‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide II – Ruin’ (2000) (Book review)

On page 217 of “Dark Tide II: Ruin” (2000), Chiss Empire pilot Jag Fel outlines for Rogue Squadron pilot Jaina Solo the differences between them: It’s not that she’s not strong or skilled or smart, it’s that she’s not “grim.” That’s also the perfect word to describe my overall impression of “The New Jedi Order,” and this third book is where it starts to really get grim.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide II – Ruin’ (2000) (Book review)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide I – Onslaught’ (2000) (Book review)

Good news and bad news: “X-wing” author Michael Stackpole returns to “Star Wars” for the second book of the “New Jedi Order” series, “Dark Tide I: Onslaught” (2000). But it’s not an “X-wing” book on the sly; it’s very much part of the invasion genre as established by R.A. Salvatore in the first entry, “Vector Prime.”

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘The New Jedi Order: Dark Tide I – Onslaught’ (2000) (Book review)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘X-Wing Rogue Squadron’ special issues (1995-2005) (Comic book reviews)

  

If you’ve devoured Michael Stackpole’s 35-issue “X-Wing Rogue Squadron” comics series but are a completest who wants to gather up all the ancillary stories, you’ll want to check out “X-Wing Rogue Squadron” No. 1/2 (1997), “X-Wing Rogue Squadron Special” (1995) and the three-issue “X-Wing Rogue Leader” (2005).

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘X-Wing Rogue Squadron’ special issues (1995-2005) (Comic book reviews)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Union’ (1999-2000) (Comic book review)

I’ve been on a Michael Stackpole kick this past year, so it was only a matter of time until I’d exhausted most of his best work and got down to the dregs, namely “Union” (1999-2000), a four-issue comic series chronicling the wedding of Luke and Mara. This is a highly unusual “Star Wars” comic in that there’s hardly any tension or conflict in it; the group of Imperial terrorists who aim to disrupt the ceremony feel like a cursory throw-in that we’re not supposed to take seriously.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Union’ (1999-2000) (Comic book review)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: Short stories in Star Wars Insider Issues 62-88 (2003-06) (Reviews)

Because Lucasfilm is shifting its focus away from the Clone Wars era, we’re not likely to see a paperback anthology called “Tales from the Clone Wars” anytime soon. However, if you still have your back issues of Star Wars Insider, you can pretend you are reading a couple volumes’ worth of Clone Wars tales. The magazine published 20 short stories from issue 62-88 (2003-06); 12 were set during the Clone Wars, with two more shortly after that period. (Insider wouldn’t return to short fiction until issue 124, when it would once again become a staple of the magazine.)

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: Short stories in Star Wars Insider Issues 62-88 (2003-06) (Reviews)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand’ (1998-99) (Comic book review)

 

“Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand” (1998-99) marked Timothy Zahn’s first foray into comics, but he apparently got good guidance from friend and collaborator Michael A. Stackpole. In this six-issue series, Zahn wrote the overall story, Stackpole wrote the scripts for issues 1-3, and Zahn wrote the scripts for 4-6. It reads very much like a meaty novella (the duo had collaborated on “Side Trip” before this and would go on to do “Interlude at Darkknell”), yet it also leaves room for Carlos Ezquerra’s art to shine.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘Mara Jade: By the Emperor’s Hand’ (1998-99) (Comic book review)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: Ranking the 11 short stories from ‘Tales from the New Republic’ (1999) (Book review)

Thematically, “Tales from the New Republic” (1999) isn’t all that different from “Tales from the Empire” — both collections chronicle the little guy, either amid the galactic war or amid everyday life in the galaxy far, far away. It’s also about the little guy in “Star Wars” publishing. West End Games’ Star Wars Adventure Journal was canceled in 1997, but a few lucky authors saw their stories get salvaged here (along with some of the best works that had already been printed in the journal) in the very last book of Bantam Spectra’s “Star Wars” license.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: Ranking the 11 short stories from ‘Tales from the New Republic’ (1999) (Book review)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: Ranking the 10 short stories from ‘Tales from the Empire’ (1997) (Book review)

Just by paging through “The Essential Reader’s Companion,” it’s obvious that short stories make up a significant chunk of “Star Wars” fiction. Yet while the novels are easy to find, and 95 percent of the comics are collected in omnibus volumes, the short stories often have to be hunted down in magazine back issues or old web links.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: Ranking the 10 short stories from ‘Tales from the Empire’ (1997) (Book review)”

The top 20 people responsible for the success of the ‘Star Wars’ saga (Commentary)

A great debate recently popped up at my office: Who deserves credit for the success of “Star Wars?” Well, George Lucas, of course, because he created it. Plain and simple, right? Not necessarily, because he was far from alone in making “Star Wars” great. Strictly speaking, he couldn’t have made that first movie on his own, because he needed start-up money. The truth is, while Lucas has to be No. 1 on this list, the “Star Wars” saga was created and molded and made into a success by more than one person.

Continue reading “The top 20 people responsible for the success of the ‘Star Wars’ saga (Commentary)”

‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘X-Wing Rogue Squadron’ Issues 25-35 (1997-98) (Comic book reviews)

   

The “X-Wing Rogue Squadron” comic series closes out its run by delving into one of the most popular EU characters, Baron Soontir Fel, who was introduced in the previous arc, “In the Empire’s Service.” The Imperial-turned-Rebel fighter ace serves as a springboard for discussions about defecting from the Empire to the Rebellion. Because he is Wedge’s brother-in-law, he also provides a “brother vs. brother” element to this part of the storyline reminiscent of Anakin and Obi-Wan. And his desire to find his missing wife, Syal Antilles, is a compelling background thread, although it’s ultimately more of a lingering mystery than writer Michael Stackpole intended.

Continue reading “‘Star Wars’ flashback: ‘X-Wing Rogue Squadron’ Issues 25-35 (1997-98) (Comic book reviews)”