Star Wars (2020-) #10 by Charles Soule

Star Wars (2020-) #10Star Wars (2020-) #10 by Charles Soule
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an entirely decent comic, it’s just…I’m just not really into it, you know?

I think the thing that’s really bothering me is that this is set between The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi, and at the end of Empire we see Lando heading off to find Han…who he knows Boba Fett was taking to Jabba. He knows where Jabba is. So…he surely went to Jabba’s palace and infiltrated his guards and… Well, apparently not, apparently he hung out with the Rebellion for a while, going on missions with them, and Lobot was with him too, and he was secretly communicating with Bib Fortuna and wrestling with whether or not he should sell the Rebels out…

And, while, sure, none of that directly contradicts anything we saw in the movies, it doesn’t quite feel right. Maybe Soule will turn it around by the end of this arc and I’ll be into it, but that hasn’t happened for me yet.

I did like all the stuff with the pilots though, and it’s great to see Poe’s parents being given something to do.

I should also, I think, address the cover…as I talked about the fact that Leia was on the cover of #9 but hardly in the actual comic in my review of that issue. Well, Luke pretty much takes up the entire cover of #10, with his new yellow lightsaber at the ready (which I’ve just realised must be referencing the fact that Kenner gave Luke a yellow lightsaber back in the day)…but he’s not in a single panel of this comic. Which is a bit misleading…

Anyway, it’s by no means a bad comic, it just has some issues which pulled me out of the story. Maybe I’m just a nerd?

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #9 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We’re all going…to Exegol!

But, not quite yet, first Vader has to fight some droids that Ochi has called in to hunt him down, who then turn on Ochi when Vader starts slaughtering them. You see, they taunt Vader that his flesh is weak, that it’s failed him and they’re now going to steal his parts…but then they realise that his mechanical parts are nothing special. What makes him special is his flesh…and his connection to the Force. What this comic is saying is that he is NOT more machine now than man (and with that epiphany I changed my score from four starts to five…damn Pak’s good).

And so to Exegol…next issue…maybe…if Vader doesn’t get eaten by space Cthulhu first…

I’ve said it before and I’ll no doubt say it again, I absolutely love what Pak’s doing with this series, tying all three trilogies together. It’s work like this which will ultimately make me love The Rise Of Skywalker as much as the rest of the Saga. And, quite frankly, I can’t wait till we get to Exegol.

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Star Wars: The High Republic (2021-) #1 by Cavan Scott

Star Wars: The High Republic (2021-) #1Star Wars: The High Republic (2021-) #1 by Cavan Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I never met a Star War I didn’t like.

Sadly, I haven’t been able to read Light of the Jedi yet because Amazon haven’t shipped it to me…and, let’s face it, at the speed I read novels I was never going to…so I can’t really review this in context, but never mind…

It’s still exceptionally good, and I can already tell that Keeve Trennis is going to become a favourite Star Wars character of mine. This is my first real taste of the High Republic era and I like what I’m seeing…although I’m not sure that Yoda being around feels right…but I think I have to remind myself that this isn’t the Old Republic, and the long ages of some species in the Star Wars universe make it inevitable that a few familiar faces are going to show up.

Seeing the Jedi at the height of their power is a real treat, though. It’s something I think we all expected from the Prequels, but, really, the Jedi had already fallen so much by the time of The Phantom Menace. They were so blind to the Dark Side that they weren’t able to sense a Sith Lord sitting right next to them. So it’ll be interesting to see the height from which they fell.

The art is great, and the cover, by Phil Noto, is gorgeous…although I’ll be forever kicking myself for missing out on the Stephanie Hans variant. Still, you can’t win ’em all…

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #8 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #8Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #8 by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, this is a definite improvement over last month’s offering, although I still find Valance boring and I’m still irritated by Sacks’ insistence of writing 4-LOM as For-Elloem.

We do get a fun bar fight with a young Tasu Leech, who we last saw in The Force Awakens as a much older man and leader of Kanji Club. This is him as a much younger man and I can also assume that time wasn’t kind to him in the years between this and the events of The Force Awakens, because he not only looks like a completely different person but looks like he’s a different race.

Following that, Valance gets ambushed by what remains of the Ohnaka Gang, now no longer under Hondo’s leadership, and Dengar, who’s always a win. I mean…I like the bounty hunters in Star Wars, a lot…just not Valance.

But, yeah, this wasn’t awful.

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #8 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’ve said many times before that the strength of this series is the way in which Pak is weaving together elements from the original trilogy, the prequels and the sequels, but here he goes further than that, including a character from the cutting room floor of The Rise Of Skywalker, although they remain in the novelisation (which I really must read)…The Eye Of Webbish Bogg.

The Eye seems to be a sort of Sith oracle who Vader visits seeking answers, but The Eye provides him with nothing but questions…and a Sith wayfinder. Which presumably means we’ll be heading to Exegol soon…which I’m very exited about. I may have my criticisms of The Rise Of Skywalker, but I still want to see more of this ancient Sith world!

Pak continues to tie the entire saga together wonderfully in this series and Raffaele Ienco’s art compliment his story wonderfully.

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Star Wars (2020-) #9 by Charles Soule

Star Wars (2020-) #9Star Wars (2020-) #9 by Charles Soule
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Empire have collected artefacts looted from other cultures and collected them into a single museum under the pretence that they’re better equipped to take care of them than the cultures they were stolen from. But enough about my last trip to the British Museum, what about this comic?

Heh.

I’m amused at people wondering why Leia is on the cover of this issues when she’s hardly in it and it is, rather, really about Lando, Lobot and the Pathfinders infiltrating the Galactic Museum to steal an ancient translator droid to help them create a new code to use when communicating with the Rebel fleet. The answer is simple: Because that cover will sell better. Also, it’s Leia in her Hoth outfit, which is Leia’s best outfit.

This issue is really good. It’s a welcome change of pace to focus on some relatively unknown characters, rather than the Big Three for once. It enable Soule to include some genuine stakes in the story, as we don’t know that these characters survive well into their old age. It’s a witty, dramatic, tense and action packed story, which does, indeed, include some clear commentary on the nature of modern museums, whose collections are filled with the spoils of empire.

The arty is also solid, if nothing particularly amazing. I do wish that the Star wars comics would be a bit more ambitious and daring with their artistic choices. But, that said, I still prefer this to the early days of the Dark Horse comics, where the art put me off reading them for far too many years.

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Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6 by Alyssa Wong

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2020-) #6 by Alyssa Wong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a perfectly fine issue of Doctor Aphra.

It’s dialogue heavy, being mostly set up for Aphra’s new adventure (which is, of course, inevitably linked to the Nihil and the High Republic, because, apparently, everything has to be now), with reasonable but by no means outstanding art.

Which is…fine.

But I’m left missing that spark that earlier Aphra stories had. At this point I’m no longer sure that the character really warrants a solo series.

EDIT TO ADD: I just noticed that this issue is illustrated by two different pencillers, one being the usually excellent Ray-Anthony Height, which probably explains why the art felt wildly inconsistent, with sudden drops in quality.

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Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #7 by Ethan Sacks

Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #7Star Wars: Bounty Hunters (2020-) #7 by Ethan Sacks
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is just…not good.

Well, the cover’s lovely. Lee Bermejo’s done a fantastic job, and the cover prominently features 4-Lom and Zuckuss, who I like. Unfortunately the comic within continues to prominently feature Beilert Valance and his incredibly derivative story. It turns out that the woman he left behind is now married to another man, which gives Valance yet another reason to angst. You see…no woman could ever love a man as hideous as he… Cos, you know, women always find it romantic when you assume that they’re shallow.

Also, 4-Lom and Zuckuss succeed in capturing Vlance and the young girl he’s protecting, but he offers them a shiny gem stone in return for letting him escape. But there was nothing stopping them from not letting him go and still keeping the gem…other than that they’re just stupid, I guess.

I completely understand that a Bounty Hunters series makes sense, but what doesn’t make any sense to me is focusing that series on an obscure character from the original Marvel Star Wars run.

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Star Wars Episode IX: Duel Of The Fates by Colin Trevorrow

Star Wars Episode IX: Duel Of The FatesStar Wars Episode IX: Duel Of The Fates by Colin Trevorrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I didn’t hate The Rise of Skywalker but it disappointed me in many ways that this wouldn’t have. While not perfect, I would have loved to have seen this get made and expect that many of the issues with the script would have been ironed out during production. This script is definitely a good starting place and would have provided a more satisfying end to both the sequel trilogy and the saga as a whole.

[Posting this older review because it’s relevant to my review of Darth Vader #7]

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Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7 by Greg Pak

Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7Star Wars: Darth Vader (2020-) #7 by Greg Pak
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, this is superb, and as I said in my review of #6, I love that Pak is weaving elements from the Prequel and Sequel trilogies into this series, which sis et during the original trilogy.

But he seems to be taking things a step further here. Not only do we have Ochi of Bestoon, assassin of the Sith, whose body was found by Rey and the gang in The Rise Of Skywalker…but we also have a strange creature from the concept art from…well, I’m pretty sure it’s from Duel Of The Fates, Colin Trevorrow’s original take on Episode IX (the script for which was actually one of the first reviews I posted on GoodReads). Either way, this creature certainly appears in the Art Of Episode IX book.

Star Wars beyond the movies, in my opinion, is often at its best when it’s drawing from the concept art for the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Pak’s going here.

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