Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Obi-Wan and Anakin 2, originally released February 3rd, 2016.
Spencer: There’s nothing new under the sun. I don’t believe that’s a concrete truth — every once in a while somebody still trots out an idea that legitimately surprises me — but for the most part, it holds up, and I’m okay with that. A story doesn’t need to be wholly original to succeed. Sometimes they can rely on our previously established affection for the characters, and other times those familiar tropes can be told with new twists or different contexts or in support of deep themes that make them a joy to read regardless of originality. Sadly, I don’t think I can make that argument for Obi-Wan and Anakin 2. There’s nothing in this issue that gets me invested in its very familiar story. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Chewbacca 5, originally released December 30th, 2015.
Taylor: In the new Star Wars movie, it’s apparent that director J.J. Abrams wanted to make Chewbacca a more rounded character. The need for doing this is plain – Chewbacca is one of the main characters in the Star Wars movies, but he’s little more than Han Solo’s charismatic shadow. Abrams rounds out Chewbacca by having him interact with more characters than just Han and by also giving him more heroic things to do like blasting stormtroopers. For the most part I find this to be a fairly successful venture into Chewbacca’s character. He’s portrayed as being important but not to the point that his language barrier interferes with things at all. The Chewbacca comic series similarly attempts to flesh out this character, but as issue 5 highlights, it is not nearly as successful as Episode 7.
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Chewbacca 4, originally released November 25 2015.
Michael: Remember in Revenge of the Sith when Anakin Skywalker was arguing that from his point of view the Jedi were evil and we all laughed? Flawed storytelling aside I think comic book fans can agree that the big difference between heroes and villains is their perspective. “History is written by the victors” is probably an overused statement but nonetheless true. Simple Star Wars logic dictates: Rebel Alliance = good, Galactic Empire = bad. I’m not sympathizing with The Empire here, but Chewbacca 4 had me examining the actions of our “heroes.”
Today, Michael and Spencer are discussing Lando 5, originally released October 7th, 2015.
Michael: Lando Calrissian is one part Han Solo and all-the-rest parts Billy Dee Williams cool. Even in 2D, he can charm the pants off of us. Lando 5 asks us how far can that charm go? Lando schemes at every turn but does he ever come out on top? Can you count simply saving your skin as a profit? Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Andy are discussing Lando 2, originally released August 12, 2015.
Patrick: When you think about Lando’s role in the original trilogy, it’s hard to see him as an active player in the drama. His pivotal turn in The Empire Strikes Back boils down to him sending Lobot a text. Think about his role freeing Han from Jabba’s Palace – he infiltrates Jabba’s guard and then… does what? The man is a maestro at seizing opportunity, just so long as that “seizing” doesn’t really look like anything. But damn it all: be basically thwarts the will of the Emperor to Darth Vader’s face and lives to tell the tale. Charles Soule and Alex Maleev translate that effective inaction to the comic book page in Lando 2, using trappings two separate genres to their advantage, and then punctuate the whole thing with Lando’s opposite: an agent that never stops being active. Nearly every single element of this issue, from the pacing, to the coloring, to the dialogue, to the antagonist, serve to highlight what exactly makes Lando so damn special. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Elliott are discussing Star Wars 7, originally released July 29th, 2015.
Patrick: Comic books are the go-to medium for fleshing out stories and characters set up in movies, TV shows and video games. There’s always going to be a Firefly comic or something featuring Lara Croft – and 90% of the time, those series are filling in gaps in the narratives. And those gaps — those times before or after or during the main stories are usually filled with precisely that: more narrative. That’s not fair to comic books as a medium, which move in their own rhythms and will always be compared to the storytelling prowess of the original. We’ve had a ton of conversations on this site about what we even want from these things: Star Wars isn’t just a set of aliens and some colloquialisms about the Kessel Run, it’s the music, the motion, the sound effects, the light, the performances. Star Wars 7 is an interesting issue; it fills in gaps in the narrative we’re already reading, which in and of itself is filling in gaps in a different narrative altogether. But rather than letting the necessarily weak plot drive the issue, writer Jason Aaron imagines what Obi-Wan Kenobi must have felt during his years on Tatooine, and builds a story out from there. Continue reading →
Today, Spencer and Patrick are discussing Lando 1, originally released July 8th, 2015.
Spencer: Maybe it’s just because of the way superheroes dominate the medium, but when I think of comic books, my mind immediately turns to fighting. It’s almost unheard of to find a superhero who doesn’t fight in some capacity, and even in the indie books I read, most of the characters are spies, soldiers, robots wielding built-in weaponry, or kids struggling to survive in the wild — the one thing they have in common is that they all fight. Lando Calrissian, however, does not. Throughout Lando 1, Charles Soule and Alex Maleev depict Lando as someone who may know the value of a good warrior, but prefers to win his battles with cunning. It’s a compelling take on the character, one that helps set him apart from his good buddy (and fellow smuggler) Han Solo, and one which also establishes this mini-series as a heist story through and through. Sure, there’s action, but the twists and turns of Lando’s high-stakes schemes (as well as the schemes hatched against him) are what this series is really all about, and that’s a fun new direction for the Marvel Star Wars books to explore. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Convergence: Green Lantern/Parallax 2, originally released May 13th, 2015. This issue is part of Convergence. For our conversations about the rest of Convergence last week, click here.
Patrick: There’s a scene in every Star Wars movie where the score drops out entirely and the audio landscape is occupied entirely by sound effects. George Lucas, for relying so heavily on the excitement and gravitas of John Williams’ symphonic scores, understood the power of allowing the action itself to dictate the viewer’s sonic experience. Suddenly, Luke and Vader’s lightsaber duel in Cloud City becomes more intimate and immediate, as the viewer no longer has the dramatic distance afforded us by a full orchestra. A silent medium, comic books have a strange relationship to sound effects: do they imply sound? are they fun panel-dressing? are they a reminder of the medium’s limitations? Tony Bedard and Ron Wagner’s conclusion to the Convergence: Green Lantern Parallax mini-series presents an intense sound effects symphony, only, y’know, completely silent. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Darth Vader 5, originally released May 13th, 2015.
Michael: Comic book narratives have always been about the change of the status quo. Common examples include the balance between good and evil, the latest hero to don a particular mantle, and in the realm of Star Wars, there’s the frequent rotation of Sith Lords. Darth Vader 5 questions the villain’s relevance in the galaxy that his master is trying to maintain a hold on. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Star Wars 4, originally released April 22nd, 2015.
Taylor: There’s a been a lot of Star Wars news lately thanks to the release of the second trailer for the upcoming The Force Awakens. Aiding the hype of this trailer has been a number of costumes and props that recently went on display at the “Star Wars Celebration. Additionally, there’s a new Star Wars Battlefront game that’s about to be released, the first in a number of years, which has gamers truly excited. Lost among all of this fanfare has been the teaser trailer for the spin-off Star Wars movie, Rogue One. Like the Star Warscomic, this movie takes place between famous episodes of the primary trilogies and like the the comics it offers a behind the scenes, gritty look at the rebellion. This aspect, more than anything else, is what makes the comic interesting and what makes issue four of the series so fun to read. Continue reading →