Review: Star Wars #24

Say hello to the payoff we’ve been waiting for since that very first tease of Scar Squadron. Sergeant Kreel’s stormtroopers are finally clashing with our barebones Rebel Star Destroyer crew! How does that work out for Leia, Luke, and Han? Well… uhhh… not terribly well.

This was definitely a doomed mission from the start but there’s something intriguing about how Leia and the rest keep fighting despite the odds being progressively more stacked against them. Jason Aaron really nails Leia’s characterization with how dedicated she is to the mission and the overarching Rebellion. Add that to how awesome Sana’s been this issue and more and more? The Star Wars book’s strength is becoming its women.

Issue #24 definitely has more of that classic Star Wars feel than last month’s Han And Leia Are Going To Win Even If It Kills Them issue did. There’s also a heck of a lot action. Visually, Jorge Molina’s artwork throughout the issue is awesome. Scar Squadron is comprised of troopers who not only have different kits but also have different fighting styles. Some people may not like seeing Kreel wield a lightsaber against Luke but within the story, it all works rather well. It’s worth noting that this is also a story that couldn’t take place anywhere else because Luke’s definitely still very much a novice when it comes to lightsaber dueling.

Here’s the thing though: it wouldn’t matter what else happened in this issue because that last page? Yeah, that last page makes it all worth it. What happens? Well, you’ll just have to read the issue and find out.

Star Wars #24: Jason Aaron/Writer, Jorge Molina/Artist, Matt Milla/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #23

Did you know that it’s possible for a comic to be cute, very shippy, have the characters feel slightly off, and yet still be rather delightful? Jason Aaron and Jorge Molina do just that in today’s Star Wars #23. As one might guess from the adorable cover, this issue definitely dives into the Han and Leia dynamic that comes to the forefront in Empire Strikes Back. The Rebels have stolen a Star Destroyer to try and break through a blockade and Leia and Han strongly disagree which one of them should be acting Captain while they wait for a Rebellion Admiral to rendezvous with them. Because they’re Han and Leia.

In all honesty, I think that the race through the Star Destroyer to the bridge is far too immature for Leia to actually take part in. Han I could buy but Leia? Not so much. Regardless, I still found myself giggling as I read their bickering and then drastic steps to one-up each other and make it to the bridge first. Meanwhile Sana speaks for all of us as she shakes her head at them.

Speaking of Sana, I continue to be delighted that she gets to play such a distinct role in this book and didn’t just disappear after that initial arc. Her chat with Luke when they’re in the TIE fighters is neat to read and lets us get to know both of them just a little bit better. I’m interested to see whether she ends up becoming a believer in the Rebel Alliance’s cause too or if she stays detached.

The short version? This issue feels somewhat out of character but it’s so damn cute and fun that I don’t care that much.

Oh and that last page? Yeah. Stuff is gonna go DOWN next issue and I can’t wait to read it.  

Star Wars #22: Jason Aaron/Writer, Jorge Molina/Artist, Matt Milla/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #22

Stealing a Star Destroyer is such a time honored tradition in the Star Wars Expanded Universe that it was only a matter of time before the comics tackle such a feat.  The plan makes for a fun issue that really lets Jason Aaron flex his space battle writing muscles and creates a nice little challenge for Jorge Molina.  If there’s one thing that’s always going to look better on the screen, it’s a space battle but Molina certainly puts in a valiant effort.  There are X-wings everywhere though, including the pilots of Red Squadron, and we’re definitely a fan of seeing more of that around here.  One can only hope that Aaron will eventually tackle the story in which the current Red Five decides to form a rogue squadron of his very own…

What Aaron’s Star Wars definitely seems committed to is doubling down on the arguing between Leia and Han.  While I’m always a fan of their bickering, I’m a tiny bit (just a very tiny bit) worried that getting too much of their arguing will make it harder for readers to find their Empire Strikes Back love story that much more believable.  But hey!  Then again, we’re still in the pretty early days after Yavin.  I don’t think we’ve gotten the actual timeline but I suspect we’re not even a year out yet.  There’s still plenty of time for the bickering to shift into bickering-flirting.  In the mean time, we get to see Luke play the mediator which is always entertaining.  I’m also pleased to see that Sana is a continuing presence in the Star Wars comics and isn’t just being used as a one-off for that “Han’s wife” reveal.  The galaxy could always use another capable lady especially when she’s a woman of color.

On the art front, I’m not a huge fan of how Jorge Molina does likenesses.  It’s not a big deal for the characters we don’t know but Leia, Han, and Luke all just look a liiiiittle bit off but then again, the Big Three haven’t been the easiest for artists to nail in Star Wars comics since, well, the start.

