Posted October 23, 2015 by Neil Santiago in Anime/Manga

Why You Should Read Marvel’ STAR WARS

Ever since Force Friday last September 4, 2015, anticipation and promotion for the upcoming Star Wars: Force Awakens is in full swing. Brand new toys have been released. Character details have been shared to the public. Full-length novels teasing details of what has happened over the decades between The Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens have been published. All in all, it’s a great time to be a Star Wars fan. And if you’re an avid comics reader, then you’re in luck because all the action right now is happening in Marvel Comics.

Star Wars

Fans of the old Star Wars Expanded universe were disappointed upon learning that Disney and Lucasfilm were dropping it in favor of a new continuity. It seemed heartbreaking at first, especially after hearing fan-favorites like Grand Admiral Thrawn or Kyle Katarn weren’t going to make appearances in the new trilogy. But months in after reading these comics alongside the novels, Star Wars: Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels, the big gamble has paid off.

Don’t get me wrong, Dark Horse Comics crafted amazing Star Wars comics such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Star Wars: Legacy. Zayne Carrick’s tale remains to be among the most unique and interesting ones in the Expanded universe. One could say that whoever was going to inherit the daunting task of writing Star Wars comics had very big boots to fill.

Cue in Marvel and their roster of A-list talents. Writers Jason Aaron, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, and Kieron Gillen, together with artists such as John Cassaday, Salvador Larocca, Alex Maleev, Terry Dodson, Phil Noto, Marco Checchetto, and Stuart Immonen, have been given put up to the task and they deliver. Jason Aaron’s Star Wars, for instance, feels like a proper Star Wars adventure. Bunch of ragtag going up against the evil empire. Odds are always stacked up against our heroes with little hope of escape. Through sheer dumb luck and maybe a slight nudging of the force, they do get through and live to fight for another day. It seems like your typical recipe for fun adventure, but this is Star Wars we’re talking about. It’s an epic adventure filled with space dogfights, stormtroopers that miss a lot, and little poignant moments between heroes that make them all the more relatable.

Darth Vader

In contrast, the team of Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca’s Darth Vader is a complete contrast. Where the main Star Wars book is all about action, adventure, and hope, Darth Vader is all about power, subtlety and, well, VADER. Remember the time when Vader was feared and respected before that time he screamed that hideous no? Have you seen that episode in Star Wars Rebels where Vader had a bunch of imperial walkers dropped on him, only to shrug it off and menace the heroes for the rest of the episode? All that power, cunning and ruthlessness he’s depicted in the original trilogy is on full-on display in Darth Vader. However, we already know how bad-ass and fearsome Darth Vader is. We’ve seen it tons of times already. Here is where Kieron Gillen’s comic shines as he gives Darth Vader an ensemble of well-written characters  that makes the comic enjoyable and, at times, disturbingly funny. We’ve got Lara Croft-like Aphra and a homicidal robot duo with punchlines and sadism that’ll give HK-47 a run for his money. It’s a bizarre crew of agents that Darth Vader assembles at first, but we sometimes forget that Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker. And if there’s anything we know about Anakin, it’s this brilliant unpredictable side of his that made him the famed Jedi General that he was. Mad props has to be given to Salvador Larroca, whose work on Vader has to be one of his best. There may not be much facial work. But trust me, you’ll know exactly what Vader is thinking and feeling when you read Darth Vader.

Marvel Lando

Marvel’s take on the Star Wars universe isn’t limited to our trio of protagonists and Vader. Want to see what crafty scheme Lando was running before he became administrator of Cloud City? Check out Lando. Interested to see how Kanan Jarrus survived Order 66? Check out his titular comic. If you have love for Han Solo’s furry copilot, there’s a Chewbacca comic series coming soon. Wait, a comic about a lead who communicates through growls and roars? How is that going to work out?  This is Marvel we’re talking about. If they can make a comic with a talking tree who just repeats his name over and over again, I’m sure they’ll do the job right with Chewbacca.

Star Wars

Marvel’s Star Wars comics are an exciting jumping point for Star Wars fans, young and old. For the older fans, it gives new depth to the characters they’ve loved for the past 40 years. For new fans, it’s another Star Wars adventure for them to jump into monthly. And right now, the most exciting expansion to the Star Wars universe can be seen in Marvel Comics’ Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire, a four-issue series that gives us our first look at events that take place right after The Battle of Endor. It also happens to be the best-selling comic in the month of September 2015. In fact, Diamond Comics’ top ten best-selling comics listing has been dominated by Marvel’s Star Wars Comics since February. It’s an all-new, all-different, yet very same Star Wars universe we’ve all come to grow and love. Give these new comics a chance and I guarantee you’ll be right at home in these new adventures set in a galaxy far, far away.

Neil Santiago

Neil Santiago is an actor and playwright by trade. Theatre is his passion and is not ashamed of unleashing his full anorak on all things geeky. When not busy acting or writing plays, he busies himself with either getting lost around the metro or getting fit with a RIP 60.