By Tom Farr
Since Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, it seems like an endless stream of new Star Wars stories continues to be released ever since. This includes films, such as the sequel trilogy, Solo and Rogue One, as well as television shows, books, and comics. While the steady stream has had a few missteps, depending on who you ask, one area that seems to consistently satisfy fan curiosity is the various Star Wars comics published by Marvel.
Combining top-notch comic book writers such as Charles Soule, Greg Pak, and Kierron Gillen with phenomenal artists such as Will Sliney, John Cassaday, and Salvador Larroca, Star Wars comics explore the mysteries between film episodes. They also give us a more in-depth look into many of the most well-known and loved film characters’ motivations. Plus, they’re telling great stories that resonate with Star Wars fans.
Here are five Star Wars comics that are worth diving into first.
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith (2017)
Written by Charles Soule, this 25-issue exploration of Anakin Skywalker’s early experiences as Darth Vader begins from the moment Vader steps off the operating room table at the end of Revenge of the Sith. We learn why dark side users have red lightsabers, and we see the beginnings of the Inquisitorius under Vader’s leadership.
There’s the return of Jedi Temple librarian Jocasta Nu and the addition of an ancient Sith Lord and artist named Momin, who is tasked with designing Vader’s infamous castle. Most fascinating, however, is the reason why Vader had his castle built on Mustafar as we see him desperately trying to get Padme back even years after her death.
The Rise of Kylo Ren (2019)
Also penned by Charles Soule, this 4-issue comic reveals the deep conflict that helps turn Ben Solo into Kylo Ren after Luke’s near attempt to kill him. We learn that the Knights of Ren have faced Luke Skywalker before, and we see Luke as a badass Jedi Knight. In the sequel trilogy, we sometimes see the good that still exists in Kylo Ren, but his comic origin reveals that his descent into evil resulted more from coercion and deception than a fully-informed choice. We also find out about the origin of the word “Ren” in Kylo’s name.
Darth Vader (2020)
Taking place after The Empire Strikes Back, Greg Pak’s comic explores uncharted territory with Vader as he goes on a galaxy-wide quest for revenge after Luke rejects his invitation to join him. Determined to find anyone who helped keep Luke’s identity hidden from him, Vader looks into the past and discovers someone who was very close to Padme Amidala. That someone wants her own revenge against Darth Vader for the deaths of Padme and Anakin Skywalker.
Star Wars (2020)
Also taking place at the same time as Greg Pak’s Darth Vader, Charles Soule is exploring Luke Skywalker’s mission to complete his training as a Jedi after discovering the truth about his father. Luke learns the truth about why the Jedi are no longer around and finds the motivation to continue his goal of becoming a Jedi like his father. He even faces off with the Grand Inquisitor. This series is shaping up to be one of the best pieces of Star Wars storytelling to date.
Darth Vader (2015)
Kierron Gillen had the task of filling in the gaps between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back from Vader’s perspective. Vader’s dual goals of re-earning the favor of Palpatine after allowing the Death Star to be destroyed and learning the identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star drive the plot of this story. We see the moment Vader learns he has a son, and a fascinating new character named Doctor Aphra is introduced.
Although the comic feels like an exploration of Darth Vader’s character as an outside observer, meaning we never get inside his head, there’s still much revealed in the struggle to find redemption in Palpatine’s eyes. It also doesn’t hurt that we also see Vader often questioning the wisdom of his master. It turns out that the seeds of his betrayal against Palpatine were sown many years before.
ics. There are plenty of fun reveals and compelling character development moments. After reading these, there are many more worth checking out, such as:
Kanan: The Last Padawan
Doctor Aphra, Star Wars (2015)
Obi-Wan and Anakin
And there are plenty more to come.
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