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Darren

Star Wars - the new canon

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For my birthday recently I got a pile of the latest comics collections, and top of the pile is this: volume two of Doctor Aphra's own series, although in story terms the Screaming Citadel cross-over with the main Star Wars comic happened between the two volumes, all of which follows on from @KieronGillen's original run on the Darth Vader comic. Marvel's gonna Marvel, I suppose. The good news is, after the disappointing Screaming Citadel, this is easily back up to the very high standard set by volume one.

 

This ticks lots of the right boxes for me. It makes the Star Wars universe richer by focusing on other characters who inhabit it, and go about their lives while the big events are happening elsewhere. In the case of Aphra and her associates (I won't say friends) this revolves around finding ways to get rich quick at one another's expense while trying to stay one step ahead of the ever-growing list of people after revenge for that time you ripped them off previously. Whereas Aphra has always been a fairly Han-ish character, wisecracking her way into and out of trouble, in this book she also channels her inner Lando and turns on the charm, with hilariously mixed results. It's consistently funny throughout (not something you want every Star Wars story to be, but there's room for it in the SW universe and Aphra delivers in spades) and what's more the art, from Kev "ABC Warriors" Walker, is wonderful. Don't judge this book by its rather dull cover (Aphra's covers are done by a different artist and this collection is yet another where Marvel have picked the worst cover from the issues inside to put on the front), this volume would be worth its price for the pictures alone. Walker is especially good at drawing Rodians, it turns out, almost as well as he renders the good Doctor herself.

 

All in all I can't recommend this enough. The only catch is it's not a very good starting point, but if you're tempted, jump in at volume one, miss out the Screaming Citadel (the important events of which are recapped in the opening crawl here anyway) and enjoy two books full of some of the best Star Wars comics yet.

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She was a good character in the 5 Vader graphic novels, I should pick up her stand alone story.

 

So, only having read Dark Disciple but wanting get back into the new canon here, I've caught up with the thread. I was going to ask if the best way forward is to just work though the time line from the front of the book, but I see we're bouncing around to prequel era now. Not necessarily a bad thing. 

 

So, read them in publishing order? Out of order and reading the better ones first, like Darren's list? I mean, apart from those written as a series, the 40 odd legends books I have are largely stand alone, but they do reference earlier characters sometimes, so there's some continuity. Or are there too few new canon to worry about it?

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The order doesn’t matter. They make an effort to ensure continuity between all the books but that’s more about avoiding contradictions than there being any overarching story. I’d start with something from the top end of my or Boothjan’s recommendations, like Lost Stars.

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Yeah I've never been too bothered by the order of the books - I tend to jump all over the place with them.

 

And sometimes, some of the books are labelled as the build up to one of the new films, but take place decades beforehand.  Example - Leia: Princess of Alderaan is a build up story to The Last Jedi, but it's set when she's a teenager.  But it also introduces Amilyn Holdo, so the scene between them onscreen is made all the more bittersweet after reading that.  It's also ace.

 

I'd 100% recommend Lost Stars above any other.

 

 

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At last! Everyone's favourite purple-sabred Jedi, Mace "Rear" Windu gets his own comic! And... it's not very good.

 

One thing you can rely on Marvel for is to be consistently inconsistent with the quality of their Star Wars comics. And as sure as night follows day, the excellent Doctor Aphra is followed by the average at best Mace Windu. In this story from the time of the Clone Wars, he takes a small group of comrades including everyone's favourite amphibious Jedi, Kit "Ooh Matron" Fisto on a secret mission to find out what the separatists are up to on some remote planet somewhere. Along the way they fight lots of droids, and both Windu and Fisto use every possible opportunity to impart their wisdom to the younger members of the team, like it's a school trip. This being the clone wars, nothing that happens matters, although there is a bit of character development for one of the gang.

