Review: Star Wars #10

The best way to describe Star Wars #10 is that it’s fun. To be fair, ‘fun’ has been a great way to describe this entire run on this book thus far but there was something about this particular issue that just felt really really fun. Star Wars #10 by Jason Aaron and Stuart Immonen is out today and definitely takes readers for a ride.

It’s hard to say what’s more fun: Leia dealing with both of the Solos or Chewbacca and Threepio on their adventure on Nar Shaddaa. While we still don’t really have tons in terms of answers of who Sana is and whether or not she and Han are actually married, it’s entertaining to watch Leia be 100% done with their crap within mere minutes and be far more focused on getting herself out of there alive and in one piece. Chewie and Threepio, on the other hand, was the team up that I didn’t know that I’ve always wanted. There’s something humorous about pairing the character who talks to much with the one who we can’t understand and prefers to cut right to the chase.

Stuart Immonen is amazing on this book. While I was content with John Cassaday’s work, Immonen is taking things to a whole new level. There’s nothing about his work that I don’t love and I think that the Luke lovers out there will have a particular appreciation for some of his panels. It’s the little things that really take this work to the new level from the facial expressions to his design work on Grakkus the Hutt with the lightsaber necklace and the spider-leg walking… things.

Oh. And those last few pages? While they’re probably just the creative team broadening the galaxy, I’m choosing to interpret them as Aaron trolling everyone.

Star Wars #10 gets a strong Hell Yeah! from me this week for being such a fun read.

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Go/No-Go: Rise of the Empire

nasa-mission-control-3Welcome back to Go/No-Go, Tosche Station’s regular feature where we offer our spoiler-free opinion as to whether or not you should spend your hard-earned money on a book, film, or other entertainment. Today on the launch pad: Star Wars: Rise of the Empire.  It’s a unique book we’re looking at today as its a compilation of A New Dawn by John Jackson Miller, Tarkin by James Luceno, and three brand new short stories by Miller, Melissa Scott, and Jason Fry to link them all together.  We’ve reviewed both books in the past but is this compilation worth your money? To mission control for the verdict!

Bria: First things first, this book is huge.  It’s about the size of Game of Thrones for reference but it’s absolutely worth every page.  One of the complaints I’ve seen about the new canon is that nothing really links together.  The three short stories in this book should remove that complaint as one could easily sit down and read Lords of the Sith, the entirety of Rise of the Empire, and then Aftermath and it would flow awesomely.  Can we discuss how rad it is that Rae Sloane has become the cohesive glue that ties together to many of these stories in addition to being a kickass character?  Reading about her at the Battle of Endor was just spectacular.  Melissa Scott does a great job of writing a younger Hera who’s not quite the confident rebel we know from A New Dawn and Rebels but definitely shows her leadership potential and doesn’t forget about her amazing pilot skills.  I even found John Jackson Miller’s story about Tarkin and Vidian to be delightful in its own way.  It’s like watching a chess match between two very confident chess masters from different schools of strategy.  The book is absolutely a must buy if you haven’t picked up one of the two novels yet but is it worth it if you already have? I say yes. Not only its it a nicely put together compilation but the three short stories are just so fun. It’s a strong GO from me.

Nanci: Disclaimer: I have not read Tarkin, nor do I have any plans of doing so soon. (There are way too many other books I haven’t read yet before I play catch up.) A New Dawn is excellent, though, enough to warrant picking up this bind-up if you don’t already have a copy. The short stories, though, are what make this book worth the price of admission. “Mercy Mission” by Melissa Scott ties more into Lords of the Sith (another book I haven’t read, oops), than either of the novels in this bind-up, but it features a young Hera learning the importance of working for the good of the galaxy. You can definitely see how she becomes the young revolutionary we see in A New Dawn and the awesome pilot we see in Rebels. “Bottleneck,” by John Jackson Miller, features characters from both novels forced to work together against their will. Miller does a great job with both Tarkin and Vidian; I found I liked the latter character a lot more in this story than I did in A New Dawn. (Also, the cameo from another A New Dawn character made me very happy.) Last but not least, “The Levers of Power” by Jason Fry makes this book an insta-buy. Rae Sloane at the Battle of Endor is everything you ever expected: bad-ass, in charge, and taking no shit from anybody. Definitely GO and get it, now.

Brian: Right from the start, let me say that if you don’t have either A New Dawn or Tarkin in your library, you should pick up this compilation. That said, I imagine most folks who are reading this review are far more interested in the all-new short stories that are appearing in the book. Mercy Mission is a solid look into a much younger Hera. While there were points where it felt like an incomplete short story that was taken from a larger work, it was still an engaging read. Bottleneck, however, was classic John Jackson Miller. It’s really the Tarkin and Vidian buddy cop story you never knew you needed in your life. The real winner though, and the reason this book is worth every penny, is Levers of Power. I’ve made no secret that I think that Jason Fry is one of the best talents creating Star Wars literature these days. Now, combine that with one of the greatest characters to appear in the new literature canon in Rae Sloane. This is an incredible short story, and it’s one you’re definitely going to want to read. The book would get a go from me just for that, but when everything else is factored in it’s a huge GO.

Flight Director’s Verdict: Rise of the Empire is GO for launch!

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Baltimore Comic Con 2015: Interview with Mark Waid

Leia_Dodson1Given what I fan I am of Mark Waid’s Marvel work, briefly chatting with him about his work on the Princess Leia series was one of the highlights of my Baltimore Comic Con this year. I loved the heck out of those five issues and was excited to have the chance to ask him all the questions the book left me with and to talk Star Wars in general.  And hey!  It’s not every day that you get to interview someone who just won the Harvey for Best Writer the night before.

Bria: The first question we always ask everyone is how did you become a Star Wars fan?

Mark Waid: I’m old enough to say I was there on opening day. I was there… all right, I have a story. This is a horrible, horrible story that makes me look like an idiot. So… it’s not true. I was not there on opening day. My friends and I got together that weekend and there were six or seven of us and we were having the same argument that you always have when you get six or seven people together on a Saturday night in a car with no direction. They go “Okay, we need to see a movie.” Okay, well there’s a couple of movies opening up this weekend. What do we see? Everyone wanted to see this one movie and I fought really hard to see this other movie because I said, “Look, this is going to be amazing. It’s going to be awesome. It’s going to change your life.” So because I fought for it, we went to see… You Light Up My Life. And I never lived it down. The next weekend, we all saw Star Wars and they were all like, “You idiot! What is wrong with you?” Then that was it. Like everyone else, I saw it a dozen times that summer and it was amazing.

Which is your favorite film?

The second one by far. It just… to manage to take all the stuff that made the first one cool and then add some gravitas was really awesome.

Favorite character? (I know that’s a hard one.)

It is a hard one! I really do think it is Leia.

Mine too! So did you pitch Marvel to do Star Wars? From what I hear, everyone and their mother were calling the editors and saying “I really want to write it!” or did they come to you?

They actually came to me and they said, “We want a Princess Leia series. Are you interested?” While I love the character, I didn’t have a story. I didn’t know where we wanted to go with it and I was on the verge of saying, “Look I appreciate this but this is not for me.” And then I started thinking about… if you let me do it the day after A New Hope ends; if you let me do it the day after and you get a chance to really delve into what it’s like for her to have lost everything? Then I’m in and they totally bought that. That’s really where it stood; the idea that in first movie, there’s no time for it to sink in for her. Continue reading

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Baltimore Comic Con 2015: Interview with Charles Soule

This weekend at Baltimore Comic Con, I was lucky enough to chat for a few minutes with the awesome Charles Soule. You may know him as the writer who’s also a lawyer who wrote a fantastic run on She-Hulk last year (amongst other things) but Star Wars fans currently know him as the guy who’s writing the rad Lando limited series for Marvel. We sat down and talked all things Star Wars and about his great work with Alex Maleev on the Lando book.

Bria: So the first question we always ask everyone is how did you become a Star Wars fan?

Charles Soule: Oh man, I’ve been a Star Wars fan since I was a little kid. I went to see the movies with my family. I must’ve seen a release of A New Hope at some point because I would’ve been a baby.

The ’96 ones?

No, it would’ve been before that. I don’t know—they kept rereleasing them for the first ten years or so and I must’ve seen it at that point but I remember very distinctly seeing the AT-ATs come out of the fog in Empire Strikes Back and all the Cloud City stuff which was so amazing. I had all the toys and stuff like that. So I was a fan from pretty young and my whole family was pretty into it so it was something that I could share with my brothers and sister and it was great.

Do you have a favorite one of the original films or any of the movies really. I’m not a Prequel hater. Continue reading

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Walmart’s Star Wars Commercials Challenge Antiquated Gender Roles

I’ve been spending a lot of time watching daytime television while I’ve been on maternity leave, which means I’ve seen some commercials I haven’t seen watching prime time.  The first one I saw made me smile.  “The Circle Is Complete” starts with a dad bringing home a Kenner action figure for his son in 1983.  Fast forward to now, the little boy is now a dad and brings home a TIE fighter Lego set–for his little girl.

This thrilled me.

Continue reading

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There Has Been… An Uprising.

UprisingStar Wars Uprising was officially released on September 10th. I refrained from downloading it until September 12th. I maxed out my XP and the storyline 11 days later.  This is weird.

Unless it says KOTOR on the box, I’m not much of a gamer. I enjoy playing video games when I have the opportunity but I rarely lose an entire weekend to a new game and I don’t even have a system besides my laptop. So you can see why I was so surprised that I was able to go through the game so fast even with my obsessive and competitive personality.

Uprising is addicting and not what I expected. On the game play front, it’s fairly simple once you get the hang of it and doesn’t require much skill. Essentially, you select which opponent you want to attack and then your character does so. Things get a little more interesting once you can train in skills that take your attacks up a notch. I’m a fan of the dodge and roll and the spray of blaster fire for efficiency. The only planet that keeps giving me trouble is Anoat thanks to the poison and the never-ending onslaught of nek dogs.

At a certain point, the game does tell you in a not so subtle way to chill the hell out and take a break. The main story missions are locked depending on your character level; something that comes into play once you’re closer around level 18 and it’s harder to level up. Every day, you’re offered a Daily Opportunity mission, 5 Assault Missions (that eventually trigger a Sector Battle which is basically a day long free for all that makes you gape at the Victory Points totals some people rack up), and a Daily Credits mission for each planet that you’ve completed the story for. While you can play repeatable missions as often as possible, they don’t offer nearly as much in terms of gear and nothing for XP. Granted, the XP part doesn’t really matter once you hit Level 40 and don’t get XP anymore… (No, I’m not bitter. Why do you ask?)

Continue reading

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Review: Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka (by a Luke fan)

Smugglers-Run_DBGI’m not the biggest fan of Han Solo.

It’s not that I don’t like Han. He’s a great character. As a viewer, I appreciate his humor and his cynicism. I appreciate his smuggler with a heart of gold characterization. I appreciate his relationship with Leia and, even more, his relationship with Luke. As an author, I like that he provides shades of gray and an excellent voice. But it’s no secret that Luke Skywalker captured my heart way before Han Solo could ever have a chance, and I never “grew up” to like Han, as many other people did.

So among the three “Journey to the Force Awakens” young reader novels, Smuggler’s Run was the one I was least looking forward to. I saved it for last, even though people said Moving Target would spoil the end. All that said, I still had good expectations for this book.

I was pleasantly surprised, because Smuggler’s Run is an amazing romp, super fun, and has absolutely fantastic characterizations.

Continue reading

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