What is weird about this is that Dark Horse clearly needed STAR WARS more than Marvel does. I don’t know the stats, but I can only assume that STAR WARS was a huge percentage of Dark Horse’s revenue. It isn’t their fault if they couldn’t get the media coverage. But it is their fault if they couldn’t get word to someone as tuned in as me, which they often did not.
But onto the actual content:
STAR WARS #1:
In the book’s opening crawl it says the Rebels are on the offensive throughout the galaxy after destroying the Death Star. If they mean that the way I am reading it, the Rebels are a much stronger and more conventional military force than they were in the previous (now non-canon) version of the STAR WARS Universe. I think this is poor word choice, not a different direction.
The art is very basic. Surprising for the hype I mentioned above.
Darth Vader uses stormtroopers for shields. Regardless of whether you think this is out of character, he has always used his lightsaber. I am not sure why they would write this. The fact that Vader is a bad dude was adequately established 38 years ago.
STAR WARS #2:
There is some really fun dialog here if you accept that this is the really the first meeting of Luke and Vader.
Luke takes to a speeder bike to gain an edge during combat. I like this on several levels:
1 It acknowledges Luke’s pre-Episode-IV skills.
2 The scene totally works.
3 It fits, rather than contradicts, how Luke seemed to have pre-existing knowledge of Imperial speeder bike controls in Return of the Jedi.
STAR WARS #3:
Again they say the Rebels are on the offensive…
They say the weapons factory we have been fighting over for several issues is the “largest weapons factory in the Galaxy”, but nothing about it seems to back that up. For as badly as the Rebels’ plan is going, not a lot of defenders have show up. It is not drawn in any way that produces awe. And when our heroes stumble upon the slave pens, there are dozens not hundreds or thousands in need of rescue.
The art is still not great.
I like Luke shooting stormtroopers in the back. STAR WARS has been criticized for making the armed opposition to evil appear too clean. This bit of the necessary evil to stay alive against a greater evil is the best kind of gritty reality.
I don’t like Vader force pushing stromtroopers just to clear a path. For all of his established evil, he only wastes Imperial assets when he is punishing failure. (Which presumably sharpens the surviving assets.)
I am not a fan of the alien from Enemy Mine appearing in a background shot where any existing STAR WARS species could have fit just as easily. I assume this is a lazy artist, not a misguided writer. I wonder if I looked back where I twice observed the art being poor if “lazy” would have been a better label.
I do like the use—and translation—of Aurabesh (the in-universe alphabet). This is what is going to happen with the old Expanded Universe: It did such a good job of defining so many things that needed it, that it is going to slowly creep back in.
STAR WARS #4:
When Jabba meets Vader, this author doesn’t need to lower and shame the character like the author of Shadows of the Empire did. (In that story, a very poor writer had to prop up his creations by debasing established continuity. That is an old and irrelevant debate, but it makes the better writing here stand out.)
There is talk of “a” Death Star. Even among characters that know there are or will be two, that would be an odd choice of words.
COINCIDENCE! Coincidence was the bane of the old Expanded Universe. Our heroes are always in the wrong place at exactly the right time to always be the one’s to solve the Galaxy’s problems. And with a galaxy to spread out in, people randomly bump into people they know with a frequency that would be high for a medium sized town.
Here Luke, Vader, and Boba Fett just happen to land on Tatooine on the same day. At least one of those visits has no cause and effect relationship with the others.
Luke arrives on Tatooine in an X-Wing, even though his visit is totally personal.
Do the Rebels just let members in good standing take any ship they want?
Even if that were true, is an armed starfighter the best choice for this trip?
[This point bridges #4 and #5]
STAR WARS #5:
So Luke has come to Tatooine to find answers to how he should feel about the events in Episode IV. THIS HAS BEEN DONE!
People are all mad about the Han’s Wife Reveal in #6. But at least that is new. The problem with throwing away the old Expanded Universe isn’t that those stories were so good (some of them were steaming piles of shit: Ruins of Dantooine, The Glove of Darth Vader and its sequels). The problem is we are going to read the same stuff we have already read.
