There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.
Darth Vader Dark Lord of the Sith: Imperial Machine (19 BBY)
Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues + “No Good Deed” Extra)
Writer: Charles Soule, Chris Eliopoulos (“No Good Deed”)
Artist(s): Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, et. al.
This graphic novel takes place right where Revenge of the Sith leaves off, with Palpatine telling Vader that he is responsible for killing Padme in his rage. Vader then attack Palpatine in another fit of rage, but the master subdues the apprentice and tells him to a Sith Lord acquires his own lightsaber (by taking the lightsaber of a Jedi and adding the blood from their dead body to the mix to give it that lovely crimson glow). With the Jedi Purge, there are only so many Jedi left for Vader to choose from, making his quest a bit more of a challenge. Vader seeks information from an old Jedi base being guarded by clone troopers and learns of a Jedi who took the oath, but did not partake in anything else involving the Jedi, honing himself as a fighting machine. When Vader finds this Jedi, the two fight to the death, and Vader even brings down the innocent lives of those unfortunate enough to be near their fight. Upon his return, he is challenged by a Sith Inquisitor, yet another one of Palpatine’s ploys. Now Vader has seen the Inquisitorius, those who have reason to hunt and kill any remaining Jedi. The short at the end, “No Good Deed,” features Vader aiming to rest, and the fate of any who disrupt him in his quest to meditate.
Once again, the new Marvel line of comics astounds me with its masterful team of writers and artists. Soule brings us yet another masterful story about master and apprentice and how Vader, still relatively young and new to the power of the Dark Side, obtains his lightsaber and continues to grow in power. The introduction of the Sith Inquisitor (from Rebels) was a nice touch and I am hoping for more story about him as well in coming issues. Despite my sadness at the Darth Vader line of comics being discontinued (or ended?), this is a good one to take the place of the need to see more of Vader and his story.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (0 BBY)
Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues + Special)
Writer: Jody Houser, Duane Swierczynski (Cassian & K-2SO Special)
Artist(s): Emilio Laiso, Paolo Villanelli, Rachelle Rosenberg, et. al.
This adaptation from the movie features Jyn Erso and her quest to save her father, the man who has designed the Death Star. When her mission turns into getting the plans for the Rebellion, Jyn and Cassian team up to take the first step in bringing the Empire down. The neat thing about this adaptation is that it comes with “Cassian & K-2SO” Special #1, the story of how Cassian meets his soon to be droid friend while on a mission with two other Rebels. Aiming to reprogram an Imperial droid proves to be a challenge, but well worth it when a new friend is gained from the hardship of the mission.
Being an adaptation, there are a few things that need to be moved around ever so slightly to maintain the flow of the graphic novel. While the art is once again beautiful, thanks to the awesome teams Marvel has for its new line of Star Wars comics, it does not have quite the same feeling as a visual space battle with the sound effects that come with shooting and blowing things up. The Vader scene at the end was still beautiful, but not as heart-pounding as its visual counterpart. Overall, a great adaptation to review the story swiftly if one does not want to take the time to watch the whole movie again (but who wouldn’t?).
Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues)
Writer(s): Kieron Gillen and Jason Aaron
Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, Marco Checchetto, Andrea Broccardo, et. al.
This 5-issue compilation consists of “The Screaming Citadel Part I,” “Star Wars 31: The Screaming Citadel Part II,” “Doctor Aphra 7: The Screaming Citadel Part III,” “Star Wars 32: The Screaming Citadel Part IV,” and “Doctor Aphra 8: The Screaming Citadel Part V,” in that order. It is encouraged to not only have read the previous five volumes in the main Star Wars Arc, but to also have read the first volume of Doctor Aphra to get a good handle on the characters and events leading up to Luke and Aphra temporarily joining forces. Aphra, an archaeologist, has found an old Jedi artifact that contains the knowledge of a Jedi. Recognizing that Luke needs training, she offers to take him to The Citadel of Ktath’atn, where the Queen collects rare and unique lifeforms as slaves (and feeds off of Jedi essence, if a Jedi ever happens across her path). Aphra aims to exchange Luke for knowledge of opening the Jedi artifact. She double crosses Luke and the queen over and over again. When the brain controlling hive creatures that the queen uses get both Luke and Han (who came with Sana and Leia to save Luke from Aphra’s plans), they must learn to trust Aphra to save everyone under the control of the hive creature. When Aphra shares the Jedi artifact and its contents with Luke, the Jedi finds that whatever resides within is no longer a Jedi, and its way is not the way Luke was meant to be taught. After defeating the queen, some citizens of the citadel come across her body, and what was once thought dead aims to seek revenge.
I absolutely loved this graphic novel. The whole art was intricately woven with the story-lines of Luke and Aphra, and the art is extremely aesthetically pleasing, especially that of the Queen and whatever her race it. This queen of the citadel was portrayed in a way that actually has me, as a reader, fear her. It was also interesting to bring Luke and Aphra together, developing an interesting relationship, and showing some potential major changes to Aphra as a person when she realizes a bit too late just how amazing Luke is. This volume has me itching for the next for both Star Wars and Doctor Aphra!
Star Wars: Captain Phasma (34 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (4 Issues)
Writer: Kelly Thompson
Artist(s): Marco Checchetto, Andres Mossa, et. al.
This story features what happens to Captain Phasma after she is placed in the trash compactor of the Starkiller Base by Hand and Finn. Phasma is a survivor, and she will do anything to put the blame on someone else to have lowered the shields of the base that let the rebels in. When one man deserts the base in its impending doom, Phasma has a TIE pilot bring her to tail the man, aiming to find him, accuse him of lowering the shields, and to kill him, leaving no witnesses, because Phasma is a survivor. When her tailing leads her to a desolate planet, she is reminded very much of her own home planet (something that is extremely evident after reading the Phasma novel). She has minor sympathies for the poeple of the planet, but only in reminiscence, because in the end, Phasma does whatever she needs to do to survive. When she confronts the escaped man, she tells him the same story she will be repeating to General Hux about the shields being released, but when the pilot with her overhears, Phasma must also shoot the young female TIE trooper. Nothing will ever get in the way of Phasma’s survival.
I really liked this graphic novel because I feel like Phasma is too down-played and needs more to develop her character. As a character who will do anything to survive, she is ruthless and rather frightening. Once again, Marvel’s creative team brings a beautiful work to life. I only wish this were one or two issues longer, maybe adding more to Phasma’s past as revealed in her novel, or maybe adding more to her relationship with the TIE pilot. Either way, it was still enough to get the vibe that it will take a lot to bring Phasma, the Scyre warrior, to her grave.