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September was a big month for Star Wars – both in comics and in novels. As we get closer and closer to December 18th, the Star Wars universe expands to give fans hints at what The Force Awakens has in store. Are you guys excited yet? Read on for summaries, speculations, and straight-up glee.

 

Journey to the Force Awakens: Shattered Empire #1

Writer: Greg Rucka

Art: Marco Chechetto

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Shattered Empire was arguably the most anticipated comic of September. Much like the new novel Aftermath, SE gave fans the first look at post-Return of the Jedi material in the new canon. Picking up mid-battle, Rebel starpilots coordinate their attack on the second Death Star. We are in the cockpit with Shara Bey, a new Star Wars character and female a-wing pilot. We as readers know that the space battle depended on the outcome of the soldiers on the moon of Endor. As the clock ticks, more and more Rebel pilots meet their end.

Look at that beautiful opening image!

Look at that beautiful opening image!

This tension is in vain, though. Return of the Jedi ends in success, with the Rebels disarming the shield and destroying the Death Star. The build up centers on and relies on the reader’s immediate approval of Shara. This is a gambit that could potentially go wrong. Luckily for us, Rucka and Chechetto make Shara out to be a capable pilot with personal ties in just a few pages of action sequence.

Shields down? Move into attack position!

Shields down? Move into attack position!

Halfway through the issue, readers are introduced with what happens immediately after RotJ. Celebrations, sadness, elation…and a passionate reunion with Kes Dameron.

Aw yeah!

Aw yeah!

Yep. You heard me correctly. DAMERON! As in Poe Dameron.

What is unclear is how Kes Dameron is related to Poe. Star Wars has always been a story of family and legacy, whether it be living up to your family’s expectations or acting out in redemption of their failures. My money is on Kes and Shara being Poe’s parents, which would solidify his ties to the Rebellion and the soon-to-be New Republic.

I'm sure watching your sweetie run head first into battle does wonders on your nerves.

I’m sure watching your sweetie run head first into battle does wonders on your nerves.

But we can’t sit and speculate for long. Han Solo has a mission for his barely-relaxed Rebels: help the Ewoks take care of some Imperials in their backyard. Shara and Kes agree to help with clean up, and it seems that Han has discovered a whole new problem.

Shattered Empire is our first comic on the other side of the original trilogy. Sure, not a whole lot happens, but Rucka and Chechetto have managed to introduce two new characters, fully immerse them in the movie canon, and build upon the existing canon. With introductions and setting now out of the way, I’m looking forward to what issue #2 will bring us.

 

Darth Vader #9

Writer: Kieron Gillen

Art: Salvador Larroca

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Thanoth is on the case of the missing credits, and Vader may or may not be sweating under his life-support system. What’s interesting about his interactions with Vader is just how Vader keeps losing his cool. Thanoth proposes logical reasons for why things went wrong, Vader denies, denies, denies.

You're looking more and more guilty when you DENY!

You’re looking more and more guilty when you DENY!

Vader works with Thanoth, even if just to throw suspicion off of him. They travel to Anthan Prime to track down an arms dealer who may have connections to the robbery. During investigations, Vader must learn of Thanoth’s allegiances. Between the “callow youths” chopping off heads and stormtroopers making a mess of things, Vader and Thanoth size each other up. Thanoth has the potential to undo everything Vader has worked for under the service of the Empire.

Couldn't resist showing this page - it's just too perfect in setting up the Battle of Wits we're going to be seeing!

Couldn’t resist showing this page – it’s just too perfect in setting up the Battle of Wits we’re going to be seeing!

A new name is dropped in this issue: Commodex Tahn. Aphra ponies up a chunk of credits for information on him, all of which seems pretty…tame. Until you read the final two panels of this comic. Darth Vader just earned itself a gold star this month with that little reveal.

Unrelated: this pose Vader strikes reminds me of Anakin in Clone Wars cartoon.

Unrelated: this pose Vader strikes reminds me of Anakin in Clone Wars cartoon.

 

Lando #4

Story by Charles Soule

Art by Alex Maleev

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I guess no one warned Lando about staying too long around items drenched in the Dark Side of the Force because they have a major problem on their hands. Namely, Aleksin has completely lost his mind.

You've created a monster.

You’ve created a monster.

With a flash of red light, he ignites a lightsaber and chops off Pavol’s arm. This moment is especially surprising because of the relationship between Aleksin and Pavol. I mean, why not attack Lando who is prattling on about Lando Land instead of the man you plan on raising a family with?

Lando doesn’t spend too much time thinking about Aleksin and Pavol locked in the room with the Sith artifacts – he’s got bigger problems. Chanath Cha has made her way to the Emperor’s pleasure craft. And she’s deactivated the escape pods. Plus, Lobot is still healing. Lando and Korin are 100% screwed over.

Lando's default mode is to flirt his way out of danger.

Lando’s default mode is to flirt his way out of danger.

Or…maybe not. Because the woman under the helmet seems to have a new plan now that she knows her target. Plus, they now have to deal with the growing influence of the Dark Side on the ship.

 

Star Wars #9

Story by Jason Aaron

Art by Stuart Immonen

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Ok, I love Sana. I love the mystery of her, the wrench in the love story she represents. It’s like the beginning of any good shojo series: boy likes girl, girl thinks boy is a player, boy turns out to be a player, boy’s ex-girl doesn’t like new girl, ex-girl is shocked that boy is a Rebel… I don’t care what you naysayers say, I’m going to ENJOY THIS DRAMA WHILE IT LASTS.

I LIVE for this!

I LIVE for this!

It doesn’t hurt that Sana is a pretty cool character to begin with.

Meanwhile, Luke is hunting down his lost lightsaber through the seedy parts of Nar Shaddaa. For Luke, that lightsaber more or less represents his only hope to becoming a Jedi. It’s his lone artifact from his father’s life, a gift from Ben, and a symbol. Which only makes me more irritated that he wasn’t as careful as he should be.

It's like Mojo, only less crazy.

It’s like Mojo, only less crazy.

He does manage to grab it, even if it’s only in time to meet Grakkus the Hutt.

Despite their appearance, Hutts are truly terrifying. It’s easy to laugh off Ziro the Hutt or Mama the Hutt or any other Hutt we’ve seen in canon. But we cannot forget they are crime bosses, slave owners, and murders. And Grakkus travels on robotic spider legs, which give him a +10 to Intimidation.

Grakkus has plans for Luke. Much like Korin in Lando was a student of Sith mythology and culture, Grakkus has a fascination with the Jedi. He has accumulated numerous Jedi relics, and Luke is the key to possibly understanding what they all mean. This is potentially a win-win situation, seeing as Luke came to Nar Shaddaa to learn about the Jedi. Too bad he’s under the control of Hutt. The Rebellion cannot afford to help him, but there is someone willing to step up to save his skin.

Shaaki Ti! My second favorite Togruta Jedi!

Shaaki Ti! My second favorite Togruta Jedi!

Bonus: some Mon Mothma action!

 

Kanan – The Last Padawan #6

Story by Greg Weisman

Art by Jacopo Camagni

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*deep breath*

We’ve finished Kanan’s amazing flashback, and now we’re with the Rebels as they complete their mission on Kaller. Of course, the flashback is pointless without ghosts from Kanan’s past taking their time to visit him.

 

Before we go any further, let’s acknowledge Jacopo Camagni as the artist for this issue. I’m not sure why Larraz isn’t doing interiors, but Marvel has him listed as penciller for #8. Regardless, Camagni does a fantastic job recreating the Rebels and matching the overall style of the series thus far.

 

While on their supply run, Gamut Key shows up. Kanan hides, and Hera plays diplomat. Kanan realizes just how dangerous Key is – if he realizes who Kanan is, there could be a mess on their hands. Kanan worries about being recognized, but he feels pretty confident that fourteen years is long enough to forget the past and move on.

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Kanan Jarrus: Making the Same Faces since Caleb Dume.

 

 

 

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Well, can’t move on too much if you’re thrust back into the path of your former friend and mentor, Janus Kasmir.

Tápusk meets Kanan instead, and he seems to at least recognize Kanan if not remember him. And he’s not willing to relinquish his stolen goods. Kanan shows off his rogue-Jedi moves, and Key may be willing to help Kanan and the Rebels out.

Pull yourself together, Kanan!

Pull yourself together, Kanan!

Side note: judging solely by the cover of October’s issue, I AM PUMPED.

 

Since September was so huge, we need to take a minute to acknowledge the FIVE NOVELS that debuted on Force Friday.

Aftermath by Chuck Wendig – the flagship novel of the new canon. Taking place shortly after The Return of the Jedi, the galaxy is recovering from the war and rule of the Empire. Full of new characters, Aftermath is the perfect jumping-on point for those interested in going beyond the movies.

Smuggler’s Run by Greg Rucka – Han and Chewie go on a rescue mission and, of course, run into trouble.

Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry – Threepio takes a moment to relay to a young New Republic pilot the time that Luke first used his lightsaber.

Moving Target by Cecil Castellucci – Leia acts as a distraction to help the Rebels gain momentum

Lost Stars by Claudia Gray – Star Wars romance novel I REPEAT STAR WARS ROMANCE NOVEL. Young Adult novel about two children from a backwater planet growing up to become Imperial cadets. When one of them joins the Rebellion, they must learn if their loyalty lies with their oaths or their love.

 

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