Despite being the month that gave us The Last Jedi, there are only six comic releases. This is about average, but on a big month like December it would seem like there would be more releases. This month did also include the first tie-in book for The Last Jedi to attempt to capitalize on the excitement for the movie.
Darth Vader #9: The saga continues as Jocasta Nu battles the Grand Inquisitor and Darth Vader. This is a rather simple issue and that works to its benefit. There isn’t much dialogue in this book, but what there is isn’t too bad. There are some unexpected twists that work to keep this issue interesting. The biggest flaw in this book remains the art. The Grand Inquisitor looks terrible, the action is hard to follow, and body movement looks bizarre sometimes. This series remains a mixed bag and a pale impersonation of the first volume. However, there are far worse books (mostly written by Chuck) and if this comic can keep up the quality then it might be worth recommending.
Star Wars #40: The Jedha arc moves forward with the two rebel teams assaulting the mining operation and the Empire begins their second phase/counterattack. The issue ends with Luke leaving to meet the Jedha pilgrims and learn more about the Force. The storytelling is top notch with some tense moments during the battle and a great scene between Luke and Leia concerning what’s ‘most important’ for the rebellion. The art is still great, but the super realistic faces are a bit distracting when not every character has them. It doesn’t ruin the book as it has been a staple of the series for so long. However, it would be nice if the facial art could be normalized to match the whole of the book.
Doctor Aphra 15: This comic goes from passible to boring to great and that unbalance of quality really hurts this book. While I did enjoy the last five or six pages the lead up to that was rather boring with the occasional good moment. Having two writers is not helping this book by any means, but as the story builds up it feels like this might have a good pay off. However, a decline in quality is not a fair trade with a possible interesting ending. The art on the other hand is great and it does make the more boring parts a little more interesting. Overall, the ‘Remastered’ arc hasn’t been that good, however it feels like most of the exposition is done and this story might move forward more smoothly next issue.
Poe Dameron 22: This might be the best issue of this series despite the cover giving away the twist ending. The story is told in the standard heist movie style where the heist and the explanation occur at the same time. It works well enough and it is nice seeing some actual thought going into how the plot progresses. The art is still below average, but the starfighter battle looks good and the facial emotions are getting a little better. This has been a good arc thus far, but it does get annoying when a cover spoils a key part of a story.
Mace Windu 05: Finally this dumpster fire comes to an end with bland results. The writing is just as trash as it was in issue one with a boring battle followed by the Jedi acting like self-righteous jerks that proves everything Dibs suspects about the order. To compound matters there are little problems with the story telling like the enemy starship blowing up for no clear reason and no way to tell just how far apart the team is when they split up. While it is clear that this comic does pay homage to the Clone Wars series it is so poorly handled that it feels like a propaganda piece on why the Jedi should end. The art does not help save this series by any means. A friend even commented ‘is that supposed to be Mace Windu’ when looking at this issue. The action has no real drama to it and even Kit Fisto’s belief that he was going to die felt shallow because it never looked like the odds were against him. The coloring is also off in a way that is hard to describe, but nothing looks like it should making this comic a major eye sore. I wanted to like this series, I was looking forward to this series, and I was massively disappointed by this series. There are two prequel era mini-series and both are terrible. Maybe the third time’s the charm, but at this rate I highly doubt it.
The Last Jedi: Storms of Crait 01: It is never a good sign when the writers are comedians and the cover art makes your main hero look hyper effeminate. However, this comic is better than the cover would lead one to believe. The writing is above average, but predictable. There are no major surprises in this story and overall it doesn’t add up to much. That being said, it was great to see Wedge do something for once and Luke using his farming background to his advantage was a nice touch. There wasn’t much humor in the comic and what few jokes there were fell very flat. The art is terrible and distracting. There is a hyper-realistic look to everything, but Han Solo looks like Kurt Russel and Luke looks like a bad cosplayer. The ships and planet of Crait look great, but bodies move weird and facial expressions DO NOT match the words being spoken. This is easily a skip as it adds nothing to the story and the weird art is a major down point. The only major good part of this story is that it retcons a part of the terrible Princess Leia book, but that only counts for so much.