The Harbringer arc is off to a good start and I’m intrigued to see where they go with it!  (Stormtroopers.  I bet there will be an elite group of stormtroopers.)

Star Wars #22: Jason Aaron/Writer, Jorge Molina/Artist, Matt Milla/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #21

The main Star Wars book never shines more than when Jason Aaron just goes for it and that’s exactly what he does here with the kick off of the much awaited stormtrooper arc.  Making his return is Sergeant Kreel from Luke’s misadventure on Nar Shaddaa except now he’s in command of Scar Squad, a group of very deadly Special Commando Advanced Recon stormtroopers.  (Bless comic books and their acronyms.)

If you enjoyed the Republic Commando books from Legends, you’ll almost definitely like this issue.  They may not be a bunch of Mandalorian raised clones but they are a fairly tight-knit band of extremely deadly men (and possibly women.)  The Rebels never stood a chance.  Aaron continues the work laid by other Star Wars creators and gives a more human face to the Empire.  Between this issue and books like Lost Stars, it’s not hard to understand why someone would be such a fervent believer in the Empire.  It’s stability, it’s an opportunity.  The Rebel Alliance is either a bunch of freedom fighters or a terrorist organization… all depending on your point of view.

Jorge Molina gets to have some fun on the art front and draw a bunch of different stormtrooper variations.  Visually, it’s a neat shorthand to show how elite Scar Squad is– not everyone gets to have their own unique kits.  The Molina/Milla team works very nicely for this book and fits right in with the other artists they’ve had on the different arcs so far.  And shout out to David Aja for the rad cover!  I’ve missed his work on Hawkeye so this is a nice little gem.

Been holding off on diving into the Star Wars comics?  Star Wars #21 is the perfect issue to jump in with!

Star Wars #21: Jason Aaron/Writer, Jorge Molina/Artist, Matt Milla/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #20

The end of an arc in the main Star Wars book means it’s time for another foray into the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi. Artist Mike Mayhew returns to team up with Jason Aaron as we jump in our ship and head back to Tatooine.

In theory, the Obi-Wan interludes are about Obi-Wan watching Luke growing up but as we reach the third one, it’s becoming clearer that they’re really about Obi-Wan and Owen Lars and the tenuous relationship between them. Don’t get me wrong: young Luke is enthusiastic and adorable and a breath of life on the page. The shaky and ever evolving understanding between Owen and Obi-Wan is something entirely different. Almost two decades pass between the trilogies and it makes sense that things between them wouldn’t be static. I’m intrigued to see where else this might go especially if Beru gets to play more of a role. (By the way, the flash of her being a total bad ass in this issue was AWESOME.)

Mike Mayhew’s facial expressions are probably the strength of his work in this book. They tell stories entirely on their own on his very polished and pretty pages. I wasn’t overly fond of how Black Krrsantan looks more like King Kong than a wookiee in the face on one page but that’s a relatively minor quibble. That said, Mayhew definitely knows how to frame a heroic shot.

The more the Star Wars team publishes these Kenobi Interludes, the more I enjoy them. They continue to be a palette cleanser of sorts between arcs but in the most positive way. It’s a nice way to take a deep breath and let it out again before we dive into our heroes’ next adventure.  That said… bring on the stormtroopers!

Star Wars #20: Jason Aaron/Writer, Mike Mayhew/Artist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #19

You know what book I would read? I would read a book about Leia, Sana, and Aphra running around the galaxy as a rad girl gang who kick butt and take names and take no crap from anyone. This story arc has been so much fun because of the interactions between the ladies and I have loved every minute of it. Yes, even those minutes when Han and Luke were literally herding nerfs.

If you thought like I did that the Star Wars Annual #1 was a throw away story… we were wrong. I’m sorry for doubting you, Marvel. We won’t go into specifics here but everything about it is very well handled. Speaking of which, Jason Aaron’s handle on Luke has been a highlight of the book especially in this issue. He actually feels and sounds like a 19 year old kid. He doesn’t feel quite as seasoned and worldly (galaxyly?) as the rest of the trio because, well, he shouldn’t.

This has really been Leia’s chance to shine. She got some fantastic moments in Vader Down but this arc has been 100% about her ability to take charge and kick butt in a crisis. More importantly, it does so without making her feel out of character. This just feels like another aspect of her in addition to her political side instead of being a completely different character as some writers have been prone to do.

Oh and hey. Let’s chat a little about how this issue essentially confirms that Sana is probably bisexual and Aphra is either bisexual or lesbian. I am 100% here for non-straight ladies of color so thank you very much for this, Jason Aaron and Marvel. I would also be 100% here for that backstory that Sana tells Leia not to ask about… wink wink. It’s really nice to see that the commitment to diversity is something that’s consistent across all Star Wars mediums and I’m glad we live in a world where we can no longer count all of the LGBT characters on our fingers.

