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.
Mace Windu: Jedi of the Republic (22 BBY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues)
Writer: Matt Owens
Artist(s): Denys Cowan, Roberto Poggi, GURU-eFX, et. al.
Taking place shortly after Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, during the Clone Wars era, Mace Windu, among other Jedi, take up a new role beside that of Knight or Master: Commander (or General). Hissrich is a planet infested with enemy droids, being led by a droid commander. Behind the scenes, General Grievous asks that this Hissrich droid destroy the Jedi that have been deployed there and to bring their lightsabers back as proof of their deaths. Windu takes Kit Fisto, Prosset Dibs, and Rissa Mano with him. Rissa is a newly made Jedi Knight and still has much to learn, but working alongside Mace will give her plenty of knew knowledge on handling certain situations. Aside from the droid army that need to be dealt with, Prosset brings about accusations that the Jedi are hiding behind the war and losing their true values and teachings. When Mace shrugs this off, the two have a lightsaber duel, ultimately ending in a trial for treason in Prosset’s outspoken words, and a new lesson for Rissa to take with her in the future.
Once again, Marvel has a fantastic team of writer’s and artists on this project. Mace Windu is one of my favorite Jedi of the Clone Wars era (although no one beats Quinlan Vos) and I was very excited to see that he was getting his own new Marvel story arc. While I have read (and previously reviewed) all the old Dark Horse Clone Wars comics, this was a nice fresh addition that adds a bit more to Mace Windu and his beliefs and values, as well as some backstory from when he was a Padawan, which was also very interesting. It is always nice getting additional Star Wars story for the new canon that is from a time period other than ABY.
Star Wars: A New Hope Special Edition (0 BBY)
Publisher: Marvel (4 Issues)
Writer: Bruce Jones
Artist(s): Eduardo Barreto, et. al.
This 40 year anniversary hardcover edition compiles issues 1-4 of the original 1997 comics. This edition features some uncolored sketches as well as commentary. Bringing to life the original movie, A New Hope is the story of a water farmer named Luke who winds up being a savior to the galaxy. He learns about Jedi and snippets of his father from hermit and once-Jedi, Obi-wan Kenobi. At the loss of Kenobi, Luke feels lost in the world, but Kenobi is still with Luke through the Force. Luke learns to harness the Force truly for the first time when he shoots the aiming blow to the Death Star. This beginning aspect of the hero’s journey is a fun and exciting adventure, the first Star Wars story and the epic that began the major franchise we know today.
I like the hardcover aspect of this edition, but, considering it is only four issues, it feels a bit short compared to other graphic novels. The art is also an older style, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t on the same level as the newer Star Wars publications by the current team Marvel has. It would have been really neat to do a whole new adaptation of A New Hope with a new writer and the current Marvel artistic team to see what kinds of changes they would make, such as rephrasing certain things or moving things around for more action among the panels, extending into a 5 issue piece. That would have been cool.
Doctor Aphra and the Enormous Profit (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues + Annual #1)
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist(s): Kev Walker, Marc Deering, Marc Laming, et. al.
This is the second volume featuring Doctor Aphra, containing issues 9-13 as well as Annual #1. Aphra is an archaeologist who is constantly aiming to find (or steal?) artifacts to make a huge amount of money. Recently, Aphra has obtained an ancient Jedi artifact that, when awakened, can posses different mechanisms, becoming an enraged, killing machine. Aphra has set up an auction for the artifact among the highest bidders, having concealed the artifact from being able to utilize its ultimate power. Creatures from across the galaxy find that there are numerous way to use such an artifact, but Aphra is choosy about who she will ultimately sell too. Of course, her tech fails and the Jedi within wreaks havoc. Not only that, but her droids seemingly serve a different master, one Aphra does not want to confront again!
I really like the Doctor Aphra series because it adds an interesting, bad-ass female character to the new Star Wars canon. While her story continues (for now), I hope to see her in future media (other books, TV shows, or movies). I love the art, a great team for the Marvel Star Wars line of new comics. Aphra is a unique, fun, and interesting addition to the Star Wars canon, having worked for Darth Vader, encountered Luke Skywalker, and moving on with her own endeavors, which makes me wonder just what she will be doing next.
Star Wars: Out Among the Stars (0 ABY)
Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues + Annual #3)
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist(s): Salvador Larroca, Edgar Delgado, et. al.
This is the sixth collected volume of the new Marvel line of Star Wars comics collecting Star Wars issues 33-37 and annual #3. Something unique about this collection is that each issue is focused on one or two of the characters, rather than the whole group, as the characters are all spit off for the majority of this part of the story line. Issue 33 portrays Luke and Leia as they wait to be rescued from a presumably deserted planet. When they find that there is life underwater being affected by the taint of the Empire, Luke and Leia aim to help while they await a transport. Issue 34 segues into Lando and Sana aiming to get a number of credits through some sneaky means. Sana swindles more than one group of people with some of the Empire’s stolen weapons, and Lando is impressed by the way she thinks through things. In issue 35, Luke and Leia have been reunited with Han and Chewie. Han and his partner are then sent to smuggle Grakkus the Hutt and Han knows Hutt tricks, so he is ready for any deception the Hutt might use to escape. Meanwhile, in Issue 36, we see Artoo infiltrating a Star Destroyer to save his droid friend, C-3PO, who we last saw having been taken by the SCAR Stormtrooper squad. With a mind of his own, Artoo is able to save his friend and bewilder many of Vader’s crew. Issue 37 comes back around with the SCAR squad having found a rebel base where the reunited group comes in to find it in ruins. They must continue to hold out in their fight now more than ever if they wish to vanquish the Empire. Annual #3 is fun in that we get Han and Leia stranded together where someone whose life was ruined by Han aims to kill him. While this man vs man conflict presents itself to their predicament, Han and Leia begin to understand each other just a little bit more.
While this is still an amazing graphic novel, I find it a bit lacking in relation to previous volumes. The reason for this is that it is a bunch of different side stories going on as the group aims to get together again. The side stories themselves were all mostly interesting, but the overall story arc is more powerful when there is some looming dread that the main heroes must overcome. Volume 7 looks very promising to pick up the main story, for sure. And of course, once again, Marvel has a great team of artists on this project along with the writer, Jason Aaron.