Category Archives: Books & Comics

[Review] Star Wars Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm

Our last review of the Poe Dameron ongoing comic series was with issue 6. I was waiting for the second volume in trade paperback to be continue my reviews. This second volume includes issues 8-13, issue 7 will be with volume 3 this October.

In this story arc, Poe is no longer searching for Lor San Tekka, but he is tasked to escort C-3PO to Kaddak in order for him to retrieve a droid operative. C-3PO is much more than just a protocol droid for the Resistance, he has a big network of droid operatives (as he likes call them, “not spies”) who gives him information on the First Order. The droid operative they’re after on Kaddak is called N1-ZX and is a droid commando as seen in The Clone Wars. It’s wonderful to see all the eras cross between comics from ship designs to species and droids too appearing in various eras, it really makes these stories more connected in my opinion. For his mission, Poe takes with him Oddy Muva, his technician friend as he’s still not sure who is the mole in his Black Squadron.

One of the great things from this story arc was Terex’s backstory. I really liked that we learned more about this villain, it adds to the character. After his days within the Empire, he may have become a criminal but he never really left his soldier life, after all he returned to it with the First Order. He’s quite obsessive and impulsive but also intelligent and that’s what makes him a very dangerous enemy but his impulsiveness and obsessiveness is what I think will lead him to his fall.

I would say that as usual with the Poe Dameron comics, we get fun and entertaining adventures and this time it involved C-3PO. He was surprisingly not as annoying as usual and showed to be brave, which doesn’t happen everyday! But the droid who really shone was N1-ZX, annoying and funny as it gets. His end was just as awesome as it gets when he received the template personality of Mister Bones (Snap’s droid from the Aftermath trilogy!), it became a real savage until he was destroyed.

We saw more of Oddy Muva this time as he went with Poe Dameron for this mission. The surprise was that the Abednedo slave from Terex’s ship was his wife! That was some nice plot twist and it also teases who is the mole, it would make sense that Oddy was forced to give information to Terex as he had his wife in hostage. With this volume, Oddy got to save his wife. His rescue mission may have been insane but it was an act of bravery nevertheless. And him being the mole is something you can forgive I think, considering the situation.

Now about the deaths, we witnessed the end of the Carrion Spike! First introduced in the Tarkin novel, after the fall of the Empire, it had become Terex’s ship but it was ultimately destroyed by the First Order during a battle against Terex’s pirate. The other death was one I didn’t expect – L’ulo. He died protecting the escape pods containing the people Terex had turned into servants so he had an honorable death. However, the way the scene was made, it didn’t have a big emotional impact. Something was missing and that’s disappointing as I liked L’ulo and would have liked him to get the farewell he deserved. However, maybe in volume 3, the character will get a deserving funeral and that will make up that disappointing death scene.

The last thing I want to talk about is the visuals. As usual with Poe comics, the art is nice and the artist really captures Poe’s likeness even though I think they should give him more expressions because in this volume, he had a small range of expression and Oscar Isaac is much more expressive than this! What I didn’t really like was Terex’s pirate fleet design, it made sense though as those were ships were assembled from several parts of different ships but it was really ugly. Kaddak was beautiful! I loved this city built around this giant red crystal, if we can see it again in future stories, I would appreciate it!

7/10 The Gathering Storm is an entertaining story with some nice art, fun droids and Poe being awesome as usual!

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[Review] Star Wars Darth Maul

The trade paperback of the Darth Maul mini series is released today. The trade paperback contains the 5 issues along with a short story featuring one of Maul’s probe droids befriending another droid on Tatooine during The Phantom Menace, it’s always nice to have some nice fun droid stories especially after this kind of big dark stories.

Darth Maul miniseries takes place before The Phantom Menace. It’s the second pre-TPM story we get in canon (the first one being Yoda as part of the main ongoing Star Wars comic series) and hopefully, we’ll see many more taking place in this time period we haven’t seen a lot about.

