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. In this installment, we're looking at Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larocca’s Darth Vader #4, Mark Waid and the Dodson’s Princess Leia #3, the Star Wars: Rebels spin-off comic, Kanan: the Last Padawan, from Greg Weisman and Pepe Larraz, and round it all off with Jason Aaron and John Cassaday’s Star Wars #4.
As usual, spoilers follow. You have been warned.
THE SIX STAR-WARSIEST MOMENTS IN DARTH VADER #4
MOMENT I: "GeoNOsis?" More Like "GeoYESis"!
This issue starts off with Darth Vader and his new crew --- consisting of weapons hunter Doctor Aphra and her murder droids: BT-1, the astromech droid who is full of guns; and Triple Zero, the protocol droid "designed to specialise in etiquette, customs, translation and torture" --- headed to the planet Geonosis to find a decommissioned droid factory in hopes of Vader building himself an army just in case the Emperor decides to make a move on him. Such is the "kill or be killed" lifestyle of a Sith Lord. That's Doctor Amphora's ship, the Ark Angel, that they're getting out of.
You might remember Geonosis from Episode II: Attack of the Clones as the home of the Separatist's droid factory. The native species of the planet are the insect-like Geonosians, led by queen who lays eggs as well as some higher-functioning aristocrats, and lesser drone, soldier and worker castes. There was a pretty great Clone Wars cartoon arc where a Geonosian queen named Karina the Great used a brain worm indigenous to the planet to control whoever the worm managed to attach itself to. Their industrious nature makes them perfect to run factories that pump out identical, disposable battle droids to fight the Republic and Jedi.
The Droid Gotra mentioned in the first caption is a group of "liberated" battle droids who have cast off their programming and formed a gang of assassins, extorters and just general badass droids who operate out of Coruscant, doing odd jobs for the Crymorah crime syndicate. They're obviously a little zealous in their quest to bring freedom their fellow droid brethren.
MOMENT 2: Fluent In Over Six Million Forms of Communication
Here's Triple Zero and BT-1 deploying some light translation on the Geonosian-looking battle droids they encountered upon exploring the supposedly abandoned droid factory. Triple Zero is just an absolute delight.
MOMENT III: Nuke It From Orbit, It's the Only Way To Be Sure
And her it is: the moment that Kieron Gillen and Salvadore Larroca managed to work my other favorite 1980s sci-fi movie into the Star Wars universe. In an homage to James Cameron's macho Vietnam parable, Aliens, Vader, Aphra and the Killdroids find a Geonosian queen who's lost her mind and fused herself with the droid factory to create an army of little baby bug kill droids. Isn't that sweet? (SPOILERS: It's not.)
MOMENT IV: Hangin' Out the Passenger Side of His Dead Wife's Ride, Tryin' To Holler At Me
So Darth Vader rides around the galaxy in Padme Amidala's Royal Starship. Which… I don't need to tell you how creepy that is, right? It's a pretty great reveal and fits perfectly with Vader's core personality: that scared little slave boy who doesn't want to let anything go or change or die so much that he allies himself with a guy who looks like a melted candle and who has a penchant for Frankenstein-ing his subordinates.
MOMENT V: There Is Good In You, I Have Felt It
So this is an unexpextedly sweet moment, with Aphra acknowledging that now that she's helped Vader jack a secret droid factory so he can make war with his Evil Space Dad, she's pretty much a liability and since he's got to kill her, maybe he can pretty please with sugar on top kill her with his lightsaber?
Vader does the unexpected thing and allows her to live. Why? Because under all that leather and circuitry, he's Anakin Skywalker and, well, see above.
MOMENT VI: I Have Good News and GREAT News
So this in interesting. Not only does the Emperor have replacements --- plural --- for Vader, but this Doctor Cylo-IV has them on a "novel organic structure," which sounds rad as hell.
And Triple Zero continues to be delightful.
THE STAR-WARSIEST MOMENT IN PRINCESS LEIA #3
MOMENT I: Not the Best Markspersons In the Galaxy, Are They?
I gotta be honest: writing-wise, I am not feeling this miniseries at all, which is a shame, because art-wise, it's incredibly strong. The Dodson's expressive linework and breezy style are a welcome relief to the overly-referenced-but-still-well-done art styles in Star Wars and Vader, and Jordie Bellaire's coloring is, as usual, gorgeous, but we're three issues in and I feel like nothing has happened in this book. Every twist is expected, every character is flat and dull. It has no reason to exist beyond somebody thought it would sell, and no forward momentum to speak of. In outline form, it sounds pretty fun: Leia and her pilot friend cruise the galaxy, looking for any remaining Alderaanians, while being pursued by Imperial forces, but in practice, it feels plodding and rote here.
The issue, which seen Leia and Evaan traveling to Sullust to look for a hidden compound of paranoid Alderaanians, sort of just plods along, though I did like this moment, where Leia and Evaan complain that the Alderaanians suck at shooting things. So at least they have that in common with the Empire.
THE FOUR STAR-WARSIEST MOMENT IN KANAN: THE LAST PADAWAN #2
MOMENT I: The Calm Before the Storm (of Laser Blasts)
The issue opens with Kanan, known here as Caleb Dume, with his master, Depa Billaba, who you might recognize from the Geonosian Arena fight in Attack of the Clones. Here's here Wookieepedia entry.
That thing Caleb/Kanan is playing with there is called a Holocron, which is short for "holographic chronicle." It's a small holoprojector and storage device that's pre-loaded with instructions on ways of the Force. We can assume this is the same holocron that Ezra stole and returned in the one-hour premiere of Rebels, "Spark of Rebellion."
