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.
Knights of the Old Republic: Demon (3963 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist(s): Brian Ching, Michael Atiyeh, Michael Heisler, and Benjamin Carre
This volume contains parts 1-4 of “Demon.” Event though Zayne and Jarael have parted ways, their paths will cross once more, because the Mandalorian Demagol is on the loose! When Zayne sees the man behind Demogol’s mask, he is astounded, and the truth clicks immediately. Demagol has switched places with Rohlan, the Mandalorian he thought was his friend. Demagol is actually Jarael’s first teacher, under another name, and Jarael is more than willing to follow him, but with his Sith artifact, Jarael might fall to the Dark side. Now Zayne must capture Demagol and save Jarael from a terrible fate.
While there is still another volume to this series, this volume is conclusive in the Jarael/slaver arc. Compared to previous volumes, this volume seems to have more on the line for the characters, and whatever happens here will define their fate. Another nice addition to Jarael’s character development as well, since she is so interesting (I mean, how often do you see Arkanian Offshoots in the rest of the Star Wars universe?)
The Stark Hyperspace War (44 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse ( 4 Issues)
Writer: John Ostrander
Artist(s): Davide Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia, et. al.
This volume actually starts as taking place during the Clone Wars, but, the main story about the entitled war is a flashback to 44 BBY, which entails most of the graphic novel. The Stark Hyperspace War is a war that was triggered by a smuggler names Stark, who has taken possession of all the bacta (the healing component that the galaxy uses the most) in hopes of basically monopolizing the resource and gaining a bunch of money from it. When the Republic joins the Trade Federation, they hope that this alliance will prevent a war from breaking out, but some of the Trade Federation leaders seem unable to embrace the severity of the issue, as well as wanting money for themselves too. Obi-wan and Quinlan are dispatched with their Jedi Masters to the bacta-producing planet in hopes that they can quell the war before it starts or escalates!
I actually picked this graphic novel up because Quinlan is my favorite Jedi from the Clone Wars era, so anything involving him usually piques my interest. While the art in this was good and the writing was classic Ostrander style, the story itself felt a bit lacking. The stakes didn’t seem high enough to give it the title of a “war,” and there was a lot of political conversations and less action than I would have liked from this volume. Other than that, still a nice edition to the Jedi adventures before the Clone Wars era.
The Thrawn Trilogy (Graphic Novel Collection) (9 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (18 Issues [6/title])
Writer: Timothy Zahn, Mike Baron
Artist(s): Olivier Vatine, Fred Blanchard, Ellie DeVille, et. al.
This graphic novel trilogy follows the same story as the three novels, but with a few things switched around a bit for the sake of visual flow. In short, Heir to the Empire introduces us to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has seemingly taken the Emperor’s place, and some members of the New Republic have a hard time believing that there could possibly even be another Grand admiral that they did not know about. We are also introduced to Mara Jade, former Hand to the Emperor and a current second to Talon Karrde, a renowned smuggler. Thrawn has a plan to take the Emperor’s old cloning facility on Wayland, steal some fabled dreadnaughts, and create a whole new army, but cloned Jedi Master C’baoth stops him. With his wit, Thrawn aims to use the Jedi Master to his needs, but he will need some ysalmiri (creatures who naturally reject the Force) to help him keep control over the Jedi Master. Meanwhile, Leia is pregnant with Jedi twins, and Luke is being hunted by both Thrawn and Mara! The main feature of Dark Force Rising is basically a race to see who can find the fabled Katana Fleet with its 200 Dreadnaught class ships first, the Empire or the New Republic. With Thrawn having his own secret Intel within the palace on Coruscant, nothing is safe to speak of. And of course, it all wraps up in The Last Command, where Luke must face himself, and Mara must come to terms with whether she can kill Luke Skywalker as the Emperor’s last command. To see more full summaries of the actual novel (since the story is the same, just adapted, in the graphic novel) just click the highlighted links in the passage.
Some things about the graphic novel: it is very text-heavy with an annoying font. The amount of text per page is nearly overwhelming, since I red graphic novels for the art as well. The font is confusing, because the H’s look like U’s and I had to reread a few different things. The art is older too, the images not representing the characters in a very attractive light, but the space ships and battles (and basically everything except people) are finely detailed, which is nice. The flow is also confusing at many times, because the way the speech bubbles are drawn and the way the dialogue is supposed to go is not clear at all, and I reread many of those parts as well. Overall, a cool collectible to have, but possibly not worth the time it takes to read because of the text-heavy convolutedness of the graphic novel. Try the novels, though; I greatly enjoyed those!
Star Wars: Union (19 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: Michael A. Stackpole
Artist(s): Robert Teranishi, Christopehr Chuckry, et. al.
This graphic novel takes place after Luke and Mara have already had numerous adventures, reflecting on how their relationship started as one of hate. “Union” brings Luke and Mara together on their wedding day. Like most weddings, a lot of set up is involved, and it is being broadcast across the galaxy, for a Jedi and a once-Imperial Agent are joining together for the rest of their lives. Mara shows her girly side with friends and searching for the perfect dress, and Leia aims to have the location perfectly set up for her brother. Despite their union, some Empire remnants find this to be an appalling affair and aim to kill those involved.
I enjoyed this four-part series in seeing Luke and Mara together at last, with my favorite character becoming Mara Jade Skywalker. The art is decent, but I feel like Mara wasn’t portrayed well, that she was too soft and feminine. Despite it being a wedding, Mara should still be headstrong and sharp. One of the other interesting things about this book is that a bunch of characters from previous novels (Talon, Kam, etc.) make appearances, so it is good to have read a good number of the novels from the Thrawn Trilogy onward. All in all, it was a decent read and shows that even 19 ABY, there are still conflicts between the New Republic and the remnants of the Empire.