Archive for comics

Review: lolwut?

Posted in Fun, Reviews with tags , , , on 31 December 2015 by Megan

Instead of April Fools, I’m going to introduce New Year Fools. Because I got this book for Christmas and just have to share how outrageously kooktastic it is. Also, what else does anyone have to do on New Years Eve at 20 to midnight? Oh, yeah, play Star Wars The Old Republic . . . which is why this is a scheduled post XD

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The ultimate thing to have mixed feelings about. First of all, it’s extremely visually appealing — that’s the best thing I can say about it. It’s got truly beautiful artwork. It’s also truly insane. On the one hand, I think it’s a very interesting concept, but on the other hand, especially given its copyright date, I feel like it was partly created just to lampoon George Lucas and further undermine his work. “Look, look what kind of stuff he’d give you. But the great Disney will give you better Star Wars.” I’m probably importing a great deal of subtext to even have that thought, but the comic itself doesn’t acknowledge just how much creative license it inevitably took. “This was George’s vision!” they insist — when Lucas himself insisted that his vision was pretty fluid and ended up having little to do with either this comic or the 1977 theatrical release the fanboys crave so much.

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Anyway, when I got it for Christmas, it was something I had never heard of at all. And I remain the most impressed by the really amazing artwork. Since I don’t get anything else out of comics, I do require them to look good, and it looks very good. I really enjoy the style although I don’t know why they used Jay of Jay and Silent Bob as the model for the protagonist.

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You thought I was exaggerating? I wasn’t. That is clearly the model.

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On the other hand, Vader as the non-Force-sensitive military commander with a cyborg eye is some definite eye-candy. So’s Valorum, the Sith prince who is not Vader. But I’ll get to that in a second.

Anyway, the plot does its job by being an early draft version of the movie we’re all familiar with. Jay Annikin Starkiller is the son of a former Jedi-Bendu; his younger brother has been slain by the evil empire. His father apprentices him to General Skywalker, who is seeking a war with the empire because they’re evil and must be stopped. Princess Leia wants to be heading off to college, but since the Empire has attacked her peaceful homeworld and her father has been killed, that option is off the table. Starkiller and Skywalker escape the planet with Leia’s younger brothers with the aid of the reptilian Han Solo, and they all go to the Wookiee homeworld for some reason. Leia has been captured by Darth Vader and a Sith, so of course Starkiller comes to rescue her. Valorum decides to help Starkiller escape, and then Queen Leia gives Starkiller accolades or whatever.

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Apart from the sheer novelty, the only thing I liked about the story was the Sith Prince fighting alongside the Jedi Padawan to free the princess. That part was actually really cool and I’m sorry no element of it made it into any of the six films. A lot of their dialogue was really charming and it made the villains a little more complex than they ultimately end up being in the movies themselves.

The comic actually manages to have even fewer women than the original trilogy, by virtue of adding nearly 20 men to the character roster but leaving Leia as the only female with any lines. (Her mother and an instantly-abandoned handmaiden appear only briefly.) Normally I prefer my literature light on the ladies, but there was something pretty tired about it in this one. Maybe because the “love story” kicks off with Annikin Starkiller literally beating his love interest unconscious the first time he meets her.

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This is so wrong on so many levels, I was left speechless. First of all, Starkiller is established as a young soldier who has led men into battle, so he’s not some kid. Princess Leia on the other hand is literally departing for her first semester of college — so, a fresh high school graduate is punched unconscious by a war veteran. The real kicker is that he beats her unconscious because she’s insisting he also bring her teenage handmaiden with her to safety. He refuses because his orders didn’t explicitly mention bringing anyone else. So he beats her unconscious. This is NOT okay and I don’t know whose idea it was. Horrifying.

The comic also features some other fun instances of abuse — the senior Starkiller is a hilariously unbalanced half cyborg who whips his son with a whip for being distracted at the news that they are under attack.

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Our heroes! Woo!

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So, yes, a novelty, very entertaining, which I have given a place of honor among all the Star Wars apocrypha that I own. Still more canon than Disney! *ba dum tiss*

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Review: Vader’s Quest

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on 7 December 2015 by Megan

vadersquestHere’s a confession my regular readers are probably sick of hearing: I’m not in to comic books. I’m not. If you’re a regular, you’ve heard me say they’re hard to read, they’re unappealing, they’re confusing. I spent a lot of my realcanon years trying to ignore them and pretend they didn’t exist in the canon, unless the novels forced me to accept them like Dark Empire.

