Friday, March 4, 2016

Graphic Novel Friday: Star Wars...While We Wait



LandoSearch your feelings; you know it to be true: the wait for Star Wars: Episode VIII will be a long one. After the fun of The Force Awakens, it's nice to finally anticipate a Star Wars film—but December 2017? Sure, the Blu-ray release of Episode VII is forthcoming, and yes, there is a separate film (Rogue One, which promises yet another Death Star-centric plot) releasing in 2016, but…OK, maybe we fans are a bit spoiled. To the spoiled go the spoils, I say, and here are a few recent and cinematic Star Wars comics to ease the wait between whatever Star Wars release is next on your calendar.

Star Wars: Lando by Charles Soule and Alex Maleev: In the ever-increasing catalog of Star Wars comics, the Lando miniseries truly belongs among the clouds. Writer Charles Soule writes a definitive Lando Calrissian with plenty of roguish charm, quick-thinking, and a heavy heart of gold. True to form, much of the space-problems that plague Lando and his crew are the result of Lando's own scheming, but it's his smile-in-the-face-of-abject-terror that makes him so frustratingly lovable. Maleev's artwork hews close to likeness and cinematic pacing, especially in the fight scenes (even if a dismembered arm switches sides in a few panels). Remember Lobot, Lando's aide in The Empire Strikes Back—the quiet guy with the strange headgear? No? Well, you'll never forget him after this. Must-read material.

Star Wars Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon by Jason Aaron and Stuart Immonen and Simone Bianchi: Speaking of lovable rogues, Han Solo fans will want to read this volume for one of the biggest reveals in Star Wars history. Say what?! Everyone else will enjoy it for Immonen's always gorgeous artwork and Aaron's spot-on Star Wars dialogue. The banter between Leia and Han is every bit as sly as in the Original Trilogy. Plus, more Hutts!

 

Star Wars: Chewbacca by Gerry Duggan and Phil Noto: Chewie! The first time I saw The Force Awakens, I'm not sure I breathed through any of Chewbacca's scenes. I love that Wookiee, and this miniseries captures a fun, unexplored moment in his life between rebel missions. While Chewie's dialogue is exclusively untranslated growls and roars, his features and mannerisms speak clearly enough thanks to Noto's usual great work. It feels a little padded toward the end, as Chewie's sidekick grows increasingly mouthy, but this is a light and fun read.

 

Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca: Darth Vader is hired to solve a crime he committed. Whoops. Accompanied by an Imperial detective, Vader's own ineptitude threatens to undo him. While it's a little bit of a stretch to read a bumbling Dark Lord of the Sith, especially in his prime, it's to Gillen's credit that we continue to root for the bad guy…to do bad things.

 

 

Star Wars: Vader Down by Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato: Another Star Wars release to wait for! Landing in April, this crossover between the main Star Wars and Vader books promises a clashing of favorites: Droid versus droid; Wookiee versus Wookiee; bounty hunter versus space pirate; Jedi versus Sith. May the force be with my wallet.

 

 

See also our pre-Force Awakens comics coverage here.

--Alex

P.S.  Brief programming note for the GNF regulars: This column is moving to a monthly format to allow us to do more multi-book features like this.  If there are any comics you'd like to see covered, please say so in the comments.  Thank you for reading. 

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