she fit a helmet over those hair buns?
Secondly, why wouldn't Leia be a great pilot? Let's look at the reasons why she'd be an incredible pilot.
She's the daughter of Anakin Skywalker, the finest pilot Obi Wan Kenobi ever met. And he was a General so he met quite a few and probably knows more about the subject than any semi-literate internet troll. Luke seemed to inherit a lot of these skills from his dad, why wouldn't his sister? In fact during Return Of The Jedi she displays just how good she is when she out-drives (out-flies?) a group of Speeder-Bike Storm Troopers, a task that even her brother struggles with, let alone the soldiers who have had training on using these bikes. Allegedly. Considering how little success Storm Troopers have at even shooting things it is debatable whether basic training even exists in the Empire.
Others have been been less sexist in their criticism by suggesting that it was a piece of fan-boy pleasing to publicise the series. I can see why they think this and yeah, Targeter would have worked in this role with much less controversy, but the Star Wars prequels utterly undercut this argument.
And Anyway how would she fit a helmet over those hair buns?
The last (coherent) argument is the one I actually have the most time for. Some of the saner commentators have asked why the Rebellion would put one of its leaders on the front line, that Leia is a diplomat not a fighter. Her death would be a major blow for the Alliance, perhaps even fatal for it - why would they risk her?
Because the Rebellion has to risk her. It is a small army fighting the might of an entire empire. Every member is constantly in danger. By the end of A New Hope her cover in the Senate has been blown. Her value as a politician and spy has gone and the Rebellion can't afford to have anyone sat on the sidelines. They have to risk her on the battlefield on a daily basis, something that is shown in the films during the attack on the forest moon of Endor. She's not afraid to get her hands dirty, as her assault on Jabba's palace to rescue Han shows – she's clearly got the skills needed to wage war, single handedly taking out Jabba shows that despite being a Princess she doesn't need to be rescued.
In conclusion Dark Horse haven't done anything to radically alter the character. Everything they show in the comic fits in with the Princess Leia we know from the movies, they've just brought it to the forefront.
And besides, even if you didn't like their revisions to the Star Wars story, is it really any worse than anything Lucas did during his years of pointless meddling? Leia being an ace combat pilot actually adds to her character as opposed to weakening, as happened when Han suddenly didn't shoot first but missed Greedo at point blank range, turning him from a glorious anti-hero rogue into an incompetent duellist!