Cory Clubb’s Review of Marvel’s Star Wars #1

"Star Wars" No. 1 cover illustrated by John Cassaday. (Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)
“Star Wars” No. 1 cover illustrated by John Cassaday. (Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment)

MAJOR SPOILERS! Go get Star Wars #1, read it, and then return!

Do you smell that? Ahhhh…new comics. It’s Wednesday folks and that smell never gets old. Even after 23 years of visiting my local comic shop I still get that excited, nervous feeling. The racks are filled with brand new, unboxed comics with bright images, heroic characters, and amazing adventures. Although this Wednesday is all-new, all different.

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Star Wars : Posters – Review

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If there is one thing about Star Wars that resonates to fans besides the films themselves it’s the iconic artwork. Star Wars Art: Poster is an fabulous achievement that spans generations! With eye popping hand painted artwork spotlighting Star Wars artist staples from yesteryear to digital mediums of today. This truly is the book that captures it all.

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Rebels Junior Novelization Book Reviews

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It’s no surprise that with new Star Wars comes new merchandising. Star Wars is known to reach out in various ways to engage all fans at any age with all kinds of toys, licensing, video games, apps, and books to name a few. With their latest installment of Star Wars Rebels, on the Disney XD channel, this new era into the Star Wars saga has introduced some exciting new characters. Lucasfilm was gracious enough to send some early age reading books our way and the materials couldn’t have been better suited for a couple of little Rebels of my own. What follows are a few reviews from my two eldest sons. If you’re looking to introduce the new series to your little fan, you might want to check these out!

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Review of Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy

star-wars-storyboards-original-trilogy-book-coverI’m a big fan of behind the scenes look at movies. It gives me a new angle on how a scene was performed and discussed and brought to life. I am also a big fan of concept artwork. The intense details and vision that directors and production teams come up with to tell a story on a page are extremely gifted. With Star Wars Storyboards: The Original Trilogy I get the best of both worlds. This clean, crisp, publication is a must have for any Star Wars fan that enjoys production pieces and concepts, not to mention a visualization as to how the original trilogy was envisioned to be captured for the silver screen.

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REVIEW – Maul: Lockdown by Joe Schreiber

Maul Lockdown Cover

It’s been about a year or so that I’ve gotten back into reading EU books. I’ll pick up one here or there, maybe something that looks interesting or a newer title centering on smuggler and his famous smirk. I’m a big reader in general, but I’m a picky reader. If a book hasn’t caught me at around 50 or 60 pages in I set it down. So when it comes to Star Wars EU novels I’m even more so. Most titles center on our big three joining together yet again for another adventure, or a single character secretly venturing on a backstory bounty mission and allowing us to ride along with them. Last year I read the now famous “fan favorite” Darth Plagueis and fell over myself with it’s grandiose language, tight story, and deep character development. I’ve been singing it’s praises ever since, not because it such a wonderful Star Wars novel, but a great science fiction read for any sort of fan.

First off, I’ll admit I’m not a huge Darth Maul fan. He’s dark, silent, and deadly in Episode I and thanks to the master who is Ray Park, the villain took on not one, but two Jedi at the same time and barely broke a sweat. Although very cool to see on screen, personally I felt he was shamefully under used and quickly (Spoiler alert!) killed off! That was it. Done. Hello, goodbye.

My second meeting with Maul came in bits and pieces as of recent. I’m just venturing into Season 4 of Clone Wars and haven’t had the time to devote to getting to his arc yet. (Two jobs, four kids, and writing books of my own has kept me very busy.) This is not say I don’t like Maul.

Enter: Joe Schribner’s Maul: Lockdown, a self proclaimed sequel to the grand feat that was Darth Plagueis. I haven’t read any of Joe’s other SW tales, but knew of their dark nature and premise and they sounded great. Going into Lockdown I only knew a few things. It was a story set after Darth Plaguis, it centered on a personally obscure character in my mind, and written by a horror novelist.

So I began reading Lockdown almost blind, aside of what I just explained. Chapter one of this book literally knocked me out! The action and descriptions right off the first page were so intense and in your face, I had to reread the synopsis of the book. What was I in for?

In a word, awesomeness. (If that even is a word.)

From then on the story was laid out before me in literal bites. Maul as an EU character and even further, a Star Wars Character rose to new heights for me. I kept envisioning Ray Park in full makeup, dancing and flipping around splattered blood and broken bones all the while keeping a calm and cool that makes the Dark Side look ever more tempting! (I wonder if that was the author’s idea…)

We are introduced to small prison hovering the far reaches of the known galaxy and broadcasting the most vicious battles this side of your local cantina! All calculated and controlled by a vile and head strong warden pulling the strings like an professional violinist! But that’s not all, Maul has to contend with. Prison gangs, assassinations, corrupt prison guards, crime lords, and more than a few surprises all block his way to his ultimate goal set I motion by his Sith master and then even that is a secret to Maul himself.

Schribner does and incredible job of yanking us from chapter to action packed chapter, but it’s not mindless fight scenes.With each one there builds an atmosphere of mystery and an internally game of who’s really who of the universe, something you don’t figure out until the explosive ending.

It’s difficult not to give away too many details, but I’ve found a new respect for the character of Darth Maul. He’s sleek, brutal, and wicked smart here and if your any sort of fan of the character you won’t be disappointed with this novel.

I rate this novel Four out of Five missing teeth!

Purchase Maul: Lockdown

Listen to our Book Chat with Joe Schreiber himself!

Thanks to Del Ray Publishers for the advance review copy.

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Cory Clubb’s Spoiler Free Review of Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

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Review by Cory Clubb of Coffee With Kenobi

I’ve read my fair share of EU novels over the course of my years of fandom and have felt different about each one ranging from lukewarm to captivating. Notably, Darth Plageuis being one that has stuck with me for quite some time. I bring that up considering John Jackson Miller’s hotly anticipated Kenobi had much to live up to in my opinion.

I heard this novel was debuting around the time the new films were being announced and I was eager to jump back into the EU and read up on all my favorite characters. I had a hard time not thinking about all the glorious events and action that would take place within its pages. Very exciting to think of Ben Obi Wan Kenobi, one of my favorite characters, the center of a pre-Rebel storyline a gap in the saga that has yet to be ventured into all that much! This was a novel that surely couldn’t miss. Or could it?

In the opening pages we are treated to a familiar scene and atmosphere that echoes one in Episode IV. A dusty, dirty, low life of a place, where only scum and villain breed. From that  I was engulfed into the plot and couldn’t wait ’till lightsabers started taking limbs and wisdom was being duel out. Although, as I got deeper into the chapters, an uneasy feeling grew over me. This wasn’t the Kenobi adventures I was hoping for.

Instead we are dropped into a way of life and community on the desert planet of Tattoine. Miller introduces readers to new characters that long to be met and have their story told. For example major character, Annileen Calwell, whose past and relationship with other citizens burdens her way of life. Yet she’s a strong character and is ready when, just like any good old western, trouble starts a brew’n. Enter: The Tusken Raiders.

Aside from the settlers and their likable ways, the author writes the Tuskens in such a manner that had me turning pages to read their story faster and faster. Especially A’Yark, the party leader, such a fascinating character. I found myself really drawn into that thread of the story and really enjoyed it.

Don’t worry there is plenty of Ben Kenobi, but the story is told from a point of view that isn’t directly aimed at the aging Jedi. He’s out of his element here in this new place and Miller shows us his writing skills of describing how it all affects Obi Wan given his new role. What we see is the cross over between a battled hardened Jedi into the crazy old recluse. Although, Ben wouldn’t have it any other way in order to compete his mission. I would have liked to have seen some more inner turmoil with Kenobi’s mixed feelings fresh from his best friend’s betrayal and supposed defeat.

All in all, Kenobi is a very well written and enjoyable book. The story is told in a way I didn’t expect, but found myself liking the narrative style very much, seeing Obi Wan’s new life told through the eyes of each of the characters.  The author also has the ability to key into the fine details and explores them in nice gradients as events progress. We even get a lesson in moisture farming. It all ties together to become a more personal story and will captivate readers as they come to realize not all great EU books have to be told on the galactic level. Some rise out of a small desolate community just trying to get by.

When cracking open a new Star Wars novel, I look back to previous titles and align the weight of them against the newest offering like I did here. Yet, where Darth Plagueis was so rich in vocabulary and thought provoking ideas, Kenobi stands tall in its own right with its solid character studies and perspective. It’s not your typical Star Wars EU novel, but then again it doesn’t have to be. I’m glad Miller wrote the story he wanted to write, because now I couldn’t see it told any other way. I’d happily pick up a sequel or expansion on any of the characters and story lines driven from this release.

As we fans crawl our way into a brand new Star Wars era of films, Kenobi is a great marker in the EU timeline as a reminder there are still great stories to be told and it gives me hope of what is  to come.

4.5 out of 5

Kenobi is my first official written review for a Star Wars EU novel.

Copy of the novel provided by Del Rey Press and Net Galley.

 

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