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.
Knight Errant: Aflame (1032 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artist(s): Multiple Contributors
This story takes place before the events of Miller’s novel, Knight Errant. It is the first story arc in the Knight Errant comic series as well, with Deluge and Escape following after the novel. Kerra Holt, along with fellow Jedi Vannar Treece, land on Chelloa with the hope of disrupting the baradium (an explosive element) mining and exports controlled by the Sith. With a dreadful onslaught, Kerra is the last Jedi on the planet and finds herself caught up in a war between Sith brothers Diman and Odion. Daiman believes he is the creator of the universe and Odion plans on taking total control of Chelloa. With the aid of former Jedi Knight, Gorlan, Kerra now has the goal of freeing the slaves under both Daiman and Odion, aiming to get them to the Republic.
I enjoyed the art in this series and it was a nice visual for those who wish to read the novel. It is also a pretty good lead-in to the novel where the reader is tossed into the middle of the clash between Daiman and Odion. It is a unique piece going back to the time of the Old Republic, before the Rule of Two was reestablished. With so few books out there relating to events prior to The Phantom menace, this is a great read to get some of the history of the Star Wars Universe.
Darth Maul (32 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist(s): Jan Duursema, Rick Magyar, et. al.
This is the first of the Darth Maul string of comics. It features Darth Maul and his apprenticeship to Darth Sidious. In order to prove himself a worthy apprentice, Darth Maul must slaughter the Black Sun crime syndicate because they are a road block for Sidious’s plans. Once Black Sun is eliminated, the two Sith can move into their plans to eradicate the Jedi. When slaying the members of Black Sun, Maul encounters a with of Dathomir, Maul’s home planet. She proves to be a strong enemy, but not strong enough.
This series also comes available as the 30th anniversary edition of the Star Wars special releases (volume 3). While the art is beautiful and the fight scenes have elegant flow, the story itself is not as interesting as some of the other stories in the Darth Maul series. It is worth the read for an introduction to the character and a small glimpse of what he has done for his master, but fighting a crime syndicate for the entire four issues was a bit dry.
Star Wars: Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist(s): Stuart Immonen,Simone Bianchi, et. al.
This is the second volume of the new Star Wars canon of comics and graphic novels. It features part of Obi-Wan’s journal to Luke about how he protects Luke and his family from Raiders and other misfortunes. Following the events of Skywalker Strikes, Han and Leia re split off from Luke. While Luke seeks old Jedi secrets, Han and Leia are dealing with Han’s “wife,” Sana, who we learn isn’t really his wife, but the marriage they had was a very well-done fake in a smuggling venture. Meanwhile, Luke finds himself on good old Nar Shaddaa, the smuggler’s moon (which some of us may remember from the old EU). Luke doesn’t mind flaunting his lightsaber around, and others have interest in Jedi artifacts, such as Grakkus the Hutt, who collects Jedi artifacts. Taking Luke captive to utilize his abilities with the Force, Luke finds himself wishing his friends were around.
Once again, I love the art in these new canon graphic novels. They have a fantastic team for this project. The story is very engaging and leads right into Vader Down. I would highly recommend getting your hands on a copy of this, and hopefully the new graphic novels will keep on giving.
Star Wars: Vader Down (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)
Writer: Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen
Artist(s): Mike Deodato, Salvador Larroca, et. al.
Vader Down is an incredibly unique graphic novel in that it is a crossover that continues both Star Wars and Darth Vader. It contains Vader Down, Star Wars #13-14, and Darth Vader #13-15. The team does a great job of making sure the story flows smoothly, and it is by far one of the most interesting parts to the new canon. Vader is seeking his son, given Luke’s whereabouts by his assistant, Aphra. When Vader flies into an entire squadron of X-wings, he thinks Aphra has led him into a trap. Landing on Vrogas Vas where a rebel base lies, Vader seeks Luke, only to encounter (and slaughter) many rebels. Standing against him is not only Leia, but his enemy apprentice, Karbin. Aphra finds Luke, and with the help of her droids, she seeks to redeem herself from the accidental trap that Vader was led into. Vader also happens to still have a bounty hunter on Luke’s trail, which Han and Chewie end up dealing with. In the end, Karbin’s assault on Vader steals his valuable time to find Luke, and Aphra is taken by Leia in the process.
This crossover is amazing, but the lead in to the following story arcs is somewhat disappointing. While all the first graphic novels were great, the story lines that follow Vader Down are not as interesting, which is disappointing after the buildup and success.