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
My favorite new comic continues today and uhhh yeah. It’s not looking great for Team Aphra. (It’ll be fine! It’s only issue #4 of an ongoing series, after all.)
Surprisingly, while Aphra continues to be awesome, she wasn’t my favorite part of this issue. That honor goes instead to our antagonist. Despite debuting so recently, Captain Tolvan is already turning out to be a lovely surprise and seems to be a character who’ll be sticking around for a little while. She’s good but she’s not perfect and, were this her story, she’d be working through a personal redemption arc. On a related note, it seems that Marvel’s previous references to events in Rogue One weren’t throwaway lines and I sincerely hope we get more of this.
I mentioned this during the last review but I sincerely love that this is first and foremost the story of a rogue archaeologist that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe. It gives the book such a distinct feel from any other Star Wars stories we’ve gotten in recent memory. There are familiar locations and characters of course but it all just feels so fresh. I’m almost as invested in finding the Ordu Aspectu as Papa Aphra is. (Side Note: Does anyone else think of Wesley the Rogue Demon Hunter from Buffy the Vampire Slayer every time they read the opening scroll? No? Just Me? Okay never mind.)
Actually, I take back what I said earlier. My favorite part of the issue is a panel of the murderbots a few pages in because it made me laugh so damn hard. I won’t spoil it for you but I promise you’ll know it when you see it.
Doctor Aphra continues to get a “hell yeah!” from me and I would really like Issue #5 in my hands already, please and thank you.
Doctor Aphra #4: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Pencils, Marc Deering/Inks Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Don’t ask me to make sense of comic publishing schedules but apparently we get back-to-back issues of the main Star Wars book this month. Which is… fine? I guess?
It wasn’t as noticeable last issue since we basically just stayed with Yoda except for a panel or two but we’re literally getting a story within a story within a story with this arc. I don’t have a problem with using a Kenobi journal to tell other stories within this main book but man is it starting a feel a little clunky. Just tell the Yoda story that you want to tell and skip all the hoops.
Honestly, just like with the previous issue, there’s not much to say here. This Yoda book just is not my cup of tea. That said, there were definitely some moments within this issue where Jason Aaron completely nailed Yoda’s character. Several of his lines felt like they could have been right out of Yoda: Dark Rendezvous. (For those of you not as familiar with Legends, that’s a high compliment.) I am also interested to see how this story gets wrapped up given how the issue ends but… It’s just another shrug from me. I’m ready for the next story arc.
Star Wars #28: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
The adventures of Master Yoda on the planet full of children continue and… well… honestly, it’s not my thing. While Star Wars #27 doesn’t have the little bits with Threepio and Luke that distracted from the main story in the previous issue, they were actually missed here. I could have used a little bit of Threepio levity in this issue.
It’s not that the issue is bad. It’s just not my cup of tea. Yoda has really only been a character who caught my attention once in the past although interestingly enough, that story also heavily featured children. Getting more Larroca/Delgado art is always delightful and they’ve definitely put a lot of care into getting Yoda right especially for the larger panels. The story just has yet to draw me in and I honestly don’t have much else to say about the issue.
So the verdict? Go for it if you’re a Yoda fan or a big fan of the Jedi. Pick it up if you’re a completionist but maybe skip if you’re not. That said, the arc’s not done yet. Who knows where this might go?
Star Wars #27: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Usually, I prefer to start these off a little differently but I’ve got such crazy news that I think you all deserve to know right away. Are you sitting? You might want to sit down for this. Okay. Ready? Star Wars has now given us TWO ranking female Imperial officers within the same month. T W O. Captain Tolvan, let me be the first to say that it is very nice to meet you and that I hope you don’t end this book blown up, shot, or otherwise dead.
You know what I love about Star Wars almost as much as I love this book? That sweet, sweet brand synergy. I adore the shout out to the events of Rogue One and I especially love that it’s tied in because a character was literally too obsessed with his own project to notice that a city and entire planet got blown up. Never change, Papa Aphra. (Except no wait, your daughter would probably prefer that you did.) (Also, you need a name.)
Doctor Aphra #3 has the distinction of being very funny without being filled to the brim with jokes. BeeTee and Triple Zero have their entertaining exchanges as usual but there’s just something hilarious about watching Black Krrsantan go up against the Empire even if it doesn’t do the scout troopers’ reputation any favors. A lot of the credit for this goes to the art by Kev Walker so kudos on that front.
It delights me (though hardly surprises me) that this book is following up on the promise of its first issue. It feels both very Star Wars-y and very distinctly Aphra. We’re getting that archaeological story so many of us have hoped for that’s showing us other parts of the galaxy. It’s just so neat and so fun and… okay seriously, why are people not reading this book? All Star Wars fans should be.
Doctor Aphra #3: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
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
This is, obviously, the much talked about Yoda arc with just a dash of the fall out from the Rebels’ theft of a Star Destroyer thrown in. I’m rather torn, by the way, about how I feel about the use of Obi-Wan’s journal as an excuse to do stories like this. On the one hand, it feels unnecessary and Marvel could very easily get away with just going for it with these stories when they want to. On the other hand, Threepio’s inability to shut up at the start is downright hilarious and Artoo’s devotion to his friend is so sweet. You win some, you lose some?
We haven’t really touched on the Yoda aspect though. His introduction here is neat but I’m still hesitant to see how the meat of the story arc goes. The concept of a planet full of children is uhhhh strange to say the least. However, et me emphasize how glad I am that Marvel found a way to keep Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado in the Star Wars family for a little while longer because daaaaaaaang do they draw a good Yoda! This is such a good artist/colorist team up that I’ve loved for years and I’d honestly love to see them just art their way through the galaxy far, far away.
