Review: Poe Dameron #1

Less than a year ago, we had the wonderful Heather Antos, Assistant Editor for the Marvel Star Wars comics, on the Tosche Station podcast and we maaaaay have begged a little for an X-Wing/Rogue Squadron comic. And we weren’t alone in really hoping to see more stories focused on X-Wing pilots in the new canon.  A few months ago, we learned that Poe Dameron was getting his own series. I’ll be honest with you all: when Marvel announced this book, I was mostly excited but also a tiny bit hesitant. I’ve been a huge fan of Charles Soule’s work in the Star Wars universe thus far and Phil Noto’s art is always lovely but I wasn’t quite sure if it was possible for someone to that find that same vibe that made Stackpole and Allston’s pilot books so good.

I shouldn’t have worried. Not for a minute.

Poe Dameron #1 has a little bit of everything. It has the assembling of the squad. It has some fun flying action. It has BB-8 being adorable. It has Leia Organa being the badass General that she is. It brings in pilots we already know. And it has Poe calling BB-8 buddy. What else could you want?

I don’t want to overhype this book but I also want to strongly encourage everyone to go pick it up today. This is absolutely the book that so many of us have been hoping for and I’m so glad that it’s finally here. Poe Dameron is in the hands of a very strong creative team and I absolutely can’t wait to see where the hunt for Lor San Tekka takes us and I definitely can’t wait to fall even more in love with this new group of pilots.

New Poe Dameron comic coming in April!

USA Today announced yesterday that a Poe Dameron ongoing, written by Charles Soule and art by Phil Noto, will begin in April. And there was much rejoicing at Tosche Station! It’s described as a Mission: Impossible style story, with Poe on his mission to find Lor San Tekka, and will feature BB-8 and some of the other X-wing pilots we saw in The Force Awakens. Since it’s an ongoing, can we expect to see the story go past the events of TFA?

(In case you were wondering, yes, this is the way to get Nanci interested in subscribing to an ongoing comics series.)

Review: Chewbacca #5

The solo adventures of everyone’s favorite wookiee wrap up this week with Chewbacca #5 by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto.  The series conclusion does a lovely job of wrapping up the small scale story that Duggan and Noto have been telling for the last few weeks.

When last we saw Chewie and Zarro, they’d been captured and sent up to the Imperial Star Destroyer via the same ship upon which they’d hidden a bomb-filled droid!  It’s a tricky situation to say the least but, luckily, our heroes figure a way out of it.

One of the neatest things about this book is how well both Duggan and Noto have been able to portray Chewie’s point of view and what he’s trying to say despite only using the usual wookiee roars.  (Still not sure if those were incredibly fun or just a pain for letterer Joe Caramagna…)  It’s a huge part of what has made this fun little story work.  The other part, of course, was Zarro because who doesn’t love getting to see a kid run circles around the Imps and the local bad guys?

Chewbacca #5 was a great finale to what has been a fun series that’s worth your time and money when the trade comes out in a few months especially if you’re a big fan of Chewie.

Review: Chewbacca #4

It’s been two weeks which must mean it’s time for the release of Chewbacca #4 by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto!  (On a personal note, I’d like to add that both gentlemen are incredibly nice and I’m thrilled to have had the chance to meet them at Third Eye Comics the other weekend.)

Like I said last time, this book is tricky to discuss on an issue by issue basis so we’re just going to dive straight into some assorted observations.

  • Joe Caramanga has got to be having fun lettering all of Chewie’s speech.
  • Yay for the inclusion of Scout Troopers and an AT-ST!
  • Again, the use of a character with a disability is deftly handled and feels very realistic for this galaxy.  Really smart addition by Duggan.
  • Chewbacca’s disguise is brilliant and everything I never knew I wanted until now.
  • Zarro and Chewie’s plans really have an incredibly way of going wrong.  I’m impressed.
  • The poor droid!
  • The inclusion of a shistavanen in this book has been neat!  It’s nice to see artists/writers go a little further out of the usual alien box.
  • Phil Noto’s art is another wow.

Going by the end of the issue and the preview for the final issue, Chewbacca and Zarro are certainly going to have a hell of a time getting out of this mess!

Review: Chewbacca #3

The Star Wars offices of Marvel must have Phil Noto locked away and drawing at the speed of light because we’ve got another new issue of Chewbacca out today. Gerry Duggan’s story of everyone’s favorite wookiee on his own continues after an explosive end to the last issue.

Chewbacca is a miniseries that’s far harder to comment on each individual issue as it’s more so one continuous story than the Leia book and less happens than in the Lando one. Consequently, that makes reviews trickier. In lieu of saying more of the same of what you’ve read for the past two issues, let’s go with a short assortment of observations.

