Another month, another issue of the ever delightful Poe Dameron book by Charles Soule and Phil Noto! This is the arc of the droids and the backstory and we keep getting more each time so let’s get right to it.
It’s been said before on Tosche Station (probably by me multiple times) but having the Story Group around is going a long way towards Star Wars stealing the “it’s all connected!” tagline from the MCU. (It’s cool. They’re all in the Disney family.) Getting to see the Carrion Spike in this book and having its backstory from Tarkin acknowledged in this issue is just really cool and feels like a neat little reward for fans who read everything. At the same time, fans who only read the comics won’t be left feeling lost.
This issue is, per Charles Soule’s Twiter, the last of the Terex backstory and I have to say that I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. We’ve not only been getting insight to Terex’s earlier days but also the First Order. It makes me curious as to how many other people like Terex (ie: those who are not Imperials who didn’t go into immediate exile together) are a part of the First Order.
Finally, we arrive at the droid part of the plot. (You know… the one that also includes Poe… who this book is about.) Nunzix the droid is hilarious if you’re a fan of droids with sass. I still don’t know how to feel about Threepio the Spymaster because it seems like a spymaster should be better at being subtle but hey! As long as the Resistance gets the information, right?
On the art front, I’d like to publicly thank Phil Noto for drawing that First Order lieutenant with his code cylinders further to the side and upright like back in the days of the Empire instead of in the middle and diagonal like they were in the film. This is much less offensive to the eyes.
Can we have issue #11 yet? I NEED TO KNOW WHO’S THE SPY.
Poe Dameron #10: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
This is, obviously, the much talked about Yoda arc with just a dash of the fall out from the Rebels’ theft of a Star Destroyer thrown in. I’m rather torn, by the way, about how I feel about the use of Obi-Wan’s journal as an excuse to do stories like this. On the one hand, it feels unnecessary and Marvel could very easily get away with just going for it with these stories when they want to. On the other hand, Threepio’s inability to shut up at the start is downright hilarious and Artoo’s devotion to his friend is so sweet. You win some, you lose some?
We haven’t really touched on the Yoda aspect though. His introduction here is neat but I’m still hesitant to see how the meat of the story arc goes. The concept of a planet full of children is uhhhh strange to say the least. However, et me emphasize how glad I am that Marvel found a way to keep Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado in the Star Wars family for a little while longer because daaaaaaaang do they draw a good Yoda! This is such a good artist/colorist team up that I’ve loved for years and I’d honestly love to see them just art their way through the galaxy far, far away.
Also, if Jason Aaron ever wants to write a Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan series, please let him. His Qui-Gon was so perfect that I could actually hear Liam Neeson’s voice in my head while reading some of his lines.
In short, there’s nothing to necessarily dislike here. It’s just a matter of seeing how the rest of the arc goes.
Star Wars #26: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
You just knew when Aphra’s dad showed up that it wasn’t going to be for fun and games. They hardly seem to be a warm and fuzzy family, Boop or no Boop. It turns out that questionable ethics run in the family as Aphra’s Dad has decided to leak to the archaeology board that she cheated on her doctorate entirely because he wants her to help him find the Ordu Aspectu. What happened to them? Well… let’s just say that everyone has their own theory and it’s going to take them to a very unexpected moon.
Doctor Aphra #2 follows up on the fun and adventure of the first issue but this time with more family problems! (Honestly, who doesn’t have family drama in the galaxy far, far away?) This book is definitely a tonal shift from Darth Vader which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just taking a little getting used to especially since we’re finally seeing Aphra deal with her own problems as opposed to Vader’s. Seeing a female character be the star of her own story entirely on her own merits (and not because of who she’s related to) is incredibly refreshing as is seeing a smaller scale story that doesn’t have galactic ramifications.
This is hardly news but Kieron Gillen definitely knows how to end a comic on a cliffhanger that’s going to leave you incredibly anxious for the next issue. Can we have Issue #3 yet? No? On the art front, I’m getting more and more used to seeing our cast drawn by Kev Walker instead of Salvador Larroca. His style is incredibly expressive which works quite well for the arguments between father and daughter.
So how is Doctor Aphra holding up? Pretty darn good so far. You should definitely be reading it!
Doctor Aphra #2: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
How to make yourself finally commit to going through all the omnibuses of a comic you’ve really wanted to read: do a project! I’m glad that I finally went through these because it was definitely a treat! But hey… there are two more story arcs to talk about!
