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.
Obi-wan and Anakin (29 BBY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues)
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist(s): Marco Checchetto, Andres Mossa
This series features Anakin as a young Padawan on a mission to a planet that sent out a help signal for Jedi. Obi-wan and Anakin head over to the planet only to find that the whole planet is split by “Open” and “Closed” race. The people of the planet do not even know what a Jedi is. It is such an isolated planet that their technology is nearly lost, and any visitors from other planets are called “Skygifts.” All the while, Anakin is contemplating whether or not to leave the Jedi Order. When the Open’s see how well Anakin can fix things, they want him to fix up old war machines to use against the Closed. The Jedi are out of place on this planet, but they still try to save those warring against each other and seek out the source of the Jedi signal.
This was an interesting adventure prior to the Clone Wars, taking place between The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. Showing Anakin’s conflict with the Jedi Order and why he thought about leaving was good for the character build-up, as was some light on the relationship of Obi-wan and Anakin as Master and Padawan. The art is beautiful and the story is unique, making it worth the read.
The Clone Wars Vol. 3: Last Stand on Jabiim (22 BBY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)
Writer: Haden Blackman, John Ostrander
Artist(s): Brad Anderson, Brian Ching, et. al.
This volume contains issues 55-59 of the Star Wars: Republic comics. It is the “Battle of Jabiim” parts 1-4, and “Enemy Lines.” From the title, it is obvious that the major battle of Jabiim is the highlight. This is an iconic battle on a planet that had no faith in the Republic and seeks to destroy the Jedi regiment that has been on the planet for some time. It is a constant blood bath between the clone army and the residents of the planet, and being trapped with no reinforcements due to a major storm make it nearly impossible to find victory. When reinforcements are able to arrive, it is too late, and Anakin must leave everyone behind who is not at the rendezvous point, even his master, Obi-wan, who is listed as missing in action. We also see an interesting reflective story where Anakin must work with a Jedi who is one of the Sand People. The end has a very intriguing lead-in to the next volume, showing that Obi-wan was captured by Ventress!
Finally, the Clone Wars is starting to heat up. We get more visual and conflict on Anakin and Obi-wan, and some of the more devastating things they have to deal with. The ending of this volume actually has me excited for the next one, something the previous volumes lacked–no cliffhanger, no lead-in.
Vader’s Quest (0 ABY)
Publisher: Dark Horse (4 Issues)
Writer: Darko Macan
Artist(s): Dave Gibbons and Angus McKie
Vader’s Quest has some similar elements to the new canon graphic novel Skywalker Strikes. Vader is trying to figure out who destroyed the Death Star, and when he learns that it was Luke Skywalker, he sends out bounty hunters to find and retrieve him so that he may confront his son for the first time. With Luke getting all the attention, one x-wing pilot leaves and fills his hatred of Luke to the natives of a nearby planet. Luke, meanwhile, finds himself on Jazbina, a planet of dog-like creatures who fear the Empire. While many of them want to be liberated from the Empire’s rule and join the rebellion, their fear of Vader has them fighting against Luke’s attempts to help them.
The art is a bit older in style, resembling a mix of the old Star Wars Marvel with the new Star Wars Marvel art styles. The special first edition features a holographic title on the cover and a pull-out collectible poster featuring the main characters and supporting characters from the events of the graphic novel.
Star Wars: Rebel Jail (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 [+1Annual] Issues)
Writer: Jason Aaron (Kieron Gillen for Annual)
Artist(s): Leinil Yu, Mike Mayhew (Angel Unzueta for Annual) et. al.
The graphic novel compiles “From the Journals of Old Ben Kenobi,” Rebel Jail Parts 1-4, and Annual #1. It is volume 3 of the new Marvel canon. Leia is on her way to a rebel prison base where they plan on keeping Aphra, but when someone else is aiming to kill all the prisoners, Leia and Aphra must put aside their differences to save the poisoners lives, and their own. Meanwhile, Luke and Han are smuggling a herd of furry animals. Leia and Sana have different views on how to handle the enemy, but they begin to accept each other as potential partners in crime. The Annual #1 issue features a rebel agent working for Leia on Coruscant. We get to see his back story which is important since he reappears a few issues later. The “Journals” issue is the 2nd one we have ben exposed to in the graphic novels and once again gives us Kenobi’s point of view as he watches over Luke. Luke enjoys building and fixing machines, especially those that allow him to fly. When he needs some extra parts, Ben scrounges up some and delivers to Luke. Luke’s guardians are not happy about Ben’s interference and do not want him to follow the same path as his father.
This volume was not as exciting as the previous two, but we still et the nice art and are left with the cliffhanger image of a unique stormtrooper ready to kill some rebels. Luke and Han’s part in this volume was small, but the comedy their part added made the intensity of the events in the jail a bit easier to handle. It was fun to see all the women getting together, too: Leia, Aphra, and Sana.