 

This could have been a nice action romp but unfortunately it's all very po-faced. Right from the start we get pages of exposition and Jedi Council meetings before anyone actually does anything. While this is entirely in keeping with the prequel source material it would have been nice to use the comic format in a more dynamic way, starting in the thick of the action perhaps with flashbacks as needed to explain how they got there. But instead it's all very linear and straight and generally pretty dull. What's more, at no point does the main character come across as badass or cool, so it's perhaps fitting that apart from the various cover images, none of the art makes Mace look remotely like Samuel L Jackson. But then again it even manages to make Yoda look nothing like any version of Yoda ever committed to screen or page, which makes me think the art just isn't very good, a cardinal sin for the comics which have almost always been great to look at even when the stories aren't up to much.

 

While this is better than the similar Obi-Wan & Anakin comic, it's only just, and I can't really recommend it.

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I read the first book and the pile is sat there waiting to be read now, compare that to Darth Vader, Star Wars and Dr Aphra comics which get picked up and read as soon as they arrive and make of that what you will.

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Popped into The Works in Brum city centre just now and they've got all 3 books in the Aftermath trilogy for a tenner (paperback editions).

 

They're by no means the best of the new stuff, but worth thinking about for any 'completionists' out there.  The 2nd part is actually a very decent read.

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Just finished Thrawn:Alliances and I'm not sure what to say really

 

I loved Thrawn and Vader together

Spoiler

Thrawn constantly giving Vader sly digs about him knowing he's Anakin and Vaders constant want at snapping Thrawns neck is great

 

Thrawn and Anakin is also good and it's nice to see how one persons 2 personas treats the same guy

 

Padme can fuck off though, anytime she popped up I just got bored or hurry through it to get back to Thrawn and Vader/Anakin. 

 

Also I just finished Darth Vader #017 and it's a fucking great book, has a large call back to the Tarkin novel and just how great a ruthless hunter he is but it's also Vader at his absolute sadistic best. 

 

Edit: my mistake it's Vader #18

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Next on my slowly shrinking to-read comics pile is the latest main Star Wars collection. This marks a turning point for the flagship series as rllmuk's own @KieronGillen (I'm going to keep tagging him every time I mention him just because I can) takes over on writing duties. And it's a good start for our boy who picks up several threads from previous stories and weaves them into a new one which brings together rebels, partisans and city-sized mining machines. As you might guess from the title, this ties in very closely with the aftermath of Rogue One, as well as bringing back a minor character from an earlier issue in a more significant role (with implications for future stories too) and introduces a truly excellent new Imperial officer who's obviously been in the (star) wars and has the robot arm to prove it. And Gillen's dialogue is as excellent as ever - he totally captures the characters we know and gives real personalities to his own creations.

 

It's not perfect but my issues with it are niggles or matters of taste really. The state Jedha is left in after Rogue One makes no sense whatsoever from a physics point of view, but in a world where X-Wings manoeuvre and sound like Spitfires in space perhaps impossible physics is entirely in keeping, and it certainly feels churlish to criticise it. I'm also not a fan of the almost-photo-realistic-faces art style, especially where, for most images of the main cast, it's obvious which movie still or publicity shot was used as the template. I prefer my comics to look a bit more comic-y, but I accept it's just my preference, and even then there is one page where it works perfectly. There is a flashback to a conversation that was implied but not shown in Rogue One, and the panels on that page could almost be stills from a deleted scene. And as he did more than once in his Darth Vader comics, Gillen uses this flashback to add weight and depth to the events of the films and to the characters involved. He's masterful at those kind of moments and I'm looking forward to seeing where he takes the story as it starts to lead towards Hoth.

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Star-Wars-Poe-Dameron-Vol.-4-Legend-Foun

 

I've raved about all three previous volumes in the Poe Dameron series and I'm glad to say that the latest collection entirely lives up to the same high standard. There's a lot I could say about the story in this one but I want to avoid spoilers. Let's just say, although the Legend is Found, it doesn't go the way you think! The way it does go, though, is very entertaining, and like the best spin-offs, it ties in perfectly with the related films (in this case particularly TFA and TLJ, but there's a lovely nod to the prequels too - I swear Marvel are going out of their way to rehabilitate that trilogy, one flashback at a time) while actually enriching the lore on which the whole precarious interlinked structure is balanced. Plus there are some great character moments and of course a fair amount of spaceships flying around blowing things up.