MOMENT II: Good Soldiers Follow Orders
I discussed Order 66 in the last installment of this feature, but this line here, "Good soldiers follow orders," is a cool reference to an episode of the Clone Wars TV series that I wanted to flag. The first episode of season 6, "The Unknown," (available to stream right now on Netflix, or available on the Lost Missions DVD set) centers on a Clone Trooper nicknamed "Tup," who goes nuts on a mission and kills the Jedi he's working with. His fellow soldiers bring Tup back to Kamino to figure out why he snapped, but all he can repeat when questioned about the event is the line, "Good soldiers follow orders." This leads another Clone Trooper, Fives, on a dangerous mission to find out what caused Tup to crack and what it means for the Republic. It's pretty great paranoid thriller stuff. Check it out.
MOMENT III: “Have You Heard the News?” He Said, With A Grin…
I just liked the nonchalant way the Rodian (Greedo guy) in this panel nonchalantly goes, "Yeah, but they all died, so fair's fair!"
MOMENT IV: You Can't Go Home Again
Here's Obi-Wan putting the Jedi on blast that the Republic is over and whatever you do, definitely do not go to Coruscant because it is totally covered with people who want to kill Jedi and you will 100% die if you go there k thx bye. Which is great, but only one problem: Kanan has literally just reverted from hyperspace into Coruscant's orbit. OOPS.
I like to imagine that Obi Wan was bumping Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye (To Yesterday)" in the background when he sent this message out.
THE SEVEN STAR-WARSIEST MOMENT IN STAR WARS #4
MOMENT I: Hutts --- Literal Slugs
What a gross creep this Jabba dude is. And I'm not referring to his looks, either. Jabba's just a gross dude who is really into killing and cheating and stealing and you gotta admire his willingness to just lay it all out there and go, "This is my brand: I'm a gross beast who does gross things. Let's kill some stuff."
True Story: As a kid, it made me so angry that Jabba made Leia wear that metal bikini even though it was very obvious she was super not into it, that I remember cheering when Leia choked the eff out of that gross slug man. Seriously, give me on million Bespin Leia cosplayers instead of "Slave Leia." That is a good look.
MOMENT II: No Fighting In the War Room
So here's the military brain trust of the Rebellion military forces. Just a quick roll call here; clockwise form the top: Mon Mothma (you saw her give the Death Star 2 attack briefing in Return of the Jedi), General Dondonna (you saw him in the control room of the Yavin Rebel base during the attack on Death Star 1 in A New Hope), Admiral "It's A TWAP!" Ackbar (you saw him commanding a bumpy Mon Calamari battle cruiser in Return of the Jedi), and Princess Leia Organa, the former Senator-turned-terrorist from the recently obliterated Alderaan. We talked about them in the Princess Leia #1 installment.
So, just to think out loud, since Leia hasn't had any time to do anything in this series since they blew up the weapons factory at Cymoon 1, that the Princess Leia miniseries takes place before Star Wars?
MOMENT III: Get Vertical
The Nar Shaddaa this masked figure who's looking for Han Solo is referring to is one of the moons that orbits the Hutt homeward of Nal Hutta. It's also known as The Vertical City or the Smuggler's Moon. The former name comes from the fact that it's been built from the ground up over millennia, resulting in precipitous falls between the spire-line buildings. The latter name is pretty self-explanatory. Smugglers hide out there. It's like a grosser version of Las Vegas, I guess? Which would make it… Space Atlantic City. If you've played Knights of the Old Republic or Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, you've visited Nar Shaddaa.
Also, I just wanted to point out that this is kind of the same mask Cassaday gave to his Astonishing X-Men villain, Ord of the Breakworld.Not exactly the same, but still.
MOMENT IV: Greedo Bandito
Poor dumb dead Greedo. Also, I don't want to flog a the dead nerd horse that is the "Han shot first" debate, but, well, Han shot first.
MOMENT V: If There's A Bright Center To the Universe, You're On the Planet That It's Farthest From.
I get the distinct feeling that Jabba is maybe messing with Vader here? That he knows who Vader was and is sort of poking him with this knowledge.
And then there's Tattooine, the Most Boring Planet In the Galaxy. Of the six current Star Wars films, five of them have had scenes on this dumb dust-ball, and while I'm kind of into this whole "The Secret Life of Obi Wan Kenobi" angle that Aaron is taking with this jaunt to everybody's favorite backwater poodoo-hole, I'm just sick and tired of seeing Tatooine in Star Wars stuff.
MOMENT VI: When the Goin' Gets Tough, the Tough Get Lukin'
I love that whenever things get crazy, Luke bugs out and ditches his friends. Whether it's narrowly avoiding destruction on Hoth, sneaking off to confront Yoda about his parentage after almost being fed to a Sarlaac or, in this case, almost having been chopped in half by Vader at Cymoon 1, Luke's first instinct is to GTHO. That's some pretty Star-Warsy stuff, right there.
MOMENT VII: Ugh, This Friggin' Guy Again
Literally the only thing saving the idea of dumb ol' Boba Fett --- the Wolverine of the Star Wars Universe --- showing up to fart all over this comic is the fact that Jason Aaron writes really good crime-y scumbags so maybe I'll actually enjoy a comic with Boba Fett in it that isn't that one by John Wagner and Cam Kennedy.
Aaaaand that’s it for now. Next time, we'll take a look at Darth Vader #5 and Princess Leia #4. Exciting, right?! I know! Until then, Make Mine Star Wars. Bye, Felicia.