Comics: Star Wars – Darth Vader #25


I’m lagging a bit behind in my Star Wars comic book reviews. But fear not! I will catch up soon with my thoughts on the Poe Dameron and Han Solo comic. I plan to do so before the release of Rogue One next month, But first, I want to discuss the final issue of Marvel’s Darth Vader.

When Marvel took over the mantle of Star Wars comics from Dark Horse, it launched with both a generic Star Wars title as well as a Darth Vader comic. For awhile, these two comics ran parallel of each other. Then, Darth Vader took a bit of a turn and veered off into it’s own story line. The Darth Vader series has now come to a close with the release of it’s 25th issue.

During the course of this excellent comic, we learned how Darth Vader discovered Luke Skywalker’s identity as well as his early plans to circumvent the Emperor and reunite with his long lost son. This comic introduced us to a number of wonderful new characters; Dr. Aphra, BeeTee, Triple 0, Cylo-IV, etc. All of which I found to be fascinating and worthy additions to the Star Wars universe.  As a result, even though this book has come to an end, I’m very excited for the upcoming Dr. Aphra comic.

Star Wars fans who are curious about the era between the fourth and fifth films will find a treasure trove of material in these twenty five issues. I can’t recommend this series enough. Marvel has proved itself to be a fantastic steward for the Star Wars universe and this comic is a prime example of why.

If you have not yet experienced this part of the Star Wars canon. Now is an excellent time to catch up. Combined with the main Star Wars books, Darth Vader makes a great starting point for anyone interested in getting into the series. I’m sad to see that it has come to an end.


Artwork: The artwork in the course of the Darth Vader comics was top notch from beginning to end. Even across the span of twenty five issues, I found it to consistent and often times some of the best out of all the new Star Wars books. High praise here.

Story: Originally, this book mirrored the events of the main Star Wars series but from an Imperial perspective. During this time, several new characters were introduced. After a while, these characters and their relationship with Vader became the focus of the book. The Darth Vader comic did a wonderful job of bridging the character of Anakin Skywalker with the cold and ruthless Darth Vader that we know from the original trilogy. The story presented in this book was nothing short of fantastic.

Recommended:  Yes. I recommend this series to any Star Wars fan. Followers of both the prequels and the original trilogy will find a lot to enjoy here.

Comics: Star Wars – Obi-Wan and Anakin


A little late with this review, so I apologize. But here are my thoughts on the Marvel Comics: Obi-Wan and Anakin mini-series. This was a five-issue event that ran from January to May of this year. The story focuses on an adventure shared between both Anakin and Obi-Wan Kenobi and is set during the early days of Anakin’s apprenticeship.

In the story, our heroes find themselves stranded on an alien planet in the midst of a civil war between two semi-primitive factions. Anakin and Obi-Wan must work together to unite the warring groups and secure their escape.

Hidden amidst the main plot, are some very interesting glimpses into the nature of Obi-Wan’s relationship with Anakin in the early days of his training. It also sheds some light on the origins of Anakin’s relationship with Palpatine, a subject that is a huge fascination with many fans. Despite what initially appears to be a fairly generic storyline, Marvel did a fine job weaving in details that hardcore fans will be eager to soak up.


Artwork: This book has a very modern art style. Similar to that of the main Star Wars series. Crisp and clean with good use of color.

Story: Set between Episodes I and II, that’s a surprising amount of information packed into this series. Hints are given into Obi-Wan’s private thoughts on the state of the Jedi Order and well as a surprising reveal regarding Anakin’s intentions in the early days of this training.

Recommended:  Yes. This is a great mini-series and a prime example of the new canon done right. Fans of the prequel trilogy will really enjoy this title, but in truth is appeals to nearly any Star Wars fan.

Star Wars: Bloodline – Claudia Gray


As you know, I’m a huge fan of anything Star Wars. I have been since I was a little boy. So far, since the streamlining of the Star Wars universe under the guidance of Disney I’ve been sure to share my thoughts on each new piece of Star Wars lore as it becomes available. Today, I give you my opinion on Bloodline by Claudia Gray.

Claudia Gray is probably best known to Star Wars fans for her novel Lost Stars, an interesting Romeo & Juliet type story that starts in early days of the Empire, and follows a forbidden romance between an Imperial officer and a rebel soldier all the way through the fall of Empire. Now Claudia is back with a new tale that place in years before Episode VII.

Bloodline is largely a political thriller. The story follows Princess Leia as she tries to juggle her duties in the New Republic, while uncovering a secret plot that threatens to bring down the new government that she has spent her life fighting to establish.

For many, this book might be a little hard to digest. There’s quite a bit of lengthy material here regarding the “inside politics” of the New Republic. So some may find a large bit of the book about as exciting as reading a social studies text book. But, personally, I’m a big follower of politics – so this didn’t bother me at all. There’s a lot of backstory to Episode VII here. So fans who are curious about the lead up to the film may want to take the time to give this book a read. – I’d like to say more, but to do so would risk spoiling a large part of the plot. So I’ll refrain. But trust me, fans of the Original Trilogy and of The Force Awakens – this is a book I think you may not want to skip. Mentions of Han Solo, Luke and even Ben Solo are littered throughout the novel. Giving fans a glimpse into the years before The Force Awakens.

Story: Very well written. Fast read, but a bit heavy on the inner-workings of Galactic politics.

Recommended:  FOR HARDCORE FANS.

Star Wars: Battlefront – Twilight Company – Alexander Freed


I know I’ve been slacking in my Star Wars canon reviews lately. I’ve been reading, but not posting. That means this entry for Battlefront: Twilight Company is a little behind schedule. – Sorry.

What we have here is an interesting entry into the new Star Wars line-up. Battlefront: Twilight Company is a novel intended to tie-in with the Star Wars Battlefront video game. But in reality, has little to do with the game itself. Instead, we have what is essentially a war novel that goes behind the scenes of many of the battles we’ve seen in the Star Wars series. Now, that’s not a bad thing at all. But to me, the way the story is presented didn’t really have that “Star Wars” feel. I felt like the guts of the story could have easily been inserted into any war of the author’s choosing with little work.

The book follows a number of rebel grunt-soldiers during various battles in the war against the Empire. The action is fast paced, and the dark and gritty presentation is very well done. But there’s really nothing in the novel that makes it required reading for casual fan. In my opinion, this novel would be best enjoyed by fans of other war novels and the hardcore Star Wars fanbase.

Story: The book is well written, albeit a little confusing at times. The characters are interesting, but plentiful. Almost to the point of detracting from the plot.

Recommended:  FOR HARDCORE FANS. – Again, this is a sci-fi war novel first, a subplot to Star Wars second. If you’re on the fence, this is certainly a skip-able entry in the new canon, but don’t misunderstand – the story is certainly enjoyable.

Comics: Star Wars -C3PO


So unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know that there was a new Star Wars movie recently. In this film, we see one of our favorite robotic Star Wars characters, C3PO, sporting a strange looking red arm. The arm is mentioned in the film as a bit of a side note, but no explanation was given regarding its origins… until now.

Marvel has produced a one-shot C3PO comic book that provides a bit of backstory on the mysterious origins of the scarlet appendage. The books is fairly short, and is centered upon a scenario in which C3PO and a number of other droids embark on a bit of an adventure. I don’t want to say much more or I risk giving away a bit of the story. But I will tell you that there’s actually a lot more insight into the inner workings of droids provided here than one might expect. I found the story to be both entertaining and touching.

So if you were on the fence, wondering just how entertaining a comic featuring a handful or robots might be, you can place your fears to rest. This comic is surprisingly well done.


Artwork: The art in this book has a dark and gritty feel to it, which seemed a bit off to me. But, it is well done.

Story: Set shortly before the events of EP VII, this story focuses on the working relationship between droids, and serves as an explanation for C3POs strange red arm.

Recommended:  Yes. For $4.00, this book is worth the price. There’s really nothing groundbreaking here, so I can’t really call it a must-read. But fans should find something enjoyable here.

Star Wars: Before the Awakening – Greg Rucka


By now, I’m sure that everyone who wants to has seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens. As far as the film goes, I’m waiting for the home release next month before talking about the movie itself, but in keeping with my tradition of reviewing Star Wars novels, I wanted to take a moment to discuss Before the Awakening.

Marketed towards young adults, Before the Awakening is truly a must read for any Star Wars fan. This book is actually a collection of three short stories. Each story focusing on the characters of Finn, Rey, and Poe – just before the events of the Force Awakens. The stories do a wonderful job of providing just enough backstory on the characters to flesh them out a bit without ruining any of the real mystery behind the characters themselves.

