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.

[Review] Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin

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Obi-Wan & Anakin is a 5-part miniseries comics. It’s exactly what I wanted Marvel to do, it’s everything I wanted! Finally, we’re getting a Prequels miniseries, they need to do more comics like this, they’re focusing too much on the era between Episode IV and V, it’s becoming annoying to have both main series (apart from Poe Dameron) and miniseries only on that and Obi-Wan & Anakin is a great change, they need to do more miniseries like that, a main series would even be amazing – a Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon and Satine pre-TPM miniseries, a Padmé miniseries, all of that would be amazing ideas! Obi-Wan & Anakin went into second printings, proving it worked very well, I hope it shows Marvel, they should expand their stories for comics and do Prequels comics! And this Obi-Wan & Anakin story happens in an era that hasn’t been explored yet (in the canon universe) – between Episode I and II! This is an interesting period – the training of Anakin, we can see that it’s not easy, Anakin is doubting, he’s realizing it’s difficult and we can see that he’s reckless, there’s obviously a part of darkness in him, as we saw in AOTC and TCW, some of his reactions slowly pulls him there, his impatience … and all of it builds to his slow fall into darkness while struggling to be a good jedi, to be in the light. This comics also explores the friendship between Anakin and Palpatine, in AOTC, The Clone Wars and ROTS, we see Anakin often going to see the chancellor, they’re friends and this comics explores the early days of their friendships and how Palpatine manipulates him. The story obviously explores the master-padawan relationship between Obi-Wan and Anakin, and we are able to see a younger Anakin than in AOTC and his struggle, in flashbacks to the Jedi Temple we see him wanting to leave the Jedi Order because he’s impatient and the training is too difficult and that he wants to save the galaxy, in the end he is convinced to remain in the Jedi Order and continue his training, the mission his master and him were sent to helped him to realize he had to continue.
About this mission, it’s on an old world, destroyed by war, on which two groups keep fighting accusing that each one destroyed their world, they live for war, for destruction. And the designs of their airship and their planet was really great – there was this feeling of old, something ancient – one of the ruins looked like the Ancient Greek structures and so was the statue. For the airship it was reminiscent of the zeppelins. Speaking of visuals, visually this comics was truly breathtaking, the planet of Carnelion IV where the story took place was truly impressive! We also saw Coruscant in flashback and it was beautiful, it really felt like watching a movie. The characters also were well-done, capturing their facial expressions. Anakin was probably the most difficult to do for them as it was in between TPM and AOTC, so they had to draw him to look like in between Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen and they’ve done that with success! To go back to the story, it was divided between the present time on Carnelion IV and flashbacks, the flashbacks focused mostly on Anakin and Palpatine. The present time was the mission with Anakin and Obi-Wan, them on the planet trying to get to the place where the distress call was sent while discovering what was going on this planet and helping these people. It was interesting to have this contrast between the Jedi and these warmongers because even the scavenger who sent the distress call, she herself was a warmonger, she wanted to destroy both sides and keep the young to rebuild. The young helped Anakin even though the war called them back later on just before the Republic’s fleet arrived, the fleet was composed of frigates like the one seen at the beginning of TPM. This mission made Anakin realized, he couldn’t live the Jedi Order and that he had to finish this training. It was a great adventure for the two main characters.
The background species on Coruscant was quite diverse with all kind of aliens including a Gungan, there were aliens from the Prequels, the Originals and also one from the Sequels era a Tarsunt – that’s exactly how it should be done in terms of background having aliens from all the eras, something The Force Awakens failed to do and something that hopefully Episode VIII will be able to do, if the comics can do it so can the movies.

10/10 The best Marvel comics so far, visually amazing, great story, we need more comics taking place in the Prequels era!

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[Review] Star Wars Aftermath: Life Debt

