It’s hardly a secret that this Yoda story arc hasn’t really been doing it for me but after finally reaching the end with this issue? I think it’s safe to call it. I did not like this story arc and find it to be very skippable. I did not care for it and honestly, it’s nice that it doesn’t really tie into the main story too much. If this sort of story was your cup of tea? That’s great and I’m very glad that you enjoyed this arc. I did not.
As I’ve said in a past issue review, the journal framing device felt clunky especially when you realize that Obi-Wan never identifies Yoda by name so we can just barely cling to Luke’s confused ‘Yoda?’ line when he’s freezing to death. I also didn’t care for how Larroca drew Luke in this issue. It felt off.
And so there you have it, folks. A Star Wars comic from Marvel’s new run that I just did not like. It was bound to happen eventually, I guess?
Star Wars #30: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
As suspected, Darth Maul #2 is where the fun begins. Even though Maul is supposed to go nowhere near the Jedi, he heads off after the Xrexus Cartel who’ve captured a Jedi Padawan and are auctioning her off to the highest bidder. Since he has to be stealthy about it, he hires a team of bounty hunters (including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing) to assist him on his mission. What could possibly go wrong?
One thing that I really like about this book is how Maul feels more like the Maul we met in The Phantom Menace as opposed to the Maul we see in The Clone Wars. In other words… he doesn’t talk a whole lot. Internally monologue? Sure. Verbally chatter? Nah. The addition of the bounty hunters definitely helps the book out so we can get out of Maul’s head a little bit more. Heck, I’m actually even really enjoying Cad Bane in the book so far and I was never terribly fond of him during The Clone Wars.
It’s worth reiterating that Luke Ross and Nolan Woodward on art are a great combination for this book. I’m particularly fond of their larger crowd scenes since it looks like Ross had a ton of fun picking a plethora of aliens to include. It’s little things like that which help a book feel very Star Wars.
The verdict? Darth Maul’s not just a book for fans of the Sith Lord but definitely also a good book for fans of bounty hunters.
Darth Maul #2: Cullen Bunn/Writer, Luke Ross/Artist, Nolan Woodard/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Poe Dameron: Still in a lot of trouble
Poe Dameron: Friend to droids everywhere
Poe Dameron: Making all this madness look gooooood
Those are just three of the taglines I’m considering for this month’s issue of Poe Dameron. Also in the running are “We don’t deserve these droids” and “Why didn’t we get to see BB-8 hanging out with Chopper on the page since that clearly happened at some point?”
Speaking of droids, BB-8 may continue to be the best and a delight but Threepio really comes in with a clutch move this issue. I rag on him a lot but, well, Leia made him her spymaster for a reason. He has his uses for more than just bantering with Artoo and driving those around him insane. Way to go, Goldenrod! On a related note, all of BB-8’s beeps and boops this issue are particularly fun and delightful especially when he’s *ahem* taking a cue from Chopper in terms of being a good droid teammate. Honestly, the droids really are the MVPs this issue. The timing is ironic given the most recent Rebels episode.
The issue has a bit of a chaotic feel to it but that’s a good thing as everything is rapidly coming to its conclusion. Honestly, I’m not sure that Terex is going to make it out alive and I’m a bit worried about Oddy. Heck, I’d be worried about Poe too if we didn’t know he makes it to Jakku. (It’s totally fine if N1-ZX gets disintegrated though.)
I am absolutely looking forward to seeing how this arc ends! It’ll be such a lovely post-Celebration present for those of us attending.
Poe Dameron #12: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Only a few items of note this week, so let’s get to them!
OMAR JOINS HAN
Michael Kenneth Williams, perhaps best known as Omar on The Wire, has joined the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film! That’s literally all we know; no character hints whatsoever. Seems like LFL is at least starting to get the “wow, that’s a lot of white folks” memo, though. Faster than Marvel is, at any rate. (Source)
You know a comic’s doing something right when my first reaction as I read the final pages is, “Oh. Oh this is so cool.” And that, my friends, is exactly what I said at the end of this issue of Doctor Aphra because oh wow do they give us what’s going to be a really neat thing to face in the next issue. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you what it was, did you?)
What undoubtedly helps the cool factor are Antonio Fabela’s colors. Much of the issue has a green wash to it as the Aphras explore the citadel of Ordu-Aspectu. The overall effect is that it’s eerie yet awesome. It’s interesting to hear Papa Aphra refer to what we think of as the Jedi Order as being Orthodox Jedi even as we get to learn more about different groups of Force users. After all, it’s a big galaxy.
At the heart of this issue though are Aphra, her father, and all of their family issues. It turns out that being trapped somewhere with Imperials on their way to kill you makes for a great time to get some things off your chest. That sentence may sound sarcastic but for Aphra, it totally works. She also has a point that her father doesn’t really know her or what she may or may not be capable of. Working so closely with Vader has a way of changing people… in ways that others might not like…
I know I said this last time about this issue but… oh man, can we please have Issue #6 already? I need to know more about and what happens with the really cool thing. Like… now please?
Doctor Aphra #5: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
This is the arc that just will not end and honestly, I’m out of things to say about it. I’ve been out of things to say. Luke continues to read Kenobi’s journal and its story about how Yoda went to this weird planet and now Yoda’s communing with a mountain that’s not actually a mountain. Honestly, I’d be far more interested in this story if it had been a two or three issue arc and even then, I’m anxious to get back to our main story at this point. Five issues is feeling a little much.
