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

Norra

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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Review: Doctor Aphra #14

Say whaaaaat?

(I see what you did with this arc title, Marvel. I see you.)

Doctor Aphra #14 kicks off a new “year” for the not so good doctor who is doing considerably worse than she was the last time we saw her relaxing on a beach in a fabulous robe with a drink in hand. Also doing worse than the last time we saw her, Tolvan who has been demoted from Captain to Lieutenant.

As far as season starts go, this is a pretty good one. There has definitely been a lot going on in both Aphra and Tolvan’s lives since last we saw them and I particularly hope we get to see how Aphra got to be where she is whether it’s in flashbacks or in future dialogue. This is definitely a fantastic way to kick start a new storyline. I also hope that it leads to us seeing more of Tolvan as well.

I mostly like Emilio Laiso’s art on the book with the exception of a page with two jarringly posed panels that feel a little too sexualized for my tastes. On the other hand, I highly appreciate that we got to see multiple non-white male Imperials. I’m also fond of the facial expressions that Laiso draws.

Doctor Aphra #14 might not be the best place for a brand new reader to jump on board but it’s definitely the kick off of what will undoubtedly be a neat as heck story.

Doctor Aphra #14: Kieron Gillen and Si Spurrier/Writers, Emilio Laiso/Artist, Rachelle Rosenberg/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Rebels Review: Rebel Assault

Pew pew pew pew pew!

This week’s episode of Star Wars Rebels fulfilled a lot of fan wishes while marking the end of the first half of the fourth and last season of the show. It seems odd that we’re already at the mid-season hiatus when the show has only been back for four weeks and seven episodes total. While it’s nice to have episodes air back to back, it feels like this season is barreling to a close and I’m not sure how exactly everything is going to be able to tie up by the end of the season. Regardless of those concerns, this episode of Rebels did a lot of things well and only missed the mark for me a few times. It’s without a doubt my favorite episode of the season so far, and one of my top favorites overall. More spoilery thoughts after the cut!

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Holonet Blast #34

Well THAT was a week.

Starting off on the literature side, upcoming novella compilation Canto Bight got an excerpt from John Jackson Miller’s entry. Are you interested in Huey, Dewie, and Louie expys in Star Wars? Boy are you in luck!

Hanging out in the Orlando area when The Last Jedi releases? If so, you can join in on Galactic Nights, which will feature a panel of Lucasfilm folks and Disney Imagineers talking about the upcoming Galaxy’s Edge expansion to the American Disney resorts.

Star Wars fashion aficionados? Good news. Rag + Bone has a new collection just for you.

Battlefront II is only out in trial for EA Access members this week with certain preorders getting access on Tuesday, but that hasn’t stopped the news about the game. Iden Versio’s story will continue in additional content this December.

Speaking of Star Wars games, EA has outright purchased Respawn. They’re the makers of Call of Duty and are also responsible for a Star Wars title in progress.

Now how about we get to the news that threw us all for a loop this week? First up, it appears a live action TV show might finally happen. This news comes out of a Disney earnings call on Thursday. I would caution against expecting this to be the previously rumored Underworld TV series, as I suspect that’s been parted out for other projects since the sale. This appears to be something that will anchor Disney’s streaming service.

And if that wasn’t enough…

Lucasfilm has announced that Rian Johnson, fresh off of wrapping The Last Jedi, will be overseeing an entirely new trilogy.

Lucasfilm is excited to announce that Johnson will create a brand-new Star Wars trilogy, the first of which he is also set to write and direct, with longtime collaborator Ram Bergman onboard to produce. 

As writer-director of The Last Jedi, Johnson conceived and realized a powerful film of which Lucasfilm and Disney are immensely proud. In shepherding this new trilogy, which is separate from the episodic Skywalker saga, Johnson will introduce new characters from a corner of the galaxy that Star Wars lore has never before explored.

Start your wild mass guessing! Or listen to our wild mass guessing on the latest Tosche Station Radio.

Tosche Station Radio #181: Brand Synergy


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This week on Tosche Station Radio, we wild mass speculate on what Rian Johnson’s new Star Wars trilogy may be about, and discuss what we’d love to see in a live action TV series. 

Tosche Station Radio is the official podcast of Tosche-Station.net. If you like what you hear, subscribe and leave a review on iTunes and Google Play. For more great shows from us, you can also subscribe to the Tosche Station Network mega feed on iTunes and Google Play. We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Nanci and Brian are the co-founders and writers of Tosche-Station.net. You can find Nanci on Twitter with the handle @Nancipants and you can find Brian with @LaneWinree.

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Rebels Review: Kindred and Crawler Commanders

I own it. The Force mysticism threads that run through Rebels just don’t work for me.

When this series began, I was hopeful we’d be seeing more of the Rebel cells and grassroots resistance of the to the Empire. To be certain we’ve got that in chunks here and there, but so often this show just gets bogged down by asking questions about the Force that likely will never get answers. That’s certainly fine, but it worked better in The Clone Wars than it does in Rebels. At the very least, it worked better in the first couple seasons of Rebels than it works now. We came into season four with a setup that it’s finally time to see the Rebellion mustering. Every now and then we start getting glimpses that we’re going to finally see more of the early Rebel Alliance.

But then we get derailed to go on another trail to Mortis-up the Force again. What does any of this mean? Who knows, but here are some nifty visuals.

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Review: Star Wars #38

It’s a brand new day for the main Star Wars book as Kieron Gillen slides in to take the reins and I’m like 99% sure that all of my favorites are going to die because I spent all my Gillen Good Luck on keeping Aphra alive. Just like he’s been doing over in Doctor Aphra, Gillen is already working with the events of Rogue One as our heroes venture over to Jedha. Needless to say, things aren’t doing great there in the wake of the Death Star and the Empire is trying to mine whatever kyber crystals it can from the ruins. The Rebels arrive looking for the remains of Saw’s Partisans while the Empire brings in a specialist to try and solve its mining issues. Things are likely not going to go very well for either of them very soon. Shocker, right?

While Jason Aaron’s run was solidly good, Gillen’s new angle for the book can only be a good thing for the series. He’s not a stranger to our core crew, having written them during the two crossovers, but seeing his take on the heroes for once will undoubtedly be fun. There’s already been a tie in to his Vader series that was unexpected yet incredibly welcome.

On the other hand… the art on this book continues to be an exercise in frustration for me. I like Larroca’s style well enough but the moment the faces jarringly slide into photorealism, I’m not a fan. There are at least several panels where the faces clash so much with the rest of the art that they almost look pasted in.

A few assorted thoughts:

  • No really. That Vader character has me grinning from ear to ear
  • Will the Dreamers be brought up? Why did the Dreamers and this group split?
  • Ubin Des has the potential to be a really neat character
  • Will the Guardians of the Whills just die out as an order now that there is no temple to guard? If so, that’s incredibly sad.

All in all, a good start to a new era of Star Wars comics. It’s most definitely a good place to jump onboard if you haven’t already.

Star Wars #38: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Guru e-FX/Colorist, Clayton Cowles/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: The Legends of Luke Skywalker

There are lots of stories about Luke Skywalker. Some of them might even be true. – Ulina

The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu is one of the few books of the new canon to be about Luke Skywalker, much less feature him as a character. As such, it was pretty much guaranteed that I would enjoy this book on some level. However, I was surprised by how much I loved it. It’s one of my favorite canon novels, right alongside The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry, another middle grade novel about Luke. Weapon and Legends share another similarity, in that they both feature framing stories in which Luke is portrayed as a mythical hero. The difference is that Legends never outright uses Luke’s POV; instead, six crew members of the ship Wayward Current exchange stories about Luke while on the way to Canto Bight. It’s a novel that portrays Luke as a folk hero, and I’m not sure if I’ve ever read another book that does as good a job depicting Luke’s relationship with the Force and the galaxy at large. Which is quite the feat, considering we never get inside Luke’s head.

The framing story follows a set of deckhands who help a stowaway escape detection and get off the Wayward Current into Canto Bight. They exchange stories as a way to distract themselves from the horribleness of jumping into the bilge to hide. (Sound familiar?) What better way to pass the time than discuss one of the most famous and mysterious figures in the galaxy, Luke Skywalker?

Spoilers after the cut:

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