A Story Deepened by Shades of Gray in Darth Vader 17

by Spencer Irwin

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

Throughout their run on Darth Vader Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli have created (and/or reintroduced) a fascinating set of supporting and one-off characters, but for my money, the most intriguing is Jedi Master Ferren Barr. Last month Patrick already seemed suspicious of Barr’s methods, and in Darth Vader 17 the creative team doubles down on the shades of gray surrounding Barr. It’s the questions surrounding him and his methods that make Barr so interesting, especially as a Jedi. Continue reading

Star Wars 49: 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: If there’s one part of the Star Wars formula I’ve had the hardest time connecting to on a personal level, it’d have to be the huge battles between spaceships.  Don’t get me wrong: I think the ships look cool, and the Millennium Falcon is so near and dear to my heart that I almost cried during its reveal in The Force Awakens. But there’s something about two factions of cold, gray, lifeless ships zipping through space and shooting blasters at each other that feels remarkably impersonal. With Star Wars 49, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca set out to stage the mother of all space battles at the birth of the Rebel Armada. By linking the ships to the characters, the creators create a sense of emotional continuity that makes this one of the best space ship battles I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Leia is The Great White Savior in Star Wars 48

by Michael DeLaney

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

Science fiction has always been known for its social commentary. Different races of aliens have been stand-ins for all kinds of different cultures and subcultures in the real world. But as much as a show like Star Trek depicted the importance of diversity and inclusion, Captain Kirk was still cast in the role of “The Great White Savior.” Thought it’s not as overt, the ending of Star Wars 48 leaves me with that same uneasy feeling. Continue reading

Doctor Aphra 20: Discussion

by Patrick Ehlers and Mark Mitchell

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

Darth Vader: You are overly fond of talking.
Doctor Aphra: I’m nervous.

-Darth Vader 3

Patrick: Chelli Lona Aphra is a motormouth. She’ll unleash a torrent of words when she’s confident, when she’s nervous, when she’s got something to hide, and when she’s got something to say. It makes it tough to get a read on her, but after 20 issues of her own series and a bunch of appearances in Darth Vader, the reader has the benefit of familiarity. By this point in our journey with her, we sorta know Doctor Aphra. The Imperial chumps trying to probe her for information, on the other hand, don’t stand a chance of untangling the truth. Writer Si Spurrier leverages dramatic irony, both in the form of the reader’s past experiences with Aphra and by contrasting his words with Kev Walker’s art, to dig deeper into the character of Doctor Aphra. Continue reading

Torture Buddies are the Best Buddies in Poe Dameron 27

by Taylor Anderson

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

It’s easy to overlook throughout the Force Awakens and the Last Jedi, but Poe Dameron and Rey (does she have a last?) have spent virtually no time together by the time the latter film ends. That’s kind of odd when you think about how Poe, Rey, and Finn are touted as the next iteration of Luke, Leia, and Han. This being the state of things, however, it makes sense the three of them would have a lot to catch up on. Still, the last issue of “Story Time with Poe and Friends” wasn’t all that great despite it’s apparent need. So does the second issue featuring the same premise fare any better?

Continue reading

The Impact of One Charismatic Figure in Darth Vader 16

by Patrick Ehlers

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

It’s sort of astonishing the impact a single person can have on the course of history. The whole of Star Wars is based on this — the galaxy is shaped by one dude’s unquenchable rage. But that’s clearly the negative side of the equation, right? In the movies, anger-monsters like Darth Vader and Kylo Ren are bested by charismatic onscreen personalities. Han Solo is charming because Harison Ford is. Leia is a compelling figure because Carrie Fisher is. In Darth Vader 16, writer Charles Soule and artist Giuseppe Camuncoli show where that power of personality can come from. Continue reading

Oh, Thank God, C-3PO Still Sucks in Star Wars 47

by Patrick Ehlers

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

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When I was a kid, I hated C-3PO. Hated him. I thought his bumbling antics severely hurt the movies I loved. But something strange happened on my first viewing of The Phantom Menace: I was relieved to see him. Hell, I was excited to see proto-Threepio in Anakin’s bedroom. He was an island of familiarity in a sea of characters that were significantly more annoying. That’s largely how the newest Star Wars movies have been treating Threepio — as a sort of elder statesman of the franchise, commanding respect. Sure, he’s still annoying, but that all stems from his hoity toity affectations. Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Star Wars 47 reminds us that C-3PO sucks, not just superficially, but deep down to his core. Continue reading

Aphra Faces Her Reflection in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 19

By Michael DeLaney

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

It’s often said that “villains are the heroes of their own story.” The most compelling villains are the ones that have a motivation behind their menace other than being evil. There is a gray area between “hero of their own story” and evil maniac however — a place that Doctor Aphra has resided in ever since Kieron Gillen created her. Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 19 suggests that despite her coy demeanor, Aphra might not be so morally ambivalent after all. Continue reading

Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26: Discussion

by Michael DeLaney and Mark Mitchell

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

Michael: Marvel’s Star Wars line of comics were launched on the idea that what happens between the movies behind the scenes are stories worth telling. Surprisingly, many of these stories have been deep, creative chapters in the lives of the characters we know and love, building upon their respective character philosophies. Not every aspect of these characters’ lives shares that amount of depth or insight, however. We spend a lot of our lives sitting around, not doing anything consequential. Unfortunately, the same is true for the heroes of Star Wars: Poe Dameron 26. Continue reading

Sacrifice and the Long Fight in Darth Vader 14

by Spencer Irwin

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

Given how pervasive politics are in our current landscape, it’s no surprise that so much of the media being created nowadays contains political allusions and allegories. Both the allusions and especially the politics themselves can be exhausting at times, but given how dangerous so many political groups are today, getting involved and taking a stand seems absolutely necessary, no matter what the cost. That’s certainly the theme that runs throughout Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s Darth Vader 14, a clear allegory for our fraught modern political times that argues that great sacrifices must be made to fight oppression wherever it rears its face. Continue reading