Star Wars Adventures #1 + Darth Vader #5 + Captain Phasma #1

Holy rusted metal, Batman! There are a lot of new comics this week! (In fact, I’m not even including one since I gave up comic adaptations to save money and time on redundancies…and so I can buy more Destiny cards…shhhh…) Anyway, not only are there three books this week, two of them are brand new series! (Serieses? I think I’ve made this joke/inquiry before…I’m getting stale in my old age…) I was originally thinking about forgoing the Star Wars Adventures title because I thought it was just going to be kid-friendly stories about the main characters with no real substance, but then I saw a panel somewhere that included an image of Captain Ithano, the Crimson Corsair, and I was immediately all-in (I love that guy). And, I mean, we all know I was going to get the Phasma book, there’s really no need to wonder there…also, why am I still babbling? Let’s get to it!

Star Wars Adventures #1
swa1Let me start by saying this is a Star Wars comics breath of fresh air. Marvel’s become mostly stagnant with the art style on their Star Wars titles, churning out somewhat homogenized (save the new Mace Windu series, but it’s still not much of a departure) work; however, this IDW title is definitely a step in a different direction. Sure, it’s cartoony, but it’s cartoony in the good-looking, clean, fun way. I love it. I’m really looking forward to what this series has to offer, starting with this first installment:  the first adventure, starring Rey, begins, thankfully, with no mostly-needless crawl (I skip the crawl 9/10 times – I only read it on #1s, or occasionally on the first issue of new arcs), and drops us right into Rey slamming some thug against some old salvage with her staff. We’re then transported to earlier where Rey was scouting on her speeder for the day’s potential haul. We’re introduced to what she does, why, and who basically controls it all, the “blobfish,” Unkar Plutt. Rey finds some comlinks and is about to move on when she senses another presence on the old ship with her (which could be a razorwolf, which, I mean, with what we’ve seen in the Rebels trailer…). Turns out its two thugs, and we’re back where the book began with Rey knocking them silly. During the fight, one of them accidentally sets off a chair reaction that blows up the ship, but Rey, even though they were trying to beat her up, possibly even kill her, manages to save them and herself…but then leaves them stranded in the desert. I really like this move because it shows that Rey’s ultimately a good character, but it also shows that you don’t have to be overly nice to everyone – she saved their lives, but that’s as far as turning the other cheek went. I like that. I like it a lot. Moving on, Rey goes to sell her salvage, but sees that something is burning at the outpost. Turns out Unkar was kidnapped by some goons led by a Zool Zendiat (Star Wars names…but, hey, his goons were all cool aliens, including a talz, so I’m stoked!) who were after a J9 droid. Oh, and guess who’s on the scene? CONSTABLE ZUVIO! Love that guy. His short is great, you should definitely read it…anyway, a pale version of Quiggold named Krynodd declars himself the new junk boss, and smacks Bobbajo over when he knocks into him to show his new authority (oddly, Zuvio & Co. do nothing about this…which seems odd, but whatever…also, omg I love that little rat-like species that says, “we understand, boss. You’re the best, boss.”). Rey helps Bobbajo collect his creatures and decides its up to her to rescue Unkar (though who knows why…I guess the being overly good won out on this one). Next we see Unkar meeting Zool himself, who’s a human (boo) with assumed cybernetic eyes that looks like black glass…and he really wants that droid, specifically the head…which we find out Rey has back at her AT-AT home. Later, using the cover of darkness, Rey follows some ripper raptors to what she assumes is a potential meal that ends up being Unkar splayed on the ground, surrounded by the goon squad and Zool…and that’s the end! Or is it…? No, it’s not! There’s another adventure coming to you from the characters in the Adventures in Wild Space books. Pretty cool tie-in, especially for the age-range they’re targeting. Anyway, this story is a bit of a lesson about overconfidence that Emil and Crater end up teaching Emil’s monkey-lizard, Noni, by way of a story about a Jedi that used to frequent Dex’s Diner on Coruscant. The story’s about a young pa’lowick theif that was repeatedly filching from the diner’s customers. One day, she decided to go big and steal from a Jedi…that happened to be Obi-wan Kenobi. She manages to succeed, going back to her hideout to brag to who she thinks is her partner but turns out to be Obi-wan in disguise. What she stole was a worthless paperweight with a tracker on it that led he and Dex right to her so he could collect the things she stole to return to his customers. In the end, the lesson is “nine times out of ten, you’re not half as clever as you think you are.” Which I’d have to say is probably true…though for me I’d go with 8/10…oh, also, there’s a cool, green BB unit involved…that’s definitely worth mentioning because BB units are great. The other cool thing worth mentioning about this book is the “Cover Gallery” page near the back that shows all the variant covers. My favorite is “Heroes & Fantasies,” what’s yours?

