Star Wars fans can’t wait for the new movie, Episode VII – The Force Awakens, to come out in December of this year. But fans don’t have to wait until then for great new Star Wars stories in the same league as the original movies. Since January, Marvel has started publishing four different stellar Star Wars comic book series. Here’s your guide to what you’ll find in each one.
Jason Aaron (writer) & John Cassaday (artist)
Latest issue published: #3
Star Wars takes place following the events of Episode IV: A New Hope, but before Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The three issues published so far focus on a Rebel attempt to dismantle an Imperial weapons factory as they seek to continue their blows to the Empire following their successful destruction of the Death Star. This series features the main heroes and villains from the first movie: Luke, Leia, Han, Chewie, R2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader.
The all-star creative team of writer Jason Aaron and artist John Cassaday do an incredible job re-creating the cinematic look, feel, pacing, and tone of the original movies in this action-packed series. The suspense and build-up of action between pages in this series is on par with the best of the movies. If you were a fan of the original trilogy, you’ll have a lot of fun reading this comic book every month.
Keiron Gillen (writing) & Salvador Larroca (artist)
Latest issue: #4
In Darth Vader, which takes place concurrently with the Star Wars comic book above, the title character has lost his favored position with the Emperor because of his failure to prevent the destruction of the Death Star. This series shows Vader seeking to regain his status as the Emperor’s top lieutenant in the Imperial Hierarchy while simultaneously tracking down the force-strong X-Wing pilot responsible for the Death Star’s destruction.
Writer Keiron Gillen’s completely nails his treatment of Darth Vader. We see a Dark Lord who says only what’s necessary, has no patience for those who get in his way, and is often called to remember his own tortured past as he travels throughout the galaxy to once-familiar places. One of the things I like most in this series is seeing Vader’s interactions with other characters along a whole spectrum of power-dynamics with him, from superiors like The Emperor, to rivals, to subordinates and even droids. Star Wars fans looking for a deeper look at the character and adventures of Darth Vader will definitely not be disappointed by this book.
Mark Waid (writing) & Terry Dodson (artist)
Latest issue: #2
Fans will find the opening pages of Princess Leia familiar, as it picks up at the end of Episode IV, during the medal ceremony following the destruction of the Death Star. The focus of this 5-issue mini-series is how Princess Leia deals with the loss of her home world, Alderaan. Dismissed by the male Rebel leaders, Leia sets out with Evaan, a highly-skilled fellow native of Alderaan, on a quest of her own. The two women seek to find and protect the other refugees of their home world, who have become targets of the Empire’s wrath.
While the first issue of this mini-series doesn’t quite hit the mark on Leia and is slowly paced, the second makes up for it with some worthy insights into Leia’s character through it’s action and flashbacks to her childhood upbringing on Alderaan. This series also does the best job of the four in giving us a glimpse into the world of Rebels and Imperials outside that of the main characters.
Kanan – The Last Padawan
Greg Weismen (writer) & Pepe Larraz (artist)
Lastest issue: #1
While the other three series take place after Episode IV: A New Hope, the events of Kanan occur before it. Kanan is also a character who was not in any of the movies – he is best known from the recent Disney TV-series Star Wars: Rebels. This comic book’s first issue is mostly a flashback, as Kanan remembers fighting in the Clone Wars as the padawan to Jedi Master Depa Billaba before Order 66 wiped out the Jedi.
So far, the series shows promise, as the young Kanan learns lessons of war, diplomacy, and the best way to question authority in the action-packed first issue. Fans who are looking for more adventures from the pre-Rebellion phase of Star Wars will be well served with this series.
There you have it – four new Star Wars comic books to keep you going until the new movie in December. Which of these titles are you most interested in? If you’ve checked them out already, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below!