Life Debt is the second book in the Aftermath trilogy written by Chuck Wendig. It takes place after Return of the Jedi. The first Aftermath book was such a disappointment in terms of content, I thought it was boring, it felt like we didn’t learn much, there were bits of details here and there and a few interesting interludes but it didn’t go further than that, maybe it was because the book was released before The Force Awakens and they were trying not to reveal too much of that era before. The best part of the first book was that one of its main characters Sinjir Rath Velus was the first major gay character in the Star Wars canon, it was great to have LGBT representation in this universe and hopefully this will lead to have LGBT characters in the movies as well because that’s also an essential part of having diversity. Sinjir is an amazing character and he has an interesting story as he used to be an Imperial so I think it would be great to have him beyond the Aftermath books. The worst thing about the book was the writing style, it was bad literally, a childish writing style (it’s even more felt in The Force Awakens comics adaptation, just take a look at the first issue that was released in June), it felt like it was a 9-year-old kid writing, also the author is a Prequel hater (he posts tweets hating on the Prequels but pretends he’s not a hater = hypocrisy) and Lucasfilm shouldn’t hire people who hate on materials they produced all the more when it’s immovable objects of the canon, he works for them, he doesn’t have to like them but he should at least respect what they do. That’s exactly the reason I didn’t want to read Life Debt because of the writing style that totally made it hard to enjoy the book and knowing that the author hates on the Prequels, eventually I did read Life Debt because of spoilers I heard about on the internet. This second book still have this annoying writing style but at least the content of the book makes you forget the way it’s written, the content is really great. It has an intriguing story and interesting reveals.

The plot deals with Norra’s crew trying to find Han Solo and then it turns into helping Han to save Chewbacca and eventually saving Kashyyyk with at the same time the storyline of Gax’s plot, Sloane’s story and the New Republic trying to hold the galaxy together. Chancellor Mon Mothma has a significant role in this book which is great to have a look at her character during this time and how she tries to bring peace in the galaxy with the Republic. Seeing Kashyyyk is also amazing, the last time we saw the planet was during Revenge of the Sith, so seeing it during the Empire’s reign (or more like the end of the Empire’s reign) is an interesting contrast as it’s not the same planet anymore, it has been deeply damaged and the wookiees have been turned to slaves. Having a lot more of Han Solo and Leia in Life Debt was a much better improvement from Aftermath 1, they still are core characters at this crucial moment of the galaxy.

The biggest reveal was about Fleet Admiral Rax Gallius, the book never clearly states Gax = Snoke but we, the reader, really understand it is. He shares the same ideas as Snoke (he wants to use the children, training them from a young age to serve their army, the same way as General Hux’s program in TFA and speaking of Hux, his father and him are in the book and what a surprise, his father is working with Gax), when he’s around, everything feels dark and cold, something in the description is reminiscent of the dark presence of Snoke, you can see Rax really holds the cards in his hands, he controls the situation, he is the mastermind, very much like Snoke and it’s unlikely that the two aren’t the same person, they’re exactly the same an it wouldn’t surprise me if in Empire’s End (the last book of the Aftermath trilogy) we see that Rax is left for dead in the crash of his cruiser during the battle of Jakku … because when we see Snoke in TFA he is mutilated, he has been wounded and this would explain it. Speaking of Jakku, the very interesting thing is Rax is from there … a fan theory on the internet says that Snoke is Rey’s father. Why not, I mean it’s not a bad theory, it’s intriguing and could lead to some great storylines in Episode 8 or 9 but I’m not so confident he is the father, however Jakku is important for some reasons. The plot Rax unleashes is of Palpatine’s level of plots, he plays the long game, he knows it will take time and it’s a very complicated plot – letting the Republic take control of Kashyyyk, freeing the prisoners from the strange prison on that planet while these prisoners are in fact controlled by a chip, letting a celebration happen and use these former prisoners to unleash a terrorist attack on Chandrila, capital of the Republic killing important figures like General Madine, trying to kill the Chancellor Mon Mothma (though failing at that) but mostly it brought chaos to Hanna City and also putting out Sloane out of the game while bringing the remaining of the Empire’s fleet on Jakku to give them time to rebuild and prepare for war, on the top of it he also becomes Emperor.

Sloane, she is the other villain of the story. And I really love this duel of villain against villain – Sloane against Rax, there is no guns in this fight, it’s a game of mind , Gax manipulating her while she realizes he tries to control her but she thinks she can beat him while she is being beaten and destroyed. If you remember her, she was in Aftermath 1 but she was also first introduced in A New Dawn, the book about Hera and Kanan happening before Star Wars Rebels. She has a different vision of the Empire than Rax’s vision but she still believes in the Empire, she is a villain and a very bad one (of course not as bad as Gax). She’s a great female character plus a badass one! Her fight on Hanna City against Norra is epic, reminds me of Tom Cruise epic fights in Jack Reacher. I expected her to die at the end but she survives and she’s on her quest to end Gax with the unexpected help of Brentin (Norra’s husband who was a prisoner on Kashyyyk and well one of the people who had a chip to control him).