One of my favorite things of this miniseries is the diversity you get in it – there are alien species from all eras (Prequels, Originals, Sequels), it’s as good as it gets. It’s visually beautiful to see all these species appearing in the same story. And we even see some Kyuzo, the same species as Constable Zuvio, they are even dressed similarly as him! I really loved seeing species and ships from The Clone Wars! You can even spot in the background several times the one and only HONDO OHNAKA! You can spot Lom Pyke and his pyke Syndicate too and the Moogans also have a role in the story. What I was the most happy about was the return of Cad Bane and Aurra Sing. These two were hired by Darth Maul, on their team a Culisetto (species first seen in The Force Awakens) and a Chadra-Fan (species introduced in A New Hope). The bounty hunter team was a perfect combination of species across all eras.

Pre-TPM Maul is obviously not the same Maul from The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, he is closer to the TPM Maul – a man of a few words, even though we get to go into his mind, he talks a lot more to himself! There is one thing that always comes back with Maul – his rage, his anger and you can see how it already consumes him. This miniseries gives us a better look at his apprentice-master relationship he has with Darth Sidious and as you could expect from Sidious – there is a lot of manipulation.

Now, about the story, it’s interesting and the last two issues are extremely action-packed! Darth Maul is on the trail of a Jedi Padawan who has been captured and he sees in it the perfect opportunity to test his skills. For this mission, he hires Cad Bane and his team. Obviously, the situation is more complicated that it seems and it leads to a lot of fight and badassery. Cad Bane is his usual self and I love it, he’s such a great bounty hunter! The duel between Maul and the Padawan was spectacular! It keeps you entertain for sure!

Ross and Woodard (the artist and color artist) have done an incredible job in this comic. It’s at the same time really realistic in the way that Ross really did the characters right and there is also a comic feel sometimes with some images. It’s something that really works. The palette of colors knows how to be dark when it needs to and to be colorful as well.

There is one thing I want to mention even though it’s not necessarily important – Nar Shaddaa. I love how it looked like in Star Wars The Old Republic and I’m really happy it has a similar look in this comic (and the other appearances it made in canon), it’s a big city but it has a more filthy feel.

There is a huge connection with Star Wars Rebels in the story, in a flashback we see Darth Sidious taking Darth Maul to … MALACHOR! So now we know how Maul knew the planet. But we also got a better look at the fight that took place there long before these characters were even born and it seemed like an epic and dark fight! Maybe one day, could we get the full story of what happened on Malachor?

7.5/10 It’s a great miniseries, visually beautiful and with an entertaining story. The question is, did we really need a Darth Maul story taking place in there? I’m not sure it was needed, there are many other stories that would be great to be told in the Pre-TPM era. However, this miniseries is good enough for it to be worth of your time!

[Review] Star Wars: Phasma

WARNING SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE BOOK YET

I just finished reading Star Wars Phasma and I have plenty of things to say about it, it took me just a few days to read it. This book is written by Delilah S. Dawson. Phasma was first introduced in The Force Awakens but she barely had any screen time there. However, it seems that with The Last Jedi, she will have a bigger role, which is something I’m very excited about. I immediately loved the character in TFA, this chrome armor was really badass and this novel gave us her story of how she came to be this Captain of the First Order. If you love Phasma, this novel is for you!

The interesting thing about Phasma’s story is that it’s a character who tells what happened according to what another character told her and during the novel, we learn that Vi Moraldi, the Resistance spy who tells Phasma’s story has embellished some parts of the story. So we’re not exactly getting the story as it happened but what these characters wanted us to know about her. Therefore, even knowing who this chrome warrior, there is still a part of mystery that remains and it elevates Phasma’s past to a legend or a tale. Having this story told this way is actually a good fit for such a character.

We learned more about the First Order as well and how it works to rise in higher ranks. Without surprise, it’s similar to how the Empire did, officers murdering each other. By the end of the book, it is mentioned that Phasma did kill people to get higher up in the FO hierarchy but the one murder that has an important place in the book is – Brendol Hux. It’s a character I’ve waited since his first introduction in the Star Wars books and I think he got the fate he deserves – killed by Phasma using a very painful method (a dangerous gold beetle from her home planet) with the approval of his son Armitage Hux, the General Hux we know from The Force Awakens! On a scale from 1 to 100 how messed up is the Hux family? 200 for sure! The more we know about the Hux family, the more I feel like they’re even more dangerous than Tarkin was.

