Review: Poe Dameron #22

Poe Dameron #22 is masterful.

When I first started reading it, I figured that perhaps this issue would hit me a little harder after seeing The Last Jedi. After all, much of who Poe Dameron was in the latest film made so much more sense when you had this comic run in the back of your brain. While that level of realization was there, that wasn’t the start of the show. No, that would be Charles Soule’s writing.

It seems fitting that an issue released so close to the anniversary of Carrie Fisher’s passing features Leia narrating a plan as a framing device. Of course she has a plan to get Lor San Tekka out: this is Leia Organa we’re talking about here. Her plan is a heist because a woman picks up a thing or two thanks to being married to a notorious smuggler and being part of a rebellion since she was a teenager. And yeah, it’s a good plan.

Aside from the masterful weaving, the other great part about this issue is that it gives everyone a minute to shine. Yes, it’s definitely Leia’s show but it won’t succeed without them. Admittedly, I’d like to slap Snap for his continuing self-pity over being dumped by Karé but I’m hardly alone there. (Seriously buddy, this is not how you get a girl back.) The OTP that I’m truly invested in is Jess getting a droid who sticks around. Even Poe gets a particularly good role in this plan.

I won’t spoil any of the twists and turns for you but needless to say, Poe Dameron #22 is a comic issue that you need to read.

Poe Dameron #22: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #9

Jocasta Nu is officially a bad ass.

Perhaps she’s not a match for the Grand Inquisitor in a lightsaber duel but she knows how to hold her own. While the Jedi Order seems fine with letting their Knights have their own areas of specialty, they definitely make sure that everyone knows how to fight. In this case, that’s a very good thing. This particular story arc in the Darth Vader comic is doing wonders not just for Jocasta Nu’s characterization but also the Grand Inquisitor’s. He doesn’t seem to be entirely at ease with taking orders from Vader yet… especially when they’re contrary to what he wants to do.

But Jocasta… Listen, this arc should be required reading for anyone who wants to reduce her down to a snarky sentence about her scene in Attack of the Clones. Jocasta didn’t have to return to the Jedi Temple and neither did she have to dedicate herself to trying to ensure the knowledge of the Order endures. It’s incredibly brave of her to return. At the same time, the arc shows her weakness: she can’t stand to see the books and knowledge that she cares so deeply about read and mistreated by someone with no right to them.

Camuncoli’s art continues to be delightful. I will admit to giggling a fair bit at the first page in which Vader stands in the back of a speeder while two others drive it with his cape billowing in the wind. Could he possibly be any more dramatic? (The answer is likely yes: this is the man who was once Anakin Skywalker, after all.)

Are you reading this book yet? You should be.

Darth Vader #9: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #21

Congratulations to Charles Soule and Angel Unzueta for creating a comic page that made me audibly gasp really, really loudly.

It’s a relatively quiet issue for Black Squadron. They’re present, of course, and Poe, Snap, and Jess all have some nice moments but the real focus this month is on Leia Organa and Lor San Tekka. Poor Lor is imprisoned thanks to breaking and entering in search of knowledge and while Leia might be looking to find adequate storage and protection for her birth mother’s gowns, she definitely has an alternative agenda going on. Come on, it’s General Organa. She’s leading the Resistance. You don’t really think she’s just there to store dresses, do you?

This is actually something that I really like about this book. While Poe’s obviously the focus, Soule isn’t afraid to pull back and let other characters take and/or share the spotlight at times. It worked really well in the arc where the guys and girls split up and it works rather well in this issue too. Also, it certainly doesn’t hurt that this arc has thus far been a stellar example of how to incorporate Prequel elements in the Sequel era. After all, it’s one big galaxy.

Assorted Thoughts:

  • Jess’s trouble with droids has shifted from being a funny joke to a genuine thing that makes me want to hug her
  • I just don’t care about Snap/Karé and their troubles
  • That lake gown. THAT LAKE GOWN
  • Phil Noto’s cover is drop dead gorgeous

Poe Dameron #21 keeps doing a lot of things right and I can’t wait to see where this arc goes.

Poe Dameron #21: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

 

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

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #7

Okay. Now we’re talking.

Most of the time, I tend to enjoy the first issue in a new story arc but it often doesn’t quite catch me until the inevitable cliffhanger at the end. Darth Vader #7 had me from page one. In a thus far fantastic run, this would have been my favorite issue so far if it hadn’t been for #5.

We start with Vader and his newly acquired Inquisitors who are in for some very unsympathetic training to say the least. It’s also entirely possible that, in his own twisted way, Vader thinks it’s only fair that these lesser dark siders have to pay at least some of the price that he did too. Actually, he sounds rather like Anakin at times when discussing this. It’s not long before Vader learns who his next Jedi target is: Jocasta Nu.

Let’s be real here: Jocasta isn’t the most respected Jedi either in or out of the universe. (Although sidebar: respect and appreciate your librarians, everyone!) To most fans, she’s just that line in Attack of the Clones about the planet not existing. Even Palpatine is simultaneously dismissive of her while also recognizing that she poses a threat. Knowledge my friends, is power. Honestly, she makes Yoda look like a lazy bum with everything she’s accomplished so far after the Jedi Purge. I desperately want to know the story of how she escaped and I can’t wait to see how she handles things in the next issue. She’s a delight thus far.

