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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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