But the more dangerous character in all this is Phasma. She is as deadly as it gets. Obviously, there are reasons to that. When we look at when she is from – Parnassos, it’s killed or be killed and no one wants be killed. Parnassos is basically Hell. This planet is so horrible that it’s not enjoyable to live there, or at least to live in the part where Phasma and her family lived. What happened on Parnassos reminded me a lot of The Scorch Trials movie/book (from The Maze Runner series). It had this crazy world/impossible place to live/desolation feel, that I really love. The events happening there are at times extremely violent and because of this, I think the novel was the best way to tell this story, a film or tv show medium would have been impossible to watch at times, it would have had to be rated-R and Star Wars is not a rated-R universe. The fight in the Arena against Wranderous or the way the body disintegrate when beaten by a gold beetle is truly atrocious and violent. With the novel, there is no real problem for it to be violent. If there is one thing to know about Phasma is that she will do whatever it takes to survive even leading her entire family to their death. I said there are reasons to the way she acted but it has its limits because Phasma is a real monster, with everything she did. And she made sure that no one stays alive to tell what she is capable of doing or at least she thought so because Siv is still alive and told everything to Vi but that Phasma doesn’t know. Does this character have a heart? It’s difficult to tell. Is it possible to justify all the horrible things she has done and had let happen for her sole survival? It’s hardly possible to justify this and I think that’s exactly what makes Captain Phasma a fearsome villain – she is as deadly as it gets. And even Armitage Hux shoud be afraid that one day she could kill him or betray the First Order in order to suit her needs. Knowing this, I really look forward to see where her story is going with the rest of the Sequel Trilogy.

There are other characters to talk about in this book – Captain Cardinal and Vi Moraldi. Captain Cardinal is a First Order stormtrooper with a red armor, that’s badass. He is an orphan from Jakku. He trains the young recruits before they are sent to Phasma to complete their training. He is the contrary of who she is. He is someone who has loyalty but he has also been brainwashed by the lies of the First Order. However, beyond that, he is still human and the way he ends up treating Moraldi proves it. Eventually, it’s his uncontrolled hate that leads Cardinal to his fall. Whether he manages to live is a mystery. He is wounded by a blade using poison but considering Moraldi is taking him to the medbay where Siv lives, he still has a chance to survive. That’s where I felt like this book needs a sequel to tell what happens next to Cardinal, Moraldi, Siv and her child. If Cardinal survives, there’s the possibility that he joined the Resistance and that would be interesting! At the beginning, I hated Cardinal but the more we got to know him, the more I started to appreciate him and understand who he was. As for Vi Moraldi, I love her! She is a strong female character and I always say yes to more strong female characters in Star Wars! She got a great personality that suits a spy, it would be nice seeing more stories about her being told!

8.5/10 Delilah S. Dawson has delivered a great book delving into Phasma’s past at the same time exciting and terrifying. Dawson’s writing style is smooth and easy to read, which made the book a pleasure to read! She created great characters like Moraldi, Siv and Cardinal while at the same time developing already existing characters in a brilliant way!

The best of Star Wars in 2016

2016 has been an eventful year, it was the release of the first anthology/spinoff movie, another season of rebels, the filming of Episode VIII, Star Wars Celebration Europe, new comics, new novels, so many great things. Here’s our ranking:

10. Galaxy Of Heroes – Spaceships expansion

Along with bringing us many new characters to play, Galaxy Of Heroes also had a huge expansion this year – adding spaceship battles which was a lot of fun!

9. Poe Dameron Comics

2016 was the launch of the ongoing comics series about Poe Dameron giving us a better look at The Force Awakens era, it took place not long before the movie and features Poe’s quest to find Lor San Tekka. You can read my reviews of the first two issues, the third, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth issues.

8. The launch of the Rogue One Merchandise

New movie means new merchandise. The end of 2016 was the launch of Rogue One merchandise with plenty of new t-shirts, mugs, posters to buy and also new Hasbro figures, a great time for collectors! You can see my reviews of Hasbro figures in the Toys & Videos Games category, here’s some of my reviews: Jyn Erso (3.75 Black Series), Death Trooper Specialist (3.75 Black Series), Chirrût Imwe, Baze Malbus.

