The best comics from a Galaxy Far, Far Away…
The new Star Wars canon has given us plenty of great comics and one of the highlights has been the distinct miniseries focusing on different characters.
Miniseries allow story teams to tell more concise stories and have a better focus on an event or characters. Plus, it’s not that hard to keep up with these as each miniseries is only 4 or 5 issues, it’s not like ongoing series that often last for years and entail cross-overs, etc.
In this post I’ll be ranking from my least favorite to my favorite spin-off miniseries that have been released in tradepaper back version so far.
With this book, Chewbacca got his own adventure…without Han Solo! Written by Gerry Duggan and with art by Phil Noto the book sounded great on the paper but personally, I thought it didn’t turn out as good as it could have been. I wasn’t as thrilled and excited as the other series when I read it. It didn’t quite catch my eye. Chewie crashes on a planet finding himself on his own, trying to go back to the Alliance while having to help Zarro, a young girl. It should be said there are many great things in this comics that deserve to be mentioned. Firstly with Zarro, Marvel keeps female characters to the foreground and that’s something important (that not all franchises do). Then, there were some cool alien designs like Jaum and Tyvak. Tyvak is a Shistavanen, a wolf-like alien first seen in A New Hope. Having alien species seen in the movies re-used here and there help cement this with the continuity of the Star Wars universe. And finally let’s not forget that this comics was visually beautiful!
6. Lando Calrissian
Lando is one of the coolest character from the Original Trilogy with his charming persona, what’s not to love? He was a dead cert among the characters who deserved his own series. The story takes place before he joined the Alliance and before he had Cloud City so what we got was smuggler Lando and I loved it! And because you have Lando, you had to have his loyal friend Lobot. Their friendship was surprisingly explored in a beautiful way within this story. This series was Lando at his best and that’s more than I could have hoped for! And there were some nice surprises along the way — the Scimitar (Maul’s ship first seen The Phantom Menace) and Mas Amedda! These comics keep connecting all eras together with these appearances and that’s the beauty of it as well!
This miniseries focused its story upon Leia and Evaan Verlaine, a female rebel pilot. Both decided to go on a mission to save the remaining people of Alderaan (that the Empire is hunting down after having destroyed the planet). I thought it was a beautiful story of hope and a very personal one for Leia as it dealt with the aftermath of the loss of her planet. Having more personal stories like that for the character makes it even more important for their overall story and that’s why I loved the Princess Leia book. It was also great that they teamed her up with another female character rather than Han or Luke and my hope for the future is to see more stories including Evaan because she was quite an interesting and cool character in this series! My only complaint with this one was that visually the art (Terry Dodson art, Jordie Bellaire, colorist) wasn’t as appealing to me as that within the other miniseries.
4. Han Solo
The Han Solo miniseries has been highly entertaining, it was a great story and the team behind it really captured well the character of Han Solo, in his personality but also on the page. It’s an absolutely wonderful likeness of Harrison Ford on the pages. There are maybe one or two panels where Han Solo actually looks like Tom Cruise instead of Harrison Ford but that allowed me to imagine how Cruise could look like as a Star Wars character…now I need to see him in a Star Wars movie! There was everything that you would expect from a Han Solo story. I loved how the Han-Leia relationship was handled — halfway between how it was in A New Hope and at the beginning of The Empire Strikes Back, which was almost perfect as this comics takes place between these two movies. General Cracken even makes a cameo appearance (he was in the deleted scenes of Return of the Jedi and he even got his own Hasbro figure). He is the intelligence chief of the Alliance, the superior of General Draven from Rogue One).
3. Shattered Empire
When The Force Awakens was announced, I immediately thought “but what happens just after Return of the Jedi ends?”. Shattered Empire answered those questions and it did it in quite an amazing way, it was a compelling story. The comics picked up exactly where ROTJ ended and you could see that the war between the Alliance and the Empire was far from finished. The story follows the parents of Poe Dameron who teamed up with each one of the main characters of the Original Trilogy — Han, Leia, Luke and even Lando Calrissian was part of the fight. It was an action-packed comic — there was some action on Endor and then it went onto different planets including the return of Naboo. Leia went on the planet of her mother Padmé and there were plenty of awesome Prequels callbacks. I loved the daughter-mother connections and the fact that the presence of the Dark side (Darth Maul) could still be felt after all these years. Luke’s part was also very intriguing with the Force trees from the Jedi Temple (that we had seen before in The Clone Wars) and it’ll be interesting if this comes back in The Last Jedi. I think it’s also a must read before Battlefront II gets released as the two stories takes place at the same time and you’ll encounter one of the Sentinels, first seen in this book.
2. Obi-Wan & Anakin
With Obi-Wan & Anakin, we got our first look at how Obi-Wan trained Anakin after The Phantom Menace. In Attack of the Clones, we got the end of the training so we saw how the dynamic between the two was balanced. Here we saw how that dynamic was arrived at, thus showing how their relationship came to be in AOTC. This duo is one of my favorite in Star Wars so I obviously loved seeing more of it. It explored a period of Anakin’s history that we hadn’t seen in detail. It went into uncharted territories which was curiously intriguing, I also loved that Palpatine was there and already manipulating the young Anakin. My only complaint is that 5 issues wasn’t enough, they should have turned it into a main series and going with it for 25 issues, there is still so much to tell about their story in between TPM and AOTC!
1. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
My favorite Star Wars canon comics though was not published by Marvel (although you can get it digitally on their site) but by Dark Horse. It was the last of the Star Wars Dark Horse comics published but also the first one as part of the new canon. It was adapted from an untold arc from Star Wars The Clone Wars. It told the story of Maul after the episode The Lawless (Season 5 Episode 15). It answered many questions about Maul and Mother Talzin. There were plenty of “villains vs villains’ fight sequences and that was amazing. And of course, Obi-Wan showed up because when Maul is there, there has to be Obi-Wan, their story is connected. This comic leads to the death of some characters, accordingly I won’t name them. If you haven’t read this title yet, I’ll recommend you do, you won’t regret it. It was an amazing story from The Clone Wars! Do it!