This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
There’s a letter in the back of the final issue of Star Wars Poe Dameron that questions the disparity between the character we see in the comics and the character we see in Episode VIII. “In The Last Jedi, Poe’s actions show that he is brash and headstrong. During the movie he becomes a great leader.” And that’s true: in deed and in name, he is the Best Pilot in the Galaxy. Writer Charles Soule answers this letter with the following observation: “[Poe] hadn’t really failed to that point.” In The Force Awakens and Star Wars Poe: Dameron, he is still a singular hero. Star Wars: Poe Dameron 31 strips away the narrative myth of the Chosen One, forcing victory by ensemble, by circumstance, and by hope. Continue reading →
This article containers SPOILERS. If you have not read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
The fact that The Last Jedi picks up almost immediately where The Force Awakens left off leaves the Poe Dameron comic in a bit of a tight spot — the Star Wars comics have been mining the fertile ground between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back for decades now, but Poe Dameron doesn’t have that kind of space to work in, instead leaving Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta only tiny blank gaps of backstory to fill in. We here at Retcon Punch have been a bit frustrated by this over the past fewissues, generally preferring the sweet, chemistry-filled framing device (a conversation between Poe, Rey, and Finn) to the actual stories it’s being used to tell. Poe Dameron 28, though, finds success by approaching these vignettes from a new angle, building a mystery around who actually is telling the story. Continue reading →
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 →
Today, Patrick and Spencer discuss Star Wars 18, originally released April 27th, 2016.
Patrick: I’d never really considered it before, but the women of the Star Wars universe — even when they’re the heroes — tend to have the most boring and stressful possible existences. Anakin gets to jump around with a magical laser sword while Amidala has to serve in an Orwellian uber-government. And even when they split up the Skywalker twins, little Luke is sent to his ancestral home world, guarded over by a Jedi Knight, practically guaranteeing him a life of swashbuckling adventure, whereas little Leia is handed off to a political ally so she can spend her days pretending to like her Alderaanian vegetables. While The Force Awakens has started to take steps in the right direction by making Rey adventure incarnate, sometimes it’s not enough to simply fix the problem. With Star Wars 18, Jason Aaron and Leinil Francis Yu go out of their way to put this problem in clear view: the boys goof around and fuck up until the very last second, while the girls take charge and eat shit for 20 pages. The result is an oddly empowering book, that highlights just how badass the ladies the ladies of Star Wars are by emphasizing how inconsequential (and how celebrated) Han and Luke’s adventure are.
Today, Patrick and (guest writer) Elliott are discussing Star Wars 7, originally released July 29th, 2015.
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 →
Today, Patrick and Taylor are discussing Princess Leia 5, originally released July 1st, 2015.
Patrick: Love it or hate it, I’m a Wisconsin boy – born, raised, and educated. It’s a weird culture to grow up in, but it’s an even weirder culture to have to carry with you for the rest of your life. There are some awesome parts of being from Wisconsin, like an enthusiastic beer culture or an emphasis on education or the outdoors. Plus there’s the general air of friendliness that permeates my every visit to the homestead. But man, oh man, there are also a ton of drawbacks to that cultural identity: a meatheaded obsession with sports (specifically, the Green Bay Packers), unhealthy and frequently disgusting cuisine, and a bunch of casual institutionalized racism. And every person I meet is surprised that I’m not some backwoods, smalltown hick. Worse are the negative characteristics I actually take with me wherever I go, like juvenile appetite for dairy products and that irrepressible accent. Throughout the course of Princess Leia, Mark Waid and Terry and Rachel Dodson have presented us with Leia’s cultural identity, and with the final issue boldly declares that being Alderaanian is a powerful thing. Love it and hate it. Continue reading →
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 Warscomic, 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 →
Today, Michael and Patrick are discussing Princess Leia 2, originally released March 18th, 2015.
Michael: Having just started its sixth season, Community is a completely different show from what it was in its first three seasons. Series creator Dan Harmon was fired after season 3, but returned for a 5th and now 6th season. The show has wisely tip-toed around most developments from Season 4, which, for it’s Harmon-less-ness, is universally considered to be the worst season of the series. While Harmon has salvaged some ideas from that season, it is probably best to leave Season 4 alone for the most part, not having its particular stink effect the future storylines too heavily. I’d argue that Disney and Marvel should take the same approach to the dreaded Star Wars prequels. I’m not gonna go on a huge diatribe about why the prequels were bad, the internet is full of such litanies. Listen, I get it. I was 10 years old in 1999; The Phantom Menace was my jam and I played ridiculously hard Star Wars games on PS1 like Jedi Power Battles. But let’s call a spade a spade: the prequel trilogy = not so great. So when examining a book like Princess Leia 2, where our heroine visits her birthmother’s home planet of Naboo, it’s hard not to think of less pleasant experiences in a galaxy far, far away.
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Star Wars 3, originally released March 11th, 2015.
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 →
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 →