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: Doctor Aphra #6

Listen. I know that usually I strive to keep reviews as spoiler free as possible but in this particular situation, I am not going to bury the lead because Marvel has finally confirmed what we all strongly suspected back in Star Wars #19: Chelli Aphra is totally gay. First we came for your former Imperial Loyalty Officers and then we came for your Rogue Archaeologists and we are so very not sorry. I’m incredibly pleased that this is something Kieron Gillen and company have confirmed within the text. The more representation within Star Wars, the better.

Oh. I suppose that you want me to discuss the issue aside from Aphra’s sexuality. Doctor Aphra #6 is a great conclusion to the first arc of the book. Gillen and Walker gave us a cool mystical archaeology story mixed with Imperial conflict while also making sure to not neglect what made this book so appealing: the characters. It has a feel to it that’s distinctly its own and Aphra’s proved that she can carry a fascinating book on her own merits without the Dark Lord of the Sith. Hopefully this book is here to stay for a good long while. Who knows what other sorts of trouble Aphra could get up to in the galaxy?

The only thing that’s been bothering me on the art front is that Aphra looks way younger than she should sometimes but that could be because of Kev Walker’s art style. On the other hand, Walker’s also giving Aphra some cool new outfits, which is always a plus.

If you haven’t been picking up Doctor Aphra, I cannot recommend it enough. This book is far too much fun and delightfully Star Wars while also getting to explore other genres. Honestly, there’s no time like the present to get caught up on this book especially with the Screaming Citadel crossover with the main book coming next month. What are you doing still reading this review? Go read Doctor Aphra!

Doctor Aphra #6: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Rogue One #1

Adaptations from films are always a really weird beast. They tend to fall into two categories: forgettable or excellent with very little in between. In all honesty, I didn’t even bother picking up The Force Awakens Marvel adaptation because the art wasn’t my cup of tea. However, when the Rogue One comic adaptation was announced, we were told that it would include bits not in the film and I was instantly intrigued. Is it worth a read though? (Especially given the already stellar novelization by Alexander Freed.)

So far, I’m inclined to say yes. The prologue feels a little rushed but otherwise, Jody Houser does a great job of taking us through the story (up through departing Yavin) and seamlessly weaving in brand new scenes and bits we’ve already seen in the novelization into the film’s narrative. Without a doubt, Bodhi and Galen have benefitted the most from this and Houser’s Bodhi voice is actually spot on. It’s also nice to get a little more of Jyn’s point of view and feel like we’re inside her head, especially during the Yavin scenes.

Where I suspect people will have problems with this book is in regards to the art. Emilio Laiso and Oscar Bazaldua had an unenviable task before them as readers tend to be far harsher when it comes to adaptations than other comics. I wouldn’t call any of the likenesses uncanny but I didn’t find it to be an issue. The only one I wasn’t fond of was Cassian. There’s something off about his moustache. Mostly, the art made me draw favorable comparisons between this issue and Jorge Molina’s work on the main Star Wars book with the SCAR troopers.

Rogue One #1 is definitely worth picking up if you’re even a little bit interested. Time (and the next few issues) will tell whether this adaptation reaches the heights of the novelization.

Rogue One #1: Writer/Jody Houser, Artists/Emilio Laiso & Oscar Bazaldua, Colorist/Rachelle Rosenberg, Letterer/Clayton Cowles, Editor/Heather Antos, Supervising Editor/Jordan D. White.

Review: Star Wars #30

It’s hardly a secret that this Yoda story arc hasn’t really been doing it for me but after finally reaching the end with this issue? I think it’s safe to call it. I did not like this story arc and find it to be very skippable. I did not care for it and honestly, it’s nice that it doesn’t really tie into the main story too much. If this sort of story was your cup of tea? That’s great and I’m very glad that you enjoyed this arc. I did not.

As I’ve said in a past issue review, the journal framing device felt clunky especially when you realize that Obi-Wan never identifies Yoda by name so we can just barely cling to Luke’s confused ‘Yoda?’ line when he’s freezing to death. I also didn’t care for how Larroca drew Luke in this issue. It felt off.

And so there you have it, folks. A Star Wars comic from Marvel’s new run that I just did not like. It was bound to happen eventually, I guess?

Star Wars #30: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Darth Maul #2

As suspected, Darth Maul #2 is where the fun begins. Even though Maul is supposed to go nowhere near the Jedi, he heads off after the Xrexus Cartel who’ve captured a Jedi Padawan and are auctioning her off to the highest bidder. Since he has to be stealthy about it, he hires a team of bounty hunters (including Cad Bane and Aurra Sing) to assist him on his mission. What could possibly go wrong?

One thing that I really like about this book is how Maul feels more like the Maul we met in The Phantom Menace as opposed to the Maul we see in The Clone Wars. In other words… he doesn’t talk a whole lot. Internally monologue? Sure. Verbally chatter? Nah. The addition of the bounty hunters definitely helps the book out so we can get out of Maul’s head a little bit more. Heck, I’m actually even really enjoying Cad Bane in the book so far and I was never terribly fond of him during The Clone Wars.

It’s worth reiterating that Luke Ross and Nolan Woodward on art are a great combination for this book. I’m particularly fond of their larger crowd scenes since it looks like Ross had a ton of fun picking a plethora of aliens to include. It’s little things like that which help a book feel very Star Wars.

The verdict? Darth Maul’s not just a book for fans of the Sith Lord but definitely also a good book for fans of bounty hunters.

Darth Maul #2: Cullen Bunn/Writer, Luke Ross/Artist, Nolan Woodard/Colorist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

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

Review: Doctor Aphra #5

You know a comic’s doing something right when my first reaction as I read the final pages is, “Oh. Oh this is so cool.” And that, my friends, is exactly what I said at the end of this issue of Doctor Aphra because oh wow do they give us what’s going to be a really neat thing to face in the next issue. (You didn’t think I was going to tell you what it was, did you?)

What undoubtedly helps the cool factor are Antonio Fabela’s colors. Much of the issue has a green wash to it as the Aphras explore the citadel of Ordu-Aspectu. The overall effect is that it’s eerie yet awesome. It’s interesting to hear Papa Aphra refer to what we think of as the Jedi Order as being Orthodox Jedi even as we get to learn more about different groups of Force users. After all, it’s a big galaxy.

At the heart of this issue though are Aphra, her father, and all of their family issues. It turns out that being trapped somewhere with Imperials on their way to kill you makes for a great time to get some things off your chest. That sentence may sound sarcastic but for Aphra, it totally works. She also has a point that her father doesn’t really know her or what she may or may not be capable of. Working so closely with Vader has a way of changing people… in ways that others might not like…

I know I said this last time about this issue but… oh man, can we please have Issue #6 already? I need to know more about and what happens with the really cool thing. Like… now please?

Doctor Aphra #5: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

Review: Star Wars #29

This is the arc that just will not end and honestly, I’m out of things to say about it. I’ve been out of things to say. Luke continues to read Kenobi’s journal and its story about how Yoda went to this weird planet and now Yoda’s communing with a mountain that’s not actually a mountain. Honestly, I’d be far more interested in this story if it had been a two or three issue arc and even then, I’m anxious to get back to our main story at this point. Five issues is feeling a little much.

I mentioned in my review last time that the Luke reading this Yoda story in Ben’s journal felt a little clunky as a framing device and while that still holds true, the purpose is revealed here as Luke impulsively flies to the planet in question. It’s very Skywalker of him and admitted, I’m mildly interested to see what happens.

Overall though? This arc still gets one giant shrug from me. Maybe I’ll have more to say next issue.

Star Wars #29: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor

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