Disney XD’s Star Wars: Rebels is the first big production in the Star Wars franchise released after Disney acquired Lucasfilm a couple years ago. Set 14 years after the terrible events of Revenge of the Sith and just 5 years before A New Hope, it follows a group of do-good mercenaries as they rock it out with the Empire again and again. With (relatively) recent news that Disney has basically kicked out all previous Star Wars Expanded Universe canon in favour of a new canon centered around the six movies and The Clone Wars, it is an uncertain future at best for the franchise, and how Rebels performs in the coming weeks is going to be a big indicator of that uncertain future.
Disney kicked off the show with four shorts focused on the various characters, and then an hour-long special a little over two weeks ago. Titled “Spark of Rebellion“, it introduces the characters to the audiences and gets them all together after the (somewhat) scattered adventures of the shorts. It is a decent series opener, as such things go, with the characters being interesting all of them, though some of the hallmarks of Disney are prominently visible character-wise. And as for the animation, well, it is certainly problematic in many ways and nowhere near the smoothness of The Clone Wars.
The Clone Wars is one of the best animated series to have been created in the last ten years. Telling the story of the events that happened between the second and third movies of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, this series delved into all sorts of aspects and elements of the Star Wars universe as the creators explored both the heroes and the villains and everything in between as well. Say what you want about the continuity inconsistencies and the dumbing down of certain characters, but The Clone Wars really was a great show and it all ended rather abruptly when it was cancelled and all we got was a truncated sixth season. And as Dark Horse Comics prepares to bring its entire Star Wars line of comics to an end, the publisher is going out with a bang.
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir is Dark Horse’s latest Star Wars mini-series, a format of the franchise that the publisher has championed for several years now, and it tells the story of what happens when one of the most awesome villains in the entire Star Wars franchise goes up against his own mentor and master. Darth Maul versus Darth Sidious? That’s a fight for the ages. The first issue deals with what happens after that battle, which Darth Maul lost, and is about how he regains his power to get back at his former master. It is fast-paced and replete with action, but it sometimes suffers from those same things.
With Disney’s transfer of all comics fiction rights for Star Wars from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel Comics confirmed a few months ago, things are winding down for the former, who’ve been putting out Star Wars comics and encylopedias and artbooks for several years now. One of the publisher’s more recent efforts was the continuation of the Star Wars: Legacy series in a follow-up that trailed the adventures of Ania Solo and a Jedi named Jao Assam as they discovered and fought against a Sith known as Darth Wredd in Legacy II Book 1: Prisoners of a Floating World. The series is to end soon, but if Legacy II Book 2: Outcasts of the Broken Ring is any indication, then the series is going out with a bang.
This graphic novel collects issues #6-10 of the series and is being released today. I’ve read the issues separately as I bought them some time back, and decided to wait on the review since the release was so close. I loved Book 1 and I have to say that Book 2 is every bit as good, if not more. Ania Solo and Jao Assam make for some really awesome, three-dimensional characters who are not locked down in any particular roles and the overall story of their continued hunt for Darth Wredd is pure Star Wars, almost classic in its approach and tone and mystery.
Unless you are completely divorced from the internet and any and all news sources, you know that at the end of the year Dark Horse will lose the license for any and all new Star Wars fiction/non-fiction. That’s because the new owners of the license, Disney, are moving the production of all such material to their own publisher, Marvel Comics. And I find that to be a very saddening move because Dark Horse has given so many incredible tales over the years and I just can’t see the same being done at Marvel. Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman’s Star Wars: Legacy II is one of the finest examples of that.
Set in galaxy almost a century and a half after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope, this new timeline tells the story of Ania Solo, the distant descendant of Leia and Han as she and her friends make their way in a galaxy very different from the one we know so well. Like any great classic Star Wars story, their first arc Prisoners of the Floating World, involves reluctant heroes, Sith, political drama, high-speed chases, great twists and more. And it helps that the art is so damn cinematic and fun.
This year has seen me become quite the fan of the Judge Dredd franchise, from the movie to the audio dramas. I have a novel omnibus sitting on my desk, and I just recently finished reading the first issue of the new Judge Dredd comics being released by IDW Publishing, who are one of my favourite comics publishers. Judge Dredd himself has turned into one of my favourite characters ever, because of his personality, his attitude, and the entire mythos that’s been built around him over all these years. Duane Swierczynski’s comics are just one more outlet for all that goodness.