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler
A lot happens in this arc. Like… A LOT. Or rather… maybe it would be more appropriate to say that we learn about a hell of a lot in this arc. Demon, despite not being the actual last arc in these omnibuses, was the last arc in the original KOTOR comic run which lasted 50 issues. If you know comics, you know that’s a solidly respectable run especially for something that’s not creator owned.
All of this, however, is beside the point. It turns out that Rohlan has actually been Demagol since Flashpoint and Demagol is actually Antos Wyrick (aka one of the teachers at the school Jarael attended before she was captured) and the REAL Rohlan has been in a coma in the custody of the Republic who believe that he’s Demagol. Everyone still with me? Good because there were a few minutes while reading where even I got lost. I knew there wasn’t something quite right about Rohlan though! I just knew it. He was too creepy even amongst the other creepy men in Jarael’s life. (I’M LOOKING AT YOU, DARTH SQUIGGLYPANTS.) Continue reading
Do you remember back in the old days how there was a droid that would essentially shut down if you told him to shut up three times? Yeah, I think Threepio could use one of those protocols. (There was more to it than that but you get my point. Make Threepio shut up!) probably about 80% of the bad things that happen in this issue could have been avoided if Threepio had just been quiet. The other 20% rest on someone shooting Terex back during the Battle of Jakku.
Charles Soule promised us backstory for the dastardly Agent Terex and he’s certainly delivering. What remains to be seen is if this is also definitely backstory for the First Order. I’d love to see the behind the scenes coordination going on between Team Poe, Team Aftermath, the Story Group, and anyone else working on the Battle of Jakku because there are so many moving parts for a giant event that we’ve only briefly seen in Lost Stars. Terex is such a great villain that it’s fantastic to see more of his backstory but I’m more fascinated by the origins of the First Order which are increasingly more complex than I’d originally suspected. The flashbacks are my favorite bits of this arc and I can’t wait to see more!
Switching back to the Resistance, I love Phil Noto’s art on this book! Especially for this issue! The planet feels so real and lived in and is a really great visual tieback to The Force Awakens. It’s a nice reminder of how close in time this comic is to the film. Shout out the Guavian Death Gang! (I wish them no luck on their hunt for hunt for Han Solo.)
Poe Dameron #9 is a solid issue overall but undoubtedly worth it because of the spotlight on Agent Terex regardless of whose name is on the cover.
Poe Dameron #9: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Back when I first started this project, I thought that I’d read through most of these comics way back in the day. Turns out I was definitely wrong because I’ve remembered absolutely nothing since they took down the crazy cabal and even some from before that. (I may have been a little bit rubbish about keeping up with and reading Star Wars comics back in my younger days.) But hey! That’s part of what makes this project fun! I’m getting to experience stuff that’s both brand new and stuff that I know like the back of my hand.
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Dean Zachary, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler
Faithful Execution does a lot to reset the board, so to speak. Actually, I feel like it does even more to do so than Prophet Motive did and Dean Zachary’s art has a lot to do with that since it’s so visually distinctive from the other work we’ve seen in this book. It’s a relatively small-scale murder mystery story but it does a lot to reup the overall story’s intrigue. Now I really want to know more about Zayne’s vacation and what the heck is going on with Jarael.
More importantly though… someone needs to give Elbee a hug.
It’s finally here! Dr. Aphra #1! Okay, so we’ve only been waiting for a month and a half but it’s felt like forever. No longer in Darth Vader’s service, Aphra, her two murderdroids, and Black Krrsantan are back to their usual thing: finding and selling ancient artifacts for a profit with a side of violence. Except there’s one problem: her doctorate’s been revoked and now she can’t sells her loot for the usual high prices.
Dr. Aphra #1 is our first real chance (outside of her introduction in Darth Vader #3) to really get to see Aphra going after what Aphra wants. I love that this book immediately reminds us that she’s not one of those rogues with a heart of gold. She straight up kills a man and isn’t particularly torn up about it. (Hey, he had a thing that she wanted!) I’m glad that it’s Kieron Gillen still at the writing helm because that means we’re getting the definitive Aphra and Aphra backstory just as he always imagined her. I don’t think I’d trust anyone else to write her quite yet even though we still run the risk of her, you know, dying. Because it’s Gillen.
