Holonet Blast #17

It was a much quieter week on the news front than last week but that’s uhhh good right? Right.

What’s really important right now is that we look at this beautiful SDCC Convention Exclusive version of Inferno Squad by Christie Golden. It’s the same book but with a pretty new cover, endpapers, and the squad logo stamped onto the cover. They’ll also all be signed by the author.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be making grabby hands in the convention’s general direction for the next few weeks. I have an Inferno Squad problem and I don’t care who knows it.

Oh and there were some other SDCC Star Wars exclusives announced including items from Her Universe, Bioworld, ANOVOS, and more. But this is the best one.

Speaking of SDCC, Star Wars won’t have a Hall H panel but they will be present at D23. Expect a behind-the-scenes sort of video instead of a full trailer. (Thanks TFA for giving us a great model to guess by!)

Starting today at 10am Pacific Time, you can watch the new Forces of Destiny series on YouTube. They’ll be releasing a new episode every day until they all air on DisneyXD on Sunday, July 10th. (One day will have double episodes.)

Star Wars also recently announced that Star Wars Rebels Season 3 will be available on Blu-Ray and DVD on August 29th. Our own Matthew Bowers has been doing the Dance of Joy ever since he read the features list and it included five episode commentaries.

And finally, we’d like to extend our congratulations to Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels for their wins at the Saturn Awards!

Review: Poe Dameron #16

As Poe Dameron #16 kicks off, Poe’s still on a freighter that’s about to blow up and the rest of his squadron are in ships with very little fuel. Oh yeah and they’ve still got to get that fuel ship back from the First Order. No biggie.

Something that Charles Soule has done a good job with is something that’s been in the background of the entire book but that this issue really drives home. The Resistance isn’t that well off. It’s almost like they’re back in the early days of the Alliance where every ship, every shipment, and every life matters. In the grand scheme of the Star Wars saga, a mission like this doesn’t seem that important but in the context of the Resistance? It’s vital. It also makes the Resistance feel that much more real.

What this particular issue does very well is highlight the team aspect of Black Squadron. Poe is great and it’s his name on the front of the book but more than a few readers are here for Jess, Karé, and Snap too. More and more, they’re starting to feel like characters who just might have some staying power like the Rogues of old. I can’t decide what’s funnier: Jess’s reputation with he droids or Snap calling Poe Space Crazy multiple times.

Assorted Musings:

  • There’s something about the coloring that’s just very… shiny?
  • Nice to see more women in the First Order
  • Cyborg Terex is disturbing
  • Commander Malarus’ eyebrows are a work of art
  • BB-8 continues to be the real MVP but you all knew that

Poe Dameron #16 is a win both for readers and for Black Squadron but… I don’t think we’ve seen the last of Commander Malarus quite yet. (Good for us. Not so good for Poe.)

Poe Dameron #16: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Doctor Aphra #8

Doctor Aphra #8 brings Screaming Citadel to its end as our heroes defeat the Queen but everyone doesn’t made it out entirely unscathed.

Sometimes, it’s in a good way. Despite being betrayed, Luke seems to emerge from the Screaming Citadel stronger and more sure of his path as a Jedi. He didn’t learn what he thought he would but it’s been a worthwhile experience for him nonetheless. Plus… it’s unlikely he’ll be naively trusting someone like Aphra any time soon. (Sadly, there go my hopes for a Luke/Aphra buddy comedy book and hopefully, there go the ridiculous Luke+Aphra=Rey theories.)

One of the recurring bits of this crossover has been Triple Zero laying down some disturbingly accurate psychoanalysis on some of the ladies. Seriously though… who knew a droid could be obsessed with murder and still have psychoanalysis protocols? This time, it’s Aphra that he’s turned his sights on and she’s not exactly pleased by what he has to say. Can’t really blame her but I also can’t say she’s wrong.

On the art front, this was a book that had three very distinct artistic styles in it and I have to wonder if it would have felt more cohesive if Checchetto had drawn the entire crossover. His style just felt more right for the gothic tone of the story. That said, I certainly enjoyed Andrea Broccardo’s work and I hope he sticks around the Doctor Aphra comics in the future.

Assorted Musings:

  • I doubt the Courtship of Princess Leia shout out was intentional but when you read it, you’ll know it
  • The friendship between Leia, Luke, and Han is pure and we need more of it
  • Sana felt a little inconsistent over the course of the arc but I like how things were left between her and Aphra
  • If anyone still doubts Aphra/Sana were an item after this… I dunno what to tell them.
  • Even when he’s mad, Luke Skywalker is still adorable

While Screaming Citadel didn’t have quite the punch that the previous crossover Vader Down did, it was nevertheless a fun and quirky ride that Doctor Aphra #8 wraps up nicely.

