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. From deranged protocol droids to mad alien queens to rogue troopers, we have it all in this last month’s comics.
This installment is jam-packed, with two issues (5 and 6) of the main Star Wars series from writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday, the penultimate issue of Mark Waid and Terry Dodson's Princess Leia miniseries, and issues 5 and 6 of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader. And yes, we will discuss "The Moment" in the newest Star Wars issue and what that means for the new canon.
As usual, spoilers follow. You have been warned.
MOMENT I: A Wretched Hive of Scum & Villainy (Star Wars #5)
Boba Fett's looking for the kid who blew up the Death Star, who's rumored to be from Tatooine, aka "The Armpit of the Universe." After killing some jawas and the Rodians that escaped our Mystery Woman last issue, he winds up in Chalmun's Spaceport Cantina, which is like the space version of the Double Deuce from Road House before Dalton got there. Lotta scumbags drinking in there.
Chief among these scumbags is Boba Fett, the clone son of the bounty hunter Jango Fett -- who served as the genetic template for the Republic/Empire's clone army. Like his "father," Boba Fett wears the armor of the Mandalorians, a planet of humanoids who wore cool armor and had a pretty neat Art Deco planet before a bunch of "Mandalorian pride" yokels called Death Watch wrecked it all by allying themselves with the resurrected Darth Maul who kind of died like a wimp in The Phantom Menace, but then got robot legs and became a cool warlord. (Just roll with it.)
Little baby Boba Fett was raised by bounty hunter Aurra Sing and her crew and spent a large portion of his adolescence trying to get revenge on the Jedi who killed his pappy. Anyway, he's all grown up now, and he's holding court in the grossest bar on the grossest planet in the universe. Boba Fett sucks.
That said, Jason Aaron writes a pretty good Boba Fett. Ruthless, kinda inbred, capable but cocky. I give him a four out of five for writing a pretty interesting character, but I have to dock one point because that character is Boba Fett.
MOMENT II: Tatooinian Grafitti (Star Wars #5)
So Boba Fett, who sucks, sets up shop on a table in the middle of the Cantina, which is a place for terrible people, and starts torturing this kid who probably knows the name of the farm boy Boba Fett is looking for. He mentions they used to hang out and that his nickname was "Wormy."
Fun Fact: This is taken from a deleted scene from A New Hope that shows Luke hanging out in Tosche Station, probably under the auspices of "picking up some power converters," and hanging with his other hayseed friends, talking about the space battle overhead, which would be when Princess Leia's Blockade Runner was overtaken by the Star Destroyer at the beginning of the film. The scene also sets up Biggs Darklighter, Luke's buddy who went to the Academy but has since joined the Rebellion. He dies in the Death Star blitz at the Battle of Yavin.
I've always been fond of this scene, both because it nods heavily towards Lucas' 1973 masterpiece American Graffiti --- also about a bunch of hayseed kids acting normal while adulthood looms heavy overhead --- but also because I like the idea that it gives of life during war time. There's a war literally going on overhead, but for these kids, it's just fireworks on a hot day. I can totally see why it got cut, though: it halts the movement of the film, it makes Luke look even more pathetic, it clutters up the film with a lot of characters. Still, Aaron throwing "Wormy" in there is a pretty great little shibboleth that's sure to perk up the ears of Star Wars nerds. You know, the real sad ones. Like me.
MOMENT III: Fly Casual (Star Wars #5)
So the whole, "use stolen security codes and a stolen shuttle to trick TIE Fighters," trick they use in Return of the Jedi is one Han and Leia have used before, though it worked a lot better for them in Jedi.
MOMENT IV: How Am I Supposed To Fight With the Blast Shield Down (Star Wars #6)
So Boba Fett finds Luke at Old Ben Kenobi's little hoarder hut on the boundary of the Jundland Wastes and tosses a flash-grenade into the place before he heads in, blinding Luke. Which would be disastrous, except Luke remembers that Ben trained him just a little bit in the ways of the Force, and that, if the Force is your ally, you don't need things like eyes or ears or a house that is not full of junk. Of course Luke remembers this after Boba Fett has beat him pretty badly, but still, he manages to use the Force, deflect Fett's blaster bolts and, by smashing him on the head with a levitating box, knock Fett out so he and Artoo can boogie on out of there.
Which establishes the streak of Boba Fett going out like a chump to dudes who were temporarily blinded.
MOMENT V: Imagine I'm Saying "MAH WAHF!" In the Borat Voice (Star Wars #6)
By now you've surely heard: this issue sees the debut of the first real non-movie character to the new Star Wars canon, Han Solo's wife, Sana Solo. This is actually a fun wrinkle for Han's character! I'm into it!