7. Obi-Wan & Anakin Comics

Obi-Wan & Anakin miniseries was the best comics of 2016, it was a timeline that had never been explored before in canon – between Episode I and II, showing us the training of Anakin by Obi-Wan and the start of Palpatine manipulating Anakin, what better to ask? We need more of this! You can read my review here.

6. The Rogue One Books

New movie means new books and with Rogue One we got some new amazing books. First, the prequel novel to the movie – Catalyst. It enhanced so much the movie experience because it explained many things that when you see the movie you understand why it happens like the Krennic-Tarkin rivalry, or the Krennic-Ersos relationship, how Saw Gerrera knew the Erso, Stardust … or even the flashback scene with young Jyn and her parents along with Krennic in an apartment, people who read the book know that it is Coruscant and that it’s from the time of Catalyst. You can read my review of the book here, it was done before the movie was released.
Then there were the Art of Rogue One and the Rogue One Ultimate Visual Guide, two amazing books that also enhanced the movie, giving us a better look at the behind of the scenes of the movie and more information about the new characters but also more details concerning already well-known characters like Mon Mothma and Bail Organa and their role in the Alliance to Restore the Republic.

5. The Force Awakens on Blu-Ray
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The release of The Force Awakens on blu-ray was obviously an highlight of this year, seeing this movie again and again was fantastic! We also saw some deleted scenes and the collector edition brought us the best Leia scene of the movie, it only lasted a few seconds but it was an amazing one and it really too bad that it has been deleted, hopefully one day, JJ Abrams will realize this scene needs to be added to the movie, it was not only Leia’s best scene but it also helped in just a few seconds to add context about Resistance and Republic which was confusing in the movie for the general audience.

You can read my review of the first blu-ray release of the movie, here.

4. Star Wars: Bloodline
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Bloodline was an amazing novel focused on Leia, a few years before The Force Awakens, it helped us understand the political context more precisely and we learned how Leia came to create the Resistance and the rise of the First Order threat. There was a lot of politics in this book and that was great because you don’t have anything without politics, if you remove this, there are no wars so it’s important to have these storylines, it helps us understand the story.
You can read my review here.

3. Star Wars Rebels – “Twilight Of The Apprentice”

This was the season 2 finale of Rebels and it lead to the big confrontation between Ahsoka and her former master Darth Vader, I think no one was ready for this moment, so many feels, Matt Lanter (who voiced Anakin in The Clone Wars) was even brought back to record a line during this scene. It was a mind-blowing episode with amazing lightsaber fights! It was the return of Maul, who came back with a bang killing some of the Inquisitors, and making Kanan blind, quite a dark episode! This was the perfect way to end the season and the last scene certainly brought some tears with Vader leaving the Sith Temple of Malachor while a little silhouette of Ahsoka going back in there. You can read my review here.

2. Star Wars Celebration Europe in London

Every year there is a Star Wars Celebration either in Europe or in the United States. However, this one in London was even more special to me as it was the first time I went to a Star Wars Celebration and it was a memorable 3-day event, it really was the place to be! The Rogue One panel and the Rogue One costumes booth was the highlight of this event for me, seeing the cast and crew was more than I could ever have hoped, it was truly fantastic! The Star Wars Rebels panel was also a great moment of the Celebration, seeing the first two episodes many months in advance was delightful! So many awesome panels took place during these days but there is one, I want to mention especially. I will forever be grateful to have seen Carrie Fisher for her Princess Diaries panel during the Star Wars Celebration Europe in July. She was a wonderful person, she’ll always be in our hearts! The Celebration was also the opportunity to meet some of the amazing people from Twitter like the team of Clone Corridor and some members of The Future Of The Force team. It’s always great when you can meet the people you talk to on Twitter.
You can read my posts about Carrie’s panel, Rogue One panel and costumes booth, Star Wars Rebels Panel and the Future Filmmakers panel.

1. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
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The best thing this year was without any doubt the release of ROGUE ONE, the first anthology movie. They set the bar extremely high for the next spinoffs. Rogue One was a brilliant Star Wars movie, it felt different but at the same time, it totally blend in the universe. Gareth Edwards understands Star Wars and even though I had never heard of him before (except for Godzilla), he proved how talented he was. He picked elements from the entire saga (the two series and the six movies) and also added something new which was the perfect recipe to create a good Star Wars movie! You can read my review here.

In 2016, we also lost beloved people from our favorite saga – Kenny Baker the man behind R2-D2, Erik Bauersfeld the voice of Admiral Ackbar and the legendary Carrie Fisher, our Princess Leia. May the Force be with them.

[Review] Star Wars: Catalyst A Rogue One Novel

Catalyst is written by James Luceno and it is a prequel to the movie Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. The novel focuses mainly on the Ersos (Galen and Lyra, Jyn’s parents) and Orson Krennic. It also stars other characters like Tarkin, Poggle The Lesser, Mas Amedda and Saw Gerrera.

As the cover suggests, the novel is about the early stages of the construction of the Death Star from the clone wars era to the Empire era. The Tarkin novel which was also written by Luceno completes Tarkin’s story from Catalyst, the two are heavily connected. At the end, Tarkin is where his story starts for his own novel, at the Sentinel Base. And having Luceno writing both is great, for both books he is able to find the same kind of tones, something very austere, menacing like the period is. It’s captivating.

The novel tells the story of how Krennic rises in the Imperial’s ranks as he is working on the Death Star and his plan to enlist Galen to work with him. Krennic is pure evil, he’s a manipulator and does everything he can to get what he wants, deception is something he likes to use a lot. He is someone who is always looking for more power. He is very similar to Tarkin’s lust for power and it’s actually no surprise that the two don’t like each other and try to get rid of the other. On the opposite, you have Galen and Lyra who are totally different. Both are pacifists who don’t want to have to take sides. Lyra  is a supporter of the Jedi and believe in their faith (though just to make clear she is not a force-sensitive). Galen is a scientist who is a specialist of crystals, especially Kyber crystals (the ones the Jedi use for their lightsabers).

The novel is divided into three parts, the first one during the clone wars and the two others during the early years of the Empire.

PART I – Life During Wartime

It picks up early in the clone wars. At this time, we have Galen and a pregnant Lyra being prisoner on Vallt after the regime changed and decided to support the Separatists. Krennic is already working on the secret project of the Death Star that only a few people know, not even the Jedi know, obviously if they had known they wouldn’t have accepted this. It shows how Palpatine is, going behind the Jedi’s back building his weapon. He even manipulates the people working on his toy. The scientists know the plans come from the Geonosians but nobody how the Republic got them, the truth being that Palpatine controls everything and Dooku brought him the plans at the end of Attack Of The Clones. The Death Star is built above Geonosis after the second battle of Geonosis that actually took place at the one year anniversary of the first one. There are heavy connections with Star Wars The Clone Wars. At the end of the second battle, we knew that Poggle The Lesser had been captured but we never learned how he escaped. Catalyst gives us the answer and that involves Krennic. The whole time, he manipulates the situation and creates lies and more lies. He is the one rescuing Galen, Lyra and baby Jyn from the Separatists, all of that as part of his plan to recruit Galen and it’s a plan that takes a long time. The first part ends when the clone wars ends, after Anakin has sent the order to deactivate the droid army on Mustafar. At that time, Galen, Jyn and Lyra are in the middle of one of the last battles of the war.

Throughout this part, we are told the Separatists may be working on a super weapon themselves and that they had scientists who had made researches on Kyber crystals. That threat is more clear when you have watched TCW especially the Story Reels of the Crystal Crisis arc that exactly deals with Kyber crystals.

