Review: Star Wars #1

StarWars_Cassaday1

The era of Star Wars Marvel has begun (okay; returned) and they’re leaping forth from the gate with blasters blazing. Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and with art by John Cassaday comes out on Wednesday, January 14th and picks up shortly after A New Hope. The question of the day though isn’t “Will our heroes survive?” but rather “How does this new series hold up?” and it is in response to that question that I have some good news for Star Wars fans.

Right from the start, Aaron and Cassaday make the book feel like Original Trilogy Star Wars. (Let me suggest queuing up the main title as you open the book. It put a huge smile on my face as I began to read.) This gives readers a chance to pick up a book that can be enjoyed whether they’ve only watched the films or if they obsessively read every Legends story. It’s also clear from the get-go that this is a labor of love from all involved. The basic premise of the story is something that will feel familiar to Star Wars readers (Rebels have a chance to move against the Empire and Han somehow gets roped into helping) but Jason Aaron writes in a way that will keep readers intrigued and flipping the page for more. He also strikes a nice balance between action and non-action scenes and knows the right moment to interject a bit of levity, something that’s crucial when it comes to Star Wars.

Another strength of the book is that Aaron certainly has a great grasp on all of the main characters. At times, it was difficult to NOT hear the actors’ voices inside my head reading the lines. I was particularly happy with his portrayal of Leia especially since he didn’t fall back on the Action Girl ™ method like some writers have in the past. Even Luke seems to be pretty spot on during this odd transitional phase from farmboy to Jedi Rebel.

Cassaday’s artwork on the book is solid as expected. My only issue was with one very fast costume change between pages. In the interest of staying spoiler free, I’ll leave it there but it just felt rather abrupt especially on the first read through. For those familiar with his art, Cassaday’s usual facial expressions are in full force here which, when you’re drawing Leia Organa dealing with Han Solo, are perfect. Cassaday also has a neat way of drawing lightsaber action which I haven’t previously seen in a Star Wars comic. And, of course, we the internet will be forever grateful to him for the panel of Leia punching an Imperial panel that made its way on line several weeks ago. That alone is worth the cost of admission.

Overall, this first oversized issue does a great job of setting the stage and establishing how this comic series will go. Within moments of finishing reading it, I immediately wanted the next one. I’m extremely interested to see how the first arc progresses and then where Jason Aaron takes the story beyond that.  For me, that will be the real deciding factor about how much I’ll ultimately enjoy the series but they are certainly off to a good start.

I give Star Wars #1 a 4/5 along with a recommendation to go pick it up. You can pick up a copy of Star Wars #1 from your local comic store or online here from Marvel.

Thank you to Marvel for providing us with an advanced copy of the comic for review purposes.

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Star Wars Rebels review: Path of the Jedi

rebels logoNote: I wrote this post while I was watching the episode, so it’s more of a live blog than a proper review. Hope you enjoy anyway!

We start out the episode with Ezra being late for training with Kanan. When he gets back, Kanan reads him the riot act and calls him unfocused and undisciplined. (Like you aren’t, Kanan.) I’m torn between feeling sorry for Ezra always getting dumped on, wondering what the hell Ezra was doing wandering around Lothal by himself when they’re wanted by the Empire, (more on this later), and being annoyed at Ezra. Kanan tells Ezra he made a dangerous connection with the Force in that asteroid field (yay continuity!) and he needs to undergo a test that could determine if he’s meant to be a Jedi. First of all, Kanan, weren’t you the one who encouraged him to make that Force connection? Second, way to put the pressure on.

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Where’s Hera? (And Sometimes Sabine)

January 4th, 2015 and I’m already tired. Why? Because I am sick of it. Because I’m sick of death of having to constantly fight and ask for female representation in merchandise when there’s absolutely no good reason not to include it. Are you a fan of Star Wars Rebels and love the ENTIRE team? Well good luck finding merchandise that includes Hera or Sabine let alone both.

If this is sounding familiar, it’s because we’ve been through this before. We wondered where Black Widow was in all the Avengers gear after the film came out in May 2012 and then we asked again in August 2014 when Gamora was almost nowhere to be found. (Amy Ratcliffe detailed the latter over at her blog.) At this point, it’s an easy choice to call it a pattern of marketing (especially Disney in this situation) purposefully eliminating female characters from their products. This is hardly also a new battle for Star Wars. Those in the fandom will likely recall the uproar when Daisy Ridley was originally the only new woman in the Episode VII cast and then again when Hera and Sabine were not announced with the first wave of Rebels action figures. (And hey, that’s just the highlights from 2014.) Unfortunately, it looks like it’s time to start up a hashtag for #WheresHera.

Let’s take a look at some of the Star Wars Rebels merchandise out there. Over the weekend, I found myself at the Disney Store, a calendar mall stand, and Jo-Ann Fabrics. While this is not a comprehensive listing of places that sell Star Wars gear, I found the products there to be fairly representative of what I’ve seen other times.

I found this set of kids’ PJs in the Disney Store. Notice who’s missing?IMG_1411I don’t recall seeing anything with either lady on anything in the store but I DID see a girl of perhaps five eagerly grabbing for a Star Wars lunch box. Much of the rest of the items featured Darth Vader, clone troopers, and the Inquisitor. (It took effort not to explain the Inquisitor’s lightsaber to the confused dad holding it.)

 

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All Three Prequels to be Shown in 3D at Celebration–Including Revenge of the Sith

RotS 3D logoThe latest issue of Star Wars Insider reveals that there will be 3D screenings of the entire Prequel Trilogy, as well as standard screenings of the Original Trilogy, at Celebration Anaheim. These screenings will include the long-delayed 3D premiere of Revenge of the Sith, so if you’ve been waiting to see it you will now have a chance.

(via Yakface)

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All-Ages Comics With Queer Representation: Some Recommendations

Character and/or relationship spoilers for several comics and one recently concluded animated series lay below. Be warned.

There is a severe lack of queer representation in children’s media, as the surprise and discussion caused by the recent finale to the animated series Avatar: The Legend of Korra illustrates. It is sadly rare to find a character who falls outside the heterosexual cisgender mold at all, much less one who is both a major character and respectfully portrayed. Seeing oneself reflected in one’s culture is always important, but in childhood and adolescence people are already struggling to find identity and to figure out how they relate to the world.

Fortunately, things are improving, if slowly. An increasing number of all-ages and young adult comics, for instance, predominately feature queer characters. Here are three really great ones.

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The Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective: Heir to the Empire Wrap-Up Post

Mara threatens Luke's life...again

My re-read of Heir to the Empire has come to a close, putting me 1/3 of the way done with my Thrawn Trilogy Retrospective. It’s been a hell of a ride. Let’s discuss further, shall we? 

The last time I read Heir was in 2011, when the 20th Anniversary Edition was released, so I’m not as far removed from this book as I am the others in the trilogy. Still, it was fun to revisit the novel that sparked my love of the Expanded Universe and solidified me as a Star Wars fan, and not just someone who saw the movies once or twice and enjoyed them.

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Andy Serkis Answers 10 Questions About The Force Awakens

"The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" New York PremiereWhile none of the actors are able to tell us much about The Force Awakens yet, in an interview with Entertainment Weekly Andy Serkis shared a few things that he can tell us about the movie and his work on it. His answers to EW’s questions, unsurprisingly, don’t give us a lot of detail about the story or characters, but he does reveal that he plays only one character in the film and that his voice in the teaser is unaltered.

One question that he’s not able to give an answer to is whether or not his character is performance capture, which is unsurprising, given the amount of information one could likely draw from the answer.

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