  • I love that people say things like “We just sarlacc’ed them.”
  • Apparently not everyone in the galaxy knows what a wookiee is.
  • Why did it have to be bugs?
  • There seems to be an effort to show more people in Star Wars with a disability that isn’t just magically fixed like Luke’s hand or Han’s eye that one time in Legends.
  • Is Zarro the only kid who is stuck in these mines?
  • And just how old is she anyways?
  • Phil Noto’s art, man. HIS ART.
  • Okay but now I’m curious. What exactly does sarlacc’ed mean? Because ‘eaten alive and digested for a thousand years’ is oddly specific and really doesn’t seem to apply to this situation…

End of the day, Chewbacca continues to be a fun read and it’s nice to see him take center stage for once.

Review: Chewbacca #2

It’s release day for Chewbacca #2 by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto. What adventures does everyone’s favorite wookiee get up to this week?

Zarro escaped from the mines but had to leave her father and the rest of her people behind as slaves to a gangster named Jaum. Luckily, she ran into Chewbacca who’s not terribly fond of slavers himself. She convinces him to help her but unfortunately, as most plans do, things don’t go quite as planned…

Phil Noto is absolutely the star of this book. His artwork is already fantastic to start with along with being universally loved by the Star Wars fandom. So much of the storytelling in this book is done through the art, especially through the facial expressions on Chewbacca and Zarro.  Often times, they make speech bubbles unnecessary. I’d also like to add that it’s nice to see a relatively young teenage girl be portrayed as such in a comic and not be overly sexualized.

One of the coolest things about this issue is how we get a little tease into Chewie’s history. It’s not much and we probably could have guessed it but it’s always neat to see. It feels like, in Star Wars past, we’ve always thought about Chewbacca’s past in terms of when he was freed by Han (if that’s even the case anymore) so it’s nice to see someone think further before that.

As I said before, Chewbacca is entertaining and I definitely enjoy the artwork but this still isn’t my favorite of the Star Wars books. Given how quickly things have progressed, I’m intrigued to see how this story is going to go for another three issues. That said, this does seem like it’s going to be a story that reads very well in trade form so if you’re still questioning whether to pick it up, perhaps wait for the trade in a couple of months.

Review: Chewbacca #1

Right on the heels of the Lando finale, Marvel launches its next limited series in the Star Wars book.  Chewbacca #1 by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto launches today, giving readers one of their first looks at a Chewie adventure without his sidekick Han Solo.

First, it definitely should be said that Duggan choosing to leave Chewbacca’s dialogue untranslated to readers was a bold choice.  Selling readers on a book where you can’t actually understand what the main character is saying is tough.  To help counter this, Duggan introduces a young girl named Zarro who can fend for herself but needs Chewie’s help to save her father from the mines.  It’ll be interesting to see how the pair end up working together in future issues.

The lettering work of Joe Caramagna (who has lettered most of the other Star Wars books) definitely should be called out here for what a lovely job he’s done.  You can definitely tell that he had fun with finding ways to communicate Chewbacca’s wookiee roars.

Because of how the story’s told, Phil Noto’s art definitely has to do a lot of the heavy lifting.  If for no other reason, the book’s worth picking up for his art which is, as always, gorgeous.  He’s able to do a heck of a lot with Chewie’s body language and facial expressions.

All of that said, Chewbacca #1 is far from being my favorite Star Wars comic.  It just didn’t grab me like so many of the others have thus far.  But then again, not every comic is going to be everyone’s preferred cup of tea and I strongly suspect that plenty of other people (especially the big Chewie fans) will get a real kick out of this book. Was it enjoyable? Yep. Life changing? Nah. Should you pick it up? Sure, why not? Marvel’s done a darn good job with their Star Wars stories so far including pulling more than a few surprises out of the bag.  It’s certainly worth reading this one to see where they go.

Chuck Wendig to write Aftermath Trilogy

AftermathEntertainment Weekly has confirmed our suspicions: Chuck Wendig is writing the entire Aftermath Trilogy. No word yet on the other book titles or when they’ll be out, but it’s very nice to see a single author handling a series in the post-RotJ timeline again.

Also revealed earlier today is the Chewbacca comics miniseries, written by Gerry Duggan with art by the awesome Phil Noto.

Aftermath is released on September 4.

We have our first Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens image!

Not content with dropping the breaking news mic all week, the Star Wars folks have released the very first image from Marvel’s contribution to Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  Check out the cover of Shattered Empire #1 by superstar artist Phil Noto below.  The first issue will be out in September.