Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood

Having killed Carnor Jax in the first mini-series, Kir Kanos returns in another 6-issue mini-series, Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood.  This time his sights are set on eliminating members of the Imperial Interim Ruling Council for their part in Emperor Palpatine's death.

Several characters from the original series return, including New Republic's Mirith Sinn who seeks revenge against Kir Kanos for killing her Trandoshan friend Sish Sadeet and Mirith's subordinate Massimo.  For the first three issues of the series, Kir Kanos is disguised as the bounty Hunter Kenix Kil, but he does don his familiar crimson red uniform in the fourth issue where he rescues Mirith from the Zanibar on the planet Xo.  Much of the series focuses on the machinations of Council members vying for influence over the remains of the Empire.  This is a much different Empire than the one Palpatine ruled; due to the success of the New Republic's campaign against the Imperials, the once xenophobic Empire now has alien species members and it is a collaboration of Imperial Warlords rather than a central government that defines the power structure.

Perhaps the most significant event is this mini-series are the seeds planted in the story starting with the first issue.  A character only shown in shadows named Nom Anor is manipulating Council member Xandel Carivus.  Readers of the New Jedi Order from Del Rey will recognize Nom Anor as a reoccurring character in that series of novels.  Nom Anor is an advance scout of the Yuuzhan Vong, intent on sowing discontent in the galaxy, making it easier for his species to invade.  Interestingly, Dark Horse initiated the idea of the alien invasion, but Lucasfilm chose Del Rey to execute the massive story that unfolded over four years.

Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #1a (November 1998)
Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #2a (December 1999)
Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #3a (January 1999)
Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #4a (February 1999)
Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #5a (March 1999)
Star Wars: Crimson Empire II - Council of Blood #6a (April 1999)
Dave Dorman provides the painted covers for this series.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Retro Foreign: Indonesian Yand: Lingkaran Setan

Lingkaran Setan or A Vicious Circle is the lead story in this digest-sized, black and white Indonesian comic.  The cover is interesting with a character that looks like Snake Plissken, the main character from the Escape from New York and Escape from L.A. movies.  There is also a shark with a man in it's jaws.

Yand: Lingkaran Setan a - Yayasan Karya Bhakti Bandung, Indonesia (1980s)
same content as Star Wars: Giant Ant
The backup story in this comic is a Star Wars tale titled Giant Ant.  It is the same content from the comic with the story's title.

Star Wars: Giant Ant a - Yayasan Karya Bhakti Bandung, Indonesia (1980s)
original story and cover

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars Slipcase Box Set

Marvel released an attractive slipcase box set for Star Wars in April 2017.  The box set contains twelve hardcover volumes.  Ten of the twelve volumes were released previously as hardcovers with different covers while two of the volumes combine two previously released hardcovers each.  The hardcovers in this set all have the same design that matches the slipcase.  This box set retails for $350.

The slipcase comes in a shipping box that identifies the content.  The shipping box has ample protection for the slipcase inside.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
shipping box
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
shipping box inside
The slipcase is matte black with a starfield background.  There are Imperial and Rebellion insignia on the sides while the front has the Star Wars logo with the words filled in with images and the back is a montage of artwork from various comics.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
slipcase front
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
slipcase back
The slipcase's magnetically sealed cover opens to reveal the artwork for the EMP Museum variant cover from Star Wars #1.  The inside of the slipcase cover is the artwork from the John Cassaday teaser variant cover from Darth Vader #1.

My one gripe with the slipcase is how it opens.  The cover folds back to reveal the books inside.  Unfortunately, the books are tightly packed and it would be very easy to tear the cover on the slipcase trying to remove the books.  I found the easiest way to remove the books is to set the slipcase on the edge of a surface and to tilt the case forward.  You will need to support the slipcase cover to prevent it from ripping.  This reminds me of the 2011 Star Wars: The Complete Saga 9-disc blu-ray box set.  That too was an attractive set, but it is very hard to remove the discs from the package without scratching the discs.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
slipcase open
Inside the shipping box is a cloth poster which features the artwork from the Alex Ross homage cover from Star Wars #1.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set - Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
box set poster
The first 7 volumes in the set are movie adaptations.  These hardcovers were released previously with different covers.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 1: The Phantom Menace
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 1: The Phantom Menace
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 2: Attack of the Clones
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 2: Attack of the Clones
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 3: Revenge of the Sith
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 3: Revenge of the Sith
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 4: A New Hope
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 4: A New Hope
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 5: The Empire Strikes Back
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 5: The Empire Strikes Back
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 6: Return of the Jedi
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 6: Return of the Jedi
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 7: The Force Awakens
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 7: The Force Awakens
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
The eighth volume is the Shattered Empire 4-part mini-series.  This hardcover was released previously with a different cover.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 8: Shattered Empire
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 8: Shattered Empire
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
The ninth volume collects two previously released hardcovers containing content from the main Star Wars title, Skywalker Strikes and Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 9: Star Wars - Skywalker Strikes, Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 9: Star Wars - Skywalker Strikes, Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
The tenth volume collects two previously released hardcovers containing content from the 2015 Darth Vader title, Vader and Shadows and Secrets.
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 10: Darth Vader - Vader, Shadows and Secrets
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 10: Darth Vader - Vader, Shadows and Secrets
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
The eleventh volume contains three mini-series: Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and Lando.  This hardcover was released previously with a different cover.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 11: Heroes for a New Hope - Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 11: Heroes for a New Hope - Princess Leia, Chewbacca, Lando
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
The final volume is The Marvel Covers hardcover that was released previously with a different cover.

Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 12: The Marvel Covers
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
Star Wars Slipcase Box Set Volume 12: The Marvel Covers
- Marvel, U.S. (April 2017)
back cover
This is a nice box set that collects most of the Marvel hardcovers released to date except for Kanan and Special Edition - A New Hope.  I would have liked this set to include a Kanan volume rather than The Marvel Covers volume.

This set is pricey at $350 or just over $29 per book.  The hardcover collections except for the movie adaptations were released with two covers and if you are a collector who bought both versions, I imagine this box set is a must to keep your collection complete.  For everyone else, the singles are much cheaper, usually selling for around $15 or roughly half of what this box set retails for.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Screaming Citadel Mile High Comics Exclusives

Mile High Comics commissioned exclusive covers for all five parts of the Screaming Citadel event.  The connecting covers are all drawn by Mike Mayhew.  Mayhew's first Star Wars artwork appears on the interior pages of Dark Horse's The Star Wars 8-issue mini-series, but he has drawn a couple of issues of Marvel's main Star Wars title as well as provide cover artwork for several issues.

The Screaming Citadel story draws heavily from gothic horror and Mayhew's covers do an excellent job portraying that genre.  The planet Ktath'atn is an ideal location with grey skies, ample fog, and lightning which is the background for Mayhew's artwork.  The cover art for Screaming Citadel #1 shows Luke Skywalker while an image of the Queen's face is in the background.  The Queen feeds on the life energy of others, not unlike a vampire.

Star Wars: Screaming Citadel #1f - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 2017)
Mile High Comics exclusive
The artwork on Star Wars #31 shows several of Marvel's original characters that appear in this story: Doctor Aphra, Sana Starros, Triple-Zero, and BT-1.

Star Wars #31d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 2017)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Princess Leia is on the cover of Doctor Aphra #7.  Strangely there is a Star Destroyer in the sky, but no Imperials appear in the story.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #7c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (May 2017)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Star Wars #32 captures the desired gothic horror mood better than any of the covers.  The Wookiee Black Krrsantan is infected by a Abersyn symbiote in the story and turns on our heroes.  On the cover, he is doing a good impersonation of a werewolf.  The red planet in the background and the fog add to the effect and this is my favorite of the covers.  The only flaw is there are more Star Destroyers in the sky.

Star Wars #32d - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2017)
Mile High Comics exclusive
The final cover for Doctor Aphra #8 shows Han Solo fighting off the Abersyn symbiotes.  In the background is the Citadel which looks very much like a futuristic Dracula's castle.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #8c - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2017)
Mile High Comics exclusive
Here is what the five covers connected look like:

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Modern Marvel: Color Your Own Star Wars: Darth Vader

Late last year, Marvel published the coloring book Color Your Own Star Wars.  Marvel released another Color Your Own Star Wars in September, this time for Darth Vader.  Like the previous book, this book contains 120 pages with 59 pages of artwork to be colored and measures 7 1/4" x 11".  One side of the page is blank and the pages are perforated so they can be removed.

Color Your Own Star Wars: Darth Vader - Marvel Comics, U.S. (September 2017)
The pages are full sized pin-ups of Darth Vader take from the comics.  The cover is the same artwork from the standard Darth Vader (2015) #1 issue, with half of the art uncolored.

As a comic book collector, these are interesting because of the comic artwork used inside.  I believe these books are overpriced at the $9.99 retail price and they can be found cheaper if you look around.  You are basically paying for 59 black and white pages of artwork that were already published elsewhere.  Two full color comics at $3.99 each costs $7.98 which seems like a more reasonable price for these coloring books.  Regardless, they must sell well enough at $9.99 because Marvel is releasing Color Your Own Star Wars: Han Solo in May 2018.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fan-Made: Japanese After Order 66: Case of Rex

Mollo's second Star Wars comic, After Order 66: Case of Rex, was released at Comiket C92 in August 2017.  This self-published, unofficial fan-made comic is manga style.  It is slightly larger than a standard comic, measuring 7" x 10", and contains 64 black and white pages.  Like Order 66: Case of Wolffe, the dialogue is in both English and Japanese.

Captain Rex is arguably the best known clone trooper, having appeared in 66 episodes (was this done on purpose?) of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series and over 20 episodes of Star Wars Rebels animated show.  He was introduced in The Clone Wars film that led into the television show.  The story inside the comic chronicles events after Order 66 was executed and includes significant appearances by Ahsoka Tano as well as Darth Vader.  The story ends with Captain Rex, Captain Gregor, and Commander Wolffe all aboard a spacecraft and fits nicely into canon.  These three clone troopers would appear together years later on the planet Seelos in the episode "The Lost Commanders" in the 3rd episode of the 2nd season of the Rebels animated series.

After Order 66: Case of Rex a (August 2017)
The sturdy cover is a profile of Captain Rex.  I'm hoping Mollo's next comic will be about Captain Gregor to complete the series about the trio of clone troopers that survived together for many, many years.

Mollo maintains a blog on Tumlr that you can visit to learn more about his artwork.  After Order 66: Case of Rex can be ordered at Etsy.