All For the Wookiee: 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. It's another jam-packed installment, with two-fers for Star Wars, Kanan and Lando, alongside Darth Vader issue #8. We'll take a look at the highs, the lows, the in-betweens and rate the Star Wars-iness of each moment.
But before we get started, you all saw this on the official Star Wars Instagram account yesterday, right?
That's pretty cool, right?! Anyway, let's get down to it.
MOMENT I: Aphra's
Eleven Seven (Darth Vader #8)
You'll remember that last issue ended with Aphra rounding up a group of bounty hunters to pull off a very dangerous, very lucrative job. Turns out, she's hijacking the credits that Vader confiscated from the crime lord he dispatched last issue. Her team is comprised of herself, her killer droids Triple-Zero and BT-1, the Trandoshan Bossk, other killer droid (and big red robot) IG-90, Wookiee Black Krrsantan, and diminutive Mandolorian (?) Beebox.
One thing to note is that similarity between Aphra (and, to a lesser extent, Bossk)'s space suits and the ones worn by Anakin and his Padawan Ahsokah Tano in the Clone Wars cartoon. Also, her little boot thingies are totally from Alien. I also like the inverted balloons in that first panel. A+ work all around.
MOMENT II: Darth Vader -- Worst Boss Ever (Darth Vader #8)
So the heist goes off without a hitch, only Aphra funnels off a sizable portion of the haul to give to her boss. Turns out she wasn't double-crossing Vader after all. As a reward, Vader gives her more impossible tasks to perform because he is The Worst Boss In the Galaxy. Has a custom coffee mug and everything, and a back-up that says, "I'd Rather Be Force-Choking Underlings!"
MOMENT III: Tagge, You're It (Darth Vader #8)
So, after collecting his booty, Vader heads back to meet with him new boss, Moff Cassio Tagge. Tagge tasks Vader with tracking down the people who stole the crime lord loot from the Imperial freighter, which should be pretty easy because, well, it was Vader. Before that, though, he tasks the Force-Cyborg Twins with getting rid of an anti-Empire faction called the Plasma Devils who are wrecking Imperial bases and also gives another one of the Force-Cyborgs the job of tracking down Luke Skywalker, the punk fighter pilot who blew up the Death Star.
Vader is not cool with this, because A) that's his son and B) he has plans for his son that involve teaming up and killing his Evil Sith Dad and ruling the galaxy together. Sadly, there's not a lot he can do, because Tagge's his boss. Everybody has a boss. Oh, and Tagge also introduces Vader to this Imperial Navy guy named Inspector Thanoth. Thanoth has a monocle (!) and some amazing mutton chops. He's gonna be shadowing Vader and taking over some of his duties. No big deal. And if Vader can have that cover sheet on his TPS reports, that'd be greeeeeat.
Needless to say, I am into this weird inter-office politics angle that Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca are cooking up.
MOMENT IV: Sith-Ride the Whip (Lando #2)
I'm gonna level with you: thought the second issue of Charles Soule, Alex Maleev and Paul Mounts' Lando miniseries was kind of dull. Part of it was the fact that it was supposed to feel like a kinetic space chase and due to Maleev's gorgeous but stiff art, it felt more like it was moving in slow motion, and part of it is because only like three things happen. One of the more fun things, however, was this bit, where Lando and Lobot start to realize just what sort of ship they stole. (However, it's kind of unnecessary because we already know it's Emperor Palpatine's super-secret Sith ship.)
MOMENT V: Again With the Bounty Hunters (Lando #2)
Another thing that the second issue sets up is the bounty hunter Chanath Cha. He's a Boba Fett type, with jet-boots and a visor he never takes off. I'm starting to wonder if this will wind up being somebody familiar to Lando, because of the few times we see Cha over the two issues, we never see him without his mask. I'm also just guessing that he is actually a he, because the bulkiness of Cha's outfit --- and the gender-neutral way Cha is referred to throughout the issues --- could wind up hiding a woman underneath. IDK, something about this set-up seems more than just a cool look.
