Is the Lead Enough in Doctor Aphra 9?

by Ryan Desaulniers

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

When Doctor Chelli Aphra came onto the pages of Star Wars comics, the character intrigued me. Anyone who can be Vader’s servant and still walk out alive must be a worthwhile addition to the universe, and her rivalry with Leia in the “Rebel Jail” storyline cemented her for me as one to watch. But as we move through her solo title, I’m beginning to wonder how much faith is being placed in her character to carry this series without other big name-stays in the SW canon. Continue reading

Unknowability is a Strength in Star Wars: Darth Vader 3

by Mark Mitchell

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

Last month when discussing Darth Vader 2, I counted the fact that Darth Vader largely remains a cipher in his own series as a core weakness in Charles Soule’s story, but with Darth Vader 3 I think I have it all wrong. It’s still true that readers looking for a deep, complex shading of Darth Vader won’t find it here, but really, who wants that in the first place? The Prequels were predicated on the audiences’ interest in “understanding” Darth Vader, and those were terrible. The world already has enough context for Vader’s actions thanks to years and years of pop culture indoctrination. Darth Vader as a mostly silent, imposing villain is optimal Darth Vader. It’s the difference between original Halloween Michael Meyers and reinvented Rob Zombie-era Halloween Michael Meyers. Continue reading

A Post-Order 66 Universe is Fleshed Out in Star Wars: Darth Vader 2

by Mark Mitchell

Darth Vader 2

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

I’m not quite sure what to make of this new Darth Vader series yet, especially after an issue like Star Wars: Darth Vader 2, which indicates very little interest in the titular character himself. Like the first issue and its reveal of some previously un-seen optical lens settings in Vader’s helmet, it’s the details around the main Vader story that make reading worthwhile — albeit heavily dependent on your interest in the minutia of the Star Wars universe. Continue reading

Star Wars 19 & Obi-Wan and Anakin 5

star wars roundup6

Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Star Wars 19 and Obi-Wan & Anakin 5, originally released May 25th, 2016.

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Star Wars 19

Star Wars 19Michael: In past write-ups, I’ve argued that nothing truly significant can happen to our band of Rebels in the pages of Star Wars, since they are bound to the canon of both the preceding and following films. What the Star Wars comics can do, however, is serve as a study of any given character from the original Star Wars film. Leia isn’t necessarily a damsel in distress in the original trilogy, but she does often play second fiddle to the likes of Luke or Han. Star Wars 19 is the finale of the “Rebel Jail” arc, which has highlighted Leia’s strength and resolve as both a hero and leader.

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Star Wars Round-Up: Issues Released 1/6/16

star wars roundup5

Vader Down is comes to an explosive conclusion! If they can publish two at once, we can discuss two at once… or, you know, one immediately after the other. Today, Taylor and Patrick discuss Star Wars 14 and Darth Vader 15.
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Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire 1

Shattered empire 1

Today, Patrick and Andy are discussing Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire 1, originally released September 9th, 2015

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“Star Wars is the saga of good vs. evil, divided into nine parts.”

-George Lucas, 1994

“It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime.”

-George Lucas, 2012

Patrick: George Lucas’ original Star Wars trilogy is heavily influenced by just about every archetype-establishing institution in the book: westerns, serials, samurai stories, myths. They are clear stories of good vs. evil, strictly adhering to tenants of Joseph Campbell’s Hero With A Thousand Faces. In 1977, that made those films the sum total of popular fiction to that point – a perfect distillation of the hero triumphing over forces of darkness. That’s an over simplification, of course: Taxi Driver came out the year before A New Hope, after all. But what Lucas did so well in his original film was channeling the simple, clear morality of popular fiction. Almost 40 years later and morality in popular fiction isn’t so clear – neither is the morality of war. Breaking Bad, The Sopranos, Mad Men, Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, two different Gulf Wars – today’s storytellers have a different responsibility to their audience than Lucas did. Greg Rucka and Marco Checchetto’s Shattered Empire embraces this shift, focusing more on the insane fog of war surrounding the bit-players that supported the main heroes of the original trilogy. Continue reading

Star Wars 4

star wars 4

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 Wars comic, 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

Star Wars 3

Alternating Currents: Star Wars 3, Drew and Patrick

Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Star Wars 3, originally released March 11th, 2015.

the treachery of images

Drew: Ah, The Treachery of Images. I remember chuckling mildly at Magritte’s pedanthood when he insisted that it really isn’t a pipe — it’s a picture of a pipe — but I think the painting is actually much more clever than it initially seems. That anyone would be given pause by a painting of a pipe insisting it is not a pipe speaks to some of our most basic assumptions about art. Indeed, that we’re confronted with the fact that a picture of a pipe is not a pipe forces us to question what it means for something to be a pipe. Clearly, it’s not just a matter of looking like a pipe, so some element of pipe-iness is lost in the translation. As Marvel’s new Star Wars series marches on, I find myself wondering if some piece of what makes Star Wars Star Wars isn’t also lost in the translation to comics. Continue reading

Princess Leia 1

princess leia 1

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Princess Leia 1, originally released March 4th, 2015.

Taylor: The Empire Strikes Back features a memorable scene where Han and Leia share their first kiss. The scene is a gem, with both of them behaving in such a manner so essential to their characters that they (and the audience) can’t resist each other. Han is charming, smooth talking, and a little sleazy. Leia, on the other hand, is cool, distant, and fiercely independent. Looking at this scene, you can’t help but recognize that this is who Leia is. Even though we know passion burns hotly underneath her cool exterior, she’s never one to give away her true feelings. Princess Leia 1 picks up on these characteristics and fleshes out not only one of cinema’s most famous heroines, but also fleshes out Star Wars at the same time. Continue reading

Darth Vader 1

darth vader 1

Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Darth Vader 1 originally released February 11th, 2015.

Taylor: When I was in second grade the fire department came to my school to give us a demonstration about what to do in a fire. The coolest part about this, aside from getting out of class, was that they brought a trailer with a fake house that simulated what it would be like to be in a house that was ablaze. During the lecture before we went in, they said we should know never to fear a firefighter in this or any other house. They continued, saying that a lot of kids get scared of fire fighters in full garb because they sound and look like Darth Vader given their oxygen tanks and mask. I distinctly remember this because it made so much sense. Darth Vader was serious business and I could see why kids might be scared of a fire fighter that resembled him. But can you imagine this line working on kids today? With the passage of time (and prequels) the myth of Vader has faded, and so too has his fearsome facade. Issue 1 of Marvel’s Darth Vader has me wondering, will he ever get that fearsomeness back? Continue reading