All For the Wookiee: 12 of the Star-Warsiest Moments In Last Month’s Star Wars Comics
Welcome back to All For the Wookiee, where we take a look at the recent Star Wars universe offerings from Marvel and pick the most Star Wars-ish moments to share with you, dear reader. Today we’re taking a look back at last month's books and seeing just how Star Wars-y they are. We'll look at Jason Aaron and John Cassaday's Star Wars #3, Mark Waid and the Dodson's Princess Leia #2, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca's Darth Vader #3, as well as the first issue of the Star Wars: Rebels spin-off comic, Kanan: the Last Padawan, written by series producer Greg Weisman with art by Marvel pinch hitter Pepe Larraz.
As usual, spoilers follow. You have been warned.
MOMENT I: C-3P-BROs (Star Wars #3)
On of my favorite things in all of Star Wars is the friendship/loyalty between Chewbacca and C-3PO, as in this scene, where Chewie wades in, blaster-first, to a cluster of aliens who have stripped down both the Millennium Falcon as well as everybody's favorite protocol droid. The last thing you want to see as you're going about your business, salvaging parts from some freighter that landed on your property is a pissed off, growling, seven-foot-tall dog-person. Also, the way Aaron writes Threepio's dialogue is a friggin' delight.
MOMENT II: THERE'S MORE THAN ONE WAY TO TAKE DOWN AN AT-AT (Star Wars #3)
In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke took one of these things down by tripping it up with his snow speeder's tow cable. Vader takes a… more direct approach, just hacking away at the thing until it falls over. And while I'm sure there are some nerds out there who will say that there's no way a lightsaber can melt steel beams, to them I say: Shut up, nerd; go back to your nerd hole.
MOMENT III: THE MILLENNIUM FALCON IS A HUNK OF JUNK (Star Wars #3)
Seriously, is the hyperdrive ever working? I like to think the reason the Rebel mechanics in the Hoth base left the task of fixing the ship up to Chewie and Han is that they opened up an access panel, took one look at the rat's nest of sparking wires held together by chewing gum and fur, and immediately said, "I don't care if the big, smelly Wookiee rips my arms out and beats me to death with them; I didn't help blow up the Death Star to die from electrocution in some horrible ice cave."
MOMENT IV: JABBA'S MURDER TAX (Star Wars #3)
So hey, if you're wondering why I love Jason Aaron's writing on Star Wars so much, take a look at these two panels. It's just idle chatter between two thugs in an establishing scene before a last page sting, but it sets up so much in like, two panels. The mention of "Imperial questions" tells you that the Empire's stepped up its game in the Outer Rim since the Death Star attack, setting up outposts on a formerly Hutt-controlled world like Tatooine. It also sets up a little sketch of life on the fringes; the mention of a "murder tax" drives home the point that life is pretty cheap in the Outer Rim, but not so cheap that a crime lord like Jabba the Hutt can't collect a few credits when things get deadly.
Also, the thugs make mention of the Dune Sea, a large desert that's home to the Great Pit of Carkoon --- aka the Mighty Sarlaac --- and the Jundland Wastes, which we all know are not to be traveled lightly. The Western Dune Sea is also the home of Old Ben Kenobi, the crazy hermit who lived in the weird shack we end up seeing on the next page.
MOMENT V: I'VE JUST SEEN A FACE (Princess Leia #2)
Okay, so in Princess Leia #2, Leia and fellow Alderaanian Evaan travel to Naboo to try and find a group of cloistered Alderaanians in an effort to gather up all the remaining survivors of the planet to offset the obliteration caused by the Death Star. It's a good idea, as the Nabbo bits of the Prequels are so visually and tonally different than everything else around them, and it also gives Waid and the Dodsons an opportunity to hint to Leia of her true parentage.
You might remember in Return of the Jedi, when Leia and Luke are having their "Do you remember your mother" chat in the Ewok village --- you know, the worst scene in Jedi --- that Leia remembers her mother being very sad, which is kind of impossible, as Lucas has Padme die immediately after giving birth to the Wonder Twins. The No Prize explanation is that the mother Leia remembers is Breha Organa, wife of Bail "Jimmy Smits" Organa.
Whether Waid will follow up on this beyond this brief scene, where Leia sees a stained glass window of her mother and has a small epiphany, remains to be seen, but still, it's not bad Star Wars.
MOMENT VI: ACTION PRINCESS (Princess Leia #2)
NBD, just Princess Leia head-butting one of those Dexter Jettster aliens (apparently, they're called Besalisks) for blowing her cover. I've been pretty lukewarm on the Princess Leia miniseries so far, but yeah, this is some pretty good stuff right here.
