Biff Bam Pop’s Holiday Gift Guide returns for yet another year. We’ll be looking at some of our favourite things – comics, movies, video games, albums, and more – that we think the pop culture geek in your life would love under the tree this holiday season (or the Hanukkah bush as well). Trust us, we know of which we speak.
On that note, we kick things off with a return back to a galaxy far, far away…
As you may or may not recall, with Disney purchasing Lucasfilm and Star Wars a few years back, it made sense that Dark Horse Comics, who had been the rights holders for years, would eventually lose out to Marvel, another Disney-owned property. And so it was, in 2015 Marvel Comics began publishing Star Wars stories again, just as they had done back in 1977.
Two titles that have been collected into trade paperbacks are exactly where you want to start – the flagship series, Star Wars, written by Jason Aaron and illustrated by John Cassaday, and Darth Vader, from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca.
Both titles are set between Star Wars – A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back and, as part of official canon, allow readers to once and for all know what occurred during that timeline. Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes collects the first 6 issues of the title series, and immediately a series of action sequences that feel absolutely perfect. Cassaday’s artwork is outstanding, while Aaron crafts a compelling story of Luke, Leia and Han learning to work together. In the book, we’re also privy to the first in-canon encounter between Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. It’s pretty cool stuff,never if we know that Luke makes it out live.
Darth Vader is an interesting tale itself. In the shadow of rah destruction of the Death Star, Vader is forced to deal with the scrutiny and machinations of The Emperor, who is far from pleased at the destruction of his massive toy. The story here helps give the Vader the depth that we eventually see in Empire Strikes Back. Larocca does exceptional work in conveying emotion in the character, not with facials, of course, but with movement and placement.
As we head down the road to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Marvel has been doing an exceptional job of putting together the new canon mythology, some of which I’m guessing will play out in some form in the new film. Knowing that these stories actually matter and will continue to due so moving forward in the Star Wars Universe gives them a weight that the franchised hasn’t had in some time. Fans will certainly love getting either of these titles, if not both, this holiday season.