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.
Clone Wars Vol. 1: The Defense of Kamino (and other tales) (22 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (3 Issues)
Artist(s): Multiple Contributors
The first of 9 total compiled volumes for the Clone Wars holds the stories “Republic 49: Sacrifice,” “Republic 50: The Defense of Kamino,” and “Jedi: Mace Windu,” in that consecutive order. “Sacrifice” features the Jedi Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos, who are seeking out information on the Separatist’s plans. “The Defense of Kamino” features the events of the title, defending Kamino. on of the last cloning facilities left, Kenobi and Skywalker, among other Jedi and their armies, defend the clone facility through battle in space above the planet, within the facility, and underwater on the planet. The Republic needs to maintain its ability to facilitate a clone army. “Mace Windu” is a “Jedi” special featuring Mace as he travels to a planet where Jedi have been gathering in aims to remove themselves from the fighting. Jedi Sora is among them, and has fallen to the Dark Side, aiming to bring the other Jedi with him. Mace aims to save the Jedi from Sora’s influence, but some of the Jedi still do not feel that war is the best option.
If you re wondering what happens in between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith, this is a great place to start. While I was a bit disappointed that the stories were all separate, they do come together to form the overarching arc of the Clone Wars. The reader is introduced to some interesting Jedi that we have a very minimal glimpse of in the movies, if we even get that glimpse.
Darth Maul: Death Sentence (20 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist(s): Bruno Redondo, Michael Heisler, Michael Atiyeh, Dave Dorman
This series takes place during the Clone Wars. Maul, thought to be dead, was recovered and given robotic legs. Him and his brother, Savage, have a bounty placed on their heads by the minder Ja’Boag. Seeking to kill this miner, Maul and Savage head to the planet where he resides. The Jedi Council gets words and dispatches Judd, Salmara, and her Padawan Dray to investigate the Darth Maul rumors. It is true that he is still alive and as strong as ever. Now the Jedi must vanquish Maul, end Ja’Boag’s tyranny, and free the inhabitants of the planet.
This book was interesting in that we get to see what happened to Darth Maul, and that he is not actually dead. We are also introduced to some other Jedi, which is always interesting. Despite these two facts, to story was slightly boring. The most interesting thing is Maul’s subconscious thoughts about Kenobi and the introduction to these other Jedi (who don’t exactly last long, but they are interesting nonetheless).
Darth Vader: Vader (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, Edgar Delgado, et. al.
This is a major part of the new canon under the Darth Vader series of comics. Volume one contains the first 6 issues under the subheading of “Vader.” This story features Darth Vader and his failure with the destruction of the Death Star. This story fills in some of the time between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back. Obviously, Vader would have gotten in trouble with his master concerning his failure, and this is that story. Vader meets a woman named Aphra, who greatly admires him and his work. Vader uses her for his needs, one of those needs finding who it was that destroyed the Death Star. Vader’s perception of Luke’s lightsaber is a big hint at just who the boy is. Vader has his own desires, and will do whatever he needs to do for himself. When he finds out his master lied to him about the manner of Padme’s death, he aims to find his son. Palpatine is also harboring and raising other Force users to pit against Vader, for another failure is not an option.
I actually really enjoyed this story. The art has wonderful attention to detail, the story is interesting, and the introduction to a few new characters added depth to what we know about Darth Vader. I would recommend this for fans of the new canon and the old.
Crimson Empire Saga (11-13 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (Crimson Empire 6 Issues, The Bounty Hunters: Kenix Kil 1 Issue, Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood 6 Issues, Hard Currency 1 Issue, Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost 6 Issues)
Writer: Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley
Artist(s): Dave Stewart, et. al
Crimson Empire is the first in the saga and takes place soon after the events of the Dark Empire Trilogy. Rather than following the characters we know an love, this story follows the previous imperial guard, Kir Kanos. When Carnor Jax betrays the Emperor by aiding the destruction of his clones, the Imperial guard aims to take the Empire under his own rule. Kir Kanos, Jax’s equal in rank and skill, aims to avenge the betrayal Jax unfolded on the Emperor and the royal guard. Along the way, Kanos meets Mirith Sinn, a rebel leader. They both find that they have a common enemy, although Kanos claims his actions are for his own reasons. When tragedy strikes after the great duel between Kanos and Jax, oaths ere sworn to exact revenge.
The Bounty Hunters: Kenix Kil is a one-shot included in the hardbound saga compilation following Crimson Empire. It is quick, enjoyable piece featuring Kir Kanos as a bounty hunter doing what he needs to do to survive.
Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood revolves around the hastily organized Imperial Council that lays base in a city called De-Purteen on the planet of Ord Cantrell. This council is the remains of the Empire and they seek to gain the Empire back, to grow it anew. With various murders happening, the council turns on each other. Meanwhile, Mirith Sinn spies on Grappa the Hutt’s place because something is amiss with one of the Empire’s chief women, the daughter of on important Baron. She also seeks Kir Kanos, who is still in hiding and aiming to bring down the council members who betrayed the Emperor. When the two cross paths, Mirith just can’t seem to keep her promise to herself about revenging her friends death because there is an unavoidable attraction between the two.
Hard Currency is another one-shot in the complete compilation following Crimson Empire II: Council of Blood. It is only a few pages long and features the return of Massimo, seeking revenge against the bounty hunter Kenix Kil, also known as Kir Kanos.
Crimson Empire III: Empire Lost brings the saga to a close. Mirith Sinn is working as Leia’s head of security, even though she has conflicting feelings about Leia’s father, Vader, having slain her father in cold blood. When an assassination attempt on Leia and her children arises, Luke returns with the Jedi forbearance, warning Leia of a man who plans to destroy the New Republic with a rare, explosive substance. When Kir Kanos is invited to join this man, he is not so inclined to kill innocents. Kanos has more affiliation to the New Republic than to the people who betrayed and destroyed the Empire he once knew. Kanos goes to warn the New Republic, and Mirith Sinn joins him on an endeavor to bring down the Empire once and for all!
Overall, the Crimson Empire Saga was vastly more interesting than the Dark Empire Trilogy. A lot that has to do with that is the art. The art of Crimson Empire is a bit newer and has less traditional comic book page shading. Rather, the colors are vibrant and the details are exquisite. The story was also very interesting. It introduces us to fresh, new characters (even though they re no longer canon), and even some old characters that we love. I highly recommend getting your hands on a copy, if possible, but they are out of print and hard to find. Marvel has been picking up a lot of the Dark Horse, but it’s just not the same!