Star Wars Comics to Read While You Wait for Episode 9
When Disney took over the Star Wars franchise in 2012 they took control of the creative direction of the entire saga- movies, games, branding partnerships, toy production, books and comics. While the previous home for Star Wars comics, Dark Horse, produced incredible stories that vastly deepened the Star Wars lore, Disney's acquisition of the far away galaxy meant Star Wars had a new comic book home at the Disney owned Marvel Comics.
In the four years since the acquisition, Marvel has published a relentless stream of Star Wars comic books from adaptations of their new films to original stories starring classic characters and even some adventures with completely new characters. These stories provide context to the societal and political landscape of the universe while filling in some gaping plot holes left from the nine movies we have seen thus far.
The Last Jedi has been out for over two weeks now, and whether they loved it or hated it, all Star Wars fans have to wait two years for the final installment of the Skywalker saga. EA's Star Wars games leave much to be desired and books don't even have pictures, so your best bet to fill the Star Wars void in your life is with comics.
There's a lot of Star Wars books being published each month, but here's five that especially standout because of their relevance to the overall universe, insight to key characters, or just how much damn fun they are.
5. Poe Dameron
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Phil Noto and Angel Unzueta
Colors by Arif Prianto
Letters by VC's Joe Caramagna
Despite all-new Star Wars books hitting news stands on a nearly weekly basis, there haven't been many comics set in the new era of movies established by J.J. Abrams. Poe Dameron is the exception to that, displaying the adventures of the titular character and his Black Squadron as they pursue Lor San Tekka in the events leading up to The Force Awakens. Poe Dameron builds Commander/Captain Dameron's back story in ways that will make him your favorite character in the new trilogy of movies. He's daring, charismatic, funny, and, most importantly, prone to mistakes in a way that feels more human than clumsy. This series will make you appreciate the hot headed fly boy that much more and will actually make your viewings of both The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi more enjoyable.
4. Han Solo
Written by Marjorie Liu
Art by Mark Brooks
Colors by Sonia Oback
VC's Joe Caramagna
With Harrison Ford's gut wrenching performance in The Force Awakens and Alden Ehrenreich set to make his debut as the scruffy looking nerf herder in May's Solo: A Star Wars Story, Han Solo's legendary status in American canon is more legitimate than ever. This five issue miniseries displays that status, telling the untold story of Han and Chewie's undercover mission for the Rebel Alliance and Princess Leia that had them participate in the galaxy's dealiest race- The Dragon Void. This series is peak Han Solo- he smuggles, he cheats, he takes the moral high ground despite his scoundrel demeanor, he once again proves he's the greatest pilot in the galaxy, and, of course, he swoons the Princess. I am 24 years old, and I still want to be Han Solo when I grow up.
3. Doctor Aphra
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Emilio Laiso (Kev Walker issues #1-6, #9-13)
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters by VC's Joe Caramagna
Ever wonder what it would be like if Han Solo and Indiana Jones raised a daughter in the Outer Rim territories of the Star Wars universe? Somebody at Marvel comics did, and Doctor Aphra is the result of such a train of thought. A rare character who actually debuted in the comics and has yet to make it to the screen, Doctor Aphra is a surprising hit that really dives into the seedy underbelly of the galaxy. A rogue archaeologist who once worked for Darth Vader, Chelli Aphra truly represents the balance between light and dark in the Star Wars universe with her constantly changing moral ambiguity. She's central to two of the Star Wars' comics best story arcs, Vader Down and Screaming Citadel, and her two murder droids are the perfect antithesis to C3PO (who sucks) and R2D2. Doctor Aphra will make you laugh and hit you right in the feels, all delivered in an authentic Star Wars package.
2. Darth Vader (Volume 1 and 2)
Written by Kieron Gillen (Volume 1) and Charles Soule (Volume 2)
Art by Salvador Larocca (Volume 1) and Giuseppe Camuncoli (Volume 2)
Color by Edgar Delgado (Volume 1) and David Curiel (Volume 2)
Letters by VC's Joe Caramagna
There is no movie villain (or hero, really) as iconic as the Sith Lord Darth Vader, and both volumes of the Darth Vader comic illustrate further what makes the fallen Jedi so heinous. Remember how when you saw Rogue One and that Darth Vader scene made you simultaneously terrified yet slightly aroused? Imagine Vader taking on an entire regiment of Rebel troops on a barren planet- you'll get that with the six-issue Vader Down arc. Wonder what Vader got into in between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back? Volume one's got you covered. How bout the 30 years prior to A New Hope that saw the Empire's rise to galactic domination and eradication of the Jedi religion? Volume two fills that gap. Simply put: Darth Vader is incredible
1. Star Wars (duh)
Written by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen
Art by John Cassaday and Salvador Larocca
Colors by Laura Martin and Guru e-FX
Letters by Chris Eliopoulos and VC's Clayton Cowles
No surprise here- the Star Wars main comic book is a must read for any Star Wars fan. With over 40 issues to date, the main comic fills in the time between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back with the unheard stories of Han, Luke, and Leia's ongoing war against the Galactic Empire. The series includes major revelations about multiple massive characters in the Star Wars universe, including Han Solo's secret first marriage, Obi Wan's exploits on Tatooine following the Jedi purge, and even adventures from Master Yoda's early days. Every six-issues or so, the series will jump back in time to tell the stories of older Jedis like Yoda and Obi Wan, however, the main story arc provides a day by day perspective of the Galactic Civil War that is sometimes missing from the films. Like Rogue One, this series does not shy away from putting the grit of the Rebellion on full display. Also, Star Wars introduces the Empire's SCAR squadron, featuring the lightsaber wielding Sergeant Kreel and his ruthless band of special operations stormtroopers who actually hit what they're shooting at. That alone makes it worthy of your parseks.
So go to your local comic store (like Comic Kingdom if you're in Reno!) or re-up your Amazon Prime membership, get your hands on these books, and get reading. By the time you finish, I am sure the title of episode nine will at least be revealed. (Comics are quick reads, if you don't get that joke).
Honorable mention to the Princess Leia mini series. I haven't read it, but my dad says it's great and I miss Carrie Fisher. Ever since she passed away the slave Leia poster in my room feels a lot weirder to have hanging.