For all the surface level fans out there: In an issue of STAR WARS in 3D, released 28 years ago, Luke was all angst-y about the events in Episode IV. He went to Tatooine to find his answers. He ends up giving the Lars farm to a guy who had been making a living through violence. The guy takes up farming and everyone feels good in three dimensions.
So now I have to read Luke’s angst-y trip to Tatooine again, in lazy 2D art. If you think that is needed for the new canon, why not just reprint it and declare it canon.
The answer, of course, is they think they can write it better. I will let you know how they do on their first apples-to-apples test.
Boba Fett kills a guy after the guy gives him the answers he wants IN PUBLIC. I guess no one will ever give Boba Fett answers again. His career is over. (Kind of a problem since this story is set before The Empire Strikes Back.)
The Ganath Cloud and the Moddell Sector creep back into canon. Probably more that I don’t have memorized. (Don’t worry, I have a geography database far more robust than the published Atlas.)
Han is going on a trip to find a new base (which ends up being Hoth). Been done.
The Han and Liea interaction is pretty good.
STAR WARS #1-5 overall:
The art never impressed. I wanted to say the writing was good, but the number of frames it took him to destroy Boba Fett is impressively sad.
Had I stopped after issue #4, I would have given the writing a B+ and the art a C-
Princess Leia #1:
All of these start with the opening crawl—which I like when the content of the crawl is good.
Luke talks about the deaths in Episode IV. He singles out Leia’s parents, ignoring the Yavin pilots whose friends are around him and who died doing something heroic.
I enjoyed seeing Leia taking orders from Dodona. “Princess” is not a Rebel title. “General” is.
Why is there a statue of the Organas on Yavin? Regardless of how common the knowledge of their support for the cause is, who has time to carve a statue in a rebel base?
I like that they drew Leia shorter that another woman. Carrie Fisher is very short.
The one hologram showing another hologram makes no sense. This may sound nit-picky, but that fact that I thought about means it pushed me out of the story.
Princess Leia #2:
For some reason, the Empire is going to target surviving Alderaanians. I have no idea why this would be.
Why does R2-D2 have a shock whip?
There is some great bad guy dialog.
Princess Leia #3:
There is a mention that the size of the bounties on our heroes heads would effect the speed with which the Imperials would catch up to them. Presumably Imperial troops do what they do, and don’t receive bonuses. Again, this doesn’t effect the story, but it made me step back and shake my head instead of staying immersed in the story.
The story points out that you can’t trust someone who betrays your enemies. This is kind of grey area that detractors claim STAR WARS lacks, so I applaud it.
R2 uses that weapon again. Am I missing something? I have only seen Episode III about three times.
There is some inexplicable art where R2 appears to have one of those chemical glow sticks like he is going to a rave.
A new character has been wearing Luke’s outfit from the award ceremony throughout the three issues. I can’t decide if I should praise that (he clearly got it on Rebel base where we meet this character) or let it bug me (I keep thinking she is Luke when I turn the page.)
Oh, which reminds me. The story is about Leia, a new female, and (for no explained or explicable reason) R2-D2. Marvel specifically said this was for female readers. If a female reader with half my STAR WARS knowledge asks me to change this revue, I will do so.
Leia #1-3 overall:
I don’t understand the quest (Empire targeting Alderaanians.) But everything else except R2’s weapon is pretty good. If you could convince me those two things could be blamed on an editor, and if I give it some extra points for targeting an audience I think it is important to target and who is not me, I might give this an A-.
As is stands, I’d like to give it an “Incomplete” until they explain the plot to me. A “D” sounds harsh, but I really don’t understand the evil act that forces the quest.
As for the art, it only struck me the two times I mentioned, B+.
Darth Vader #1:
There is some art that don’t know what it is. A close shot of something?
Jabba’s palace has no creatures from the Special Edition. This made me smile and creates hope for the future.