Darth Vader #5
vader5This book, you guys, this book. Wow. I’ve really been enjoying the new Vader run, but this issue is just tops. I’m talking back to the tie-in between the #6s from the original Vader series and the flagship Star Wars series good. So, let’s dive in:  we start out with Vader receiving an automated message from the Emperor to be delivered upon completion of his task that informs him he’s being sent to Mustafar to complete his task. Cool. Palpatine sent him, purposefully, to where his evil really came to a head so that he’d be forced to face his defeat, along with his other failings, and use that anger and hate to make himself stronger. I imagine that’s the same reason his castle is built there, also by the Emperor’s choosing. Vader is instructed to go to the font of the dark side that he feels on the planet “corrupt the kyber crystal…make it bleed”…which happens to be in a cave with markings on the walls and a crude alter in the center (I imagine this is the foundation upon which his castle is built). On this alter, Vader takes out the green (yup, green, not clear) kyber crystal and begins to pour his hate and anger into it…but it fights back, tossing him backward and shattering the lens of his helmet so that he sees through his real eye – much like he’ll later do when encountering Ahsoka…he has a moment of revelation where he feels all the remorse for the things he’s done and makes a choice, a choice to put the saber back together and go face his new master. He does so, and Sidious leaps from his chair to engage him. I like how the art makes Sidious seem out of focus, like he’s moving so fast you can’t really get a good look at him. The two have a fierce clashing of sabers where Sidious taunts Vader for choosing weakness and being a waste, but it’s Vader who ends up winning, striking a killing blow against his former master and leaving him, dead, on the floor of his office…then he travels to a lush world where Obi-wan is presumably waiting for him. Vader removes his helmet, kneels before his original master, and says, simply, “please.” Obi-wan raises his saber to strike but…whether he goes through with it or not, we don’t know – he extinguishes his blade and says a single word:  “Anakin.” And we switch to Vader’s uncovered, yellow, Sith eye opening – it was all a vision. Of course. Was it true future based on the choice he was about to make? Hard to see the future is…but, no matter, because Vader, as we all know, chooses darkness. He chooses anger and hate and manifests it all atop the crystal, causing Force lightning to emanate around him. We see glimpses of the outside where the lava is churning and erupting. We see Vader’s eyes focused. We see the lightning coming from seemingly everywhere. And we see flashbacks:  Obi-wan taking his blue-bladed lightsaber after defeating him in battle. Anakin, when he was still a padawan, carrying his dead mother. A sad-looking Padme from a time when they should have been happy. The twisted visage of his new master. Then, with much effort, a redness begins to show through the lightning in Vader’s hands where the crystal is…and we’re transported to Coruscant where Mas Amedda and Tarkin are discussing the new superweapon with their Emperor when his two red-clad Royal Guards are thrown so violently against the windows overlooking the city with the Force that they crack. The Emperor commands his guests to leave him and greets his apprentice, who produces his new red blade…