Doctor Aphra #8: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Andrea Broccardo/Art, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Knights of the Old Replay: Dxun and Onderon II

When Kavar calls, the Exile comes running apparently and so we’re on our way back to Dxun so we can then go off to Onderon again. First though, we must *gasp* split the party. Unsurprisingly, the Sith are partially behind General Vaklu’s attempted coup although his own ambitions are certainly helping there. The Exile is left with a decision to make: choose a squad mate to lead some of the crew to deal with the Sith base on Dxun while she leads the attack on Vaklu’s forces on Onderon.

For some reason, I always choose Visas to lead them. I don’t know why but it just feels right. With her this time, I send Mandalore (Kreia approves) and Mira (Kreia seems unimpressed.) Oddly enough, Mira might be the best choice given her ability to walk through mines so she can sneak through there and disable the sensors. The more I think about it, the more Mira seems like one of the only choices to deal with those stupid mines. (So shut it, Kreia.) Once we’re past the sensors, it’s a matter of just cutting through the waves of Sith troops to battle our way into the heart of the base which oh so conveniently happens to be the tomb of Freedon Nadd. Visas gets to continue her light side journey by not falling prey to any of the three dark side temptations within the tomb and also kick some ass along the way. Chalk one up in the success column for Team Dxun. Continue reading

Looking for Leia on Kickstarter

Here at Tosche Station, we’re always happy to see excellent projects that promote women’s involvement in fandom and Looking for Leia is one that most definitely does so. Director Annalise Orphelian aims to tell the stories of the women in the Star Wars fandom through this documentary. In her own words:

LOOKING FOR LEIA is a feature documentary film that explores the phenomenon of Star Wars “fangirls,” women and girls who connect deeply to the galaxy far, far away and are unique in the stereotypically male Nerd arena. The film reaches beyond Princess Leia to look at how female fans have shaped and expanded the Star Wars Universe, and how these stories speak to experiences of gender resilience and resistance. 

We’re featuring an intergenerational and culturally diverse group of female fans, as well as women who are film buffs and cultural scholars, cosplayers and gamers, artists and authors. We’re talking to women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math); women who use Star Wars in the classroom; women whose career path was shaped by Star Wars; women whose love of Star Wars has helped them battle cancer and live with disability and mental illness; mothers, daughters, and sisters in Star Wars families; women who are rebels and royalty, imperials, bounty hunters, and Jedi. Every generation has a Star Wars story, and we’re hearing about the original trilogy, prequels, animated series, comics, Extended Universe/Legends, video games, new trilogy, stand-alone films, and conventions.

The project filmed a little at the Drowning in Moonlight Gala at Celebration and we cannot wait to see what else they’ll do. The Kickstarter is in its final days and still needs your help. You have until 2:59 ET on Saturday, June 24th to back the project and we cannot encourage you enough to do so as it would be a shame if this project doesn’t move forward.

Review: Poe Dameron Annual

Poe Dameron: not having a great day. Or week. Or month. Or however much time it’s been since the last mission. Conversations like this with Leia Organa cannot be fun.

In the Annual, Poe is somehow both Wedge Antilles and also the person that Wedge Antilles is dressing down. It’s really quite admirable and (honestly) probably why so many of us love him. There were even a few panels where Poe looked like a hybrid of Wedge and Janson from the old X-Wing comics. There aren’t many people in the galaxy who have quite the same luck as Poe and Wedge nor who also have the same skill in a starfighter.

The Annual is mostly a solo adventure for Poe and BB-8 as they end up in trouble they didn’t expect. Mostly, the issue feels like an excuse for Poe to learn A Thing and for Nik Virella to draw some truly fantastic facial expressions for both Poe and Leia. You’ve never before seen such an unimpressed eyebrow raise. That alone is worth the price of admission.

In a way, this issue feels like a bit of a callback to The Force Awakens in terms of Poe’s mission. It’s difficult to describe how without spoiling the plot but the vibe is there nonetheless.

The Poe Dameron Annual is a perfectly acceptable story with fun art that makes it worth it.

Poe Dameron Annual: Robbie Thompson/Writer, Nik Virella/Artist, Jordan Boyd/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Editor, Jordan D. White/Supervising Editor

Review: Darth Maul #4

First things first: the cover for this issue by Rafae Albuquerque is drop dead gorgeous especially since the colors of the title complement it.

The tricky thing about a book like this is that it feels like we know how this story must end and the result is that the issues creep towards it as the inevitable doom looms. How else could this possibly go for Jedi Padawan Eldra Kaitis? Darth Maul #4 takes us right up to that moment, leaving it for the final issue but there’s still plenty that happens here. After all, Maul and his bounty hunters have to survive the droves of angry criminals who Xrexus has sent to hunt them down for sport since they stole her Jedi.

The story is split between Cad Bane, Aurra Sing, and the rest attempting to survive and Maul and Eldra doing the same. The former is a good excuse to see Cad and Aurra be badass. The latter is… interesting. It certainly makes you appreciate the doomed Eldra. She’s far braver than many of us would be in what seems like a hopeless situation. Even Maul appears to be impressed. It’s enough to make you dread the (likely) inevitable conclusion next month.

