Today, Taylor and Mark are discussing Star Wars 31, originally released May 17th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: The movie Crimson Peak, directed by the well-known and visually gifted Guillermo del Toro, received lukewarm reviews when it first came out. Its lackluster reception is understandable because the movie never truly reaches the heights of horror everyone was expecting it too. That, paired with a story that never truly paid off, doomed it to mediocrity. However, the movie does look impressive, and it nails the pace of a true Gothic horror story quite well, making it all the more disappointing that it didn’t pan out in the end — del Toro had the hard part complete already. Setting a pace for a Gothic story is difficult because it requires a delicate control to the narrative forward, almost at an achingly slow pace to build tension. If only del Toro had paired with Jason Aaron on writing Star Wars 31, we might have the perfect Gothic inspired issue.
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel 1, originally released May 10th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Michael:Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel 1 kicks off Marvel’s latest Star Wars crossover starring Luke Skywalker and Doctor Aphra. The extra-long one-shot issue has an ominous ending that definitely earns its horror genre-inspired title. In short, Kieron Gillen and Marco Checchetto seem to be prepping us for what could arguably be called “The Star Wars Vampire Diaries.” Maybe not — I’ve never watched that show — but it has vampires in it, right?
Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Dr. Aphra 6, originally released April 12th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Patrick: Most every Star Wars comic book, movie, video game or TV show is going to have to wrestle with history. The franchise has been culturally relevant for so long that every new experience in this universe is going to draw comparison to the various media that came before. On top of that, history is an inherent part of the narrative: characters grow up the echoes of a great civil war and among the ruins of galaxy-spanning republic. So characters, creators and audiences must show a certain reverence for that history. All characters, that is, except for Doctor Aphra, who’s familiarity with that history breeds boredom. Rather than reveling in what has come before, Kieron Gillen and Kev Walker’s Doctor Aphra 6 looks aggressively, persistently, forward. Continue reading →
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Dr. Aphra 5, originally released March 8th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: When I was young I didn’t want to be a firefighter or sports-star the way a lot of other boys did. Instead, I dreamt of becoming either a paleontologist or archaeologist. While I have to admit Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones played a role in this desire, I was also drawn to the sheer mystery of studying long gone civilizations and animals. There’s something incredibly tantalizing when confronted with ruins or fossils: they speak of a once great culture or animal that has collapsed and left behind only echoes of its stories. Before reading Dr.Aphra,I had never really considered that the Star Wars universe a place full of such mystery, but as issue 5 shows, not only is Star Wars capable of this, but it can excel at it, too.
Today, Taylor and Michael are discussing Dr. Aphra 1, originally released December 7th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Last month the outstanding Darth Vader series penned by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca wrapped up after 25 stellar issues. In its short run Darth Vader skillfully contributed to the myth of its titular character in a way that previous Star Wars titles couldn’t quite pull off. But for all the fantastic work done on the character of Vader, what really stands out about the series is the creation of so many interesting and fully realized ancillary characters. Of these, Vader’s hired accomplice Doctor Aphra stands out as one of the most interesting, and so she is getting a chance to lead her own series. With the always entertaining Triple-Zero and Beetee in tow can this series possibly live up to the story that spawned it?
Today, Michael and Taylor are discussing Star Wars 19 and Obi-Wan & Anakin 5, originally released May 25th, 2016.
Star Wars 19
Michael: 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.
Today, Taylor and Michael are describing Darth Vader 17, originally released March 2nd, 2016.
Taylor: Part of Darth Vader’s mystique is that he’s a loner. He’s solitary, unknowable, and ultimately dangerous to those who both know and don’t know him. This penchant for solitude is part of what makes Vader fearsome. There are few people in the universe who can take on entire platoons of soldiers alone and emerge victorious, but Vader is one of them. Pair this with his basic distrust of just about everyone and everything and it’s no wonder the galaxy fears him. He is ultimately unknowable and what people can’t know they necessarily fear. In his black robes, Vader is essentially the embodiment of black hole: he can’t be known, he destroys all that come close to him, and ultimately he is misunderstood. Issue 17 of Darth Vader explores its titular character’s isolation and shows us how that is both the source of his downfall and ultimate redemption. Continue reading →
Today, Michael and Taylor are describing Darth Vader 16, originally released February 10th, 2016.
Michael: I think that Darth Vader is the favorite among the other Star Wars titles (at least at Retcon Punch) because it is chock-full of dramatic moments and nuanced characters. The power struggles and political battles of Darth Vader are somewhat reminiscent to a show like House of Cards. Darth Vader 16 is kind of a lull in the ongoing narrative that focuses on the particulars of the power struggles that Vader encounters.