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 →
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 →
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, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 25, originally released October 12th,2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.
Taylor: Darth Vader stands alone in pop culture. He is at once terrifying and relatable, a killer and a loving father, a villain and a hero. Perhaps the reason for his enduring popularity is that Vader cannot be defined by one singular trait. Like every human, he changes over time, is sometime good and sometimes evil, and is all too fallible. Ultimately this is what makes him a character that is uniquely memorable. Despite controlling an ancient mystical power, using a sword made of pure energy, and conquering the known universe, what makes him an essential character is the simple fact that he changes. In the final issue of this amazing run, Darth Vader explains once and for all why there is such a big change in the Lord of the Sith between Episode IV and Episode V in wonderful fashion.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 21, originally released June 8th, 2015.
Taylor: One of the things film geeks have come to appreciate about Episode IV is the way George Lucas incorporated techniques pioneered by Japanese director and genius Akira Kurosawa into his movie. In particular, Lucas draws from Kurosawa’s most famous film, the Seven Samurai, which was eventually remade for American audiences as the Magnificent Seven. That Star Wars would be so closely related to a film about cowboys shouldn’t come as a surprise. In many ways, Luke and Han are heroic space cowboys fighting the their way across the open plains of the universe, battling against those who would oppress their freedom. Darth Vader 21 returns Star Wars to this western and in so doing cleverly inverts my assumptions about the motif in fun and new ways.
Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Darth Vader 20, originally released May 11th, 2015.
Taylor: The old adage goes that silence golden. If nothing else, being a middle school teacher has taught me that this is true. Don’t get me wrong: I love it when kids talk and discuss in class, but the only time I’m not with a room full of kids during the day is my 20 minute lunch break. More than even my lunch, what I treasure about the my break is the beautiful silence. No kids yelling, no scuffing shoes, and no one to interrupt me. Point is, silence is golden. In monthlies, it’s clear that authors often feel the need to pack in as much information as possible. Reasons abound for this and the place to discuss that isn’t here. However, I quiet moment in a monthly is such rare thing. Darth Vader 20, on the other hand, has mastered the use of the pregnant pause, to great effect.
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.