Darth Vader travels by Star Destroyer from Coruscant (which I assume is still in the Galactic Core) to Tatooine (which I assume is still in the Outer Rim, it is certainly the “planet … farthest from” “a bright center to the universe”) in one day.
This means nothing to you. But it is ether the ruination of the new canon or the first thing in the new canon to need a retcon.
You see, if you can go from the Core to the Outer Rim in a day, that means you can cross the entire Galaxy in two days. That means that no territory can ever be held or expanded in any military conflict, because every planet is a potential front line every day.
There is no more reason to trade with near planets than far planets, since all are easily reachable. The same it true of immigration and colonization. Imagine the stories they can’t tell because all points are equally reachable.
There certainly can’t be any unexplored planets. If you can cross the Galaxy in two days, a route to everywhere would be found within a year.
Actually, this won’t be retconned. It will be ignored, just like it was in the old continuity. When stuff needs to take time to get to, it will. When it convenient for travel to be instantaneous, it will be. The solution to this kind of thing is to hire someone like me. There are at least two people like me on the “Story Group.” Not sure how they missed this.
Speaking of the Story Group, this issue directly references the activities on Cymoon from the comics STAR WARS #1-3 that I reviewed for you above. That kind of immediate tie in is fun for people like me reading everything pretty close to the order in which it is printed. It also means there shouldn’t be conflicts even between stories being written simultaneously.
(BTW, isn’t it stupid that we have a comic just called “STAR WARS” for the FORTH TIME? How is anyone supposed to know what anyone is talking about?)
Also on the topic of continuity, this book demonstrates how much easier it is going to be to write this new Expanded Universe. The Prequels are now fixed objects.
General Tagge is alive in this continuity! And he picks up right where Tarkin left off: bossing around Darth Vader, the disappointing apprentice of the Emperor! Surface fans are not going to like this, but trust me this is so right.
Vader kills a village of Sand People just because he is in the neighborhood. I think I prefer efficient Imperial Vader to angst-y Anakin/Vader. But there is now a full generation of Prequel fans out there.
There is unclear art throughout this book.
Darth Vader #2:
They introduce the title of Grand General for Tagge. While new, this is clearly meant to evoke the title of Grand Admiral. A reference to one of the best characters form the old Expanded Universe. I am surprised at how fast this is happening.
These books are told from pro-Imperial point of view, which is really fun. The crawl is pro-Imperial. We are made to care about a dying Imperial pilot.
The art here really sucks. Tagge is in the movie. Trace him if you don’t know how to draw.
Darth Vader #3:
Again the art is so bad I don’t know what I am looking at.
It seems early in the new continuity to have Vader on a quest with a protocol droid, an astromech droid, and a lady tough enough to talk back to him. We don’t need to stretch this far for a call back in issue #3.
Darth Vader #4 and #5:
I hope you can see from the other issues how much work I put into this, because nothing good or bad jumped out at me from 4 or 5.
Vader #1-5 overall:
Other than the one line about travel time, there is nothing I can say is “wrong” with the writing. I give this an A. I can’t give the A+ because even though the Story Group should have caught it, any writer should have some idea how many stories he ruined with that line.
As for the art, I would have rather had stick figures that I could tell what they were doing than multiple frames of unidentified activity. This isn’t a class where anyone who can proportion a human right gets an A. Grading this compared to professionals, I have to give this an F.
Kanan: The Last Padawan #1
This book seems to directly reference the old continuity, saying that Depa Belaba emerged from whatever she emerged from. (She went crazy in Shatterpoint, which is the best book ever.) It then seems to read that she was on the Counsel after that. (She was before.)
This was a very easy read. It is not because it is written for kids (it is “rated T”). But it could be because there isn’t much content.
Kanan: The Last Padawan #2
The only thing I noted here is a repeat of the travel time problem above, adding to the therory that the Story Group is the problem, not the individual authors.
Kanan #1-2 Overall:
I don’t think I will assign any letter grades at this time. The sample is too small, and frankly only the most hard core fans are going to read this one anyway.