MOMENT VI: No Country For Old Imperials (Lando #2)
So this was a cool scene.
MOMENT VII: Bladeys In Red Are Stabbing At Me (Lando #3)
So Lobot manages to get the cargo hold open and immediately gets stabbed by one of these red dudes here. These are Crimson Guards, the Emperor's royal guard. They're the best of the best that the Empire has to offer. Dark Horse did a few miniseries about some of these troops. I have not read them.
Their outfits are based on the Senate Guards of the Republic, but those guys were blue, not red, and also didn't carry big stabby blade things like the Crimson Guard do. Anyway, they gut-stab Lobot, so Lando and the Ugnaught professor have to get him to a bacta tank (think of that thing Luke is floating in after the wampa attack in Empire Strikes Back) while the Avatar/Panther Twins fight these crimson Guard guys. There's some pretty nifty, if, again, not a little stiff fight pages from Maleev and Mounts.
MOMENT VIII: Let's Go To the Maul (Lando #3)
So yeah, Darth Maul. He's a really cool visual, but in The Phantom Menace, he doesn't amount to much more than that. However, like most things having to do with the Prequels, Darth Maul gets a pretty great redemption in The Clone Wars animated series. I won't spoil much, but guys: Darth Maul gets robot legs (!!!) and then sets his sights on galactic domination by becoming a totally awesome warlord, eventually ruling Boba Fett's home-world of Mandalore. It's so dumb, but it works so well.
Anyway, this is Darth Maul's ship, The Scimitar. It does cool stuff, I guess.
MOMENT IX: Power, Corruption & Lies (Lando #3)
So the Panther Twins kill the Crimson Guards and the Professor unmasks them (it's his right) but it turns out something has corrupted them. What ever could be emitting such horrible power so as to corrupt these seasoned warriors?
Turns out the cargo hold is a traveling museum of Very Bad Horrible Dark Side Artifacts, the main piece of which is the mask of Darth Bane, the originator of the Sith Order and the Rule of Two. He is a legendarily Bad Dude. Yoda faced an apparition of Bane wearing his Sith armor in the final episode of The Clone Wars series. (It's from the unaired sixth season, available on Netflix or in the Lost Missions DVD set.) He looked pretty cool.
So not only did Lando and his crew steal the Emperor's super-advanced ship, they also stole his weird evil mancave that is giving off lethally bad vibes. As Lando would say, "This deal just keeps getting worse."
MOMENT X: Old Enemies, New Allies (Kanan #4)
So last issue ended with Kanan essentially sold out to the Empire by his reluctant mentor, Janus Kasmir. Except Janus was just playing the Imperials and busted Kanan out. They then strike a deal with an unknown person who turns out to be the Separatist General they were fighting against. they meet again, the war over, both sides essentially losing, with the Separatists punished and the Jedi all but extinct.
MOMENT XI: Kanan Pulls a Star-Lord (Kanan #5)
So Kanan gets captured by the same clone troopers (again) and this time, they're not gonna take any chances, knocking him out and transporting him back to Coruscant. Except Janus comes back for him (again), and Kanan takes advantage of the confusion to break out of his cell and, in an act of faith, blows himself out the airlock in hopes that his "buddy" can save him. Luckily, it works and, thanks to one of the clone troopers managing to overcome his programming and doing the right thing, they escape, with the clone transport blowing itself up and all traces of Caleb Dume erased.
This "making it right," scene is great, and Pepe Larraz sells the heck out of it with some amazing acting.
MOMENT XII: Rebels, With Or Without A Cause (Kanan #5)
So the issue ends with a "flash-forward" to Kanan aboard the Ghost with the rest of the Rebels crew, which would lead yo to believe that this is becoming a Rebels title, but, apparently not. Issue #6 is a continuation from here, but then issue #7 goes back farther into his past as a padawan. (Hence the "Last Padawan" descriptor being dropped after the first arc.) As much as I would love to see Larraz tackle more of the Rebels crew, it's also kind of silly to run a comic series alongside a cartoon that hasn't really entered its second season yet. (The premiere episode of Rebels was b-a-n-a-n-a-s, though.)
