Area 52’s Guide to Star Wars comics

You’ve watched the movies. You’ve seen the animated series. But you’re still craving more Star Wars. Thankfully, Area 52 Comics and Games has you covered! Marvel comics has relaunched STAR WARS comics in 2015 and it has been nothing short of spectacular.

The comics

There are two ongoing Star Wars comics: Star Wars and Darth Vader. These titles are accompanied by character-driven mini-series that run constantly. So far, these titles have included Princess Leia, Lando, Chewbacca, and Obi-wan and Anakin. Marvel has also released Shattered Empire, a mini-series focused on the events between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

Star Wars ComicStar Wars

Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: John Cassaday
Jan 2015 – Ongoing

Star Wars takes place between Episode IV: A New Hope and Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. The series focuses on Luke, Han, Chewbacca, and Leia as they continue the fight for the Rebellion after the Death Star’s destruction. All of the team has to come to terms with their new place in the world. Luke, with no one to guide him, must struggle to find out what it means to be a Jedi. After Yavin, Han and Chewy find themselves as unlikely heroes, fighting for the Rebellion while dodging the ever-increasing price on their heads. Leia has now lost everything to the Empire. She will do anything to bring down Darth Vader, the monster who had her kidnapped, tortured, and destroyed her entire planet before her eyes.

Darth Vader #2Darth Vader

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Feb 2015 – Ongoing

Darth Vader runs concurrently with Star Wars. Following the loss of the Death Star, Vader has been demoted both in rank and stature. Humiliated, but never humbled, Darth Vader must prove himself to the Emperor while reminding those who seek to take his place that true power lies in the Dark Side.

Vader also has his own agenda — he will stop at nothing to find the identity of the X-Wing pilot who destroyed the Death Star. This is a task he cannot accomplish alone; even a Dark Lord of the Sith sometimes finds help in the least likely of places.

Star Wars: Princess Leia #1Princess Leia

Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Terry Dodson
5 issues (March – July 2015)

The Princess Leia series focused on Leia’s struggle to deal with the destruction of her home planet. As the ruling princess of Alderaan, she feels it’s her duty to protect the last remaining survivors of her home though it may come into direct confrontation with the interests of the Rebel Alliance. How far will she go to save her people?

Lando #1Lando

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Alex Maleev
5 issues (July – Oct 2015)

Gambler. Smuggler. Lady’s Man. Thief. Lando Calrissian has been called many things, but hero hasn’t been one of them. Lando and Lobot attempt to pull off a major heist to pay off their debt and retire to the good life they deserve. Of course, this is Lando we’re talking about, so things don’t exactly go as planned.

KananKanan

Writer: Greg Weisman
Artist: Pepe Larraz
12 issues April 2015 – March 2016

From Wookiiepedia:  Star Wars: Kanan is an ongoing Star Wars comic series first released on April 1, 2015. It is published by Marvel Comics and centers on Kanan Jarrus, one of the protagonists of the Star Wars Rebels TV series. The two arcs, The Last Padawan and First Blood are written by Greg Weisman and penciled by Pepe Larraz. The Last Padawan takes place during Order 66, while First Blood depicts Kanan’s first foray into the Clone Wars. The series will conclude with the publication of Star Wars: Kanan 12 on March 16, 2016.

Chewbacca #1Chewbacca

Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto
5 issues (Oct – Dec 2015)

Chewbacca finds himself stranded on a planet not long after the Battle of Yavin. Soon he finds himself helping a new friend in need. But as always, the Empire isn’t far behind them.

Obi-Wan and AnakinObi-Wan and Anakin

Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Marco Checchetto
5 issues (Jan 2016 – ongoing)

Obi-Wan and Anakin follow a distress call and find themselves stranded outside of Republic space. Anakin is having a hard time following the doctrine of a Jedi padawan while Obi-Wan struggles to keep his student from falling into darkness.

Shattered Empire #3Shattered Empire

Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto
5 issues (Sep – Oct 2015)

From the publisher:
Emperor Palpatine’s twenty-year reign of terror came to an abrupt and fiery end in the skies above the forest moon of Endor. A decisive victory for the Rebel Alliance, to be sure, but even with the loss of its leadership, the Empire’s Moffs and regional governors retained their hold on important systems from the Core to the Outer Rim, thanks to the might of the Imperial Starfleet. Now, with a power vacuum atop the Empire, those Moffs will jockey for position and control, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance will soon discover that a wounded and fractious Empire may be more dangerous than any threat they faced before!

Vader Down

Vader DownVader Down is the first cross-over for the new Star Wars titles. Here is the publisher’s take:

When Darth Vader accidentally finds himself facing off against the Rebel Fleet on his own, the rebels will learn the true strength of the Dark Side of the Force! Once Vader crashes on a nearby planet, the Rebellion is willing to risk everything for this once-in-a-lifetime chance to take out one of their biggest enemies! Luke! Vader! Leia! Aphra! Han! Chewie! And all manner of Droid, good and evil!

The following issues complete Vader Down:

Star Wars: Vader Down (1-shot, Nov 18, 2015)
Darth Vader #13 (Nov 25, 2015)
Star Wars #13 (Dec 2, 2015)
Darth Vader #14 (Dec 23, 2015)
Star Wars #14 (Jan 6, 2015)
Darth Vader #15 (Jan 6, 2015)

A (very) brief History of Star Wars comics

Star Wars 1977 #1Marvel released the first run of Star Wars comics in 1977 to coincide with the release of Star Wars. The comics were an early hit and saved Marvel from a financial crisis. The initial Marvel run contained 107 issues and 3 annuals. The books told original stories by various creative teams, and also included adaptations of Star Wars, the Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi during their run.

Dark Horse acquired the Star Wars license in 1991 and published Star Wars material for for 23 years. Along with its ongoing Star Wars titles, Dark Horse was famous for Star Wars mini-series including favorites like Dark Empire, Tales of the Jedi, The Old Republic, and The Thrawn Trilogy. In 2013, Dark Horse published a new ongoing Star Wars title that took place in between A New Hope and The Empire strikes back. The series was abruptly cancelled and completed in August 2014 when the Star Wars rights reverted back to Marvel.

So what is canon anyway?

In 2014, Disney and Lucasfilm announced that all material published before April 2014 would be eliminated from canon. As of this writing, the official Star Wars canon is composed from the following:

  • The six (now seven) Star Wars films
  • The Clone Wars and Rebels 3d-animated television series
  • AND MARVEL’S NEW STAR WARS COMICS!
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