Dreams of Do-Gooding in Star Wars: Darth Vader 5

by Michael DeLaney

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

The “it was all a dream” storytelling device is often looked down upon as a narrative cheat, which depending on the circumstances might be true. However there are merits to it as well, as we see in Star Wars: Darth Vader 5. Sometimes, asking the question of “what could have been” makes the reality of a situation that much more bitter. Continue reading

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Star Wars 27

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Today, Patrick and Mark are discussing Star Wars 27, originally released January 25th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

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“I’m very conscious of the environments. I try to have at least three environments in a movie and I try to have them as different as possible. And then from movie to movie I try to have them as different as possible. Y’know, in the first movie, we were on a sand thing — it was all a brown kinda color— and in the second one we were in the snow and it was all kinda white, and a green, swampy kinda thing. And third one… what can you do in terms of environments? You have to shoot it somewhere on this earth. Unfortunately, you can’t go somewhere else. So a forest was really the only thing I had left.”

-George Lucas, on Return of the Jedi

Patrick: George Lucas spends a lot of time, energy and imagination developing the settings for his stories. This is actually one of the qualities that — no matter what else slipped in his filmmaking — never suffered in either of his trilogies. Say what you want about The Phantom Menacethe planet Naboo is stunningly realized and presents two completely separate environments and cultures. He’s a designer with a strong sense of place and history. That quality of passive storytelling doesn’t always trickle down into Star Wars games, comics and TV shows (or arguably, into the newer movies), but it’s interesting to see Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca try to capture that same sense of place in Star Wars 27. Continue reading

Star Wars 19 & Obi-Wan and Anakin 5

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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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Huck 5

Today,  Ryan M. and Michael are discussing Huck 5, originally released March 16, 2016.

Ryan M.: One of those maxims that you hear all the time in writing classes is that conflict reveals character. Until a character is tested, you really can’t know who they are. It’s in times of turmoil that people show what they value and what they’re willing to sacrifice. By the same token, the unchallenged winner is under no obligation to show their cards. It’s easy to be invulnerable in victory. Unfortunately, lack of emotional openness does not inspire engagement. Continue reading

Obi-Wan and Anakin 2

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Today, Spencer and Michael are discussing Obi-Wan and Anakin 2, originally released February 3rd, 2016.

Spencer: There’s nothing new under the sun. I don’t believe that’s a concrete truth — every once in a while somebody still trots out an idea that legitimately surprises me — but for the most part, it holds up, and I’m okay with that. A story doesn’t need to be wholly original to succeed. Sometimes they can rely on our previously established affection for the characters, and other times those familiar tropes can be told with new twists or different contexts or in support of deep themes that make them a joy to read regardless of originality. Sadly, I don’t think I can make that argument for Obi-Wan and Anakin 2. There’s nothing in this issue that gets me invested in its very familiar story. Continue reading

Huck 2

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Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Huck 2, originally released December 16, 2015.

Michael: The tale of Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque’s altruistic and gentle giant continues in Huck 2. As scores of people gather outside, Huck has been holed up in his house under the watchful eye of his friendly neighbors. While his neighbors seem content to keep Huck hidden from the potential scorn and judgement of the media, Huck needs to go outside and help people. Because that’s just what Huck does. Huck generously accepts the calls for help then goes out into the world to right these wrongs, with a large group of watchers-by in tow. The issue gives us a little more insight into Huck’s origins, as we are introduced to his (twin?) brother. We are also introduced to a character referred to only as “Mrs. Jones,” who seems to have telepathic powers, perhaps due to Soviet experimentation. Continue reading

Star Wars 7

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Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Elliott are discussing Star Wars 7, originally released July 29th, 2015.

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Patrick: Comic books are the go-to medium for fleshing out stories and characters set up in movies, TV shows and video games. There’s always going to be a Firefly comic or something featuring Lara Croft – and 90% of the time, those series are filling in gaps in the narratives. And those gaps — those times before or after or during the main stories are usually filled with precisely that: more narrative. That’s not fair to comic books as a medium, which move in their own rhythms and will always be compared to the storytelling prowess of the original. We’ve had a ton of conversations on this site about what we even want from these things: Star Wars isn’t just a set of aliens and some colloquialisms about the Kessel Run, it’s the music, the motion, the sound effects, the light, the performances. Star Wars 7 is an interesting issue; it fills in gaps in the narrative we’re already reading, which in and of itself is filling in gaps in a different narrative altogether. But rather than letting the necessarily weak plot drive the issue, writer Jason Aaron imagines what Obi-Wan Kenobi must have felt during his years on Tatooine, and builds a story out from there. Continue reading