Review: Star Wars #40

I’ve decided that all I want from Kieron Gillen’s Star Wars is more Skywalker twin interactions.

Queen Trios and the Empire continue their efforts to drill all of the kyber out of Jedha and the rebels continue to have somewhat strained relations with what’s left of the Partisans. However, things are slightly less than harmonious between even some of our heroes…

Spoilers after the cut. Continue reading

Review: Canto Bight

Canto Bight… where everyone goes with their shiny dreams of making their fortune and perhaps finding a little excitement along the way… and where so few actually find what they’re hoping for. Canto Bight offers four novellas by three new-to-Star Wars authors and one fan favorite, which explore the lives of those within the city from various walks of life, bringing a little depth to the backdrop we’ve seen in the behind the scenes videos of The Last Jedi.

Each story offers a different angle although all four have little connections to each other and take place on the same night. Saladin Ahmed tells the story of a naïve salesman who’s won a trip to the fabled city and who also gets himself into a spot of trouble that make the trip the opposite of a dream vacation. Mira Grant’s novella is about a sommelier whose quest for a unique bottle of wine becomes difficult when another buyer forces her way into the mix. Rae Carson’s tale is one of a father who gets unwillingly pulled into the politics of the city when it’s the only way he can save his daughter. John Jackson Miller anchors the compilation with the story of a down-on-his-luck gambler who has to come up with an absurd amount of money in one evening thanks to three brothers whose luck just doesn’t make sense. Continue reading

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #9

Jocasta Nu is officially a bad ass.

Perhaps she’s not a match for the Grand Inquisitor in a lightsaber duel but she knows how to hold her own. While the Jedi Order seems fine with letting their Knights have their own areas of specialty, they definitely make sure that everyone knows how to fight. In this case, that’s a very good thing. This particular story arc in the Darth Vader comic is doing wonders not just for Jocasta Nu’s characterization but also the Grand Inquisitor’s. He doesn’t seem to be entirely at ease with taking orders from Vader yet… especially when they’re contrary to what he wants to do.

But Jocasta… Listen, this arc should be required reading for anyone who wants to reduce her down to a snarky sentence about her scene in Attack of the Clones. Jocasta didn’t have to return to the Jedi Temple and neither did she have to dedicate herself to trying to ensure the knowledge of the Order endures. It’s incredibly brave of her to return. At the same time, the arc shows her weakness: she can’t stand to see the books and knowledge that she cares so deeply about read and mistreated by someone with no right to them.

Camuncoli’s art continues to be delightful. I will admit to giggling a fair bit at the first page in which Vader stands in the back of a speeder while two others drive it with his cape billowing in the wind. Could he possibly be any more dramatic? (The answer is likely yes: this is the man who was once Anakin Skywalker, after all.)

Are you reading this book yet? You should be.

Darth Vader #9: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Rebel Files by Daniel Wallace

I’m a sucker for in-universe ‘non-fiction’ books. There’s just something fun about reading historic documents from the Galaxy Far, Far Away. Pair that up with the formation of the Rebellion and its early history and you’ve got a combination that might as well have been plucked out of my brain and put into book form.

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Review: Poe Dameron #21

Congratulations to Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta for creating a comic page that made me audibly gasp really, really loudly.

It’s a relatively quiet issue for Black Squadron. They’re present, of course, and Poe, Snap, and Jess all have some nice moments but the real focus this month is on Leia Organa and Lor San Tekka. Poor Lor is imprisoned thanks to breaking and entering in search of knowledge and while Leia might be looking to find adequate storage and protection for her birth mother’s gowns, she definitely has an alternative agenda going on. Come on, it’s General Organa. She’s leading the Resistance. You don’t really think she’s just there to store dresses, do you?

This is actually something that I really like about this book. While Poe’s obviously the focus, Soule isn’t afraid to pull back and let other characters take and/or share the spotlight at times. It worked really well in the arc where the guys and girls split up and it works rather well in this issue too. Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt that this arc has thus far been a stellar example of how to incorporate Prequel elements in the Sequel era. After all, it’s one big galaxy.

Assorted Thoughts:

  • Jess’s trouble with droids has shifted from being a funny joke to a genuine thing that makes me want to hug her
  • I just don’t care about Snap/Karé and their troubles
  • That lake gown. THAT LAKE GOWN
  • Phil Noto’s cover is drop dead gorgeous

Poe Dameron #21 keeps doing a lot of things right and I can’t wait to see where this arc goes.

Poe Dameron #21: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor


Review: Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor

Reference books and visual guides aren’t usually the sort of Star Wars item that I consider my thing. They’re neat, of course, and fun to flip through at a friend’s but when there’s only so much money in your bank account, you can’t get everything. Not so here. Much like the Star Wars Propaganda book from last year, Stormtroopers: Beyond the Armor by Ryder Windham and Adam Bray is one of those books that caught my interest completely from the moment I started paging through it right up until I closed it. Continue reading

Review: Star Wars #39

When a Star Wars comic is set on Jedha not too long after Rogue One, you have to expect that there will be references to the film but that doesn’t stop me from grinning from ear to ear when I see Jyn Erso’s name in print.

I appreciate that Kieron Gillen is making sure that we know that Rogue One’s mission was not forgotten amongst members of the alliance even in the wake of the victory at Yavin 4. The Partisans have not been forgotten either which is definitely a good thing to help give the rebel side some depth. (Still waiting for word on the Dreamers though…)

There are two particularly noteworthy parts in this issue that highlight some of our favorite heroes. Leia has her moment as the persuasive Rebel Leader who is here to get things done but not so much to take people’s crap. Luke, on the other hand, seems to be on a mission of discovery whether he realizes it or not. Jedha is the perfect place for this given the presence of both kyber crystals and the former Temple of the Whills. This offers a nice taste of Luke the Jedi Hero in a way that makes me think of the concept of the Legends of Luke Skywalker novel. (That’s a good thing, by the way.)

Assorted Thoughts:

  • The same thing I have to say about the art all the time
  • I’m definitely liking Ubin and hope we see more of her
  • Trios must have an angle and I don’t know what it is yet
  • Han has some great lines but otherwise takes a backseat

Star Wars #39: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Guru e-FX/Colorist, Clayton Cowles/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Captain Phasma

Fall 2017 should probably be known as the Season of Phasma. First the Phasma novel graced our shelves and now the fantastic Captain Phasma comic by Kelly Thompson and Marco Checchetto is here in collected trade paperback form. By their powers combined, they give Star Wars fans a better sense of just what it is that makes Phasma tick and why you should never ever be on her bad side.

Despite the comic book being marketed as how Phasma gets out of the trash compactor, the comic spends absolutely no time on the particulars and the good Captain leaves Starkiller Base behind entirely by the end of Issue 1. If we’ve learned anything over the last few months, it is that Phasma will do whatever it takes to survive and she doesn’t care who gets in her way. In this particular situation, that means lowering the shield and then subsequently erasing any proof that she did so and hunting down Lieutenant Rivas so he can’t ruin her secret. Along the way, she recruits pilot TN-3465 and an entire society on a planet that reminds her of Parnassoss. Obviously this is going to go well for everyone involved.

While the comic can certainly stand on its own, reading Delilah Dawson’s novel beforehand really adds to the experience especially in the brief, several panel flashback to Siv, Torben, and Frey that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Knowledge of how Phasma handles situations gives the comic a sense of impending doom throughout. Her time on Luprora serves as a nice mirror to her final days on Parnassos.

On a non-Phasma note, I rather liked TN-3465. She’s a TIE pilot who ends up getting pulled into this adventure whether she wants to be or not. While she’s just a side player in Phasma’s plan, it’s interesting to consider what this mission might feel like for her. Is this the first time she’s ever worn clothes that weren’t First Order issued? Does she actually have a name that her squad mates use? Would she have even made it off of Starkiller Base if Phasma hadn’t ordered her to fly them away? She’s a nice addition to a book that helps bring a more human note to Phasma’s story. (She and Siv should be friends.)

Marco Checchetto continues to be a delightful artist choice for Star Wars especially when they let him draw the slightly more weird. Checchetto’s style combined with Mossa’s colors really are a winning combination that I hope we continue to see in this universe.

Captain Phasma is a fast, four issue read that’s worth your time and money for both the story and the artwork. Pick up this in tandem with the novel and you won’t regret it.

Captain Phasma: Kelly Thompson/Writer, Marco Checchetto/Artist, Andres Mossa/Colorist, Clayton Cowles/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #8

Let’s start off where we really need to: the cover. This comic has been knocking it out of the park with covers but Giuseppe Camuncoli and Francesco Mattina have really outdone themselves this time. Just sell this as prints and I’m fairly sure I’ll buy twenty and give them to all of my Vader friends.

Darth Vader #8 continues the stories of Darth Vader in the early days of his Jedi hunting and Jocasta Nu as she attempts to retrieve something important from the Jedi archives. Vader is already adapting to being in Typical Vader form by choking officers. Meanwhile, the Grand Inquisitor isn’t treating the books of the Jedi Library with proper respect which is really irking the former Librarian who’s supposed to be on a clandestine mission. (What could possibly go wrong here?)

The real show stopper in the issue is a two-page spread inside Vader’s mind as he meditates. The art shifts in style just enough to show what it’s like in there. What makes this special though is the revelation that Vader doesn’t quite think that his lost limbs are a part of him and that he doesn’t feel them through the Force like he does the rest of his body. It’s an incredibly impactful page.

Jocasta Nu’s plot line is no snooze either. She’s on a mission that she thinks is definitely worth the risk. This comic has done more to characterize her and make her feel like a real person than her other appearances thus far. It’s hard not to appreciate someone who is willing to do whatever she has to in order to insure the continuation of the Jedi order.

The only thing that has me scratching my head is how quickly the Empire adapted the traditional Imperial uniforms. I wouldn’t have expected to see ISB tunics so quickly.

Bottom line? Darth Vader #8 is worth the price of admission for this gorgeous cover and a fantastic two-page spread alone but stay for Jocasta Nu being fantastic.

Darth Vader #8: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Aftermath, Representation, and Truth

Content warnings for depression, suicide, and death


There’s Norra Wexley, a woman so clearly broken by war. Trying her best to do right by her child. Trying her best to love him, to keep him safe, to help him grow. I watch her succeed in moments, and fail spectacularly in others. It isn’t her fault when she fails. Not fully her fault, anyway. The woman is dogged by war. Scars from the atrocities she witnessed. Nightmares from the torture, psychological and physical, she endured for too many years.

My heart aches as the critics throws stones at her for not being the perfect mother. She often is emotionally distant, she often acts out of terror and fear. Post traumatic stress disorder manifests itself in unpredictable ways, but the critics insist her failings are entirely a flaw of character, rather than the never-ending terrors of watching her friends and family die around her. Her failures are not virtuous by any means, but they are not bad. They don’t make her a bad person, a bad parent.

I watch over time as the woman gets help to confront the nightmares of the past. I see her slowly heal. Though the nightmares will always be there, I watch her finally find some semblance of peace and belonging in her world.

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