I saw some nerds all up in a huff about it because Han Solo would never cheat on his spouse by flirting with a beautiful princess, except of course he would. He's a scoundrel. He literally made a living as a drug smuggler for an organized crime family. If, like me, you subscribe to the "Han Shot First" school of thought, he straight-up murdered a dude in the Cantina like it was NBD. Han being on the run from an angry wife and the responsibilities of a real, normal life fits with the character. In fact, I wouldn't be shocked if he had three or four more wives out there, looking for revenge.
I do have two reservations, though. First off, the "my psycho ex" trope is really tired, though I trust Aaron enough to hopefully pull it off. And secondly, as a friend of mine pointed out on Twitter, this is almost exactly how Gwendolyn, Marko's ex-fiancée, was introduced in Saga. Oops.
MOMENT VI: Nien Nunb! (Princess Leia #4)
It's him! It's Nien Nunb!
MOMENT VII: Cooler Than A Volcano Lair (Darth Vader #5)
Meanwhile, over in Darth Vader, the Dark Lord of the Sith, Doctor Aphra, and her Murder Droids --- 000 and BT-1 --- have discovered the dearly-departed Cylo-IV's research base. It is… pretty friggin' rad, as it's a bunch of separate stations grafted onto what appear to be a group of space whales that have been tethered together.
This is fantastic.
MOMENT VII: ¿Cómo Se Dice...? (Darth Vader #5)
I've said it before, but these droids are a delight.
MOMENT VIII: Met the New Boss, Same As the Old Boss (Darth Vader #5)
So, Cylo-IV was the host body of an undying computer system. When 000 killed him, he just activated the next body and kept at his crazy experiments, which we'll get to in a second.
This is an interesting idea, and sort of continues the thread we've see thus far in the series, of AI who don't want to merely serve or die on a battlefield for their fleshy masters. It also sets up a pretty great villain for Vader to play against: a fellow cyborg who is almost impossible to kill, though Cylo is definitely more machine than man. Where Vader is trying desperately to hang on to what made him human, Cylo sees his body as a means to get around and not much else.
MOMENT IV: To Me, My V-Men! (Darth Vader #5 & 6)
So we meet Cylo-V, who introduces Vader and the Emperor --- who's shown up for Cylo-V's demonstration --- to his cadre of cyborgs who are outfitted with implants that grant them Force-like powers without any of that pesky need for training or study. Vader obviously is horrified by this, despite the fact that he's like 90% robot parts and will literally die without his armor.
The first part of issue #6 is primarily a fight scene, with Vader facing off against each of the above faux Jedi. From left to right, we have: Tulon, an enhanced former scientist who can control a swarm of droids with her mind; a Trandoshan with growing claws whose pain receptors have been overridden by an enhanced AI (which means he's sort of like Darkman, which means I am pretty cool with this dude); an enhanced Mon Calamari with robotic limbs that sprout multiple whirling lightsabers, not unlike Revenge of the Sith's General Grievous (RIP); and Morit and Aolin, aka, "The Twins," a pair of siblings plucked up by Cylo when they were younglings, trained and genetically manipulated. They sport lightning-fast reflexes and enhancements that shoot fire and can repel objects, all without sacrificing that creepy Wanda and Pietro Maximoff vibe they are currently rocking.
MOMENT X: "Emperor Palpatine is a JERK!" (Darth Vader #6)
Cylo's plan is to offer up his cyborgs to the Emperor to act as apprentices, relegating Vader to a purely symbolic role. Vader is obviously not cool with this, but the Emperor is like, "Eh, whatever."
Vader and Emperor Palpatine have a pretty heated argument in the hall, where the Emperor tells Vader he needs to step up his apprentice game if he's gonna continue working in the Sith organization. Vader, who's adopted Palpatine as a sort of demented father, is obviously shocked. Vader complains that the cyborg are abominations, that their powers aren't derived form the Force, and therefore are not worthy of the Emperor's time. It's the Star Wars equivalent of this:
Palpatine shuts that noise down, laying out that not only is Vader obviously a cyborg, but that, just from a practical POV, he's going to choose whoever can serve him best. If Vader wants that to be him, he needs to stop messing up on the reg. Seriously, being a Sith sounds like it is the absolute pits.
MOMENT XI: "You ARE the Father!" (Star Wars #6/Darth Vader #6)
This scene is shown in both Star Wars and Vader, though how it's handled in each title is really cool. Boba Fett, fresh from getting taken out by a blinded farm boy in an old man's hut on some backwater planet, tells Vader that he knows the name of the kid who blew up the Death Star. "Skywalker."
Which is a problem. Because the Emperor has told Vader for years, decades now, that his kids died with Padmé, whose death was his fault. Which was a total lie because the Emperor is literally the most evil man in the galaxy. It's a really cool scene that bridges the Prequels and the Original Trilogy and also sets up Vader's motivation for Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi: he's going to find his son and make him his Sith apprentice. Together they'll take down the Emperor and rule the universe; easy-peasy.
Vader's goin' rogue.