MOMENT VII: RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK ANGEL (Darth Vader #3)
Oh hey, it's an extended Indiana Jones homage in the first 1/3 of this issue! I was a little unsure if it was intentional at first, but by the time Doctor Aphra --- the galaxy's foremost expert on lost weaponry --- shouted "IT BELONGS IN AN ARMORY!", it was more than obvious, but not unwelcome. She's a fun addition to the universe: a completely amoral collector of vintage and antique droids and weapons, and the perfect person Vader can turn to now that he's decided he needs his own army to watch his back.
MOMENT VIII: TRIPLE ZERO, PROTO-KILL DROID (Darth Vader #3)
This droid seems fun.
MOMENT IX: APPARENTLY I LIKE KILLER DROIDS (Darth Vader #3)
This one, too.
Also, apparently I need to read that Tarkin novel, as it appears that Darth Vader is leaning heavily on plot points and organizations from that book, namely the Crymorah syndicate and the Droid Gotra.
MOMENT X: REBELS WITH A CAUSE (Kanan: the Last Padawan #1)
Okay, technically, this came out in April, but I really enjoyed it and wanted to recommend it to anybody who's a fan of Star Wars: Rebels, the Clone Wars animated series, or Star Wars in general. My column, my rules. deal_with_it.gif
Above you, you'll see the cast of Star Wars: Rebels. From left to right, we have Sabine Wren (think a lady Boba Fett who like to blow stuff up and also kinda sarcastic); Kanan Jarrus (think if Obi Wan was young and also kinda sarcastic); C1-1OP, aka Chopper (like if R2-D2 was kinda sarcastic); Zeb Orrelios (if Chewbacca spoke Englich/Basic and was kinda sarcastic); Ezra Bridger (if Luke was Disney's Aladdin and also kinda sarcastic) and Hera Syndulla (if Princess Leia and Han Solo had a baby that was kinda sarcastic). The first season of the Disney XD show just wrapped, and it's a good start, even if all of the characters are kind of the same Whedon-esque, mildly sarcastic archetype and also if Ezra is literally just Teen Space Aladdin. (Also, I could tell you the identity of "Fulcrum" in that first panel above, but it's kind of big reveal from the season finale, so you'll have to dig around to spoil yourself on that one, friendo.)
The show benefits from two things: the watchful eye of former Clone Wars producer Dave Filoni --- who sewed the silk purse of the Clone Wars series from the sow's ear that is the Prequels --- and the fact that the show seems hellbent on using every unused piece of Ralph McQuarrie production art. The first season looks incredibly Star Wars thanks to McQuarrie's art being used for everything from Zeb's design (a scrapped Chewbacca concept) to Lothal's vistas, themselves repurposed from McQuarrie's unused studies for the planet Dantooine. Oh, and they also made this old Kenner toy on-screen canon.
The good news for anybody interested in Kanan: the Last Padawan, is that you don't need to have any knowledge of Rebels to enjoy it, and there's a lot to enjoy, with former Gargoyles creator Greg Weisman, along with the very talented Pepe Larraz, telling a story about the intersection of war and adolescence. If, like me, you loved the Clone Wars animated series more than some members of your family, this is a good book to pick up.
MOMENT XI: WAR -HUH! YEAHEEYEAHEEYEAH- WHAT IS IT GOOD FOR? (Kanan #1)
So here's why I love the Clone Wars series. For a series that was ostensibly an action/adventure show for kids aged 8–100, it sure did like to point out that war is terrible and both sides are equally terrible. Which is sort of the underlying theme of the Prequels, when you get right down to it: the Clone Wars were a war started for profit and consolidation of power, where both sides are being played by the same literally evil person.
The first issue of Kanan points this out explicitly, with the Kallerans trading out one occupying force for another. Kanan, being all of 11, is pissed that they can't seem to see that the Republic is obviously the more benevolent of the two options, but his Master, Depa Billaba, isn't so sure. It's pretty grey stuff for a franchise built on the Campbell-ian concepts of good heroes and evil villains.
MOMENT XII: IT'S ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SOMEBODY EXECUTES ORDER 66 (Kanan #1)
And then the other shoe drops. On the last page, we see the finale of the Emperor's bold plan: the execution of the Jedi by the clone troopers they've been serving next to. The origins of the Order are explored in a pretty great Clone Wars arc in sixth season, which is available only on Netflix or in the recently released Lost Missions set.
I was a little unsure of how this series would play out, but based on the strength of the first issue, I'm really excited to see where it goes. Sales were probably not as strong on this series as the rest of the line, as it's a spin-off of an animated show only available via a la carte purchase (I just bought the season pass through Amazon) or on not-basic cable, but the first issue has gone back for a second print, so it looks like the demand was higher than retailers or Marvel expected.
Also, Weisman is out after the first arc (he's also leaving the show after the first season), so his replacement on the comic --- which is an ongoing, apparently --- will be a good indication of how seriously Marvel is taking the quality of the Star Wars line. For the foreseeable future, though, I'm on board. It's good Clone Wars, and good Star Wars.
And that's it for now. Until next time, Make Mine Star Wars. Seacrest out.