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: Darth Vader Annual

Another week of me making sad faces because this comic does NOT pick up from that awesome Vader Down cliffhanger but I shall quickly change that sad face into one of glee because this issue of Darth Vader by Kieron Gillen and Leinil Yu has EVERYTHING. It has a brand new royal court! It has the Murder Bots! It has Vader getting to be badass and ruthlessly efficient! Truly, this is New York’s hottest club.

Vader travels to Shu-torun, a planet both rich in ore and noble court traditions in order to emphasize the power of the Empire. His guide and escort upon reaching the planet is the youngest princess, Trios, who stands to inherit no major position upon her father’s death. Meanwhile, the Murder Bots are sneaking around trying to complete their own mission, which will, unsurprisingly, probably end with blood.

I can truly say without reservation that I loved this issue. According to Gillen’s social media, this Annual serves as a lead in of sorts for the next story arc after Vader Down concludes which is, in itself, intriguing. Plus, it’s hard to turn down an issue in which Vader gets to just destroy people who stand against him. But what I really really loved about this was the royal court and traditions of Shu-torun. What’s not to love about a court where formal wear involves glowing things on your fingertips? I love that we’re getting to see not only more new planets but also new planets that have monarchies.

Princess Trios is an interesting character. As Vader himself notes, she’s “admirable” and the issue certainly sets her up to have a future role in the Star Wars galaxy along with an intriguing dynamic with Vader.

Oh? And that gift that Vader brings to the Royals of Shu-torun? Stone. Cold. Cruel.

Vader Annual gets a hell yeah! on my scale of enthusiasm along with a strong recommendation that you read it.