Since purchasing the Star Wars franchise from George Lucas in 2012, Disney has been doing everything they can to squeeze more money out of the cash cow from a galaxy far, far away. Can you blame them? People love Star Wars. Since the Disney takeover, we’ve been gifted two — soon to be three — full-length movies on the big screen, four seasons of Star Wars Rebels, several canon novels, and a bunch of canon comic books provided by Marvel (which is owned by Disney).
One such comic features Mace Windu, the Jedi Master played by Samuel L. Jackson in the prequels. While Jackson maintains that his character may yet still be alive following Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, Disney has their lips sealed on that topic. His current story falls during the time period at the outset of the Clone Wars.
Let’s take a quick a look at the new Mace Windu Star Wars comic book, plus a list of several other Star Wars comics that are worth your time.
7. Mace Windu: Jedi of the Republic
It’s only a handful of issues deep, but so far the brand new Mace Windu comic from Marvel is doing an excellent job of filling in the holes on one of the more painfully underdeveloped characters from the prequels. Although Samuel L. Jackson receives a decent amount of screen time in all three of George Lucas’ prequels, it’s hard to come away feeling that he was used properly. Sure, he’s an arrogant leader of the Jedi with a purple lightsaber and some cool fighting skills, but what are his feelings and motivations?
The comic series immediately dives into Windu’s feelings on being made essentially military leaders at the outset of the Clone Wars, which he opposes. It proceeds to follow his very first mission, alongside a handful of other background characters, to a humid Outer Rim planet called Hissrich. If you’re interested in Windu as a character and thought the prequel trilogy didn’t do a good enough job developing him, this comic is for you.
Next: The early days of Darth Vader.
6. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
There are two comic series from Marvel featuring Darth Vader. Like Mace Windu, this Vader series has yet to be completely released and is in fact still in production at Marvel. It follows Darth Vader in the moments immediately after Revenge of the Sith, beginning with how the recently built Dark Lord of the Sith discovered that his pregnant wife was dead and how he nearly turned on his master.
Over the first several issues, we learn quite about about the early days of Vader. That includes the first mission that Emperor Palpatine sent him on, how he earned his first Sith lightsaber, and even his first time returning to Mustafar after his painful and humiliating battle with Obi-Wan Kenobi. That story arc has ended, but there is still plenty of room to go new places in this Vader series.
Next: The last Padawan.
5. Kanan: The Last Padawan
Fans of Rebels will be thrilled to know that Marvel put out a comic series in 2015 following a young Kanan Jarrus. Originally, Kanan — then known as Caleb Dume — was a Jedi padawan of Master Depa Billaba. They were on a mission in the field when Order 66 was sent out by Emperor Palpatine, at which point their clone troopers turned on them. Dume survived the attack, changed his name to Kanan Jarrus, and went into hiding.
Throughout the comic series, we see his involvement as a young padawan learning under his master while fighting in the Clone Wars. There is even a confrontation between young Caleb and General Grievous. It’s a well-done comic that is worth reading for any Rebels fan, if for no other reason than to add to the complexity of Kanan’s story in the Star Wars universe.
Next: Let’s not forget about Lando.
Another 2015 Marvel comic that was a huge success for Star Wars was Lando, which of course followed Han Solo’s untrustworthy friend Lando Calrissian. The comic is set in Lando’s adult years, but prior to him taking over as administrator of the mining facilities at Cloud City. True to his description, Lando is a scoundrel and a charmer, making his way through life on nothing but his own natural abilities.
The comic series follows Lando on what is essentially a heist, after he lucks into swiping Emperor Palpatine’s private ship. Along with Lando is his companion Lobot, seen during several scenes on Cloud City in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. It is pretty cool to see both characters fleshed out, and it created more of a feel of a classic duo than anything else. But the added wrinkle of Calrissian stealing Palpatine’s ship is what made this one extra fun.
Next: Perhaps the only good thing about the prequels.
3. Darth Maul
Darth Maul is one of Star Wars‘ most controversial characters. Created by George Lucas as a bad guy for the first prequel, Star Wars: A Phantom Menace, Maul was revered among fans early as a slick, double-bladed lightsaber wielding, force of nature. But then he was presumably killed off at the end of the first movie, never to return to the big screen. But Maul was resurrected for Star Wars: The Clone Wars and then later used in Rebels.
So it was exciting for fans of Darth Sidious’ original apprentice that Marvel was to release a Darth Maul comic in early 2017. While there is certainly still plenty to expand upon during Maul’s life after being cut in half by Obi-Wan Kenobi, the comic actually follows his early days ahead of The Phantom Menace. While it’s easy to argue that nothing learned in this comic is essential knowledge, it’s still kind of cool to find out what Maul was doing in his early years while learning under Palpatine, and also why he so hated the Jedi.
Next: Filling in the gap between two classics.
2. Star Wars
One of the more popular and well-received comics from Marvel is the Star Wars comic following Luke, Han, Leia, and the rest of the gang after the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and prior to Empire Strikes Back. When talking about the comics, this is the one that most encapsulates the feeling of Star Wars. It follows our main heroes to tell a big part of the story that we were missing out on as fans, but also incorporates a lot of known characters into the subplot.
Luke Skywalker is coming off having destroyed the Death Star in the beginning of the comic, but he knows little about the nature of the Force and his place within the rebellion. Even though they’ve won a major victory, the rebels are still in danger and losing the ultimate battle against the Empire. So many fun storylines unfurl from there. Boba Fett shows up, Darth Vader and Luke have their first official duel, and Luke reads from Obi-Wan’s journal on Tatooine. Lots of good reasons to read this comic.
Next: Another point of view we shouldn’t ignore.
1. Darth Vader
During the same time period as the Star Wars comic following Luke and the rebels, Marvel created a Darth Vader comic to tell some of the story from a certain point of view. These two are definitely the best of what Marvel has created in the new Star Wars canon, and should definitely be read back-to-back to get a good feel for what’s happening in the Star Wars universe just after the destruction of the Death Star.
In this comic, we follow Vader as the protagonist — or anti-hero, maybe? — as he suffers the brunt of the blame for the Death Star in the eyes of his master, Emperor Palpatine. We see, for the first time, Vader’s reaction as he learns that Luke is indeed his son. We see Vader team up with a young archaeologist named Doctor Aphra and her two droid pals, BT and Triple-0 — the latter of which is like a murderous C-3PO.
Vader struggles with his position within the Empire and as apprentice to Palpatine, and we begin to see his doubts about their relationship. Palpatine even goes so far as to bring in potential replacements for Vader. Considering the timeline and close proximity to the eventual downfall of the Empire, there is a lot that happens in this comic that true Star Wars fans should want to know.
Check out Botanic Blog on Facebook!