Don’t Sweat the Name in Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet 1

by Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, read on at your own risk!

Let the record show: I really liked Solo: A Star Wars Story. It’s a fun, well-shot flick with some charming performances and cool character designs. Plus, I absolutely love that the revolutionary L7 becomes the brain of the Millennium Falcon – that’s a bit of mythology that feels genuinely additive to every other move that the Falcon has appeared in. But there is one place where the movie gets rightfully slagged, and that’s in the prequel’s need to label every thing. It answers questions no one would ever need to ask, like “Why is Han Solo’s last name Solo?” or “Why does Han call Chewbacca ‘Chewie?”” or “Why doesn’t Lando pronounce Han’s name incorrectly?” I actually find that last one kind of charming, but it is weird how much that flick seems focused on explaining why people use the names they use. Robbie Thompson and Leonard Kirk’s Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet 1 revisits some of these naming moments and ultimately convinces the reader that what we call him doesn’t matter: Han Solo is always gonna Han Solo. Continue reading

What Aphra Deserves in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 25

By Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Every time I read an issue of Star Wars: Doctor Aphra I come away thinking Aphra is a pretty despicable character. After reading Doctor Aphra 25 I found myself wondering if writer Simon Spurrier feels the same. Maybe that’s why, in the final issue of “The Catastrophe Con”, Spurrier provides a of bevy of even-more-despicable characters to favorably compare our girl to. Continue reading

No Heroes in Star Wars Poe Dameron 31

by Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

There’s a letter in the back of the final issue of Star Wars Poe Dameron that questions the disparity between the character we see in the comics and the character we see in Episode VIII. “In The Last Jedi, Poe’s actions show that he is brash and headstrong. During the movie he becomes a great leader.” And that’s true: in deed and in name, he is the Best Pilot in the Galaxy. Writer Charles Soule answers this letter with the following observation: “[Poe] hadn’t really failed to that point.” In The Force Awakens and Star Wars Poe: Dameron, he is still a singular hero. Star Wars: Poe Dameron 31 strips away the narrative myth of the Chosen One, forcing victory by ensemble, by circumstance, and by hope. Continue reading

Vader is a Glutton for Punishment in Darth Vader 20

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The relationship between Anakin Skywalker and Padme Amidala is easily one of the worst parts of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, but it is my favorite part of a Darth Vader comic book. When you remove Hayden Christensen (and George Lucas) from the picture, the emotional weight of the former Skywalker is fairly significant. Such is the case in Charles Soule and Giuseppe Canuncoli’s Darth Vader 20. Continue reading

An Opaque Reflection of Anakin in Darth Vader 19

by Spencer Irwin

Darth Vader 19

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I could easily spend hours listing qualities that make Darth Vader one of media’s most terrifying villains, but one of the most prominent is simply how inscrutable he is. His mask and his voice give away almost nothing about his emotions, his goals, or his thought process, rendering him cold and unknowable — and nothing’s scarier than that. Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli have made excellent use of this attribute in their run on Darth Vader, and issue 19 is no exception. Despite offering up a mirror, an echo of Vader’s former life, in the form of exiled Jedi Eeth Koth, the Sith Lord remains as fascinatingly opaque as ever. Continue reading

Star Wars 52: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Patrick Ehlers

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Michael: In The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader has a score to settle with Luke Skywalker — solely for the reason that he is the rebel who blew up the Death Star. But Luke was only able to take that final shot because Han Solo intervened and blasted Vader’s Tie-Fighter out of the way. It is the dogfight of A New Hope. In Star Wars 52 we get the rematch we never knew we wanted: Han vs. Vader. Continue reading

De-Romanticizing War Stories in Poe Dameron 29

by Patrick Ehlers

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

This arc in Star Wars Poe Dameron has been all about telling war stories: who does it, and why they do it. The answers thus far have been pretty straightforward. Poe tells Rey and Finn what he was up to during The Force Awakens so they can bond over their differing perspectives on a shared experience. It brings them closer together. And Artoo and Beebee honor their fallen droid brothers by recounting the serial number of every robot lost in the attack on Starkiller Base. These are noble war stories, and that’s weirdly consistent with the tone of the original trilogy. For as much as Star Wars was about Vietnam, Lucas perhaps didn’t have the historical perspective to capture the tone or cadence of war stories from that conflict. With Poe Dameron 29, writer Charles Soule taps into a sense of hopeless, confusion and pointlessness, rounding out his list of reasons to tell war stories with one of the hardest explanation out there: because they happened. Continue reading

Star Wars 50: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Patrick: With the conclusion of the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story arc, things are looking up for our heroes. And why wouldn’t they? One of the features of Marvel’s interquel Star Wars series is that we know an awful lot about both the past and future of these characters. There’s a dramatic irony baked into the entire concept of this series. Any time Luke, Han, and Leia are in mortal danger, we can override our fears for their safety by simply remembering that they all live to fight another day. But that’s only half of it, right? We also know that the Rebels are on the run by The Empire Strikes Back. Writer Kieron Gillen and artists Salvador Larroca and Giuseppe Camuncoli use the oversized issue 50 to pivot from inevitable safety to inevitable danger. Continue reading

Doctor Aphra 21 Highlights The User and The Used

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

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I have been constantly struggling with my feelings in regards to the titular Doctor Aphra. Under writer Simon Spurrier, Aphra has become a more Deadpoolian character than she might have been before: riding the line between amusing and despicable. Dastardly villain or loveable rogue? Still uncertain. However Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 21 makes one thing clear: Aphra will do anything to survive. Continue reading

Approaching Old Stories From a New Angle in Poe Dameron 28

by Spencer Irwin

This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The fact that The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately where The Force Awakens left off leaves the Poe Dameron comic in a bit of a tight spot — the Star Wars comics have been mining the fertile ground between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back for decades now, but Poe Dameron doesn’t have that kind of space to work in, instead leaving Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta only tiny blank gaps of backstory to fill in. We here at Retcon Punch have been a bit frustrated by this over the past few issues, generally preferring the sweet, chemistry-filled framing device (a conversation between Poe, Rey, and Finn) to the actual stories it’s being used to tell. Poe Dameron 28, though, finds success by approaching these vignettes from a new angle, building a mystery around who actually is telling the story. Continue reading