Tyranny Destroys Expertise in Darth Vader 8

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Authoritarian rule is often the result of resentment toward the professional political class. All it takes is one “outsider” with enough willpower to assume power, and then the common man is freed from the dubious expertise of career politicians. The problem, of course, is that the elimination of political experts leads to brain drain in all other aspects of government, and eventually the loss of all knowledge and expertise. Star Wars Darth Vader 8 shows the tenuous balance between the experts and the tyrants that force their extinction. Continue reading

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Magna Tolvan is Lovable, to a Distracting Degree, in Doctor Aphra 14

by Taylor Anderson

Doctor Aphra 14

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

The great thing about Star Wars comics is that we’re introduced to characters from the extended universe we would never meet otherwise. I mean, Han, Luke, Leia, and Darth are all pretty compelling characters, but forty years worth of stories surrounding them means there isn’t a whole lot left to say about them. Dr. Aphra, then, is a great series in this regard. Aphra herself is a compelling character, but the title is made so much better by the rich cast of characters that surrounds her. However, if these characters lose their charm or act in ways that don’t make sense then there’s not a whole lot for an issue to fall back on save for space battles and explosions.

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There Are No Absolutes in Darth Vader 7

by Taylor Anderson

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

When I generally think about the causes of the fall of the Republic in Star Wars, my mind usually focuses on Palpatine and his meddling in senate affairs in such a way that he was gradually able to secure political power. While that certainly plays a part in the fall, I think we also have to wonder why the Republic was so weak that a single madman could gain solitary control of it in the first place. Certainly, I could point my finger at the Trade Federation or the Techno Union as sowers of unrest in the Republic which led to Palpatine’s rise, but that isn’t it, exactly. No, the reason the Republic fell was due to its crumbling institutions, namely the Jedi Order, which failed to protect and delegate the way it was designed to do. Continue reading

An Ending (of Sorts) in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 12

by Michael DeLaney

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

Ah the finale: the last word a creator has on a particular story before they say goodbye. Some finales are literally the final word on a story, while others leave the door open for future adventures. Doctor Aphra 13 is an example of the latter — Kieron Gillen’s final story with Aphra before passing her on to writer Simon Spurrier. Continue reading

A New and Exciting Adventure for R2-D2 in Star Wars 36

by Mark Mitchell

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

One of the reasons The Simpsons has endured for so many years is its deep bench of characters that can be called up to shoulder the heavy lifting of any particular episode. The Star Wars universe has a similarly diverse and beloved cast, and the Star Wars comic is at its best when it sloughs off any need to be connected to a larger continuity and just concerns itself with featuring the characters we love in new and exciting adventures. Continue reading

Fear as a Motivator in Star Wars: Doctor Aphra 12

by Michael DeLaney

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

Fear is a powerful motivator, especially in the Star Wars universe. After all, Anakin Skywalker’s (misguided) fear of losing his wife transformed him into Darth Vader. In Doctor Aphra 12, the “good” doctor makes a lot of desperate moves in order to avoid one of her great fears: Darth Vader himself. Continue reading

Vader Abandons Emotion in Darth Vader 4

by Patrick Ehlers

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

We’re told that the strength of the Dark Side comes from tapping into one’s emotions. Basically, the more Anakin hates, the more strength he has. Jedi are trained to stomp out their emotions, which makes their control of the force more measured, but also markedly more dispassionate. That’s what makes Luke such an expectedly effective Force user — while he sorta learns from ancient Jedi masters, he’s too old and emotional to keep his feelings in check. He’s like 80% Light Side, with some Dark Side mixed in, just for extra oomph. But why wouldn’t the reverse be true? Darth Vader frequently draws on his rage, his grief and is isolation to make him powerful beyond measure, but it’s ultimately his dispassionate moves that make him most intimidating. Choking an officer to death to make a point? That shit’s calculated, not emotional. In Darth Vader 4, we see where the Sith Lord learns the power of not giving a fuck. Continue reading

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