This is one of only 2 Jawas I have given away. I meant for this one to allow a friend to take her own Jawa pics. Now she is not talking to me. I hope she didn't throw him away.
Just in time to make LJ friends with mrshellion, Jason was asked if he wanted to go to the stock car race at the Milwaukee Mile, complete with pit passes.
Lined up at the start.
Action shot. I felt kind of bad, having the ability to walk around where-ever, because I knew someone who knew someone. Meanwhile, people who spent good money for crappy seats could see me wandering around like a privileged idiot. I know how much that bothers me at STAR WARS events.
We did get to see a crash. Not right in front of us, but where we could see it. I considered collecting flaming bits of sticker that blew our way, but the real fans didn't seem to care so I guess that is not a thing.
Later, in the pit.
Checking out the cars with Chris Sturdevant. (To those of you who don't know him, I sometimes refer to him as my Not-Nerd-Friend.) His friend works on one of the cars, and gave us the passes, but was gone before we could find him.
While I am glad I got to see the race, I have to say I didn't really get it. Points of confusion:
1. I am told this was not a "NASCAR" event, but yet I had heard of some of the drivers.
2. Why were there no visible attempts to pass? If that is normal, why would you watch?
3. Why do environmentalists not protest this?
I have been doing a lot of non-Jawa posts lately. Mostly personal stories that I want to put on Facebook, but they are too long for that format so I save them here and Personal Message them to the person they are aimed at on Facebook.
If you can see them, I hope they aren't annoying. If you can't see them, ask if you can be in one of the groups that can.
This was an exchange on Facebook today, starting with a post from the official STAR WARS Books page (by their intern). I am kind of at a loss what to say, since I am not going to go back and change the names. If you know me, you will understand. If you don't have time to read it all, just search down to my comment, and marvel at the things people continue to boast about after me. Ask me sometime about the advice my grandpa gave as I left for college (and how the internet essentially makes it impossible to follow).
(Obviously Rochelle Hamel's comments are exempt from my observation, if she means what I think she means.)
Monday returns as it ever does. This weekend I
happened upon a Star Wars book at a tag sale that I'd never seen
before. STAR WARS: BOOK ONE by Paul and Hollace Davids, a Barnes and
Noble collection of three short stories:
THE GLOVE OF DARTH VADER
THE LOST CITY OF THE JEDI
ZORBA THE HUTT'S REVENGE
The stories are all partially illustrated with ink drawings. The seller
only wanted $1 for it, though I certainly would have paid more. There's
nothing better than a diamond in the rough discovery like this one.
So, this week's question: What's the best Star Wars related find you've ever come across at a tag/estate sale, used bookstore, etc?
Enjoy the week everyone. (Darth Internous)
I end up typing this story a lot, and since Facebook has done away with anyplace to refer people to see long stories, I will put it here, even though Jason stays firmly in my pocket the whole time.
Some friends and I went to Wizard World Chicago, and stayed in a hotel across the street that was hosting a horror con. I've never seen a horror movie, so this had little impact on me.
We kept riding the elevator with "famous" people. I could tell by the way others reacted, and the way they carried themselves. The guy who played Pin Head. The guy who played Captain Spaulding. (My friends told me who they were after they got off.)
So I am riding the elevator trying to read a take out menu, and this big guy keeps bumping me or brushing the menu just enough to bug me. He keeps smiling at me, and I can't tell if he is expecting me to be flattered or waiting for me to punch him.
After he gets off my friends ask me why Kane Hodder/Jason Voorhees was fucking with me. I told them that I didn't even know who it was and was wondering why either Diamond Dallas Page or a random nobody was fucking with me. They were curious why I would assume some guy messing with me on an elevator would be Diamond Dallas Page, like that would be normal.
My friends later admitted that they were glad Kane Hodder and I did not fight in the elevator, as they figure if two big guys fight in a closed space, the little people would get injured.
This next shot is dedicated to supernonamegirl. Not that she is wicked fairy or anything, but because she really likes this film. And sewing.
Orlando FL, 8/21/2012