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.
Episode I: The Phantom Menace (32 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: Henry Gilroy, George Lucas
Artist(s): Rodolfo Damaggio, Al Williamson
This adaptation of Episode I: The Phantom Menace tells the story of two Jedi who are trying to bring peace between the Federation and the Republic. When negotiations fall out, Qui-gon Jinn and Obi-wan Kenobi find themselves aiding Queen Amidala of Naboo only to become stranded on Tatooine, where Qui-gon meets Anakin Skywalker. Possibly concieved by the midi-chlorians and the force itself, Qui-gon insists that Anakin become a Jedi. Aside from the disputes between the Republic and the Federation, a Sith lord has made himself known to the Jedi. With the rule of two, who showed himself, the master or the apprentice?
Released in 1999, the art for this graphic novel adaptation is more appealing than some of the older comics and portrays the story and characters well. With many things that have a lot of action, the movie version executes fight scenes more interestingly, while the adaptation shortens the fights and tones down the epicness of many battles as well as the pod race.
Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand (4 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (6 Issues)
Writer(s): Timothy Zahn, Michael A. Stackpole
Artist(s): Carlos Ezquerra
This is an interesting story told from Mara Jade’s perspective. The reader is given both narrative of Mara Jade’s adventures as well as direct monologue and dialogue. This series is about Mara Jade when she is working as the Emperor’s Hand. Mara must assassinate whoever gets in the way of the Emperor, whether it be a crime lord such as Dequc or Luke Skywalker. When Mara gets word of the Emperor’s downfall, her whole world turns around, and the last command Emperor Palpatine give her is “Kill Luke Skywalker.” Captured by Isard as a potential betrayer to the Emperor, Mara’s only desire is to escape and exact the Emperor’s will, and her revenge, by killing Luke, but is then sidetracked by a different mission. When Mara escapes, she sets out to find herself. When she takes up a waitressing job in a cantina, she finds out that Dequc is still alive and makes her new goal hunting him down, since her failure to assassinate him was a failure to serving the Emperor.
This series is nearly 20 years old, so the art is a bit dated, but it’s not too bad to look it. The art has an average American comic appearance and the story is pretty interesting and is full of great lightsaber action, so I would suggest getting your hands on this is you can.
X-Wing Rogue Squadron (4 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (1 Issue [special])
Writer: Ryder Windham
Artist(s): John Nadeau, Monty Sheldon, Cary Porter, et. al.
This is actually a single special edition to go along with the X-Wing Rogue Squadron comic series. It features a brief glimpse of the battle over the planet Tandankin. Wedge destroys a tower the is the base of a TIE runway. Rather than gaining praise from the people for saving them from the Empire, the people are mad because the tower was one of their most important relics. One of wedge’s other pilots takes a stand and tells the people all the things Wedge has done to fight the empire, and the people have a change of heart. Luke is very persuasive.
Released in 1995, the art isn’t as pretty as many comics today, but the artists do a great job portraying the battles with the X-wings. It is actually a good art style to go along with the different kinds of fighters. It was a nice, quick short pretty much highlighting the things Wedge had done against the Empire.
Dark Empire Trilogy (10-11 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (Dark Empire 6 Issues, Dark Empire II 6 Issues, Empire’s End 2 Issues)
Writer: Tom Veitch
Artist(s): Jim Baikie, Cam Kennedy, et. al.
This trilogy has a nice hardcover compilation of all three story arcs. It is hard to find and fairly expensive if you do find it, but it is easier than getting ahold of the individual issues. The comic is rather old, and the art makes it a bit hard to read (but perhaps that is a personal taste). This comic was planned out in 1988 and was meant to be right after the events of Return of the Jedi, but Heir to the Empire was likewise in the works at the same time. To make this comic canon in the old extended universe, the writers changed the date and some content to kind of follow the Thrawn Trilogy. There is an absence of characters we really like from the Thrawn Trilogy, but there is also an addition of characters who become important in the New Republic and the New Jedi Order.
Dark Empire starts with the Empire trying to bounce back. Using giant machines called World Destroyers, the Empire continues to attack planets loyal to the New Republic. One such planet is that of the Mon Calamari. Lando finds himself stuck dealing with this, but luckily the New Republic has two star destroyers at its disposal. Luke feels a great darkness and goes to seek it out at the galactic core, where he finds that Emperor Palpatine still lives, his essence placed within a clone of himself. Luke turns to the Dark Side to try and infiltrate the Emperor’s stronghold. Meanwhile, Leia fears for her brother and wishes to go help him, even though she is pregnant with her and Han’s third child. Along the path to save Luke, Leia meets an old Jedi woman who give Leia her lightsaber, and they have a run-in with Han’s old girlfriend. Leia must face her brother and the Emperor and bring Luke back to the light.
Dark Empire II starts off a bit slow, but once it picks up, it is vastly more interesting than Dark Empire. Palpatine has been reborn in a clone, but it is a weak clone. His anger and hatred makes the clone body age and whither faster. Meanwhile, Luke has brought the Dark Jedi, Soulsar to the light side. With Soulsar’s help, the two Jedi travel to a planet rumored to have ancient Jedi artifacts. Little did they know a whole race of force users (all to be potential Jedi) lived on the planet. Soulsar and Luke not only leave with some magnificent texts, but with two of the force users to become Jedi. An ancient tree, once a Jedi, mutilated the Emperor’s dark users, and a whole batch of lightsabers are uncovered, ready for Luke’s mission to restore the Jedi. Yet another Jedi is found, Brand, who has lost most of his body to an assault by Darth Vader and is mostly machine. The tale concludes with the birth of Leia’s third child and the need to protect that child from the Emperor.
Empire’s End is only two issues and is all about Palpatine seeking Leia’s newborn for him to transfer his essence into so that he may live, since Luke had destroyed all his clones. With the help of his new Jedi, Luke brings down the Emperor, but with great sacrifice. The other problem at hand is the Galaxy Gun, a weapon so strong it can destroy an entire planet! Now the New Republic must find away to destroy this and shatter the Empire forever.