The Force is strong with Marvel Comics.
When Disney acquired Lucasfilm and all things Star Wars in late 2012, it was simple mathematics that the new powers-that-be would move Star Wars comics from Dark Horse to Marvel. And move they did, unleashing a barrage of ever-expanding titles for Star Wars fans to pore over.
There has been a continuing comic series simply titled Star Wars, following the events of Episode IV. Luke, Han, Chewie, Leia and the rest of the gang are all there, falling in and out of intergalactic peril. There has a been a 25 part series following our favourite Dark Lord of the Sith, apply titled Darth Vader. Not to be outdone, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewie and Lando have all have individual limited 5 issue series, giving readers an opportunity to delve deeper into their lore.
Heck, even Dr. Aphra (a surprisingly popular character coming out of the Darth Vader storyline) has her own comic series just released this month.
Tantalizing fans even more, Star Wars: Shattered Empire was released. This four part mini-series picks up right at the end of Return of the Jedi and follows Han and Leia on the forest moon of Endor, neutralizing the last of the Empire’s sinister agents.
Not enough Star Wars titles for you? Marvel has also moved well beyond the Original Trilogy.
The Prequels have not been forgotten, although many fans might hope they’d be. Anakin and Obi-Wan is another 5 issue limited series, following the two Jedi before the events of Attack of the Clones. Further, the success of the animated series Rebels has awarded Kanan with his own series titled Kanan: The Last Padawan.
Coming full circle to the present, The Force Awakens has been pillaged as well. A limited issue series has been created turning film into comic. Poe Dameron has his own continuing series. Even C-3P0, with his bizarre red arm, has a single issue devoted to said arm and how it came about.
Through Marvel Comics, Star Wars titles have come fast and furious. But the big question is—are they any good?
The easy answer is yes, for the most part. But, as with any spin offs from a successful franchise like Star Wars, there will be some titles that get it right and some that slightly miss the mark. Now, missing the mark doesn’t mean these comics are bad, they just aren’t crafted as well as one would have liked. Doing anything within the Star Wars brand comes with high expectations. And within any long series, there are peaks and valleys.
In general, the best of the bunch have been Star Wars and Darth Vader. The best of that bunch has been Vader Down, a cross over between the two titles (see my review if you don’t believe me). Not surprisingly, these titles house the most iconic and beloved of Star Wars characters from the Original Trilogy. From there, mini-series such as Han Solo and Lando were good, but not incredible. They were something you knew you had to read, but wouldn’t go out of your way to read again.
And why do you have to read these? Why not just pass over them on your weekly comic purchases?
One of the best parts of these Marvel Star Wars comics—every story is canon. Under George Lucas, the Star Wars extended universe never had to fit seamlessly into either the Original Trilogy, Prequels or Clone Wars cartoons. Those were gospel. The countless novels and comics written in that time were not under the direct watch of the continuity cops. But with Disney now at the helm, the cops are in business.
And that’s great news for fans. While many Star Wars comics by Dark Horse were terrific, knowing now that every panel is scrutinized by Marvel to fit into the past timelines as well as future plot events is fantastic. There is careful planning going on behind the scenes, and knowing that as a reader is very exciting. It adds a layer of detective work when reading. Everything in these Marvel Star Wars comics is a part of the Star Wars bible. That has added further interest in reading titles one might not readily pick up at your local comic shop.
So, what will the future hold for this new run of ever-expanding Star Wars comics at Marvel?
Titles like Star Wars, Poe Dameron, and Dr. Aphra will continue to be ongoing. There have been Internet rumblings of a Darth Maul limited series slated for 2017. And knowing the Star Wars machine has no signs of slowing down, there will undoubtedly be more on the slate.
For fans that can’t get enough Star Wars, these are great times. Saga films. Stand-alone anthology films. Novels. Comics. And it’s the latter that has been the most productive. While the quality might not be a homerun for every title, the brain trust at Marvel is definitely looking to satisfy fans urges with variety—a cornucopia of far, far away delights.
With all the Star Wars comic titles, there is likely something for everyone.