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Star Wars New Canon: New Comics, Part 2

While on a recent holiday, in which there was a lot of air travel, downtime, and extended periods where my daughter went for walks with my parents, I was able to buckle down and read some New Canon Star Wars comics.  Specifically:
All of these comics were read in digital format on Comixology.

Final issue of the Vader Down crossover, featuring the main casts of both Star Wars and Darth Vader.  Image from Wookieepedia.


Story:

Vader Down was a crossover in which the main casts of Star Wars and Darth Vader met on the planet Vrogas Vas. Vader tracked Luke Skywalker to an abandoned Jedi temple there, but did not anticipate the larger Rebel force scouting the planet for a new base. Vader was shot down, but held his own against an onslaught of Rebel troops until he managed to escape. Dr. Aphra and the droids BT-1 and Triple-Zero encounter Han, Chewbacca, R2 and 3PO as well, and Aphra ends up in Rebel custody.

The next two arcs of Star Wars (Rebel Jail and Last Flight of the Harbinger) feature two more fun adventures. A Rebel extremist (the spy/assassin thought dead at the end of the first Annual) attempts to destroy a Rebel prison complex, not to free the prisoners but to execute those who he believes deserve execution.  In the battle, Leia and Sana must team up with Aphra, who is ultimately allowed to escape.  Next, the Rebels capture the Imperial Star Destroyer Harbinger and fill it with aid destined for an Imperial blockade, but an elite group of stormtroopers (SCAR squadron, led by Sgt. Kreel, the spy who we last saw infiltrating Grakkus the Hutt's arena) try to take the ship back.  This block of issues also included two more entries in the Journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Cover of Star Wars #18, featuring Leia and Aphra.  Image from Wookieepedia.
In the second half of the Darth Vader series (two arcs, The Shu-Torun War and End of Games, Vader continues to advance the Empire's agenda while defending his position as Sith apprentice.  On Shu-Torun, he secures the loyalty of the planet's mining facilities and takes out several rivals in the process.  By the end, he defeats the last of his rivals, takes command of the Executor, and resumes his hunt for Skywalker and the Rebels (exactly as we see him in The Empire Strikes Back).  Dr. Aphra goes to the Emperor with evidence of her dealings on Vader's behalf, but he is impressed with Vader's duplicitous actions, worthy of any Sith Lord.  Vader puts her in an airlock and launches her into space, but she is recovered by her team and free to work in secret.

The two miniseries I read were one-off adventures by the titular characters.  Chewbacca teams up with a young girl named Zarro to free a planet from a crime lord and potential Imperial occupation.  Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, years before the Clone Wars, help bring peace to a planet at war for centuries.

Cover of Chewbacca #5, featuring Chewie and Zarro.  Image from Wookieepedia.

Thoughts:

Final issue of Darth Vader.  Image from Wookieepedia.

Darth Vader was an excellent story with a compelling beginning, middle, and end.  It could have easily been a novel or trilogy of novels, and could have been appealing to anyone with the least bit of interest in Star Wars.  I was sad to see it end, but I'm glad that it ended on its own terms.

The Star Wars main series continues to present itself as a series of random adventures, rather than anything with an overarching plot.  There are plot elements that continue (Sana, for example, continues to be a fun secondary character, and apparently had a past relationship with Aphra; I also expect more fun stories from SCAR squadron).  The stories from the journal of Obi-Wan Kenobi are also quite interesting, as the 19 years Kenobi spent in isolation were largely undocumented even in Legends.
Cover of Star Wars #24, featuring Luke Skywalker and Sgt. Kreel of SCAR Squadron.  Image from Wookieepedia.

As I said in my last post about Star Wars New Canon comics, the miniseries will be to people's tastes.  Some will enjoy them, and others will not.  They will generally not have lasting implications.  Chewbacca was a fun romp with everyone's favourite Wookiee.  It had minimal character development, but reinforced some character elements (his past as a slave, how he values his family, his occasional cowardice despite being a beast of a man, etc.)  Obi-Wan and Anakin was less interesting.  It presented the idea that Anakin at one point wanted to leave the Jedi Order, something that had never been presented as an idea before.  While that can sometimes be fun, this time it was just random and unwarranted.  It did, however, show the first one-on-one meeting of Anakin and Chancellor Palpatine, which informed their later relationship in Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith.

Cover of Obi-Wan and Anakin #4.  Image from Wookieepedia.
I would easily recommend the entire Darth Vader series to anyone wanting to explore Star Wars comics.  Miniseries I would only recommend if someone specifically mentioned they were fans of specific characters (if you like Chewie, you would really enjoy Chewbacca).  The main Star Wars series is a lot of fun, and you can jump in almost anywhere and enjoy the story.

Next: 

I return to my Legends Read-Through with the saga of Darth Bane.  Originally, the next item on my New Canon list was all material related to the movie Rogue One, but I will soon finish watching The Clone Wars, and thus will want to read the novels and comics that conclude that series right away. As a result, I've amended my Reading Order.


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