 

Best of all, because of the way this instalment ends, it's clear we're going to get at least one more volume from Poe before this story reaches its natural conclusion. And with such a consistently high quality maintained so far that is very good news indeed.

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I'm reading the comics as they come out and Poe finished at issue 31. It's been a good ride throughout, I think.

 

Gillen's still doing sterling work on the main title, but the current Lando miniseries is nowhere near as good as the first, and Aphra seems to got a bit stuck in a rut.

 

The Darth Vader series is still also pretty good.

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That's good to know, apart from the Lando and Aphra bits obviously. I read the first half of Aphra volume 3 last night which was still at the same high quality as before, so it's a shame that there's a bit of a dip coming. Although after this volume Gillen hands over to Si Spurrier on writing duties so perhaps it misses the master's magic touch, although I've enjoyed what I've read from Spurrier in 2000AD.

 

I do think @KieronGillen is becoming the Claudia Gray of the Star Wars comics - anything with his name on it is an automatic must-read.

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Speaking of which - Doctor Aphra volume 3 is another excellent instalment, not only maintaining the series' quality mix of action and humour, but also adding a dash of depth and even pathos to a character who previously has been mainly light relief. She's not turned into a tragic heroine or anything so drastic, but with a few deft strokes she leaps from the page as a more fully rounded person rather than just a Han Solo-esque scoundrel with a quip for every occasion. It's all rather beautifully done, and leaves her knowing a little more about herself and her place in the universe even as she continues quipping and scoundrel-ing her way across it.

 

Of course it also has the usual trademark Aphra staples of psychopathic droids, double-crossed Imperials, double-crossed criminals and double-crossed rebels, intrigue, subterfuge and lots and lots of explosions. And although Kev Walker isn't on art this time round (he's back next volume), the art is fantastic throughout, and for a nice change Marvel haven't picked a bad cover for the collection, mainly because the covers of the individual issues they had to choose from were all great.

 

This story marks the end of @KieronGillen's writing for the character he created, and he leaves her in fine form and with everything nicely poised for Si Spurrier (who co-wrote this volume) to take over. She might not be the same without her master's voice but I'm still intrigued to find out where her story takes her next.

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For those interested in Shadow of Vader some news.

 

http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2018/10/12/in-which-i-am-fired-from-marvel/

 



we announced SHADOW OF VADER juuuuust last weekend, and people were excited, and I thought everything was good. I was not made aware of any issues, and my online self has always been my online self, so. Except, yeah, no. Today I got the call. I’m fired. Because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark, the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.

Basically, because I was not civil.

 

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Comics-wise, there aren't any more mini-series coming now Lando 2's finished, are there?

 

Does feel a bit (with Poe ending recently as well) that Marvel is winding things back a bit.

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Well, there's Han Solo: Imperial Cadet which is a 5-issue series starting this week.

 

Then after that they don't so much wind things back as go in a slightly different direction, with three themed mini-series starting with Age of Republic (9 issues, starts December), then Age of Rebellion (8 issues, starts April) and finally Age of Resistance (8 issues, starts July).

 

There's also supposed to be another Vader mini-series called Shadow of Vader, but that looks like it's on the back-burner as Marvel fired the writer Chuck Wendig (of Aftermath fame) while it was still being written for "negative tweets", which is one of those things that if you said it to someone at any time in the 20th century they would assume you'd gone mad.

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Ah OK. I just was feeling it was beginning to go pretty quiet. as I'd not had much to pick up from the comic shop in the last month or so.

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On 05/11/2018 at 21:03, Darren said:

 

There's also supposed to be another Vader mini-series called Shadow of Vader, but that looks like it's on the back-burner as Marvel fired the writer Chuck Wendig (of Aftermath fame) while it was still being written for "negative tweets", which is one of those things that if you said it to someone at any time in the 20th century they would assume you'd gone mad.

 

Confirmed cancelled.

 

https://www.polygon.com/comics/2018/11/16/18098712/star-wars-darth-vader-chuck-wendig-marvel

 



Marvel has canceled its Star Wars: Shadow of Vader miniseries following the firing of its writer, Chuck Wendig, seemingly over his social media presence.

The news was first discovered by comics retailers who noticed that Shadow of Vader #1 was not available for pre-order from Marvel’s solicits for January 2019, the book’s announced release month. Sources at Marvel have confirmed to Polygon that the series will not be moving forward.

At the time of his removal, Wendig had already completed work on three issues of the five-issue series. The author, comics writer and Lucasfilm expanded universe storyteller was unexpectedly removed from Shadow of Vader shortly after the book was announced at New York Comic Con’s Lucasfilm Publishing panel in October. At the time, Marvel did not offer comment as to why it removed Wendig, but the writer said his editor told him it was because of “too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity” in his Twitter presence.

“I mean, it’s a bummer,” Wendig told Polygon of the book’s official cancellation. “I wrote the hell out of a few scripts and outlined a few more, and the books had a few small to large touchstones to my [Star Wars] novel series, Aftermath. And there was tons of excitement over the book at NYCC. But Marvel has to do what Marvel has to do. Mostly I think they put themselves in a bad position by the way they knocked me from the book in the first place — and I’m sad that this was continued fallout from that. Onward, I suppose, to bigger and better things!”

 

 

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I had another pile of Star Wars TPBs for Christmas, and whereas after my birthday I took my time and spaced them out over a few months, this time I've binge read them all over a few weeks (with 1.5 still to go) which means I'm going to have to write very cut down impressions of each one... or I'll be here all night. First up:

 

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This is really good - like the first volume it's about Vader in the very early days after his "creation," while he's still coming to terms with his new life. I won't say anything about the story but I will say that the best thing in this volume is its portrayal of Vader's "inner life," a vivid depiction of the way he perceives himself, quite different to the masked figure he presents to everyone else. It really takes advantage of the comics medium, and is quite brilliant.

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This was... OK. It's a prequel to the Solo film and given the character it's a pretty lighthearted romp. Lando quips his way through the whole thing, convinced as he is in the film that not only is he the best thing since sliced bread, but also it won't be long before the rest of the galaxy realises this. It has its moments but it's far from essential, although not actually bad. Having said that, most of those moments come from L3-37 so if you found her annoying on screen you're unlikely to enjoy this much at all.

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But this is much more like it! The previous volume of the main Star Wars series, @KieronGillen's first, was good, but this is even better. It still has the semi-photorealistic faces that I don't like much, but either I'm getting used to them or they're getting toned down a bit, either way I'm not so bothered by them any more. Story wise this is absolutely excellent, and it's full of the great dialogue and clever little touches that Gillen always produces. Plus! What a great cover for the collection. At last someone at Marvel is thinking about this rather than just (apparently) picking any old cover at random from one of the included issues and bunging it on the front. That would make a great poster, like all the best covers.

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Another great one! This is the fifth and final volume of Poe's comic, and it keeps up the high standard that the series has maintained throughout. Best of all, this finale takes place after the end of The Last Jedi, so for the first time (I think) we're into truly uncharted territory, rather than filling in gaps between existing points. Having said that, a significant chunk of this is told in flashbacks, covering the events of The Force Awakens from Poe's point of view, including what happened to him between crashing on Jakku and reappearing on Takodana, before the story moves forward to what I think is the "latest" period yet covered anywhere in the new canon. But I have to mention the absolute best thing in this book: the first nine pages of issue 28, which is a conversation between two unidentified characters talking about the raid on Starkiller base, followed by the revelation of their identities on page 10. Again, it's something that can only work the way it does in comics, and it's utterly brilliant. As soon as I realised who they were, I went back and reread the entire conversation, as I'm sure most readers did at the same point. Those few pages alone make this essential, but the rest is top quality stuff too.

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