There’s a lot going on in the world of comics right now, especially with the two big publishing houses. Both DC and Marvel are pushing the reset buttons this year with DC’s “Convergence,” which I think is a sequel to the Divergent series, and Marvel is doing “Secret Wars,” which will destroy the multiverse and leave only one Earth, so it will be interesting to see how that all turns out (any takers on whether they use this as a way to bring Wolverine back?). But I contend that the best thing coming out of the two big houses right now has nothing to do with any of their superheroes. When Disney bought Lucasfilm, I wondered how long it would be before we saw Marvel publishing Star Wars comics again. The answer was February 2015. I mean, it just makes sense. Disney owns Star Wars now, and they also own a comic publishing company, Marvel. Dark Horse’s days of publishing quality, expanded universe, Star Wars content were numbered. In addition to that, Disney went ahead and hit the reset button on all the expanded universe stuff, so they now basically have a blank slate to start with.
When I heard they were starting their Star Wars series, I wondered what the setting would be. I didn’t know if it would be post Return of the Jedi, pre The Force Awakens, bridging the 40 year gap between the two films, or if they would set it in the time of the original Star Wars Trilogy. I didn’t really have a preference, except that I didn’t want it to recount the trilogy itself. If I want to see Luke blow up the Death Star, I’ll pop in A New Hope, and watch him do it. We don’t need a comic book account.
In the end, Marvel decided to flesh out the time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back. The first issue picks up just after the Death Star has been destroyed, and for the first time, the Empire looks vulnerable. Han, Leia, and Luke are now working together for the Rebel alliance, and this issue finds them on a covert mission to destroy the Empire’s main weapons factory. Luke isn’t an all-powerful Jedi yet, but he is past the stupid farm boy stage, well, almost. Han and Leia aren’t in love yet, at least not that they have admitted to each other. Everything is coming together for them. That’s what makes this the almost perfect time to cover. It has to be the most interesting. We watch A New Hope, and we see how they meet, how they come together, but we don’t see how they go from just meeting and being stuck together to being the tight-knit group we see in Empire. Think about it, what has happened between New Hope and Empire that would cause Han Solo to risk his life to go out and find Luke on Hoth? Now we will get to see how that happens. We get to see how they form as a team. Don’t think, though, that just because they aren’t a tight group that they don’t have great chemistry. Watching Han and Leia fight it out through the first two issues is great, especially because we know where it is going to end. We also get to see Luke face off for the first time against Vader, I mean not in an X-Wing. This leads to the beginning of some answers for me. In A New Hope, Vader has no idea who Luke is, but in Empire, he knows enough to drop the big bombshell on Luke. In these first 2 issues, Vader begins piecing it all together as he faces off against Luke. By the way, Luke gets his butt kicked, and is lucky that he makes it out alive.
In addition to the main Star Wars series, Marvel is doing a few other Star Wars titles. The first one is another ongoing series called Star Wars: Darth Vader. That’s right, we get our own personal glimpse into everyone’s favorite big bad. We get to see how his relationship is with his master, Emperor Palpatine, and what plans he might have of his own. We also see his first encounter with Boba Fett. We learn in the first issue that Vader does not fully trust Palpatine, and Palpatine has lost his patience with Vader’s failure after the Death Star. Is this the beginning of the rift that leads to Vader disposing of his old master? Maybe. In the first issue, the Emperor calls Vader nothing more than a blunt instrument. I don’t think Vader likes that. He has big plans of his own, and he is not going to let anyone stand in his way. We also see the beginning of his obsession with Luke. It will be interesting to see how that develops over time. Knowing that Vader will not be in the next Star Wars film, getting a title like this almost makes up for it.
Star Wars and Darth Vader are two ongoing series. Happening at the same time is the 5 issue miniseries, Princess Leia. This dropped today, and this geeky mormon is ashamed to admit that he hasn’t picked it up yet, so I can’t give you all my thoughts on it yet. I can say that it looks awesome. Judging from the cover, we are going to see a strong, assertive Leia. Plus it’s being written by Mark Waid, who is one of the finest writers in comics, so you know the story should be pretty good. Plus, despite what George Lucas might think, this is a great title to show that Star Wars is for girls, not just boys. I am tempted to pick up two copies of each issue. One for me, and one for my girls to read and share. Leia doesn’t need her Han. She keeps him around because she likes him. In any case, if this miniseries is anything like the two ongoing series, then you really should pick it up.
In addition to the three series mentioned above, Marvel is also releasing an ongoing adventure outlining how Kanan Jarrus went from being a Jedi Padowan to our favorite Rebel leader/smuggler. This is the first of the new series that will not be set in the time between A New Hope and Empire. According to Marvel, it won’t be the last. When I first heard about this particular series, I wasn’t that excited. I figured it was just going to be a way to promote Disney’s Star Wars Rebels show, and that was it. Then I started watching the show, and I can’t wait to pick this series up. Who doesn’t want to know more about Kanan? Find out how he survived the rise of the Empire, while almost every other Jedi did not. We saw how Yoda and Obi-Wan survived, and now we can find out how Kanan made it out alive. It should be interesting. This will be an ongoing series, and issue one drops in April of this year.
So, if you’re looking for something new and different at your local comics store, I would highly recommend each of these series. They have ben phenomenal so far, and well worth your time. If you haven’t bought comics for a while and need to know where to pick these up, if you’re local to Salt Lake City, I would say check out Black Cat Comics. They will take care of you.
So, what are your thoughts with Marvel’s new Star Wars comics? Have you had a chance to pick them up yet? Are you planning to? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. We love hearing from you.