Hey everyone and welcome to The Sarlacc Pit! Last week I wrote about Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise and some differences they have implemented. One of those differences was a reset of Star Wars canon and new canon content released. This week, I am going to give some short, spoiler-free reviews of all Star Wars canon comics released by Marvel that are finished, not including film adaptations. This review will not include Star Wars: Darth Maul-Son of Dathomir because while it is still canon, it was published by Dark Horse (plus I read it a long time ago and don’t remember it very well, although I remember enjoying it). This will also not include Marvel’s Star Wars, Star Wars: Poe Dameron, or Star Wars: Han Solo for the sole reason that these series are still on going and I don’t like reviewing stories before they end. I am going to order these reviews in order from my least favorite to most favorite. I will include a rating out of five (1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest) and a short, spoiler-free synopsis of the comic along with my review. Hopefully I will interest some of you in picking up some of these comics, but if not, then at least I have informed you of what’s out there. So, let’s get started.
Star Wars: Chewbacca
Synopsis: Directly after the events of “A New Hope,” Chewbacca finds himself stranded on a planet where local thugs have essentially enslaved debtors to mine for precious beetle larvae. Zarro, a young girl indentured by these gangsters escales and convinces Chewbacca to assist the indentured miners in gaining their freedom.
Review: When this five issue mini-series was announced I was super excited for it. Chewbacca is a great character and I thought we might finally get a little glimpse of his background, as most of these standalone character series tend to give more information on a character than what you get in the movies. However, this comic failed to deliver. Focusing on a random encounter Chewbacca has with almost zero impact on furthering the extended Star Wars canon, this story could have been just about any character and had the same effect.While the creators stayed true to Chewie’s character by keeping his dialogue to indecipherable growls and roars, the fact that he was alone on a planet with no interpreter essentially forced Chewie into a supporting role as he followed a child around. All in all this series does very little to increase the extended canon, the story was unimportant, and a Chewbacca comic could have been much better than what it was.
Star Wars: C-3PO
Synopsis: Are you curious as to why C-3PO has a red arm in “The Force Awakens?” Then here’s your chance to find out. In this one-shot story, “The Phantom Limb,” C-3PO is teamed up with a group of droids from the Resistance in order to deliver a First Order droid to the Resistance so that they can use its databanks to discern the location of the captive Admiral Ackbar.
Review: This comic was a strange one. A group of droids wandering through a hostile planet dying one after the other. As I read it all I could think is how much more interesting a one-shot comic about Admiral Ackbar being captured by the First Order would be. Instead, we get droids. I feel like anytime the story focuses on droids the stories are always sub-par, which is a shame because they make fantastic supporting characters. This comic is interesting because it gives a glimpse into the plight of the droid, but I outlined most of that in my earlier post “Droids and Why I Lose Sleep Over Them.”
Star Wars: Princess Leia
Synopsis: After her homeworld of Alderaan is destroyed and the Imperial Senate is disbanded, Princess Leia finds herself a political figurehead with not constituency and no real purpose. Now a fugitive from the Empire, the Rebel Alliance does all it can to keep her safe. However, when Leia finds out that the Empire has put a price on the heads of any remaining Alderaanians, she teams up with Rebel pilot Evaan Verlaine to save the remnants of her planet.
Review: This was another mini-series I was excited for that I felt fell short. I think the story was a little blocky and rushed and that the plot twists were not very well done. There was some cool stuff concerning multi-species people and racist Alderaanians, and a really neat scene involving Leia having a Force vision on Naboo, but other than that, this series could have benefited some by slowing down and maybe adding a couple more issues.
Star Wars: Kanan
Synopsis: A 12-issue ongoing series, this comic is a tie-in to “Star Wars: Rebels,” which shows the secret history of Kanan Jarrus, leader of the crew of the Ghost. In this series we learn about Caleb Dume, Jedi Padawan and Kanan Jarrus’ true identity, and how he became Jedi Master Depa Billaba’s apprentice. We watch as Dume and Billaba fight alongside clone soldiers in the Clone Wars, watch as the clones turn against the Jedi during Order 66, and how Caleb was able to escape and survive in a world where being a Jedi is a crime punishable by death.
Review: This series was really well done. It gives a good account of what life was like for a young Jedi growing up in war time, as well as giving good backstory for one of the most interesting “Rebels” characters. However, this series gets points taken away because the ending felt rushed, and a couple issues felt like they were only there for unnecessary tie-ins with the TV show. However, this comic is unique in Star Wars canon as it is one of the few stories that looks at the time period directly after “Revenge of the Sith,” while Jedi are still being actively slaughtered by the burgeoning Empire. Definitely worth a read, even though the ending is a little sudden and awkward.
Star Wars: Lando
Synopsis: Everybody’s smooth-talking gambler finds himself in deep bantha poodoo when he’s tipped to an easy heist that turns out to be a ship owned by the Emperor himself. In this five-issue limited series Lando deals with Sith artifacts, bounty hunters and mutiny. Meanwhile, his best friend and right-hand man, Lobot, struggles with his newly installed cybernetic implant as it threatens to overwhelm his personality.
Review: This series was fantastic. Lando Calrissian is just as smooth and cunning in this comic as he is in “The Empire Strikes Back.” Part of what I found fascinating was watching Lando, a secular scoundrel, have to deal with esoteric Sith artifacts. The real hero of this story, however, is Lobot, whose story stole the show in my opinion with its tug at the heartstrings, which was surprising considering that by the time we see him in “Empire Strikes Back,” he’s little more than a human droid. This comic was very well done and left me hungry for more Lando.
Star Wars: Darth Vader
Synopsis: After surviving his failure at the Battle of Yavin, Vader finds himself no longer favored by the Emperor, and surrounded by people hungry to take his place. With his future in the Empire uncertain, Vader begins to work toward his own goals as he builds his own military and resources, and investigates into the identity of the Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and disrupted his position.
Review: I have essentially given the entire plot of this 25 issues (plus one Annual issue) in former posts, however this series is by far the best Star Wars comic I have read (perhaps the best comic I have read period). With Vader traveling the galaxy and taking matters into his own hands we get a real look into his true power and abilities. This series also introduces fantastic characters such as who I call the murder droids (0-0-0 and BT-1), Dr. Aphra (who has a standalone series starting this December), and many more. This series also greatly contributes to overall canon, as it gives a more in-depth look into the workings of the Empire and how it handled the loss of the Death Star. Out of all the Star Wars extended canon, this story goes right up with Tarkin and Bloodline as one of the most important non-movie stories you should check out.
This list is only a list of series that have ended so far and do not include other spectacular stories such as Star Wars (an on-going series that focuses on the events between “A New Hope” and “The Empire Strikes Back”), Star Wars: Han Solo (which follows Han as he carries out a mission for the Rebellion and participates in one of the greatest galactic races of all time), Star Wars: Poe Dameron (which shows Poe traveling the galaxy in search of Lor San Tekka) and many other series that will either end or begin in the coming months. As more comics begin and end I expect that I will do more comic reviews in the future.
I hope I have interested some of you in giving some of these comic series a shot. Next week, I plan on discussing nature in the Star Wars universe, particularly looking at how sentients in the galaxy interacted with nature in a technologically-advanced society. Thanks for reading, and may the Force be with you!