Tag Archive: Star Wars comic book


 

Review by C.J. Bunce

Let’s take a trip back 33 years ago to a galaxy not all that far away.  It was my very first issue of the only comic book I ever subscribed to.  It was the end of the school year in 1986 and at last I took the plunge to send in a check to start getting a comic in the mail.  My first issue?  Star Wars #107, which contained a note from Marvel Comics stating that this was to be the final issue and I was going to be sent something instead going forward from a new universe of comics Marvel was starting called… New Universe.  In the days before the Internet or anyone to call to say “what?” I was then sent eleven monthly issues of Star Brand.  Not quite Star Wars, each issue reminded me of what I was not getting.  I was a fan of the Star Wars comic book (issued as Star Wars Weekly in the UK) since receiving my first ever comic as a giveaway when my mom took me to my local library’s Star Wars Day right before Christmas 1977.  The series would introduce me to a roster of creators (many I’d later meet in person) including Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Steve Leialoha, Rick Hoberg, Archie Goodwin, Donald F. Glut, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, John Byrne, Michael Golden, Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe, Al Williamson, Tom Palmer, David Michelinie, Klaus Janson, Ann Nocenti, Jan Duursema, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Walt Simonson.  I read every issue up to Issue #107.

The big surprise?  That original Star Wars series became everyone’s first encounter with the word BORG.  It’s probably the first ever use of those four letters to describe a cybernetic organism, and it was spoken by none other than Luke Skywalker in reference to Valance, The Hunter way back in 1978.  We would learn Valance was a borg who killed borgs, and he became an inaugural inductee here at borg in our borg Hall of Fame, and part of my opening dialogue with borg readers eight years ago here.  This year, through the miracle of an idea worthy of a light bulb floating over your head, Marvel Comics introduced for its ongoing 80th anniversary celebration something I’ve never seen done before: a single, new, numbered issue continuing a series canceled as far back as 33 years ago.  The issue is Star Wars, Issue #108–it’s fantastic and available at local comic shops everywhere now.

 

Providing a chapter by chapter sequel not to Issue #107 of the vintage series, but to the Issue #50 story “Crimson Forever,” Matthew Rosenberg is the writer on the new Issue #108 titled “Forever Crimson,” and along with Valance we again meet some of our favorite characters of the entire Star Wars universe who we haven’t seen in decades:  the villainous Domina Tagge (remember Baron Tagge?), the stylin’ Amaiza Foxtrain, the memorable telepathic hoojib and the red Zeltrons, and best of all, Jaxxon the bounty hunter rabbit, who we last saw on a special variant edition copy of Marvel’s reboot Star Wars, Issue #1.  Plus all the stars of the series we all know and love.  As for the artists, Jan Duursema returns to the series for this one-shot issue, along with Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Andrea Broccardo, Kerry Gammill, Ze Carlos, Stefano Landini, Luke Ross, and Leonard Kirk, with colors by Chris Sotomayor, and lettering by Clayton Cowles.  The result is everything you could want in a Star Wars comic.  It’s the kind of purely fun story that would make a great monthly even today.  If only they continued this story in an ongoing series!

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Star Wars 3 Ross cover

“In the Shadow of Yavin” is a great subtitle for this year’s regular monthly Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics, although it inexplicably seemed to vanish from the series introductions after Issue #5.  Written by Brian Wood, the Star Wars monthly comic book series goes back to a key, relatively unexplored segment of the Star Wars universe–the period between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, and The Empire Strikes Back.  In 13 issues spanning this past year, readers could take a look back to their own vision of the future of Star Wars in the 1970s when all we knew were the events of that first movie and later, three novels by Brian Daley.  Of course this isn’t altogether new territory.  This period was examined by Marvel Comics following on their own adaptation of the first movie, the now classic comic book series created by Roy Thomas, Archie Goodwin and Howard Chaykin, along with Carmine Infantino, Donald F. Glut and Rick Hoberg.

So how did this series fare?  The new Star Wars monthly (not to be confused with The Star Wars limited series or the several other Dark Horse Comics Star Wars Universe titles), is to comic books what “popcorn movies” are to cinema.   It’s a great mag that you can pick up and enjoy each month for what it is–images of Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, R2-D2, C-3PO, and Darth Vader when their roles were much simpler.  Full of X-Wing and Tie-Fighter battles, it’s a print edition action movie, thanks to pencillers Carlos D’Anda and Ryan Kelly, and movie poster quality covers by Alex Ross.  We even get some fun exploration of Darth Vader’s banishment by the Emperor for losing the Death Star, and appearances by Boba Fett, who back in the day we wouldn’t meet until The Empire Strikes Back, and Mon Mothma, who we would not meet until Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars cover by Alex Ross

The addition of these key characters by Wood makes sense here.  They are inserted in the story in ways that don’t take away from their later introductions in the movies.  The addition of Boba Fett and Bossk may feel like a cheat to some, like adding bacon to your Iron Chef tourney meals, since it was their cloaked past and brief encounter in The Empire Strikes Back that created their mystique.  But this series isn’t about canon and detail as much as creating a fun serial.  This includes Luke and Wedge Antilles hanger deck scenes that may be inspired by the knuckledragger sequences of the Syfy Channel Battlestar Galactica TV series.

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Star Wars Dark Horse 1 cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

It’s exactly the place long-time Star Wars fans always wanted to see more Star Wars adventures take place.  Not before the original trilogy.  Not during the Clone Wars.  We’re talking about the time our favorite characters were at their best–between Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back.

Marvel Comics originally had the license for comic book spin-off stories during the 1970s and 1980s.  In that time they visited their own strange, new worlds, but the best stories featured Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Chewbacca and the droids.  After 114 issues (107 regular monthly, three annuals, and a four-issue Return of the Jedi adaptation) interest in the Marvel Comics Star Wars waned.  Flash forward to December 1991.  Dark Horse Comics’ writer Tom Veitch and artist Cam Kennedy, coupled with the best Star Wars comic book poster-quality cover art to date by the stellar artist Dave Dorman, created a new comic book series, Dark Empire.  Dark Empire followed the events of Timothy Zahn’s post-Return of the Jedi trilogy and brought comic book readers some of the best Star Wars universe storytelling produced in comic book form.

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