Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Star Wars #41

This review of Star Wars #41 contains minor spoilers.

For Luke, the light side dimmed toward darkness.

The religious overtones that underline Star Wars #41 aren’t subtle, but unsettling. Kieron Gillen’s words fold the time and space of the Saga that we, as readers, already know.

In doing so, Gillen’s examination of the vagueries and expectations of faith — that which one believes isn’t necessarily truth — presents Luke Skywalker with a challenge to his malleable optimism about the Force and what he needs.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: The Last Jedi — The Storms of Crait

This review of Star Wars: The Last Jedi — The Storms of Crait contains minor spoilers.

The Storms of Crait is a visually dynamic one-shot comic that aims high to add some previously unknown threads tying The Last Jedi to the Original Trilogy era.

The book succeeds, largely, thanks to the superb art by Mike Mayhew, which capably adapts a slightly awkward script by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (they’re in the midst of a Star Wars writing tear of late) and an antagonist who seems more a cockney-addled Dick Van Dyke than morally ambiguous villain, even for the Star Wars Saga.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Mace Windu #5

This review of Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic — Mace Windu #5 contains minor spoilers.

After five issues of the Mace Windu mini series, readers are left with a bevy of questions, chief among them: What was the purpose?

It’s a difficult answer, but it’s there, in plain sight. Yet the answer is different to each and ever individual reader. For some, it may be, nothing, there was no purpose. For others, it was an exercise in futility. For me? It was a matter of practicing patience, holding out for something deeper.

It was a long wait, yes, and the story that Matt Owens penned is a profound one, though it’s overlooked, at times, because of vexing hue and cry over the art that envelopes the story. (That said, the watercolor cover by Rod Reis is a thing of beauty.)

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Poe Dameron #22

This review of Poe Dameron #22 contains minor spoilers.

It’s not the Resistance. It’s Organa’s 8.

The effort to secure Lor San Tekka’s freedom from Baron Maccon reaches a fever pitch in the pages of Poe Dameron #22, in an energetic tale that offers readers a primer on how to pull off a heist AND how to try and save the day, too.

Unless of course there’s a wild card in the mix by the name of Terex.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Doctor Aphra #15

This review of Doctor Aphra #15 contains minor spoilers.

Turns out those weren’t the droids Chelli Aphra was looking for, but they were looking for her.

Doctor Aphra is in the thrall of BT-1 and Triple-Zero and it’s gnawing at her sensibilities, given the complete 180-degree turn in regard to the power dynamic.

Still, for the rogue archeologist for whom conscience has fast become more than a fleeting voice on the wind, part II of the “Remastered” arc is putting her namesake comic back in the stratosphere in terms of adventure, aliens and action.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Star Wars #40

This review of Star Wars #40 contains minor spoilers.

Marvel’s flagship Star Wars comic is picking up its pace amid the current story arc, threading together events from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story while adding more layers to the complex nature of the Rebellion.

Within the pages of the current issue, written by Kieron Gillen, drawn by Salvador Larroca, colored by GURU-eFX, lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles and edited by Heather Antos and Jordan D. White, Luke, Leia and Han, along with R2-D2 and C-3PO, are drawn deeper into the tenuous moral fabric that envelops the survivors of Saw Gerrara’s Partisans on the moon of Jedha.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Darth Vader #9

This review of Star Wars: Darth Vader #9 contains minor spoilers.

Jocasta Nu is brains and brawn.

Oh, and guns?

Jedi have them and Jocasta uses her with the greatest of efficacy and ease.

That’s just the beginning of what writer Charles Soule and artistic team Guiseppe Camuncoli (pencils), Daniele Orlandini (inks), David Curiel (colors) and VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters) have wrought with a tale that is nonstop action even as it offers more detail about the Jedi Order and Nu’s importance to not just it, but Emperor Palpatine, his Empire and the Sith, too.

This arc, part III of “The Dying Light,” is a riveting story, focusing with precision as it does on Nu and the Grand Inquisitor, a fallen Jedi who has harbored a grudge against her over her refusal to share with him deeper Jedi knowledge and lore. Nu makes it clear it wasn’t personal. In her role she had to guard both unready Jedi — masters, knights and padawans — from learning too much and knowing too little.

It’s that knowledge that makes her so valuable to Palpatine and to Vader, but not to the Grand Inquisitor who, despite not being Sith, is consumed by Sith-like desire to punish the one — he believes — denied him the forbidden fruit of knowledge.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Poe Dameron #21

This review of Star Wars: Poe Dameron #21 contains minor spoilers.

Just going to put it all out there: Star Wars: Poe Dameron is the finest of the current crop of Marvel’s Star Wars comics.

It seamlessly threads events from the Prequel, Original and New Trilogies, while paying far more than homage to the characters that have come before it and may yet come again.

The latest issue, Poe Dameron #21, is a splendid example of this, focusing not on just Leia Organa, but the blood ties of her family, past, present and possibly future, too.

If that’s not enough, writer Charles Soule, artist Angel Unzueta, colorist Arif Prianto and letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna, combine for a riveting and fast-paced story that reads like a heist caper with just enough emotional context to make it solidly satisfying.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Mace Windu #4

This review of Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu #4 contains minor spoilers.

The penultimate issue of the Mace Windu mini series has upped the stakes demonstrably through the use of flashbacks and real-world parallels to evangelism and how that can be good and bad.

What’s most striking about the issue, written by Matt Owens, is its deep dive into the pros and cons of a widely accepted way of thinking and how easy it can be to hijack it for one’s own personal gain.

As such, the series takes a needed break from the previous three issues to focus instead on the moral relativism of Jedi dogma and whether a one-size-fits-all thinking can ever work for such a disparate group of adherents.

The story is made better, too, by the use of flashbacks that shows readers a Padawan Mace Windu searching out an imposter with Jedi Master Cyslin Myr on the the world of Mathas.

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Marvel Star Wars Comics Review: Star Wars #39

This review of Star Wars #39 contains minor spoilers.

The damage on Jedha looked bad from above the moon. It’s even worse on it.

As the “Ashes of Jedha” arc continues through Marvel’s flagship monthly Star Wars title, writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca have stocked #39 with a mix of powerful prose and imagery, along with some much-needed yet not over-the-top levity.

Indeed, the crux of the second part of this story arc is the admission of damage done to the moon during the events of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. While viewers saw the roiling rock and dirt and rising spire of dust, debris and death, it’s in the pages of the comic that we see its toll on those residents left behind and Saw Gerrera’s surviving Partisans.

It’s not pretty. It’s not hopeful. It’s not optimistic.

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