Darth Maul #4 brings the action in its penultimate issue and along with some more Maul food for thought.

Darth Maul #4: Cullen Bunn/Writer, Luke Ross/Artist, Nolan Woodard/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #2

If you’re a big fan of all the clones… you may want to find yourself something to hug before reading this issue. Just saying.

In Darth Vader #2, Vader has his mission but is seemingly freer to define the parameters. This post-Revenge of the Sith story is a different take on the previously assumed aftermath of Order 66 where Vader immediately goes out to hunt down what’s left the of Jedi simply to slaughter them. Now he has a far more singular purpose: find a Jedi, kill them, and corrupt their kyber crystal. His plan? Go to a Jedi Outpost and utilize their still existing records to aide him in his search.

There’s something about this that feels far more personal than Vader hunting lots of Jedi. When he locates a target in the archives, it’s not someone he’s ever (or we the readers have ever) met before. It’s going to be a very deliberate mission and part of the slow, continuous murder of Anakin Skywalker. The slips back from Vader to Anakin are here within the issue if you’re paying attention even as his actions say that he’s trying to be everything that Anakin wasn’t.

I’m unsure whether Charles Soule intended for Vader’s little droid assistant to be snarky or not but I was certainly entertained. It’s one of the few things that can successfully speak up to the Sith and continue existing. It’s also interesting that the most we’ve seen Vader talk in the entire book so far has been to this droid. Gives more meaning to more machine now than man…

Unsurprisingly, Darth Vader #2 stays on target as we get closer and closer to Vader finding a Jedi and a kyber crystal for his lightsaber.

Darth Vader #2: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Knights of the Old Replay: Korriban (Again)

Welcome to Korriban where a mental screwball is the only option on the menu. Much like Dantooine, there’s not much to this particular planet because (unlike Dantooine) everyone’s dead. Sure you have to kill a lot of creepy creatures and Sith Assassins but it’s not like you’ve got  people to talk to. Hell, even the Jedi Master you came to find is already dead thanks to Darth Sleeps-With-Vibroblades. Oh yeah: you have to fight him to and then run away because Kreia says so. It’s uhhh… something. Honestly, this is a planet that’s way more fun if you’re playing dark side because at least you get to see Bastila. Sort of.

It’s also now occurring to me that you probably have to go to Korriban and Dantooine in this game since the basic maps for those planets already existed and they had to rush production. (Or at least that’s my assumption. I’m making things up.) It’s smart but also there’s a reason why these are the two fastest/most boring planets to deal with.

What makes Korriban worth it is the cave. Technically, it’s the tomb of Ludo Kressh but it’s a blatant take on Luke’s Dagobah cave except with 1000% more dialogue. Snark aside, I actually really like the writing in this part of the game and I think doing this planet close to last makes the most sense. The tomb confronts you with both the choices that you’ve made and the choices that have yet to come. It starts with taking you back to when Malak first returned to the Jedi Temple to recruit other Jedi to join him and Revan in fighting the Mandalorians. The next flashback is from a battle on Dxun where lots of soldiers under your command died. I like how the game lets you choose the exposition in regards to why the Exile decided to go fight and to also determine whether or not it was all worth it. It brings up some good questions because the Exile was responsible for (in the course of war) leading people to their deaths and for everything that happened at Malachor V. It’s nice that you don’t have to send the ghost versions of the soldiers to their deaths this time even though they’re totally still dead but all of it still really makes you think about choices and consequences. Continue reading

Review: Star Wars #32

Things aren’t going very well for our heroes (good guys and bad guys alike) at the Screaming Citadel. Not even Triple Zero and Beetee are having fun. In fact, the only person who seems to have maintained her cool is Leia but that probably shouldn’t surprise anyone. This is Leia Organa we’re talking about, after all. The issue’s filled with a plenty of violence and “oh crap oh crap how are we getting out of this?” moments and gives Screaming Citadel that still very Star Wars feeling in this very gothic tale.

What amuses me is how it’s the men who’ve managed to get themselves captured and/or compromised while the ladies (and droids) are the ones out there getting things done. It’s not entirely Luke’s fault that he’s the naïve sort who trusted Aphra but he’s been captured nonetheless. Speaking of Aphra, she’s got some really great moments in this issues; ones that reinforce my desire for her and Luke to have their own on-going buddy comedy series.

Aphra’s the key here for character relationships that I want to see more of. This issue in particular makes Sana seem very antagonistic towards Aphra… or at least more so than usual. Perhaps we could trade one of the Kenobi journal one-shots for a flashback to Sana and Aphra’s relationship that gives a little more context as to why they are the way they are.

Penultimate issues can be odd sometimes because they can leave a reader wondering how on earth everything’s going to get wrapped up in one final issue. Star Wars #32 is no different. It introduces an “oh snap” moment on the very final page and I’m honestly not sure how Kieron Gillen’s going to do this despite having every faith that he will. Despite all of that… I would like that final issue in my hands now. Please.

Star Wars #32: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Clayton Cowles/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor