Star Wars Roundup July 2016

Whelp, it’s been awhile since we’ve done one of these. I have, as I assume many of you have, been keeping up with the comics publications from Marvel, and a lot of interesting things have been happening in a galaxy far, far away. Let’s get going with a recap of what’s going on:

Han Solo #2

By Marjorie Liu and Mark Brooks


The Dragon’s Void is hard enough without the Empire on your tail. The intimidating race actively tries to disable (or kill) the pilots. However, Han’s years of experience as a smuggler gives him somewhat of an edge when it comes to navigating obstacles. The majority of the racers are professional, and Han’s outsider status helps him think outside the box.


The race and mission could not have come at a better time for Han. Since the destruction of the Death Star, he’s felt apprehensive about taking on any jobs. There was a fear growing in him, and it seems the cure is an adrenaline-fueled near-death racing experience. Claudia Gray’s Bloodline novel indicates that Han has a career as a racer in his old age, taking on promising young pilots and training them. Could this be the seed planted for that career path?


Han’s mission isn’t winning the race, it’s all about escorting a Rebel spy back to base without drawing attention from the Empire. As we know, trouble follows Han wherever he goes, from disputes with other racers to the threat of Imperial imprisonment.


Poe Dameron #4

By Charles Soule and Phil Noto


You know, I almost wrote this series off. Three issues of a story that didn’t grab my attention left me doubting my boy Poe. But Soule and Noto turned it around through a simple tie to Aaron’s main Star Wars series. Strap in, guys, it’s gonna get good.

With the info on where Lor San Tekka went next, Black Squadron heads to a prison. This prison is leaps and bounds beyond Sunspot Prison in the Star Wars series. This prison, Megalox, does not try to rehabilitate prisoners. It is the last stop for the galaxy’s most dangerous villains, the place where they come to die. It is essential a prisoner-run community, where guards bank on the fact that the prisoners cannot escape the protected environment. Money determines what you have access to in this prison, and Poe finds himself competing with Terex once again. Their objective: getting information on Lor San Tekka from Grakkus the Hutt (yessss!).


Another element that drew me back into this series is the building of relationships between the pilots and crew of Black Squadron. Snap and Karé share a moment of initmacy, Jess speaks to Oddy about his role as a mechanic on the team, and L’ulo and Poe reconcile some differences from the previous mission.


The inclusion of Grakkus from Star Wars and L’ulo from Shattered Empire reminds readers that the comics are building and adding to an intricate world. I love seeing how these characters carry previous threads into this new story.


Darth Vader #23

By Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca


We are nearing the end, which means loose ends are being tied up. The Cylo threat from the start of this series is winding down as Vader eliminates each of his potential replacements.

We also get a lightsaber battle in space.


I mean, look at this! How cool is this?! Vader is dangerous EVERYWHERE. There is nothing more frightening than a man that can straight up follow you into space with his blood-red lightsaber and cut you down. Think of the hull damage he could inflict on the Star Destroyer! This series has effectively shown just how much of a threat Vader is. In the original trilogy, he mostly walked around imposingly and did some low-key dueling. Anakin of the prequels and Clone Wars displayed some incredible prowess and strategy. Darth Vader is the marriage of the iconic Vader of the original trilogy with the athletic and Force capabilities of the Chosen One.

Ok, moving on. Dr Aphra has changed the programming of the murder droid duo so they cannot harm her. Pretty brill, right? It’s only one step forward, two steps back when Krrsantan shows up demanding the pay he believes Aphra owes him. The walls are closing in on her, and I’m crossing my fingers hoping that Sana swoops in and the two go on gal-atic bounty hunting adventures (see what I did there?).

Last thing: I’m pretty sure next month will kill me, based on the cover.


Star Wars #21

By Jason Aaron and Jorge Molina


NEW ARC!! The Last Flight of the Harbinger begins here, and it’s already shaping up to be a great ride. Instead of our heroic trio of Rebels, this issue focuses on the under appreciated grunts of the Empire, the stormtroopers.


That might actually be incorrect, seeing as these stormtroopers are members of Special Commando Advanced Recon, or SCAR. If you missed the badassery of the clones from Clone Wars, you need to read this issue. Troopers have a well-deserved reputation as target-missing nameless baddies, but this issue will change your mind. Sergeant Kreel, the Gamemaster who, while under Grakkus’ control taught Luke to use a lightsaber, is straight-up leading your new favorite team of galactic antagonists. The issue is all about setting the scene for this group of fighters. SCAR is infiltrating a Rebel-controlled area, and the teamwork displayed is incredible. Instead of interchangeable flunkies, the troopers of SCAR have names and specialties. They work as a well-oiled machine as they test out the mettle of their new leader.


The Force Awakens #2

By Chuck Wendig and Luke Ross


The comic adaptation of the latest Star Wars movie is…meh. There is some difficulty in adapting the movies (which is why I like the original content better). The weak point of this adaptation so far is the break-neck speed of the story. If I had not seen the movie a million times, I would be incredibly confused by the events in the story. For instance, it is not conveyed in the comic that Rey free falls with the Falcon while evading the TIE Fighters. I understand that a 12-issue maxi-series of The Force Awakens is a little ridiculous, but there is just not enough space to tell the story.

One awesome thing – when Han remarks that he used to be Han Solo, we get this awesome image:IMG_0774


We also saw the release of the next post-Jedi installment of Chuck Wendig’s series, Life Debt. I am still working my way through it (read too many comics last month!), but the part I’ve read so far is pretty amazing.

Mara Wood holds a Ph. D. in School Psychology. Currently, she works for a public school system assessing students for educational placement. Her research focus is comic books and how they can be used in therapy and educational settings. She tends to spend…

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