Captain Phasma #1
cp1Let me start by saying two very important things:  I was really looking forward to this comic, and I really didn’t like it (to be fair, I have heard it’s better if you’ve read Phasma’s novel, and I haven’t yet, but I feel like that’s asking a lot to make a pretty poor book “better.”). If you did really like it and you get offended when people don’t like things you like, please quit reading to save us both the potential heartache… 😛 That said, here we go:  the story sort of reminds me of 24 what with the time ticker and all (full disclosure, I didn’t actually watch 24, I’m just aware of it, so I’m only making a comparison based on that amount of knowledge). Anyway, Phasma escapes the trash compactor by the good fortune of the side blowing out of it during the battle…or maybe she blew it up? Seems more like a coincidence to me, but that also seems really lame…anyway, she goes about immediately trying to ascertain who lowered the shields and allowed this attack to take place…even though we know she’s the one who did it, the First Order apparently doesn’t…then there’s an entire page where a blaster falls to the ground and fires, ricocheting around and eventually blasting a hole in her cape…so, does she have a hole in her cape in The Last Jedi and now we know why? I don’t see the point of this page…moving on, there is a fantastic panel of Poe’s black X-wing in the middle of the dogfight outside the base (the art in this book is fantastic – it’s honestly the only reason to read it in my humble opinion). She gets back to the station where she lowered the shields for Finn, Han, and Chewie and tries to delete the records of her doing so, but doesn’t have the access with her current clearance…so she uses someone else’s codes, higher than her own, to do it…why not use those codes in the first place so you wouldn’t have to retrace your steps? Then you could just pick someone else to be the fall guy by saying they must have stolen those clearance codes or something…this just doesn’t make sense to me…did she only come up with this plan to cover the fact that she wussed out and did what the Resistance wanted rather than let herself be killed after she realized she was, in fact, not going to die in the trash compactor? It’s fishy, for sure…hopefully it gets fleshed out later, but, right now, I can’t say it makes much sense. Moving on, she says, “my initial investigation yielded no results” (because she deleted the results), but then decides she could look and see if anyone else accessed the system…and someone else had…and she gets all salty about it, making an angry fist…but why? Is she mad that there’s  potentially an actual traitor and it wasn’t just her that did it? This part makes even less sense unless she falsified this information and this Sol Rivas didn’t actually do anything wrong. But now she’s made it her duty to find and eliminate Sol, even though she says that she’s attempting to detain him. So, it seems to me that maybe she did frame him and is trying to cover her tracks, but I don’t really know…it’s all pretty vague…so the base is coming apart around her, and she uses a cool, very Mando-esque grappling shooter to get across a divide by zip-lining down with her blaster. Super cool move, I’ll give her that (like I said, great art). Then Phasma continues her pursuit, telling some troopers not to abandon their post even though they bring up that Hux has already run away with his tail between his legs…undeterred, Phasma tracks her prey to an auxiliary hanger, witnesses Kylo battling Rey on her way, misses a long shot that would have killed the “traitor,” and then makes a heroic leap across a chasm to carry on after Rivas. Unfortunately for her, she arrives too late and Rivas has already “stolen” a TIE and taken off. Inside the hanger she finds a pilot that can track said TIE so they board one of the two-seaters and get ready to give chase. By odd happenstance, there’s a black BB unit (BB-9E probably?) also on board the fighter that was “performing a data update” that ends up coming with them…which makes Phasma cranky…and so they’re off to capture Rivas, and issue ends where it began:  Phasma recording her video of what happened…and yeah, there you have it – a really weird, nonsense story that will hopefully be much better as more light is shed on it in later issues, but is currently pretty dumb, though amazing to look at…

Soooooooooooooooooooo, what did you think? Did you really enjoy Phasma and you think I’m absolutely crazy? (*cough@SW_Rulescough*) Was Vader as good as I think it was, or was it lame? And what about Star Wars Adventures, did you find it to be a fresh, exhilarating experience, or is it just kids’ stuff? Give the books a thorough second read (all three of them) and let me know what you think in the comments…or I’ll make you an incredibly rad-looking character, hire a standout actress to play you, and then continually let people down with your story…TWS out.

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