I burned through this book in the course of one evening and I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. If you can’t enough of this new generation of Star Wars, do yourself a favor and grab this collection. It can be found for under $10 on Amazon and at most retailers.

Story: All three tales are fantastic. I found Rey’s story to be my favorite. But I really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes insights on both Finn and Poe’s origins as well. Great stuff.

Recommended:  FOR ALL FANS. – If you enjoyed The Force Awakens, this book is for you. If you want more of a Star Wars fix, don’t hesitate. This book is well worth your time.

Comics: Star Wars – Chewbacca (Mini Series)


I know I’m a bit late on this post. But with the flurry of Star Wars posts coming to a head back in December, I thought it would be best to give things in the Star Wars universe a bit of breathing room. Happily, we’ve all had a few months to decompress, so I’m finally ready to share my thoughts on Marvel’s Chewbacca mini-series.

When this comic was announced, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I like Chewbacca just as much as any other Star Wars fan, but it seems awfully difficult to center an entire five-part mini-series around the character. Then when I learned that Chewy’s dialogue would remain un-translated (when he roars, it literally just says “Roooaaaaar!”) – I began to wonder even harder how they would manage to pull this off.  —  It wasn’t pretty.

The story in this book takes place shortly after the events of Episode IV. It features Chewbacca running a solo errand when he gets caught up in an Imperial situation on a remote planet. Teaming up with a young local girl, Chewy puts in some pro-bono work by helping a group of citizens strike at their Imperial oppressors. The problem is, the story itself is only mildly interesting and the characters introduced in the book are forgettable at best.

I can’t say that this series is particularly bad. But, it really seems unimportant in the overall scheme of things. In a nutshell, it’s just not very interesting and the execution feels flawed. This might be the first real dud in the new Marvel Star Wars lineup.

Chewbacca 003-003

Artwork: Good. The art here is well done, but nothing spectacular.

Story: Besides a little bit of fan service in the final issue, there’s little here that I actually found interesting. The Empire is still evil and oppressive, Chewbacca’s actions reflect his good nature, etc. All things we’ve seen before. I would have liked to see Marvel take this opportunity to explore more about the Wookiee homeworld or reflect a bit on Chewbacca’s relationship with Han Solo instead of what seems like shoe-horning him into this brief adventure.

Recommended:  No. I can’t really recommend spending your money on this title unless you’re a hardcore Star Wars collector.

Star Wars: Journey to The Force Awakens (Young Adult Trilogy)


Amidst the madness that is the holiday season, home repairs and everything else I finally managed to read all three of the “Young Adult” Star Wars novels that were released last month. These books, unlike Lost Stars, are truly aimed towards younger readers both in size and content/vocabulary. But I’m happy to report that this fact doesn’t make them any less worthy of a read. The writing and content of all three of these books are surprisingly excellent.

These novels are truly companions to each other in more ways than one. First, each book starts with a short prologue, each takes place in between Episode VI and VII. These prologues serve as a vehicle to introduce the main story, which is always presented as a “tale of yesteryear”. During these prologues (and  epilogues) we are given some hints and glimpses as to the state of our favorite heroes in a post-RotJ setting. This is very well done, and extremely exciting for any Star Wars fan who is eagerly awaiting the upcoming movie.

The first book I read was Weapon of a Jedi. This is an adventure that focuses on Luke Skywalker and is set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. In it, we see a version of Luke that is just beginning to emerge from his phase as a naïve farm boy into a more inquisitive adult who is desperate to learn anything he can about the legacy of the Jedi. This book seems to take place sometime around the events of the Star Wars comic book by Marvel and the Heir to the Jedi novel. In my opinion, despite being aimed at younger readers, this book  is actually a much better portrayal of Luke in this time period than Heir to the Jedi. (There’s no noodle scooting to be found here.)

The second of these books I picked up was Smuggler’s Run. This novel focuses on Han Solo and Chewbacca. It is also set around the same timeframe, between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. This book is fantastic. It captures the persona of Han Solo from this time period perfectly and has a surprising amount of action and storytelling packed into such a short book. This is easily my favorite of the three.

Finally, I read Moving Target. This book, unlike the others, is set between Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. This novel focuses largely on Princess Leia. It provides some really good insight into just what role she played in the rebellion as well as gives some backstory on the events directly leading up to RotJ. There’s also a small appearance here by Luke Skywalker that I found quite interesting. This book is probably my second favorite of the trilogy.

All in all, these books are worth reading even if you’re an adult. They may be aimed at a younger audience, but they are not watered down in any way. Aside from their size, they read just like any adult Star Wars fiction. You can tell just how much dedication and though the authors put behind these novels. In my opinion, they really make a great lead in to the new film, which is now less than ten days away.

Due to their size and simultaneous release, I’m reviewing these together.

Story: Surprisingly thoughtful and well written. Great for old fans of the series and anyone looking forward to the new film. Each book focuses on a specific character from the original trilogy.

Recommended:  FOR ALL FANS

Star Wars: Lost Stars – Claudia Gray


Just the other day, I finally finished the next book on my Star Wars “to-read” list; Lost Stars.  This book was marketed as a young adult novel, but it is anything but. If you’ve been on the fence about this one for that reason, cast aside all doubt and dive in. Lost Stars is eloquently written and it’s actually one of the more “adult” Star Wars novels I’ve ever read.

The book starts between Episode III and IV, and follows the lives of two childhood friends who meet in the early days of the Empire. Throughout the story, you see as they grow and mature, eventually enlisting in Imperial service. Essentially, this ends up becoming a romance story that takes place during the time of the Original Trilogy. We get to see key events such as the Battle of Yavin, Hoth, Endor, and even the new famed Battle of Jakku – all through the eyes of these two characters. While this could easily end up feeling forced, the author does a wonderful job of making this work. The characters of Thane Kyrell and Ciena Ree are WONDERFUL additions to the Star Wars universe.

When I say this novel is “adult”, I mean that all aspects of the relationship between these characters is explored. Even the subject of sexual activity is covered here, but it very tastefully done. Regardless, this was not something I expected from a novel being marketed as “young adult”. For many, the subject matter and sheer size of the book itself may seem a little off-putting. Romance is not a subject one typically thinks of when picking up a Star Wars novel, but it works very well here. Don’t let this fool you. This is a fantastic read.  All that aside, a lot of this book features behind-the-scenes detail of already familiar events, from an Imperial perspective. This alone ends up being a very interesting part of the novel. I can’t recommend this one enough. In many ways, this book serves as a better set up to Episode VII than even “Aftermath“.

I can only hope that we will see more of the lead characters presented here in future works, maybe even Episode VII

Story: Excellent plotline. The author does a great job of introducing two new characters and actually make you care about them. Not to mention, the storytelling is second-to-none.

Recommended:  FOR ALL FANS (Guys, if your wife/girlfriend typically only reads “girly-books” – this might make a good launching point into Star Wars fiction for her.)

Comics: Star Wars – Shattered Empire (mini-series)


In one month Star Wars: The Force Awakens will hit theaters worldwide. The hype is real. So now is the time to catch up on all the Star Wars media you can. A great place to start is right here with the Shattered Empire mini-series from Marvel.

Shattered Empire picks up during the final scenes of Return of the Jedi and follows our heroes on their adventures immediately after. Of course, all of the expected faces are seen during the four-issues that make up Shattered Empire; Han Solo, Luke Sky Walker, etc. But we’re also introduced to two new characters; Shara Bey and her husband, Kes Dameron.  If you’ve been paying attention to the character bios from the upcoming movie, you may recognize the name “Dameron”. Episode VII features a character by name of Poe Dameron. So, it’s a logical conclusion that these new characters are his parents. But, who knows for sure. We’ll have to wait and see.

There’s so much packed into the four issues that I’d love to dive into, but discussing them here would be a disservice. It’s killing me not to talk about the hologram of the….  nevermind….   or how Leia seems to have a….   nevermind.  I’d better stop now. If you’re a fan of Star Wars, this mini-series is a MUST READ. So many new questions are ignited just through this book alone. I’m eager to see how much of what is presented here ties in to the new movie. So if that’s your cup of tea, Shattered Empire makes for a great read.

The four issues are combined into a trade paperback that goes on sale tomorrow.


Artwork: Excellent. The art in this book is very modern and standard for today’s books. Some of the best in the Marvel Star Wars prints so far.

Story: This story serves as both a finishing touch to the original trilogy, while also planting some of the basic seeds for what may be coming with Episode VII. How much remains to be seen. But I have feeling revisiting this mini-series after the movie is released will be very enlightening.

Recommended:  Yes. This book is a must read for any Star Wars fan. Those who are fans of the original trilogy and are looking forward to the new film should not hesitate to make this purchase.