I mentioned in my review last time that the Luke reading this Yoda story in Ben’s journal felt a little clunky as a framing device and while that still holds true, the purpose is revealed here as Luke impulsively flies to the planet in question. It’s very Skywalker of him and admitted, I’m mildly interested to see what happens.
Overall though? This arc still gets one giant shrug from me. Maybe I’ll have more to say next issue.
Star Wars #29: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Okay can we please start by discussing how drop dead gorgeous this cover is? Phil Noto is rarely anything but excellent but this is another level. I want this framed on my wall.
But about the actual content of the issue… Oh Terex. You’re certainly not going to win First Order Officer of the year and frankly, I’m increasingly concerned about your contining existence. (It’s shocking that Phasma hasn’t broken his spine already.) That said, Charles Soule is presenting us with an interesting comparison with our two sides. Leia formed the Resistance because the New Republic was blind to the threat and now Terex is using his own private army to strike against the Resistance because the First Order can’t. It’s a thought-provoking contrast especially since the First Order is so focused on….uhhh…order. It’s surprising that they’d bring Terex in at all and now that he’s in and pushing back so strongly against Phasma… how long will he stay a part of the First Order especially if he loses to Poe?
We still don’t know who the spy is for sure and it’s driving me insane! While Poe comes to the same conclusion that I did several issues ago, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a twist. This is comics: there’s always a twist and I can’t wait to read what it is.
Sidebar: If someone doesn’t pull together a Lord-General of the Rancs of Kaddak cotsume soon, I’m going to be very disappointed.
Poe Dameron #11: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
My favorite new comic continues today and uhhh yeah. It’s not looking great for Team Aphra. (It’ll be fine! It’s only issue #4 of an ongoing series, after all.)
Surprisingly, while Aphra continues to be awesome, she wasn’t my favorite part of this issue. That honor goes instead to our antagonist. Despite debuting so recently, Captain Tolvan is already turning out to be a lovely surprise and seems to be a character who’ll be sticking around for a little while. She’s good but she’s not perfect and, were this her story, she’d be working through a personal redemption arc. On a related note, it seems that Marvel’s previous references to events in Rogue One weren’t throwaway lines and I sincerely hope we get more of this.
I mentioned this during the last review but I sincerely love that this is first and foremost the story of a rogue archaeologist that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. It gives the book such a distinct feel from any other Star Wars stories we’ve gotten in recent memory. There are familiar locations and characters of course but it all just feels so fresh. I’m almost as invested in finding the Ordu Aspectu as Papa Aphra is. (Side Note: Does anyone else think of Wesley the Rogue Demon Hunter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer every time they read the opening scroll? No? Just Me? Okay never mind.)
Actually, I take back what I said earlier. My favorite part of the issue is a panel of the murderbots a few pages in because it made me laugh so damn hard. I won’t spoil it for you but I promise you’ll know it when you see it.
Doctor Aphra continues to get a “hell yeah!” from me and I would really like Issue #5 in my hands already, please and thank you.
Doctor Aphra #4: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Maul is one of those characters where it seems like most people either love him or can’t stand him anymore. I personally fall into the second category mostly because I don’t know why he keeps not dying. But hey! A pre-TPM story about him? Count me as intrigued.
Darth Maul #1 is a lot of character building and plot set up. There’s a lot of time spent in Maul’s head and uhhh… spoilers: he’s kinda violent. At times, it felt like a little bit too much especially given that we don’t even hear about this padawan from the solicits until the last few pages but bigger fans of the character will likely really dig it. Personally, I loved getting to see Maul take on a rathtar. It’s a nice blending of the eras and besides, it’s not like Maul doesn’t have a fine tradition of taking on aliens who originally hail from much further down the timeline. One of the places where the issue fell short for me was with Palpatine. That’s not really a mark against the book and Cullen Bunn though. It’s more that I don’t think we’ll see anyone else write as great of a Palpatine as Charles Soule in our comics any time soon.
On the art front, the combination of Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard is a good one for this book. Their combined style fits nicely with the vibe Bunn seems to be going for. I definitely prefer to this to Ross’s prior Star Wars work on The Force Awakens comic adaptation.
As a side note, Marvel has continued its tradition of giving us a little something extra to go with the first issues and honestly, I could read an entire graphic novel that’s nothing but cute little droids getting into trouble if Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire write and draw it.
But back to the main Maul story… is it worth it? If you’re a fan of the character than definitely yes it is. While I liked the issue well enough, I’m inclined to hold off from telling those more of the fence to run off and buy it just yet. Ask me again after the next issue.
Darth Maul #1: Cullen Bunn/Writer, Luke Ross/Artist, Nolan Woodard/Colorist, Joe Caramagnas/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Don’t ask me to make sense of comic publishing schedules but apparently we get back-to-back issues of the main Star Wars book this month. Which is… fine? I guess?
It wasn’t as noticeable last issue since we basically just stayed with Yoda except for a panel or two but we’re literally getting a story within a story within a story with this arc. I don’t have a problem with using a Kenobi journal to tell other stories within this main book but man is it starting a feel a little clunky. Just tell the Yoda story that you want to tell and skip all the hoops.
Honestly, just like with the previous issue, there’s not much to say here. This Yoda book just is not my cup of tea. That said, there were definitely some moments within this issue where Jason Aaron completely nailed Yoda’s character. Several of his lines felt like they could have been right out of Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. (For those of you not as familiar with Legends, that’s a high compliment.) I am also interested to see how this story gets wrapped up given how the issue ends but… It’s just another shrug from me. I’m ready for the next story arc.
Star Wars #28: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor