Review: Han Solo #5

An issue like this one never fails to be bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s a very satisfying ending to a great book. On the other hand… the book’s ending. That’s the downside to these miniseries. I’d love to see books like this, Princess Leia, and Obi-Wan & Anakin go on for arc after arc but instead we only get 5 issues. Treasure them while you can.

This book is just so damn pretty. I suspect that some Star Wars fans who don’t have as strong of a comics background don’t know how damn lucky we are to get Mark Brooks doing interiors on this book and Sonia Oback’s colors just make the pages pop ever more. This book was a goddamn gift for the artwork alone and Marjorie Liu’s script makes it doubly so. Why hasn’t this book get more appreciation than it does?

So many things about this book have just been so darn fun. It was definitely a character study for Han but plot line about the mission for the Rebel Alliance and the race were definitely enjoyable to follow. I especially loved how the race announcer narrated this issue. The stakes were high (in more ways than one) but that never stopped this book from being fun.

As mentioned in previous issue review, this was definitely an uncertain Han Solo that we’d never really seen before and Liu deftly takes him more towards the certainty that we’re used to. It’s such a natural progression. The “mirror made up of others” line may have been a bit on the nose but Han might be the one character for whom it really works. Sometimes you just need to smack that boy over the head with an idea for him to get it especially when there’s a rebellion or a woman involved. Speaking of ladies, the final page with him and Leia is so note perfect that it hurts.

If you’ve been holding off on this book for the final verdict, wait no longer. Han Solo is definitely cleared for take off. Pick up the floppies, pick up the trades in a few months; whichever. But definitely make sure you read this book.

Han Solo #5: Marjorie Liu/Writer, Mark Brooks/Artist, Sonia Oback & Matt Milla/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

ThrawnCast 2.2: Loose-Flowing Tunic

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This week on the ThrawnCast, we discuss Dark Force Rising chapters 5-8!

The ThrawnCast is a part of the Tosche Station Radio network. Be sure to subscribe to the ThrawnCast on iTunes or Google Play. You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed in iTunes or  Google Play for more great shows from our podcast network. 

This podcast was brought to you by Her Universe and your support on Patreon.

Unintentional Voyeurism by Express Invitation: My Read on “The Princess Diarist”

Today I read The Princess Diarist. Depending on who you are and how you approach fandom, I might recommend that you do the same. Or I might not.

The Princess Diarist is a personal book. It’s less the telling of the story of the making of Star Wars as it is a glimpse into the emotional life of its then-nineteen-year-old leading actress. Through this book we get a very intimate glimpse of what it has been like to be Carrie Fisher- beginning in her youth as the famous-once-removed daughter of Hollywood royalty through to her current experience of the “celebrity lap dance” that she continues to perform thanks to her permanent alter-ego: “Princess Leia Organa, formerly of Alderaan and presently of anywhere and everywhere she damn well pleased”.

If you’re at all into that sort of thing, or even morbidly curious as to what it might be like to get a glimpse inside Ms. Fisher’s head, then picking up The Princess Diarist is definitely worth your consideration. But if celebrity tell-alls and occasionally uncomfortable recollections aren’t your cup of tea, then perhaps this book isn’t for you. In The Princess Diarist, Carrie Fisher not only gives you a glimpse into her inner life, she holds it up to your face and forces you to look at it- in all its sordid and uncomfortable relief, until you’re almost squirming at your own unintentional voyeurism. And if you don’t go in for that level of discomfort, then perhaps you should steer clear. This book is filled with unvarnished truth-telling, but more so in an emotional sense than a factual one. It left me tearful, empathetic, and grateful to Ms. Fisher for her willingness to lay herself so bare to the world. I love this book and I love Carrie Fisher [even more than I already did] for writing it.

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Knights of the Old Replay: Homecoming through Nights of Anger

The Awful Adventures of Zayne Carrick continue and, well, we actually get a really neat mixture of stories and character backstories. I might be doing this whole thing backwards though because I’m pretty sure I wrote the most about the shortest arc this time around. Oh well?

On with the KOTOR!

Homecoming
Script by John Jackson Miller, Art by Brian Ching, Colors by Michael Atiyeh, Lettering by Michael Heisler

Homecoming is really the only thing that this standalone issue could have been called. Lucien and the other Masters return to Coruscant to report back to both the Jedi Council and their manipulators: Lucien’s own mother (Krynda) and Haazen (a failed padawan.) We get a hell of a lot of backstory and our very first encounter with the person who will become Revan! Continue reading

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Teacups & 1UPs PAX Aus multipack: Single Player Indies

Welcome back to Teacups & 1UPs, a somewhat-regular column in which I talk about games and pair them with tea. Today is going to be a little bit different from usual, as it’s going to be the first of a three-part PAX Aus special, all about the indie games I picked up and tried out while in Melbourne. Each part will briefly look at a bunch of games I tried and liked, rather than examining one in-depth.

First up: single player games, followed by virtual reality and finally, local multiplayer—because there’s not much I love more than kicking my friends’ asses in ridiculous indie games. Of course, there will also be tea.

So, single player. Leave your friends at home, because it’s time for an adventure.

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Rebels Review: Iron Squadron

Last time I reviewed Rebels, it was for a Maul episode. This time it’s an episode with a group of ragtag kids out to fight the Empire. Even with the inclusion of Thrawn in this episode, I feel it’s again way out of my wheelhouse. Despite the fact this episode left me saying “meh” when it was over, there were a lot of cool bits of backstory and plot elements I hope return in later episodes.

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The Every Day Empire: Reflections on Catalyst

Catalyst was a good book. It was a worthwhile read. And, as it was very thoughtfully and craftily designed to do, it has whet my appetite for next month’s release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Catalyst is the story of Galen Erso: his passion for science, his devotion to both his family and his work, and the relationships that come to bear on his personal and professional life; all wrapped up in a volume that feels unmistakably Star Wars. From the opening paragraph, the GFFA seems familiar in a way that’s been missing (although I would be hard pressed to use the term ‘lacking’) from recent Star Wars books. Perhaps it’s just that Luceno contributed so much to the Legends universe that is to account for this feeling of familiarity. Whatever is behind it: Catalyst felt a little bit like coming home, and that made me smile.

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Western Reaches #17

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This episode we discuss a handful of books and a lot of games, including Dishonoured and what Saf played at PAX Aus, with our main topic also focusing on a game: Mass Effect Andromeda.
 
Games: 
  • Dishonored/Dishonored 2
  • Abi
  • The Artful Escape of Francis Vendetti
  • The Beginner’s Guide
VR Games: 
  • Kept
  • A Township Tale
  • The American Dream
  • Earthlight
  • Genesis
  • Symphony of the Machine
Books: 
  • Good Morning, Midnight – Lily Brooks-Dalton
  • Dark Orbit – Carolyn Ives Gilman
  • The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe – Kij Johnson
  • The Offworld Colelction – Leigh Alexander and Laura Hudson
  • Catalyst – James Luceno
You can find Megan on Twitter with the handle @blogfullofwords and you can find Saf with @Wanderlustin. Be sure to subscribe to Western Reaches on iTunes/Google Play and subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed for more great shows, discussion, and commentary. This podcast has been brought to you in part by Her Universe and your support on Patreon!

ThrawnCast 2.1: How Mara Got Her Force Back

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This week on the ThrawnCast, we start Dark Force Rising with chapters 1-4!

The ThrawnCast is a part of the Tosche Station Radio network. Be sure to subscribe to the ThrawnCast on iTunes or Google Play. You can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Radio Mega Feed in iTunes or  Google Play for more great shows from our podcast network. 

This podcast was brought to you by Her Universe and your support on Patreon.

Review: Catalyst

catalystIf you were amongst those who were disappointed that the first Aftermath book wasn’t a more direct prequel to The Force Awakens, Catalyst will most definitely scratch that itch for you for Rogue One. Set during the Clone Wars and the early years of the Empire, Catalyst dives into the long history between Orson Krennic and Galen Erso. I obviously haven’t seen Rogue One and only know what the trailers have told us but after reading Catalyst, I can’t help but feel that this book is a must read for any Star Wars fan who really wants to enhance their first viewing of the film next month. That’s just one of the reasons why I absolutely recommend picking up Catalyst by James Luceno today at your earliest convenience. Or right now. Now would be good too.

If you’re a Luceno fan, you’ll definitely enjoy this book. The writing style is less dense than Tarkin and will appeal to more people but you’ll probably still learn a new vocabulary word or two. Luceno does a wonderful job of weaving the tale of the slow burn manipulation of Galen Erso across the years without ever leaving the readers lost and wondering exactly when we are. (An impressive feat unto itself.) Primarily, Catalyst is told from the point of view of Lyra Erso, Orson Krennic, and a smuggler named Has Obitt but very rarely from Galen’s. It may seem an odd choice but it works oh so well especially since it can so often be a struggle to get Galen out of his own thoughts and scientific musings.

Although Catalyst is very much a character showcase, it also serves to show a different side of a story than what we already know along with expanding the galaxy a little. What was the last time we got the scientist’s point of view during a war? Catalyst may lack the grand battles that so many assume are synonymous with Star Wars but more than makes up for it with its characters. It’s a big galaxy so it’s nice to see its other facets.

While the book establishes Krennic as being someone you definitely don’t want to cross, the real standout here is Lyra Erso who is also the hero we need and deserve. While some may be disappointed that she’s not a scientist like her husband, she is most definitely her own person and a complex character. We spend a lot of time in Lyra’s head and it is absolutely to the book’s benefit. While yes, the book revolves around Galen and Krennic’s slow manipulation of him, Lyra has agency and keeps trying to do what’s best for their family. She doesn’t just sit there and fret about Galen or just let things happen. She plays an active role in trying to get to the bottom of just what Krennic’s ultimate plan for Galen is. Lyra is exactly the sort of capable female character we need to see more of in Star Wars because she shows us that strength isn’t found in combat alone.

Catalyst will definitely raise your excitement for Rogue One to critical levels. Luceno has done such a wonderful job of weaving together bits and hints of Rogue One into this prequel while also telling a complete story that can stand on its own merits. This is definitely one that Star Wars fans should pick up soon.

Thank you to Del Rey for providing an early copy of the book for review purposes.