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.
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
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
“Twin Suns” featured the long-awaited rematch between Obi-Wan Kenobi, now a hermit on Tatooine, and Maul, once a Sith, now a wanderer bent on getting his revenge. Ezra is also along for (most of) the ride, because this is Rebels so of course he is. Whether or not this episode lived up to the hype will depend on your certain point of view. As for me? Well, I was…whelmed.
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
A Chopper and AP-5 buddy cop caper featuring bonus Josh Gad certainly doesn’t sound like it has the makings of a classic Rebels episode on the surface, but goodness me, was this a delight. To the jump!
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
At long last, the trilogy that began with Aftermath, the flagship title in Lucasfilm’s Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing endeavor (man, remember that?) has come to its conclusion. By now, no doubt many of you have already voraciously consumed Chuck Wendig’s novel Empire’s End, but for those of you waiting to hear what the audiobook version narrated by Marc Thompson has on offer, I’ve got you covered.
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
When I saw the teaser for “Through Imperial Eyes,” featuring the POV shot of Agent Kallus waking up, I was momentarily thrilled. Was Rebels going to do an entire episode from Kallus’ point of view? Would they be so bold?
Then I remembered that (a) this is a kid’s show, and (b) TV shows of any stripe tend not to get experimental until their 6th or 7th seasons and they’re hurting for ideas (see: the one-shot experiment in The X-Files’ 6th season episode “Triangle,” or the live episode in The West Wing’s 7th season). And indeed, the shot in the teaser was the only POV shot in the entire episode.