No Heroes in Star Wars Poe Dameron 31

by Patrick Ehlers

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

Star Wars 50: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

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

Patrick: With the conclusion of the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story arc, things are looking up for our heroes. And why wouldn’t they? One of the features of Marvel’s interquel Star Wars series is that we know an awful lot about both the past and future of these characters. There’s a dramatic irony baked into the entire concept of this series. Any time Luke, Han, and Leia are in mortal danger, we can override our fears for their safety by simply remembering that they all live to fight another day. But that’s only half of it, right? We also know that the Rebels are on the run by The Empire Strikes Back. Writer Kieron Gillen and artists Salvador Larroca and Giuseppe Camuncoli use the oversized issue 50 to pivot from inevitable safety to inevitable danger. Continue reading

Approaching Old Stories From a New Angle in Poe Dameron 28

by Spencer Irwin

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 few issues, 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

Star Wars 49: Discussion

By Patrick Ehlers and Taylor Anderson

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

Patrick: If there’s one part of the Star Wars formula I’ve had the hardest time connecting to on a personal level, it’d have to be the huge battles between spaceships.  Don’t get me wrong: I think the ships look cool, and the Millennium Falcon is so near and dear to my heart that I almost cried during its reveal in The Force Awakens. But there’s something about two factions of cold, gray, lifeless ships zipping through space and shooting blasters at each other that feels remarkably impersonal. With Star Wars 49, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca set out to stage the mother of all space battles at the birth of the Rebel Armada. By linking the ships to the characters, the creators create a sense of emotional continuity that makes this one of the best space ship battles I’ve ever seen. Continue reading

Black Panther 1: Discussion

by Taylor Anderson and Michael DeLaney

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

Taylor: The other day I was in a tabletop game store and played a great game called “Clank!” It was so fun that I ended up buying it, but not before having to choose between the original version, set in a typical fantasy setting, and another version set in space. I went with the original because it suits the game better, but it reminded me that I’m a sucker for anything re-imagined in space. That being said, I was super excited to learn about a new Black Panther series set in outer-space and am delighted to say that after reading the first issue, it doesn’t disappoint. Continue reading

Star Wars 45: Discussion

By Taylor Anderson and Mark Mitchell

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

Taylor: Being a Star Wars fan who grew up with, and only with, the original trilogy, I would consider myself fairly protective of the movies which have spawned a pop-culture empire. This being the case, you might expect that I would hold the new movies to a high standard of excellence since I wouldn’t want their history besmirched. It turns out that the opposite is true. I’ve come to accept that nothing’s going to replicate my love of the original trilogy and that’s OK. That being said, as long as a Star Wars story is decent, I’m pretty happy just to get to spend more time in a galaxy far, far away. Sadly, this can’t be said for all Star Wars stories, which is the case in Star Wars 45.

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Doctor Aphra 16 Finally Lets Aphra’s Queer Flag Fly

by Mark Mitchell

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

Hey, what’dya know, actual queer people in Star Wars. Continue reading

Star Wars: Storms of Crait 1 Is More Than Just Trivia

by Spencer Irwin

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

Thanks to decades of supplemental material, there’s almost nothing that’s gone unexplained in the Star Wars universe — even the most minor, insignificant of characters tend to end up with extensive backstories. This can be fun trivia, but I often find myself rolling my eyes whenever I see another story that exists just to explain something that didn’t really need explaining. At first, Star Wars: Storms of Crait appears to be just that kind of story, but thankfully, it transcends those origins to become something far more entertaining. Continue reading

The Complexity of Magna Tolva in Doctor Aphra 15

by Taylor Anderson

Star Wars Doctor Aphra 15

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

A lot of the time when I think about what makes Star Wars so much fun I think about the memorable characters. Darth Vader is the perfect villain, Han is the archetypical anti-hero, and Leia is the strong willed leader who won’t let herself or others fail. While all these characters are great, I have to admit that in many ways they’re pretty flat characters. Sure, you can argue that Leia, Han, and Vader all undergo a journey and gradually change, but none of them undergo a transformation that literally changes who they are. What I’m getting at here, is that Star Wars is sorely lacking in complex characters. It is for this reason, however, that Magna Tolva is such a welcome addition to the universe.  Continue reading

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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