Speaking of Brentin, it comes as a surprise that he is alive. The books stated that he was dead so never I said yes he’s going to show up and he actually does but he is not the man he used to be. His return is a bit problematic in terms of story. With Aftermath, it’s quite simple, every (almost) character is in a romance and Norra is stuck – with Brentin returning, her husband and she returns to him while Wedge Antilles has feelings for her and she does too. It’s kind of a little love triangle (Did we need it? No.) It feels like she is stuck in this situation and she doesn’t even choose who she wants to be with, not really, she just goes with Brentin because he used to be her husband and she feels obliged to stay but as we can see their relationship is not the same, it’s a distant relationship, it’s broken and she’s stuck there. I think Norra should have dealt with that and decided whether she really wanted to be with Brentin (not because he used to be her husband and she felt like obliged to stay with him) or to be with Wedge because she had feelings for him. Not every character has to be stuck in a romance and not every character has to end his romance at the end of the book. Chuck Wendig does not handle this well. Love is an important part of life and it makes sense that it should be part of the characters’s lives but I don’t think like the book needs to explore all these romances, I think it would be enough just to spend a page or two about it. For example, the Jas and Jom romance is just useless, it tries to do something like Han and Leia in the Original Trilogy, this flirting banter but it just feels like it is a copy of something already existing which fails to be interesting but in the end it does thing differently as they break up and I saw it coming miles ahead. Sinjir’s romance is an important part of his character because it shows there’s someone who cares about him, and his friends also cares about him, it’s something he learns and it’s something that shapes his new world, because in his life in the Empire, he didn’t know any of it but his romance actually ends for something that feels out of character, Sinjir breaks up because he feels like he is a bad guy, he loves him but he is a bad guy so he has to leave but one page later he is on board for a final mission with the good guys – to hunt down Sloane … which doesn’t change much of killing a bad man because they know she won’t surrender and they will most likely have to kill her so that totally fits with him saying he is a bad guy, right? Just because he killed a man who hurt his friends, good and bad is not all light and dark, there’s in-between, good guys sometime have to do things that is questionable. It makes him someone who cares about his friends, they shape his new life, and it makes sense that he wants to protect them and help them, yes he killed that man who was unarmed, it was obviously a questionable action to do but that doesn’t put him on the bad guy side, that just puts him on the road that he is – a good guy who learns. He used to be an Imperial but the books showed that now he is a good guys, he is one of them, in Life Debt in no way, it feels like he is not one of them. At a moment before his break-up when he threatens the person who designed the prison, he doubts about him being a good guy but it’s not easy to believe it as you don’t really see a conflict going on inside him, it’s just happening like that, without a progression, he just stops caring about the New Republic and yet the second after he cares as he joins Norra’s team for a mission to stop Sloane. Hopefully Empire’s End will bring Sinjir and the man he loves back together, it would be a bit disappointing to bring for the first time in Star Wars, a major character who is an LGBT character just to have him break up for a reason that doesn’t really feels like a real reason. Apart from Han and Leia, all these characters being in a romance end up breaking up or being separated. Han and Leia romance was the one that was well-written but also probably because Wendig can’t make the characters end their romance because he probably would if he could.

Unlike their romance, Wendig got Leia and Han Solo wrong as characters, he doesn’t know how to write these characters. Leia is a war hero but she is also a politician and a diplomat, Claudia Gray wrote perfectly the character in Bloodline. However, Wendig failed at that, yes Leia was worried that something bad had happened to Han but in some chapters, she behaves childishly and she’s not that at all, she’s a fighter but also a diplomat, she does both like her mother Padmé. Wendig needs to learn that. As for Han Solo, he is my favorite character from the Original Trilogy and from The Force Awakens, he is a special character to my heart, he has his way of talking and behaving, Wendig surely tried to get the feels of the character it was there in one or two dialogues but it wasn’t totally there in most of the book, something was missing, something big. And one moment was also totally out of character when at the cantina with the crew, he is ready to take his blaster and kill them all before they can do anything (here Wendig also implies the Han shot first theory, childish move from the author, like George Lucas himself explained Han is not a cold blood killer so he wouldn’t do that). It’s not easy to write these characters into books but Claudia Grey did it and she did it well so others can too.

Mas Amedda first seen in the Prequel trilogy also has a supporting role in this book which is great. When the Republic became the Empire, he became Grand Vizier. And in this book, we see another side of him, it’s after the Emperor’s death, the Empire is in chaos and he is on his own, he is just a figure, he doesn’t control anything, he is weak. He’s the shadow of himself, he’s nothing anymore. So it was nice to see him again and see a different side of him, once he’s on his own without guidance from his Emperor.

