Review: Rebel Rising (audiobook)

Beth Revis had a tough job in writing Rebel Rising, the YA novel chronicling the life of Jyn Erso prior to the main narrative of Rogue One. She not only needed to craft an engaging and exciting story, one that fit into the ever-widening new canon of the Star Wars universe, but she also needed to create a character arc for Jyn herself which both ended with Jyn being an angry, sullen, bitter person who wanted nothing to do with the Rebel Alliance (or, really, anyone or anything), but which at the same time was narratively satisfying. How do you craft a character arc that ends with the Jyn Erso we meet at the beginning of Rogue One and not have the entire thing feel like a let-down and a bummer, or like anything more than an extended prologue to the film? Can you even do such a thing?

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Review: Thrawn (audiobook)

If you’ve listened to the Thrawncast, you know that I’m a big fan both of the character Thrawn and of Timothy Zahn’s writing in general. It was like Christmas when it was announced that not only would Thrawn be coming to Rebels, but that Timothy Zahn would be returning to the world of Star Wars literature to write a new novel featuring everyone’s favorite Chiss.

It’s a year later now, and, here at Tosche Station, at least, we’ve all been pretty happy with Thrawn’s portrayal on-screen in Rebels. How, then, does Timothy Zahn’s new novel Thrawn hold up? Is the magic still there? Is Zahn’s re-introduction of Thrawn to the Star Wars canon awkward, or hindered by trying to fit him into existing continuity? And how does the audiobook — narrated by Mark Thompson, the same performer who recorded the first unabridged audiobooks of the original Thrawn trilogy — represent Zahn’s characters and story? Continue reading

Review: Guardians of the Whills

Greg Rucka has certainly been making his mark on the Star Wars canon. First was Smuggler’s Run, the Han Solo middle grade novel, then there was Shattered Empire, the first post Return of the Jedi comic, then Before the Awakening, which told background stories about The Force Awakens protagonists Rey, Finn, and Poe. Now comes another middle grade novel about Baze and Chirrut, my two favorite characters from Rogue One. I’ve enjoyed all of Rucka’s Star Wars stories, so I was super excited to see what he did with Guardians of the Whills. Did he live up to expectations?

In a word, yes. More after the jump!

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Star Wars Rebels: Zero Hour – Liveblog Review

What happens when three Tosche Station staffers get together virtually to watch the Season 3 finale of Rebels? We do a live (written commentary), of course! Did we like it? Did we throw anything at the screen? Did we finally get another Space Married moment? Hit the break to find out!

THIS IS YOUR FIRST AND ONLY SPOILER WARNING.

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Rebels Review: Secret Cargo

rebels logoMon Mothma seems to be everywhere these days: Empire’s End, Rogue One, and now an episode of Rebels. She is the heart of the Rebellion, and her appearance in “Secret Cargo” marks a huge step forward for the burgeoning Rebellion we’ve watched flourish these past seasons.

Rebels seems to finally be getting serious about bringing the story together since Sabine gained the darksaber, and “Secret Cargo” doesn’t stray from the trend. Not only does this episode advance the story of the Rebellion, it also displays the strong bonds between Ezra and Hera, and how much Hera has taught Ezra over the course of the show.

Thrawn, as always, makes a daunting villain. His theme is one of the strongest parts of the score, and it builds an entirely ominous atmosphere around the Admiral as he goes head-to-head with Hera’s smarts. Without such a strong character in Thrawn’s place, this episode—and others—wouldn’t have half as much of the good tension they have. He is almost always one step ahead of the Ghost crew. Even when they win, it never really feels like Thrawn has lost.

Mon Mothma is very Mon Mothma, as she always is. It’s easy to see the woman in this episode become the woman in Rogue One in the not-too-distant future. Her interactions with Hera are an interesting look into both their characters as they’re contrasted against each other. The pilot and the politician, both with the same ideals, but having taken very different paths in life. It’s nice to see two woman have a conversation which says so much about each of them, and about the Rebellion they’ve  both had a hand in creating.

There are some gorgeous shot compositions in this episode, and it’s refreshing to be reminded that the art direction in Rebels can end up with such nice looking episodes. I feel that lately there’s been a lack of good looking scenes in Rebels, but “Secret Cargo” more than makes up for it. This episode is good a reminder that Star Wars can be beautiful, since so many of the other episodes seem to be obsessed with showing us how grey and dull the universe is.

All up, “Secret Cargo” is a good, solid episode that tells the story it wants to tell. It’s quick, filled with spaceship-on-spaceship action and broken up with brief moments of strong characterization. I just wish the side pilots didn’t always feel so disposable.

Review: Star Wars #26

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

Review: Dr. Aphra #1

dr-aphraIt’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

Rebels Review: The Wynkahthu Job

rebels logoGary Whitta is, without a doubt, living his best life.  He not only wrote the forthcoming Rogue One but now he’s also responsible for two episodes of Star Wars Rebels this season.  Add all of that to how his episodes have featured Wedge Antilles AND Hondo Ohnaka and…well… Four for you Gary Whitta!  You go, Gary Whitta!

The Wynkahthu Job starts as most Hondo episodes do: he has a job for the crew of the Ghost.  It’s a job with the potential to leave him rich and the Rebellion with a lot of bombs.  The only catch is that they’re also going to have to work with Azmorigan.  (Yeah you remember: the squat red alien who tried to buy Hera.)  Needless to say, Hera’s not pleased by this turn of events (which Ezra was aware of) and, for some reason, doesn’t immediately go get another tray but instead puts Zeb in charge of the mission.  It’s not surprising that Ezra’s not happy and that the mission goes far less smoother than expected.  This is Star Wars after all. Continue reading

Rebels Review: Iron Squadron

Last time I reviewed Rebels, it was for a Maul episode. This time it’s an episode with a group of ragtag kids out to fight the Empire. Even with the inclusion of Thrawn in this episode, I feel it’s again way out of my wheelhouse. Despite the fact this episode left me saying “meh” when it was over, there were a lot of cool bits of backstory and plot elements I hope return in later episodes.

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