Also, if Jason Aaron ever wants to write a Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan series, please let him. His Qui-Gon was so perfect that I could actually hear Liam Neeson’s voice in my head while reading some of his lines.
In short, there’s nothing to necessarily dislike here. It’s just a matter of seeing how the rest of the arc goes.
Star Wars #26: Jason Aaron/Writer, Salvador Larroca/Artist, Edgar Delgado/Colorist, Chris Eliopoulos/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
You just knew when Aphra’s dad showed up that it wasn’t going to be for fun and games. They hardly seem to be a warm and fuzzy family, Boop or no Boop. It turns out that questionable ethics run in the family as Aphra’s Dad has decided to leak to the archaeology board that she cheated on her doctorate entirely because he wants her to help him find the Ordu Aspectu. What happened to them? Well… let’s just say that everyone has their own theory and it’s going to take them to a very unexpected moon.
Doctor Aphra #2 follows up on the fun and adventure of the first issue but this time with more family problems! (Honestly, who doesn’t have family drama in the galaxy far, far away?) This book is definitely a tonal shift from Darth Vader which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just taking a little getting used to especially since we’re finally seeing Aphra deal with her own problems as opposed to Vader’s. Seeing a female character be the star of her own story entirely on her own merits (and not because of who she’s related to) is incredibly refreshing as is seeing a smaller scale story that doesn’t have galactic ramifications.
This is hardly news but Kieron Gillen definitely knows how to end a comic on a cliffhanger that’s going to leave you incredibly anxious for the next issue. Can we have Issue #3 yet? No? On the art front, I’m getting more and more used to seeing our cast drawn by Kev Walker instead of Salvador Larroca. His style is incredibly expressive which works quite well for the arguments between father and daughter.
So how is Doctor Aphra holding up? Pretty darn good so far. You should definitely be reading it!
Doctor Aphra #2: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan D. White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
Do you remember back in the old days how there was a droid that would essentially shut down if you told him to shut up three times? Yeah, I think Threepio could use one of those protocols. (There was more to it than that but you get my point. Make Threepio shut up!) probably about 80% of the bad things that happen in this issue could have been avoided if Threepio had just been quiet. The other 20% rest on someone shooting Terex back during the Battle of Jakku.
Charles Soule promised us backstory for the dastardly Agent Terex and he’s certainly delivering. What remains to be seen is if this is also definitely backstory for the First Order. I’d love to see the behind the scenes coordination going on between Team Poe, Team Aftermath, the Story Group, and anyone else working on the Battle of Jakku because there are so many moving parts for a giant event that we’ve only briefly seen in Lost Stars. Terex is such a great villain that it’s fantastic to see more of his backstory but I’m more fascinated by the origins of the First Order which are increasingly more complex than I’d originally suspected. The flashbacks are my favorite bits of this arc and I can’t wait to see more!
Switching back to the Resistance, I love Phil Noto’s art on this book! Especially for this issue! The planet feels so real and lived in and is a really great visual tieback to The Force Awakens. It’s a nice reminder of how close in time this comic is to the film. Shout out the Guavian Death Gang! (I wish them no luck on their hunt for hunt for Han Solo.)
Poe Dameron #9 is a solid issue overall but undoubtedly worth it because of the spotlight on Agent Terex regardless of whose name is on the cover.
Poe Dameron #9: Charles Soule/Writer, Phil Noto/Artist, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Jordan White/Editor, Heather Antos/Assistant Editor
It’s finally here! Dr. Aphra #1! Okay, so we’ve only been waiting for a month and a half but it’s felt like forever. No longer in Darth Vader’s service, Aphra, her two murderdroids, and Black Krrsantan are back to their usual thing: finding and selling ancient artifacts for a profit with a side of violence. Except there’s one problem: her doctorate’s been revoked and now she can’t sells her loot for the usual high prices.
Dr. Aphra #1 is our first real chance (outside of her introduction in Darth Vader #3) to really get to see Aphra going after what Aphra wants. I love that this book immediately reminds us that she’s not one of those rogues with a heart of gold. She straight up kills a man and isn’t particularly torn up about it. (Hey, he had a thing that she wanted!) I’m glad that it’s Kieron Gillen still at the writing helm because that means we’re getting the definitive Aphra and Aphra backstory just as he always imagined her. I don’t think I’d trust anyone else to write her quite yet even though we still run the risk of her, you know, dying. Because it’s Gillen.
On the art front, Kev Walker takes over for this new book but we do get a taste of Salvador Larroca via the short story at the end. Adding a little something extra has been Marvel’s MO for first issues. It’s a nice nod to their previous collaboration and while I dig Larroca’s work, it’s nice to get a distinctly different style for this book. Thus far, I’m definitely a fan of Walker’s more comic booky style.
There weren’t a ton of surprises in this first issue. They mostly cover what we’ve already learned in interviews and solicits but it does very nicely introduce Team Aphra to new readers. In other words, it’s very much a first issue but I’m honestly so glad to be reading about her again that it could’ve been 22 pages of nothing but Aphra ordering drinks in a cantina and I would’ve been content. That said, I can’t emphasize enough how excited I am to see where this book goes. After all, we can’t have a Dr. Aphra book if Aphra doesn’t have a doctorate… right?
In case it wasn’t clear yet… yeah. Dr. Aphra #1 gets my whole hearted endorsement. Go snag yourself a copy.
Dr. Aphra #1: Kieron Gillen/Writer, Kev Walker/Artist, Antonio Fabela/Colors, Joe Caramagna/Letterer, Editor/Jordan White, Assistant Editor: Heather Antos