PART II – The Pursuit Of Peace

The second part has Galen finally working for Krennic as part of the Celestial Power project, said to be a program to use kyber crystal as source of energy to power up worlds while Galen doesn’t but it is to weaponize the research and use it as the superlaser of the Death Star. We can see clearly in this part how Krennic is able to make Galen believe all of that, he tricks him and without even realizing it Galen starts to even believe the Jedi tried to assassinate Palpatine. However, Lyra realizes Krennic’s deception, she doesn’t know the whole picture but she does realize he lies. In this part, we have also Saw Gerrera first seen in the Onderon arc of TCW who is already a freedom fighter and already a little bit extremist. He leads a resistance on Salient system with Has Obbit (a new character who has realized too late that he was being played by Krennic for him to achieve his plan of gathering more materials for the secret weapon), resistance that turns out to be a trap created by Krennic to occupy Tarkin elsewhere. In TCW, he was already the more extreme of the group on Onderon and his sister’s death obviously lead him to being more like that. We can see in Catalyst that he’d be more ready to destroy everything and die rather than the Empire to have it but it doesn’t seem he knows when to retreat and regroup, he’s more into rushing in the action and make as much damage as possible, he is reckless in a way but that doesn’t make him a bad person, he is one of the first to rise against the Empire and that’s something that is extremely important.

In this part, we can see how the development of the Death Star is a HUGE secret, with Krennic even ready to kill scientists and destroy facilities to make sure the truth stays hidden.

PART III – Dead Reckoning

In this final part a lot of things happen. Krennic loses control of the situation with all his lies. Tarkin survives the battle of Salient and gets a high position in the Death Star project, the position he has in his own novel. Has Obbit is able to fool both Krennic and Tarkin, working for both and sending them false information. Galen after being what I could call a fool for believing Krennic finally realizes what is happening and for what his research is being used. Lyra, Galen and Jyn manage to escape the Imperial facility on Coruscant with the help of Saw Gerrera. That’s how the Ersos know Gerrera. He is the one leading them to Lah’mu, the planet we see in the trailers when Krennic comes to arrest Galen in a flashback.

8/10 This novel connects with the Prequels a lot especially The Clone Wars and also ties in with Tarkin novel. It’s a fantastic novel that sets things up for Rogue One, it already establishes the story for Galen, his dynamic with Orson Krennic, how the Ersos know Saw Gerrera … A lot of things that when we’ll see the movie will give us additional insight on the situation and the characters.

 

 

[Review] Poe Dameron #6

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The sixth issue of Poe Dameron ongoing series concludes another chapter of his adventure, he is able to get Grakkus out of prison and get the data about Lor San Tekka. This issue features even more of droids awesomeness, with BB-8 and his friend in the space station helping Poe and his team who are on the ground, you can clearly see the inspiration from the droids episodes from The Clone Wars. More of this in upcoming issues would be great! Agent Terex is failing again and yet the question rises of whether there’s a mole within Poe’s squadron. It’s possible but also there’s the possibility his X-Wing has been bugged hence why Terex would know? Right now, I’m not sure, mostly because I don’t see who would be the mole … We get to see Leia again at the end and Captain Phasma in hologram. The more we see Terex, the more I think he’s not that much of a manipulator/calculator but more reckless and someone who doesn’t care about anything as long as he succeeds. We can see that he doesn’t like that Poe is succeeding and that affects him, he’s determine to kill him now, maybe forgetting what his mission really is.
There’s one thing that was a bit exaggerated – the Carrion Spike passing through the station without having any scratches but while being attacked by X-Wings, it’s suffering damage. That’s a bit of a discrepancy and not much believable.

7/10 A lot of fun for another adventure with Poe and BB-8

[Review] Poe Dameron #5

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The fifth issue of the Poe Dameron comics series was released today. Just as the previous issues, it’s good, always entertaining! In this issue, there was a lot of The Clone Wars feels with BB-8 and his team of droids going on the adventure, it felt exactly like the droids arc from TCW and I loved it! The issue was divided in two – BB-8 and the droids in the space station working on their mission kicking ass but also having their ass kicked by a badass new droid, while on the ground Poe Dameron and his team fighting the insurgency Agent Terex created. We got a Prequel nod, after the Gungan criminal in another comics, here we had a Kaminoan scoundrel! Terex is a manipulator, it makes the perfect villain for this series! As usual, the drawings are very well done!

8/10 A fun adventure! This series doesn’t disappoint.