Review: Darth Vader (2017) #2

If you’re a big fan of all the clones… you may want to find yourself something to hug before reading this issue. Just saying.

In Darth Vader #2, Vader has his mission but is seemingly freer to define the parameters. This post-Revenge of the Sith story is a different take on the previously assumed aftermath of Order 66 where Vader immediately goes out to hunt down what’s left the of Jedi simply to slaughter them. Now he has a far more singular purpose: find a Jedi, kill them, and corrupt their kyber crystal. His plan? Go to a Jedi Outpost and utilize their still existing records to aide him in his search.

There’s something about this that feels far more personal than Vader hunting lots of Jedi. When he locates a target in the archives, it’s not someone he’s ever (or we the readers have ever) met before. It’s going to be a very deliberate mission and part of the slow, continuous murder of Anakin Skywalker. The slips back from Vader to Anakin are here within the issue if you’re paying attention even as his actions say that he’s trying to be everything that Anakin wasn’t.

I’m unsure whether Charles Soule intended for Vader’s little droid assistant to be snarky or not but I was certainly entertained. It’s one of the few things that can successfully speak up to the Sith and continue existing. It’s also interesting that the most we’ve seen Vader talk in the entire book so far has been to this droid. Gives more meaning to more machine now than man…

Unsurprisingly, Darth Vader #2 stays on target as we get closer and closer to Vader finding a Jedi and a kyber crystal for his lightsaber.

Darth Vader #2: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #1

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

Review: Poe Dameron #15

After last issue’s emotional tribute to both L’ulo and Carrie Fisher, Black Squadron moves onward because the Resistance can never afford to remain still for too long. After all, they’re beginning to run critically low on supplies, including fuel. Leia’s gotten some smuggler names from Han but someone seems to systematically be taking them out. Unsurprisingly, she turns to Black Squadron to help protect this latest fuel vessel. Also unsurprisingly… oh yeah the First Order is totally involved.

Poe Dameron #15 feels like a soft reset for the series. While art duties may have shifted to Ange Unzueta last issue, this issue still feels more like the start of something new. Terex is still working for the First Order but he’s not quite the same threat that he once was. Meanwhile, Black Squadron has to find a way to move forward in the wake of the loss of one of their own. On the surface, supplies and logistics might not seem like the most exciting story choice but I rather like it because it helps make the Resistance feel more real. They don’t have infinite funds and people within the New Republic can only do so much to help them.

A few other notes:

  • I sincerely hope that someone nerdier than me takes the time to translate the names of all the smugglers from Aurebesh.
    I like that the smuggler captain distinctly looks not-human.
    The lack of fuel thing is totally going to turn into a plot point.
  • Poe Dameron #15 continues to live up to the feel of the series and would be a great jumping on point for anyone new to the series.

Poe Dameron #15: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #14

Poe Dameron #14 just might be one of those comics where it’s advisable to read with a tissue box nearby and not just because there’s a funeral.

I mentioned last time that it’s never been more apparent that the Poe Dameron comic is a spiritual heir to the X-Wing novels from Legends and it’s even more obvious that Poe Dameron is Wedge Antilles’ spiritual successor. Poe has a gift both in the cockpit and for knowing the right thing to say as squadron leader in a time of sorrow but he also needs someone there to tell him that it’s okay to take a minute to process things and it’s not only okay but that he needs to. Charles Soule has said that this issue was his way of playing tribute to Carrie Fisher and it’s very nicely done. You can certainly see his intent but he doesn’t hit you over the head and have the artist write “IN MEMORY OF CARRIE FISHER” in giant glittery letters across every page. The issue is about Poe figuring out how to move forward in the wake of L’ulo’s death but it’s also, in its own way, about reminding us that Leia is a leader for a reason. She understands both war and people and that’s what it’s all about.

Surprisingly, Agent Terex still has his role to play in the issue. He’s now a prisoner of the First Order and… things do not go quite as you might expect. It’s a plot line that just might make you look at Captain Phasma a different way.

Angel Unzueta takes over art duties permanently from Phil Noto and it’s certainly a shift. I don’t dislike it but it’ll likely take a few issues to adjust after a dozen issues of Noto’s ever fabulous work. Unzueta does do some very neat work with his panel layouts and telling both parts of the story at once.

For oh so many reasons, this is definitely an issue you should pick up on release day.

Poe Dameron #14: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Celebration 2017: Interview with Charles Soule

He hasn’t gotten any less busy since the last time we chatted but Charles Soule was kind enough to sit down with me after the big Marvel panel at Star Wars Celebration last week. We talked about his relatively recently announced Darth Vader book and his continuing work on Poe Dameron including a very in depth look at today’s issue.

Warning! This interview contains spoilers for Poe Dameron #13 and I mean major spoilers. They are all in the back half of the interview so you can safely read until the first mention of the Poe book. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

via IGN.com

Bria for Tosche Station: So you still haven’t talked them into giving you a Palpatine book then? Just a Vader one?