The Disney reboot has given me some good things, though. It’s caused me to explore and accept parts of realcanon I never would’ve dreamed of before. It’s even gotten me to the point where I purchased this without even reading it, taking for granted it would fit as canon between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

And it’s got some great stuff going for it. The story of How did Vader find out who Luke was? has almost certainly been on fans’ minds since 1980 and the memorable crawl that states that Vader is obsessed with finding young Skywalker.

In short, this is the story of how Vader discovers Luke’s name. It provides a strong background for the fateful holocall in ESB, especially after the 2004 edits made it sound like Vader didn’t know who he was hunting in spite of the fact that the crawl explicitly identified it only 20 minutes previously.

The parts with Luke were not anywhere near as strong as the ones with Vader as Vader scrambles to learn Skywalker’s name. There’s also a sub plot with the rebel pilot who had to sit the Battle of Yavin out (explaining how Luke got an x-wing to begin with) — and how badly he resents Skywalker and the lengths his resentment takes him to.

However, the bits with Luke . . . well, they might have been okay, but I was overwhelmingly distracted by why the artist chose to have Luke in his moisture farmer clothes, as if Luke only maintains one outfit (or a dozen of the same-looking outfits) for three years. He was even shown in a different suit at the end of ANH! I’m sorry, you might think it’s petty, but if anyone ever asks me what I remember about this comic, it’s going to be the fact that Luke is shown cartoonishly wearing the same thing he wore at the beginning of ANH.

Otherwise, the Luke segments just miss the mark. Some cool bits about him being blind and hints about sight being deceiving, but they’re either hastily done or not well developed, and I’m sure it’s not just the fact that I can’t track comic books very well that led to me not having a clear idea of what the point of most of this was.

I’d give it a positive-neutral rating if Goodreads let me. Two seems harsh, but 3 stars is too generous. Interesting story, poor execution. Vital curiosity satisfied, but in a curiously confusing fashion. Decent, but not great.

Nar Shaddaa

Posted in Questions with tags , , , , on 1 June 2011 by Megan

What is Nar Shaddaa, who up with it, and why do all the video games use it? — Kristine

Nar Shaddaa

The Smuggler’s Moon: Dark Coruscant

Nar Shaddaa, also known as the Smuggler’s Moon and Vertical City, made its first appearance in the Dark Horse Comics series Dark Empire. In this series, originally released in six bi-monthly parts between December 1991 and October 1992, our heroes go up against the Emperor Reborn (Palpatine restored to life in a cloned body through the power of the Dark Side). When Luke is taken to the Deep Core world of Byss and warns Leia and Han not to follow him, they immediately find a way to do so by connecting with some of Han’s smuggler friends on the moon of Nar Shaddaa.

As Nal Hutta is the center of the Huttese Empire and Nar Shaddaa is the largest of Nal Hutta’s moons, it is infamous throughout the galaxy for illegal activity.  Like Coruscant, the moon is completely grown over in urban development, and this has earned it the nickname Little Coruscant; it has been compared to a dirty version of the lustrous coursica gem from which Coruscant gets its name. Its government is organized crime, and its major exports are contraband, technology, weapons, spice, and slaves.

As far as its use in the video games, it has or will have appearances in Star Wars: Dark Forces, Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, The Force Unleashed, and The Old Republic. (It was mentioned only in Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy). I haven’t played most of these, but guess one of the primary reasons for its popularity is its essentially lawless environment. Star Wars has been compared to “cowboys in space,” and apart from the wild, wild west shooting opportunities, the intricate dark city provides ample areas for gameplay.

Appearances of Nar Shaddaa (also used as sources):

  • The Hutt Gambit (A. C. Crispen)
  • Rebel Dawn (A. C. Crispen)
  • Dark Empire (1st appearance) (Tom Veitch)
  • Dark Forces: Rebel Agent (William C. Dietz)
  • Darksaber (Kevin J. Anderson)

Other Sources:

Star Wars: The Essential Atlas (Wallace & Fry)
A Guide to the Star Wars Universe: Second Edition (Bill Slavicsek)
The Wookieepedia: Nar Shaddaa