Another character who’s benefiting from this comic is the Grand Inquisitor. We only got one season with him in Rebels but his backstory and interest in knowledge is fascinating. I can’t help but think this’ll be an point of contention with either Vader or Palpatine further down the line.

Are you reading this Darth Vader comic yet? No? You really should be.

Darth Vader #7: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Daniele Orlandini/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #6

It’s interesting how an issue with a ton of action can also be an issue where not much happens. The series so far has left Vader a little worse for the wear and honestly, he probably needs a few minutes where not much happens. (Too bad he doesn’t get much of one.)

This will be one of the spoiler filled reviews. Just a warning. Continue reading

Review: Poe Dameron #19

I feel like I’m just repeating myself at this point but it bears saying again: War Stories is a very X-Wingy sort of story. That’s X-Wing with a capital X, by the way. As in the X-Wing series.

Why has War Stories made me happy? Oh let us count the ways…

  1. It made the series feel like more of an ensemble piece again
  2. It’s not afraid of humor
  3. This includes bad jokes/puns because our heroes can’t be perfect at everything (LOOKING AT YOU, POE DAMERON)
  4. The use of a holojournalist and propaganda examines a not as often dealt with aspect of war
  5. The new main villain would totally be twirling her mustache if she had one and I mean that in the best way possible
  6. We get illusions to a character’s tragic backstory which leaves us wanting to know more
  7. It tugs at your heartstrings when you least expect it

Poe Dameron #19 is the cap on a very solid arc that has been very Star Wars to the core. There hasn’t really been any moment that’s left me gasping in shock or crying my eyes out in this arc but it’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed the heck out of every minute. Perhaps I’m biased because I adore Jess Pava but I can definitely see this being a story arc that I keep coming back and rereading. Kudos to all involved.

Poe Dameron #19: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #5

Listen… it’s been a while since we’ve had a gif review and I had honestly retired the format but sometimes you get a comic issue where words don’t really do it.

 

Darth Vader #5 was just so good that I had to reread it immediately. That doesn’t happen often at all. Just… go read this issue. Even if (and I NEVER say this) you haven’t read the previous four issues. Please. You can thank me later.

Darth Vader #5: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor

Review: Poe Dameron #18

The arc with the boys’ trip and the girls’ trip continues and things don’t really go all that well for our favorites in Black Squadron. (Are you surprised? I’m not surprised.) It didn’t take long for Team Capable Ladies to find the First Order acting suitably terrible. While that’s good from Suralinda’s point of view so she can get footage, Jessika is less than content to wait and record while the lives of innocent people are threatened. Meanwhile, Team Guys is inching along on their search for Oddy and not being nearly as successful yet. Point is… women, we get the job done.

I can’t get over how happy this arc is making me especially since it’s bringing characters like Jess and Karé to the forefront again. I love that Jessika Pava isn’t someone who can just sit back and let bad things happen for the greater good. It’s a lovely contrast to the First Order lieutenant who’s arrogant and comfortable in his assertion that the First Order is better than the Empire so obviously they’ll win.

Surprisingly, Oddy turned out to be another highlight of this issue. Honestly, I wasn’t terribly excited about him surviving but his pages end up being oddly delightful? Although admittedly, it feels strange to use that word here but I can’t quite think of a better one.

Mostly importantly, the War Stories arc is fun. Do their missions have weight to them? Definitely. Does the story still press upon you how precarious the Resistance’s continued existence is? Absolutely but it never stops being fun and in Star Wars? That’s crucial.

Poe Dameron #18: Charles Soule/Writer, Angel Unzueta/Artist, Arif Prianto/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Vader (2017) #4

Anakin Skywalker had no chill and it’s very clear that Darth Vader has no chill either. Are any of us surprised? We shouldn’t be. At the same time though, everything about Vader is a tragedy. (Darth Plagueis the Wise has nothing on him.)

The Revenge of the Sith novelization told us what it felt like to be Anakin Skywalker forever. The answer, as Darth Vader #4 reinforces for us, is not great. Actually, being Anakin/Vader is rather awful. This is the second time in days that he’s been almost completely broken. (The First Order has a Kylo tantrum budget. The Empire has a ‘Put Humpty Vader together again budget.) As I said before, this mission is part of the slow murder of Anakin Skywalker but it’s also the birth of someone else. The birth of something else. It’s mildly disturbing to say the least but impossible to look away.

Assorted Thoughts:

  • Are those Tholothians? If so, they may be the first non-black ones we’ve seen and the first male Tholothian
  • It sure is handy that Vader was a genius at mechanical things in his former life
  • Does that make him a mechanical genius now?
  • That was a very bad joke. I’ll stop.

If Soule goes where I think he’s going next issue… it’s going to be a rough one. Emotionally that is. But we knew that was bound to happen in this book, right? Badass with a side of emotional despair. Thanks, Vader.

Darth Vader #4: Charles Soule/Writer, Giuseppe Camuncoli/Pencils, Cam Smith/Inks, David Curiel/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor, Jordan D. White/Editor