Charles Soule: Yeah but a Vader book is by definition almost a Palpatine book at the same time. They’re still very, very intertwined. The story that I’m telling in the Vader book has Palpatine as the only point of connection that Vader has left anymore. He’s the only person he can turn to for any sort of advice or guidance. His physicality is completely different and completely changed. He has no anchor point except Palpatine, which Palpatine of course knows and realizes and uses to manipulate Vader further in the great tragedy that is Darth Vader’s life. Continue reading

Review: Poe Dameron #13

Thirteen might be an unlucky number for some but it’s definitely a lucky one as far as the Poe Dameron comic is concerned. In fact, this just might be one of the best issues of the comics thus far. There’s action, there’s humor, there’s comradeship, and droids get stuff done. In short, it’s never been clearer that this comic book is one of the spiritual successors to the X-Wing books from Legends and around here? That’s a very high compliment.

Spoilers after the jump… Continue reading

Review: Poe Dameron #12

Poe Dameron: Still in a lot of trouble
Poe Dameron: Friend to droids everywhere
Poe Dameron: Making all this madness look gooooood

Those are just three of the taglines I’m considering for this month’s issue of Poe Dameron. Also in the running are “We don’t deserve these droids” and “Why didn’t we get to see BB-8 hanging out with Chopper on the page since that clearly happened at some point?”

Speaking of droids, BB-8 may continue to be the best and a delight but Threepio really comes in with a clutch move this issue. I rag on him a lot but, well, Leia made him her spymaster for a reason. He has his uses for more than just bantering with Artoo and driving those around him insane. Way to go, Goldenrod! On a related note, all of BB-8’s beeps and boops this issue are particularly fun and delightful especially when he’s *ahem* taking a cue from Chopper in terms of being a good droid teammate. Honestly, the droids really are the MVPs this issue. The timing is ironic given the most recent Rebels episode.

The issue has a bit of a chaotic feel to it but that’s a good thing as everything is rapidly coming to its conclusion. Honestly, I’m not sure that Terex is going to make it out alive and I’m a bit worried about Oddy. Heck, I’d be worried about Poe too if we didn’t know he makes it to Jakku. (It’s totally fine if N1-ZX gets disintegrated though.)

I am absolutely looking forward to seeing how this arc ends! It’ll be such a lovely post-Celebration present for those of us attending.

Poe Dameron #12: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Holonet Blast #5

Only a few items of note this week, so let’s get to them!

OMAR JOINS HAN

Michael Kenneth Williams, perhaps best known as Omar on The Wire, has joined the as-yet-untitled Han Solo spinoff film! That’s literally all we know; no character hints whatsoever. Seems like LFL is at least starting to get the “wow, that’s a lot of white folks” memo, though. Faster than Marvel is, at any rate. (Source)

via StarWars.com

Continue reading

Review: Poe Dameron #11

Okay can we please start by discussing how drop dead gorgeous this cover is? Phil Noto is rarely anything but excellent but this is another level. I want this framed on my wall.

But about the actual content of the issue… Oh Terex. You’re certainly not going to win First Order Officer of the year and frankly, I’m increasingly concerned about your contining existence. (It’s shocking that Phasma hasn’t broken his spine already.) That said, Charles Soule is presenting us with an interesting comparison with our two sides. Leia formed the Resistance because the New Republic was blind to the threat and now Terex is using his own private army to strike against the Resistance because the First Order can’t. It’s a thought-provoking contrast especially since the First Order is so focused on….uhhh…order. It’s surprising that they’d bring Terex in at all and now that he’s in and pushing back so strongly against Phasma… how long will he stay a part of the First Order especially if he loses to Poe?

We still don’t know who the spy is for sure and it’s driving me insane! While Poe comes to the same conclusion that I did several issues ago, I have a feeling that there’s going to be a twist. This is comics: there’s always a twist and I can’t wait to read what it is.

Sidebar: If someone doesn’t pull together a Lord-General of the Rancs of Kaddak cotsume soon, I’m going to be very disappointed.

Poe Dameron #11: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #10

Another month, another issue of the ever delightful Poe Dameron book by Charles Soule and Phil Noto! This is the arc of the droids and the backstory and we keep getting more each time so let’s get right to it.

It’s been said before on Tosche Station (probably by me multiple times) but having the Story Group around is going a long way towards Star Wars stealing the “it’s all connected!” tagline from the MCU. (It’s cool. They’re all in the Disney family.) Getting to see the Carrion Spike in this book and having its backstory from Tarkin acknowledged in this issue is just really cool and feels like a neat little reward for fans who read everything. At the same time, fans who only read the comics won’t be left feeling lost.

This issue is, per Charles Soule’s Twiter, the last of the Terex backstory and I have to say that I’ve been enjoying every minute of it. We’ve not only been getting insight to Terex’s earlier days but also the First Order. It makes me curious as to how many other people like Terex (ie: those who are not Imperials who didn’t go into immediate exile together) are a part of the First Order.

Finally, we arrive at the droid part of the plot. (You know… the one that also includes Poe… who this book is about.) Nunzix the droid is hilarious if you’re a fan of droids with sass. I still don’t know how to feel about Threepio the Spymaster because it seems like a spymaster should be better at being subtle but hey! As long as the Resistance gets the information, right?

On the art front, I’d like to publicly thank Phil Noto for drawing that First Order lieutenant with his code cylinders further to the side and upright like back in the days of the Empire instead of in the middle and diagonal like they were in the film. This is much less offensive to the eyes.

Can we have issue #11 yet? I NEED TO KNOW WHO’S THE SPY.

Poe Dameron #10: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor