Tag Archives: Star Wars

Review Star Wars Rebel Heist #1

25058Star Wars Rebel Heist #1 by Matt Kindt & Marco Castiello

This week Dark Horse kicked off a new Star Wars mini-series written by Matt Kindt. Set during the time of the original trilogy, Kindt’s story opens with Jan, a young man making his way through Corellia. He has recently completed his Rebel training, and is on his first official mission. Jan’s voice, which narrates the issue, is immediately engaging. Jan reveals somewhat mixed motives for wanting to join the Alliance. He does not claim allegiance to any noble ideology, as much as a desire to avoid becoming part of “the faceless hordes.” In short, he would like a bit of adventure in his life. And if he loses said life? Well, “worse ways to go out, I guess.”

Which is exactly how things almost turn out. Once reaching his rendezvous point, his cover is immediately blown. He is only spared by the timely arrival of his contact: Han Solo. It is here where Kindt uncovers his conceit for the series: instead of telling yet another tale of Han Solo, Kindt explores how Han would have appeared to a low level Rebel operative. We first see him, smoking blaster in hand, full of cocky charm. From this initial entrance, it is easy to hear Harrison Ford’s voice speaking Kindt’s dialogue. Jan considers himself in the presence of a master fighter, as well as stratisgt, someone who can think as quickly (if not more quickly) than he can punch. There would be no viable Rebellion without him. He is a legend.

He is also somewhat frustrating. The more time Jan spends with Han, the more he begins to be troubled by doubts. Han’s actions seemingly grow more reckless, less tactical than simply rash. Perhaps his continued survival was more a matter of dumb luck than skill? Surely we have all known someone like this in our lives? The person whose roguish spirit is amusing from a distance, only the closer we get to it, the more infuriating, or downright selfish, they actually are. Jan begins to wonder if Han really gives a damn about the Alliance, instead keeping with them for the sheer thrill of the ride.

Which, of course, is more or less why Jan is there as well.

In addition to this strong character work, Kindt is laying the foundations of a mystery, leaving the reader wondering just what it is that Han has in mind. The title suggests a type of inside strike, which would explain some of the choices Hans makes. But the others? By the last page, I was left wondering if this is truly where he expected to wind up, or if he has somehow overplayed his hand? As for Jan, the circumstances in which he is narrating this story are not the most pleasant.

Rebel Heist is off to a great start; I look forward next issue to seeing where Leia fits in Kindt’s puzzle.

Cheers.

Review of Star Wars #14

STK631681By Brian Wood and Facundo Percio

Brian Wood abrupt departure from DC/Vertigo in 2011 looked like a death sentence for the creator but instead it’s proved far more advantageous for the writer then anybody could have imagined by setting him up with Dark Horse Comics on both creator owned work as well as some of their biggest properties. His creator owned work on The Massive has been solid while his time on Conan has been a revelation but it’s his Star Wars writing that continues to impress and improve as time goes on as Wood fills in the blanks in between episode III and IV. This issue was the second in a two part arc where a low level cadet is sent on a mission with Darth Vader filled with quiet rage that sparingly bubbles up into death and destruction. Vader is best used as someone you watch as opposed to someone you relate to and even though years of additional Star Wars material may have cheapened his menace Wood manages to translate the sheer terror he brings by using the cadet’s POV as she witnesses his cold and calculating nihilism up close. She narrates a story of pure fear and sadness as she watches Vader kill and destroy everything in his way without nary an emotion one way or the other. The emotions we get are from the cadet as she is forced to wrestle with the guilt of having aided in the death of many and the terror of feeling like she could be murdered at any moment that Vader feels necessary and these are emotions that will stay with her after this mission concludes. Wood has been smart in not trying to re-invent anything with Star Wars and instead work with the series tropes as best as possible. What would it feel like to share space with Darth Vader in close quarters? What would you do for him if your life depended on it? The answers are what show us why Vader is the force of nature in Star Wars mythology.  Getting to know the man behind the mask doesn’t make Vader interesting. It’s what’s lacking behind that mask that makes him engaging.

Review of Star Wars #1

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Star Wars #1
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Colorist: Laura Martin

Before my review, let me give a rundown of the current Star Wars influences in my life.

Yesterday I finished Aaron Allston’s novel Conviction and read the first 300 pages of Christie Golden’s Ascension, books seven and eight of the Fate of the Jedi series that takes place 44.5 years After the Battle of Yavin (as shown in A New Hope). In these pages, Luke, Han, and Leia are parents and even grandparents to a whole new generation of Jedi. The Imperial Remnant, consisting of the various Empire groups scattered throughout the galaxy post-Emperor Palpatine/Darth Sidious, has joined forces with the Galactic Alliance (formed after The New Republic and consisting of a majority of the galaxy’s governments) and the reformed Jedi Order, led by Grandmaster Luke Skywalker. But it wouldn’t be Star Wars if everyone got along peacefully. Enter Abeloth and the newly expanding Lost Tribe of the Sith. Because of the “reboot,” these stories now take place outside of the official continuity; however, I highly recommend exploring more of the expanded universe despite this. While many of the books are not very good, there are specific series that I’d place right up there with the movies. For more information on which books to check out, comment below, and I will be happy to give you a list.

This morning as I ate breakfast, I watched the first episode of The Clone Wars season three on Netflix. Other than a select few episodes, this series is fantastic. From the superb animation to the themes of belonging, individuality, war, love, etc., this is a unique exploration into what I usually find to be the least interesting period in the Star Wars timeline. In a clash between the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems (using The Grand Army of the Republic and The Separatist Droid Army, respectively) that began on Geonosis (Attack of the Clones), the war essentially leads to the formation of the Galactic Empire with Uncle Palpy as the head. Geared to both kids and adults (though often I feel it to lean more towards the latter), this series is a no-brainer for any Star Wars fan. Not to mention, The Clone Wars series is one of the few stories outside of the movies to remain in-continuity.

In celebration of today’s Star Wars #1 release, I’m wearing my Han Solo/James Bond shirt (click here for image).

Suffice it to say, I’m more than your average Star Wars fan.

So when I heard that Marvel, after Disney having bought the licensing, was preparing to release the first issue in a series taking place between the fall of the first Death Star in Episode Four and the Battle on Hoth in Episode Five when the Imperials strike back at the Rebel Alliance, I was excited…but also weary. Dark Horse tried its hand at covering this same period with Brian Wood’s title of the same name, but after the initial honeymoon stage, I quickly lost interest. In fear of it following the same pattern, I opened the front cover to Aaron and Cassaday’s Star Wars #1 reluctant but hopeful.

It took maybe 3.5 seconds for any reluctance to drain from my body, the void instantly filled with glee. Even though the Expanded Universe may no longer be canon, this story does not go out of its way to conflict with what came before. Instead, it nestles comfortably among the history, forever stitching itself in the fabric of the Star Wars Universe. As for what happened in the story, I would rather you experience it for yourself. As you may notice, several of the other NBC! writers will be posting reviews. I’m sure some of them will most likely reveal what happens in the 48-page issue, so look to them for spoilers. Just know that this Star Wars fan gives it his approval, and that should be more than enough.