‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Agent of the Empire’ (2011-13) (Comic book reviews)

One of the most all-around beautiful pieces of “Star Wars” comic storytelling came toward the end of the Dark Horse run: “Agent of the Empire,” which includes the five-issue arcs “Iron Eclipse” (2011-12) and “Hard Targets” (2012-13). The series is written by elite scribe John Ostrander with gorgeous art by Stephane Roux and Stephane Crety (“Iron Eclipse”) and Davide Fabbri and Christian Dalla Vecchia (“Hard Targets”). The latter duo delivered crisp and colorful art on “Republic” and “Empire,” but colorist Wes Dzioba smartly selects darker hues here to fit the mood.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The Clone Wars’ digests Nos. 1-4 (2008-09) (Comic book reviews)

Although “The Clone Wars” did try some adult tie-ins, such as the 12-issue comic series and a few novels, it mostly aimed for younger audiences. This is particularly evidenced by the 11 “Clone Wars” digests, sometimes called “graphic novellas.” However, these digests are not as kid-oriented as the “Clone Wars Adventures” digests from earlier in the decade, and today – given the TV series’ premature cancellation – they stand as a way to soak up a bit more “Clone Wars,” and from some pretty good writers, to boot.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan’ (2012-13) and ‘Force War’ (2013-14) (Comic book reviews)

 

Wrapping up their “Dawn of the Jedi” trilogy, writer John Ostrander and artist/co-writer Jan Duursema deliver a strong character piece with the five-issue “Prisoner of Bogan” (2012-13) and an epic conclusion with the five-issue “Force War” (2013-14).

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Dawn of the Jedi: Force Storm’ (2012) (Comic book review)

Does “Star Wars” history feel historic enough? My gut reaction is “no” – I felt that way when first exposed to “Tales of the Jedi” (set 4,000-5,000 years before “A New Hope”) in 1993 and again with “Dawn of the Jedi” (set 36,453 years before “A New Hope”) in 2012. My local comic book dealer expressed a similar opinion that “Dawn” was just another “Star Wars” story with light-side vs. dark-side battles that could happen anywhere on the timeline.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Legacy’ Issues 48-50 (2010) and ‘War’ (2010-11) (Comic book reviews)

 

Writer John Ostrander brings together all the myriad factions of “Legacy” in two final, epic arcs – “Extremes,” Issues 48-50 (2010), and the six-issue miniseries “Legacy: War” (2010-11). The Fel Empire, the Galactic Alliance and the Jedi unite against the Sith Empire. Additionally, the non-Sith members of the Sith Empire finally realize the Sith are 1) evil and 2) using them for their own ends, and they defect to the Allied forces.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Legacy’ Issues 41-47 (2009-10) (Comic book reviews)

 

A major impetus behind launching a series set four generations after Luke Skywalker was that it gave the writer freedom to chronicle a fresh part of the timeline. But by the time of “Legacy”Issues 41-47 (2009-10), a big appeal of John Ostrander’s saga is the way it ties back to the wider mythos.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Legacy’ Issues 32-40 (2009) (Comic book reviews)

 

George Lucas was interested in the dangers of humans melding with machines, but that concept was buried by the time he got to the final drafts of his “Star Wars” films. The machine aspects of Darth Vader and General Grievous (and Lumiya and the Hunter, if you delve into the Expanded Universe) were emblematic but arguably superfluous, because – regardless of what they looked like – their evil came from their human half, not their machine half.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Vector’ (2008) (Comic book review)

Dark Horse editor Randy Stradley begins his introduction to the first trade-paperback volume of “Vector” (2008) by apologizing for the “crass commercialism” of the crossover project. But he needn’t have apologized. The idea of a story that travels through the four ongoing “Star Wars” comics of the time may have been commercial, but it was also just plain cool.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Legacy’ Issues 20-27 (2008) (Comic book reviews)

 

Coming off Cade Skywalker’s epic escape from the Sith Temple in the previous arc, “Legacy” Issues 20-27 (2008) mark an opportunity for the series to catch its breath. Rather than being a boring stretch of issues, it is enjoyable to bask in this world writer John Ostrander has constructed, especially since he shines with dialogue and humor when the stakes aren’t so high.

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‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Legacy’ Issues 11-19 (2007-08) (Comic book reviews)

 

“Legacy” Issues 11-19 (2007-08) explore Cade Skywalker’s attempt to infiltrate the dark side without being turned, something that had already been chronicled in “Tales of the Jedi” (Ulic Qel-Droma), “Republic” (Quinlan Vos) and “Dark Empire” (Luke Skywalker). So it’s impressive that – despite the way-too-familiar nature of this story – writer John Ostrander ratchets “Legacy” to new heights with this batch of issues.

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