We get another Kenobi issue next month and then it’s on to some very dangerous looking stormtroopers. As always, I can’t wait to see where the creative team goes with this! Truly we live in a golden age of Star Wars comics.

Review: Star Wars #18

The mystery deepens! Star Wars #18 by Jason Aaron and Leinil Yu continues the Original Trilogy adventure. Well, maybe it’s an adventure of Han and Luke. It’s a fight for their lives for Leia, Sana, and Aphra. Let’s hear it for the laaaaaaaadies!

I love that this comic essentially smashes the Bechdel Test on every other page. As mentioned in prior reviews, Leia and Sana have long since moved past the whole Han Solo thing and their relationship is now based entirely their own interactions. Aphra is a fun wrench in the mix although after a certain exchange, I’m now fairly sure that this is not the first time that Aphra and Sana have interacted in the past and that is a story I’m dying to know. Perhaps my favorite part of this trio is how Leia is (as usual) the voice of reason who just wants them to get out of this alive so can we leave the in-fighting for later and just do as she says, please and thank you?

Han and Luke have definitely had the B-story this arc (which is fine by me) but it hasn’t been without its charm. Aaron has shown that he has a very strong grasp on how to write fresh-off-the-farm Luke Skywalker who is believable without feeling like an easy stereotype. The older/younger brother relationship between him and Han is the actual best.

The big mystery however comes from the prison’s attacker. I won’t spoil it for any readers who have yet to pick up the issue but who is he and how in space does he know that??? I’ll be intrigued to see how many answers Aaron and Yu give us before the story’s end… if they give us any.

The Rebel Jail story arc concludes next month and after an issue like this? I can’t wait to see how it goes!

Review: Star Wars #16

It feels like it’s been ages since we last saw our heroes so Star Wars #16 by Jason Aaron and Leinil Yu is a welcome return to the Rebel Alliance. While Han and Luke are off making poor life decisions with the Rebellion’s money, the ladies have far more pressing matters at hand.

How great is it that Sana Starros isn’t just a one-arc character but is instead returning in this issue? Actually, how great is it period that the majority of this issue revolves around Leia, Sana, and Aphra? The Han and Luke parts are fine but I could have been perfectly happy with an issue or even an entire arc focused just on the women. Unsurprisingly, Aphra is not going quietly into the night even though she’s been captured. While I continue to be very concerned about her safety and continued living (looking at you, Darth Vader,) I love that this issue shows that she hasn’t lost any of her fire. Leia has an interesting line about how the Empire will scour the galaxy for her which may seem innocuous but shows how much the Rebels don’t know about Aphra and Vader’s side project.

Speaking of Leia, the interactions between her and Sana build wonderfully upon when we last saw them on Nar Shaddaa. They may not be friends but they can work together towards a common goal and really not give a crap about Han Solo. In fact, it’s rather refreshing that he never really even comes up in their conversation. At the same time, it’s going to be interesting to watch and see where her story goes. Will she also go for being in it for the money to actually actively supporting the Rebellion or will the payday always be her driving force?

Both on-goings are moving along nicely from the aftermath of Vader Down and Star Wars #16 definitely gets a recommendation from me.

Review: Star Wars #15

It’s never easy to follow up an amazing crossover event and so Star Wars wisely chose to include another entry from Obi-Wan’s journal before moving onwards. It’s something I was hoping Marvel would do and I definitely hope that they continue to do so. However, I’m a little conflicted by Star Wars #15 by Jason Aaron and Mike Mayhew.

I enjoyed the issue but something about it just didn’t quite click like the previous one did. Let’s start with the good things. The issue lets readers get to see what Luke was like as a child and how Obi-Wan continued to watch over him from afar. Getting to see a relatively young Luke with his enthusiasm for flying and already strong desire to get off that desert rock is neat as heck and not just because of the easy Anakin comparisons. It’s also cool to see Owen and Kenobi actually interact even if the depth of Owen’s anger seems rather extreme when compared to his personality in Attack of the Clones and A New Hope. That said, it’s not something bad. People can change a lot over the course of two decades and it would be interesting to see the evolution of Owen Lars.

What didn’t quite work for me was the artwork. I like Mayhew’s work well enough and really dug what he did with Dark Horse’s The Star Wars but it felt too clean and too pretty for this sort of story. The previous Kenobi story had art that felt rougher and more appropriate for a backwater planet like Tatooine. Story-wise, this also didn’t have quite the one-shot umfph that the other did as it feels too open ended. It would’ve been better as a part of an arc.

End of the day? More Obi-Wan is always a good thing.