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
In retrospect, I feel like I erred and should have gone to Onderon before I went to Dantooine but that’s what I get for asking Twitter and abiding by the poll results. Onderon and Dxun are some of my favorite parts of the game to play through because we get Mandalorians and royalty! Space politics!
Everything’s going just fine when you arrive in the Onderon system until someone in their military figures out who you are and tries to kill you and you have to crash/hide on the moon of Dxun. Coincidentally, it’s also where the Mandalorian War started and where an outpost of Mandos still remains. Unknown to the Exile, Kreia tells Atton that he’s not allowed to be done with the ship repairs until she says so which means we have to find another way to Onderon. Ugh.
After fighting through the jungle and encountering the warrior race, Canderous—I mean Mandalore offers to take you with him to Onderon but only if you prove yourself useful and worthy first. That means (you guessed it) running around the camp and the jungle finding more beasts to beat up and things to fix. Along the way, Kreia even teaches you a totally useless power that’s supposed to work against beasts. (Spoiler: It doesn’t do crap.)
News this week kicks off with something in the “humanity is awful” vein. Over $200,000 in collectibles were stolen from Rancho Obi-Wan and re-sold on the market. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the suspected thief is Carl Cunningham. Folks on the convention circuit are familiar with Carl, as he is known for running tours of hard-to-get-to filming sites and has consulted with Lucasfilm for various projects.
Beth Revis had a tough job in writing Rebel Rising, the YA novel chronicling the life of Jyn Erso prior to the main narrative of Rogue One. She not only needed to craft an engaging and exciting story, one that fit into the ever-widening new canon of the Star Wars universe, but she also needed to create a character arc for Jyn herself which both ended with Jyn being an angry, sullen, bitter person who wanted nothing to do with the Rebel Alliance (or, really, anyone or anything), but which at the same time was narratively satisfying. How do you craft a character arc that ends with the Jyn Erso we meet at the beginning of Rogue One and not have the entire thing feel like a let-down and a bummer, or like anything more than an extended prologue to the film? Can you even do such a thing?
When it comes to comic adaptations, sometimes you can make a pretty solid guess as to how much of the film an issue will cover. Given where Rogue One #2 left off and Galen Erso’s presence on the cover… Yeah, it’s not hard to guess the territory that this issue goes over. (And yeah. It’s going to hurt.)
That said, Rogue One is able to do what The Force Awakens adaptation couldn’t: play with the material a little more. It has absolutely been to the book’s benefit. The story hasn’t so much been changed as much as it’s been supplemented. You might not think that Saw’s final moments could get more impactful but ohhhh no. Jody Houser finds a way.
Another thing that the issue does well is really build on the friendship/relationship between Jyn and Chirrut. Due to time constraints in the film, we didn’t get to see much of them interacting but there’s a sort of understanding between the two of them that’s understated but sweet.
The biggest problem that I have with this issue is the coloring. Bodhi Rook looks way too pale in any well-lit panels. It’s a little off-putting. On the other hand, Paolo Villanelli’s Cassian has far less strange looking facial hair so that’s a plus. I was also delighted to see some women amongst the X-Wing fighter pilots.
Overall, Rogue One continues to be an excellent adaptation of the film and I’m intrigued to see how they handle the rest of the story.
Rogue One #3: Writer/Jody Houser, Artists/Paolo Villanelli, Colorist/Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer/Clayton Cowles, Editor/Heather Antos, Supervising Editor/Jordan D. White.
When this new Darth Vader book was first announced, I was admittedly dubious especially since it was arriving so (relatively) soon after Kieron Gillen’s fantastic run. However, the more I learned about the book, the more intrigued I was. Darth Vader #1 picks up immediately after the infamous “NOOOOO” in Revenge of the Sith. In other words, we’re going to see more of the transition from Anakin to Vader.
It shouldn’t be surprising given the characters in question but much of the dialogue in the book is given to Palpatine. In fact, Vader only speaks ten times and when he does, it’s for a reason and it’s effective. Just in this issue alone, the evolution of Vader is obvious. He feels far more like Anakin in the first half of the book than the second. It’s enough to make me wonder whether Vader’s tendency to speak infrequently started as a coping mechanism to deal with his new existence. If that’s true… I really shouldn’t be surprised that Charles Soule found a way to make the story of Vader even more tragic. Given that Vader’s now on a quest for a new lightsaber during which he’ll need to corrupt a kyber crystal, I forsee the book only getting darker.
The art duties for this book fall to Giuseppe Camuncoli who brings what feels like a more traditionally comic book feel to the book. It’s a welcome one though. Camuncoli’s pencils add a certain charm to what is otherwise a dark book without detracting from the feel.
And yes! Don’t worry: the issue does have a fun little droid tale in the back. This one stars a mouse droid.
Darth Vader #1 distinguishes itself right off the bat as its own series. The comparisons between this and the previous series are inevitably but to do so really is a disservice to both since they’re entirely different creatures. And this one? Definitely worth your time.
Darth Vader #1: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/David, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor
Well here we are… back on Dantooine. I don’t know why but this planet seems to fly by especially in comparison to Nar Shaddaa even though it’s way less entertaining than the first. I don’t know if there’s genuinely less content or if I just played through at the speed of light but dang this went fast. Not that I’m complaining.
Dantooine is the planetary embodiment of bitter. They got the short end of the stick thanks to the Jedi Civil War after the planet was bombarded from orbit and scavengers and mercenaries flocked to them when the war ended. No one really wants to be there. In a way, I guess it makes sense that there’s not tons to do there. You go examine the ruins of the Jedi Temple, find some neat crystals, and then defend the settlers from the mean mercenaries. (Or betray them if you’re feeling bad. What I really should do one day when I’m playing through as a dark sider is pull a last minute double cross on the administrator and Master Vrook. Apparently there’s an achievement for that. It’d be worth it because Vrook is a jerk.)
Dantooine also means that you pick up a new companion assuming that you’re playing as female. I would have happily left him in the ruined library and taken the Handmaiden from Telos instead but NOPE. That’s tragically not how this game works. Mical (that’s his name even though he never tells you) is bland as hell. He was a younger Jedi student back in the day but had some weird fixation on you and left the Order after you were Exiled and it’s not weird at all that the game wants you to romance him. NOPE NOT AT ALL.
In far happier news, I assembled HK-47 and he’s mostly functional again and every pissed off about the HK-50s running around the galaxy because they are inferior models and besmirching his good name. How dare! What kills me is that I probably won’t be able to raise my influence with him enough to hear his impressions of Carth and Bastila. However, I did get to experience his thoughts on love. If you’re not familiar with them… well… it’s best to just watch them for yourself.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I love HK-47. Murder droids are the best droids.
I’m also chugging right along in my quest to turn all of my companions in Jedi. The very first time I played this game, I think I only managed to get Atton because I didn’t consider the possibility for some of the others and just hated Disciple. (I still hate Disciple.) This play through, I’m rather aggressively trying to show them the ways of the Force and quickly got Disciple on board and finally got Bao-Dur to cooperate. Now if only Mira would play nice…
There’s not much else to say here because Dantooine and Disciple are both just that boring. Sorry not sorry because Onderon/Dxun are next and those are waaaaay more fun. (Mandalorians AND royalty!)
Welcome back, gentle readers, to your weekly blast of Star Wars news!
On Wednesday, Michael Siglain of Lucasfilm Publishing announced via Twitter that September will see the release of Star Wars: The Prequel Trilogy Stories. Siglain elaborated that it is indeed a companion to The Original Trilogy Stories. Brian Rood, S.T. Bende, and Ivan Cohen are some of the creators involved with the project.