The interludes are here to give us details about the state of the galaxy sending us to Ryloth, Hosnian Prime, Corellia, Tatooine … The Corellia one is one of the most interesting one, it’s a follow up to an interlude from the first book concerning the Acolytes, some crazy Darth Vader fanboys, it’s a cult, it could mirror to the crazy fanboys part of the Star Wars fandom actually. In the first book, they were searching for a lightsaber, in the second they find one, a red one not sure if it’s Vader’s one, I doubt so though. In this interlude, they go into action but we don’t know their clear purpose. I wonder if they could be what later becomes the Knights of Ren when Kylo Ren takes their command, it could be but it would mean this group lasted 30 years, it’s not clear yet. The Tatooine one features Malakili, the rancor’s keeper and it feels like it is mostly fan service and it isn’t telling a story so yes, this one is unnecessary. The Ryloth one was rather shocking, it shows that the Twi’leks are finally free, they succeeds at freeing their planet as the Empire leaves and Cham Syndulla is mentioned but not present, it could imply that he died in their fight for freedom … we’ll see with Star Wars Rebels season 3 as he’s in there. There’s also Yendor, who we see in Bloodline as the ambassador from Ryloth. The shocking thing in this interlude is Dardama killing a wounded and unarmed stormtrooper, he wasn’t going to hurt them or try to kill them and yet she kills him, that was unexpected, he didn’t hurt them before, he is there waiting, he’s basically telling them they won. I think it shows well that it’s not just all light and dark, there’s also dark with the good guys, this interlude was able to show that, just a little.
The most important interludes are the first and the last and it concerns Gax Rallius and his origin story when he meets Sheev Palpatine, three decades before. Yes, the two characters knew each other which makes total sense as Snoke couldn’t have been just someone in the shadow coming and claiming “the throne,” he had to be someone who knew one of the bad guys. Jakku is definitely an important, Palpatine is doing something there that is linked with something that happened thousand years before him so we can assume it is about the Force. Gax is mixed in all that and Sidious uses him, I’m really looking forward to see what happens next.

7/10 Life Debt is a much better improvement from Aftermath 1, it has a great story, great elements, interesting characters – mystery, action, betrayal, plot twists … but it also has its flaws, big flaws like the writing style and some sub-plotlines and character relationships that sometime aren’t necessary or aren’t well-written. But it definitely gives a lot more details about the era and also gives hints about elements from The Force Awakens. I think that Life Debt isn’t near the best Star Wars books but it is a good one and an intriguing one that kept me on the edge of my seat despite some elements that I expected would happen.

[Review] Poe Dameron #4

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Yesterday, the fourth issue of Poe Dameron comics was released. It started the second adventure of Poe and his Black Squadron leading us to meet again a character who was first introduced in the Star Wars main comics series – Grakkus The Hutt, this time we see him in prison but a particular kind of prison. If you read Poe #3, at the end he learns that Lor San Tekka went to see Grakkus after leaving that village with the egg and so that’s where we go in Poe #4. This prison is a private one where the prisoners are sent on the planet in a small village and they do their own laws, no guards are there to watch them because if they leave the village they are killed by the atmosphere of the planet, that was a surprising design for a prison but it worked very well – the prisoners turned it into another miniature world of scum and villainy. Of course, we saw Agent Terex again and I’m looking forward to see who’s going to win in the next issue – him or Poe. Indeed, Grakkus wants to get out of prison and he’ll tell what he knows to the one who gets him out of there. This will be fun.
We also got a flashback to D’Qar that took place between issue 3 and 4. Who put the tracker on Poe’s X-Wing suggest, we might encounter a mole but who? Someone from the New Republic? Speaking of Republic, I really like the little information we get through the dialogues about the political context, suggesting how the Resistance is seen by the Republic – not very well. The Resistance is not allowed to engage fight with the First Order first, but they know war is coming and soon, and we know that since Hosnian Prime is destroyed in The Force Awakens, we can expect that a full scale war in Episode 8, because the Republic will certainly retaliate. If they had removed the technical X-Wing talk and replaced it with more political background, it would have been even better.
Poe Dameron is an on going series and not a mini series, considering its story I doubt it can last long. After 5 or 6 adventures searching Lor San Tekka, they will have to end it and make Poe go to Jakku where TFA begins. If they make this series too long, it will become annoying and destroy the fun of this story.

8/10 Good and fun adventure, setting some challenges for the next issue