On the art front, Kev Walker takes over for this new book but we do get a taste of Salvador Larroca via the short story at the end. Adding a little something extra has been Marvel’s MO for first issues. It’s a nice nod to their previous collaboration and while I dig Larroca’s work, it’s nice to get a distinctly different style for this book. Thus far, I’m definitely a fan of Walker’s more comic booky style.
There weren’t a ton of surprises in this first issue. They mostly cover what we’ve already learned in interviews and solicits but it does very nicely introduce Team Aphra to new readers. In other words, it’s very much a first issue but I’m honestly so glad to be reading about her again that it could’ve been 22 pages of nothing but Aphra ordering drinks in a cantina and I would’ve been content. That said, I can’t emphasize enough how excited I am to see where this book goes. After all, we can’t have a Dr. Aphra book if Aphra doesn’t have a doctorate… right?
In case it wasn’t clear yet… yeah. Dr. Aphra #1 gets my whole hearted endorsement. Go snag yourself a copy.
Dr. Aphra #1: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Editor/Jordan White, Assistant Editor: Heather Antos
This week? This week is a good week because we get Dr. Aphra #1.
Aphra’s been a lot of firsts since we initially met her in Darth Vader #3 in March 2015. She was the first significant new character we met in the Star Wars comics. She was one of the first (alongside Sabine Wren) Asian characters to have a leading role in the Star Wars universe. And Wednesday? She’s going to be the first female character to get a Star Wars ongoing title and one of the first characters unaffiliated with the films or TV shows to headline her own comic or book.
Short version? She’s a big freaking deal.
(And not just because she survived a Kieron Gillen book which is really admirable on its own.) Continue reading
In a shocking turn of events, it’s looking like the Star Wars Annuals might actually be Annual! I hope that they continue to be (and that they continue to be standalone stories with characters who appear in the book later.)
Excitingly, we get to add another woman to the list of female creators for Star Wars as Kelly Thompson takes on writing duties. Marvel fans will know her from A-Force and she’s a great pick for a story that centers around two women. The story centers around Pash Davane (aka Bash) who used to be an underwater engineer but is now stuck lugging around crates. She’s not terribly fond of the Rebellion and yet she still finds herself helping the one and only Princess Leia out of a very tight corner. For some reason.
Thompson tells a fun and engaging story that gives us a better idea of how the normal person might see the war between the Rebellion and the Empire. That’s something that Star Wars in general has been striving to do more of with the new canon and I like it. Pash is likeable and believable. Thompson also rights a pretty darn decent Leia. I’d definitely be interested to see more of her Star Wars work.
Unfortunately, I have mixed thoughts on Emilio Laizo’s artwork. While I love that Pash breaks away from the standard one female body types and that she actually looks like a big, muscular woman, Leia’s tragically subjected to a few too many awkward poses that are clearly intended to be sexy. It stands out just a little too much especially in comparison to the rest of the art on the Star Wars line. On the other hand, it’s wonderful to see Rachelle Rosenberg doing colors on a Star Wars book again though! Her work on Legacy Volume 2 was lovely and continues to be so here.
But hey! There’s a nice little nod to Firefly on the very first page which is always fun and there are even art cameos by the esteemed editors of this book. How can you not appreciate this book just for those?
Star Wars Annual #2: Kelly Thompson/Writer, Emilio Laiso/Artist, Rachelle Rosenberg/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Editor/Jordan White, Assistant Editor: Heather Antos
One of the fun things about doing this retrospective is that a creator just might pop his head up with some commentary. Last post, I mentioned that Days of Fear/Nights of Anger felt like one big story. Turns out that they are! Those two arcs plus the first two I’m covering in this post are just all one big story split into bite sized chunks for the retailers. (Thank you to the esteemed John Jackson Miller for this insight!) It’s a shame that the entire story couldn’t be in the same omnibus but that’s the way of comics, I suppose.
Daze of Hate
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Bong Dazo, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler
I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not ship Alek and Jarael I will not— damnit. Here’s the thing: I’m fairly sure that I didn’t have any strong, ship feelings about these two when I first read this comic. I don’t know what changed now unless JJM has some magical ability to go back in time after making me fall for Hera/Kanan to make me fall for another ship? (I used to live such a happy ship-free life, kids.)