MOMENT XIII: The Old Man & the (Dune) Sea (Star Wars #7)
So Star Wars 7 was a one-issue story about Young Old Ben protecting Luke from a pack of Jabba's henchmen. It was … not my favorite issue, which is a shame, because it's a great idea that just sort of… exists. There are some goons. They are bad. They try and hurt Luke, who Obi Wan is watching from afar, so Kenobi secretly intervenes with his Force magic and they all either die or get spooked enough to run off. The end.
The art, by Simone Bianchi, is not his best, with his expressive lines and organic shapes coming across as kind of jumbled and formless. The colors, by Justin Ponsor, don't help things, with some muddy colors trying to match Bianchi's style that only complicate his forms. (Posnor does a much better job over Stuart Immonen and Wade Von Grawbadger's art in the next issue.)
I'm not sure what happened here. It sounds like a cool idea: a glimpse into Obi Wan's life between Episodes 3 and 4, an idea that young Obi Wan, Ewan McGregor, has been pitching for years. There's a part of me that wonders if this was neutered by the Lucasfilm Story Group, not wanting to step on the toes of a possible future young Obi Wan movie. In the end, it's sort of a nothing story for it to be something that Obi Wan held on to in order to pass it on to Luke. (More on that later.)
MOMENT XIV: Stuart Immonen Is So Good At Drawing (Star Wars #8)
This is more like it. Stuart Immonen is so good at drawing. Longtime inker Wade Von Grawbadgers inks are great as well, crisp and expertly modeled. As I mentioned, Justin Posnor acquits himself nicely here, with some strong color work. Check out those purples and blues, with the occasional pop of orange and red.
Also, Jason Aaron's script is great here, humanizing the TIE Bomber pilot in a way that you don't see in the movies but also feels very right.
MOMENT XV: I Know That Feel, Luke (Star Wars #8)
Man, I know how you feel, Luke. That Obi Wan story was sort of pointless.
MOMENT XVI: A Wretched Hive of Yadda Yadda Yadda (Star Wars #8)
So Luke and Artoo head to Nar Shadda, the Vertical City. Nar Shadda is a Hutt-controlled moon that's basically where every scumbag in the galaxy resides. Luke, being the backwater hick kid that he is, rolls into a bar, asks for some help, and naively expects somebody to volunteer. It does not go so well for him. Which is great.
MOMENT XVII: A Wretched Hive of Yadda Yadda Yadda (Star Wars #8)
So when honesty and appealing to common decency doesn't work out, Luke immediately pulls out his lightsaber and starts brandishing it around. This also does not go well for him, either, as lightsabers are valuable because they're rare, and also because they usually mean getting a pretty handsome bounty for bringing in a Jedi.
After fighting off a bunch of bar-goers, Luke gets his lightsaber ganked by this alien dude. I can't tell if he's a Duros or a Kalleran or somethign else entirely, though the latter would tie this in with Kanan and that could be pretty cool. (It's probably a Duros.)
MOMENT XVIII: My So-Called Wife (Star Wars #8)
Throughout the issue, we keep cutting to the planet from issue #6, where Han, Leia and Han's supposed wife Sana bicker. After the cliffhanger the introduced Sana in #6, it's kind of let-down, with a lot of the same inconclusive stuff being said by all three of them over and over again. It only gets good when Leia pulls a blaster pistol (that looks a lot like a biker scout pistol from Return of the Jedi) on Sana and Han.
Their little Corellian stand-off gets interrupted by the sound of approaching TIE bombers, (remember them from page one?) which is good, because this scene needed to move forward pages ago. I'd probably be more upset is Immonen didn't draw the heck out of these pages. (Seriously, it's a literal dream come true to see Immonen on Star Wars. I'll show you the page in my dream journal as proof.) I know he's off the book for the Vader Down issues, but I pray to whoever will listen that he comes back once that crossover wraps.