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Archive for January, 2008

Finally, we’ve reached the release date of the first issue of Vector, Knights of the Old Republic #25, which is reportedly on sale today! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Look for a review of that coming up soon! Also coming out today is Dark Times #8, Parallels part 3 of 5. I sent in a fan letter after #2 was released, so I’ll most likely end up buying this one to see if it got on the fan page.

I think Vector would be a good spot for someone new to comics to start off at. You’ll get to have a taste of each of the different Star Wars lines Dark Horse is publishing, all in one cohesive story arc. Dark Times is another story. If you haven’t picked up the previous issues of Parallels, I’d suggest waiting it out until the next arc starts. While I like the series overall, Parallels isn’t turning out to all I had originally hoped it would be.

 I’ll be back soon with some reviews and release dates for February, so as always, stay tuned!

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Through all the anticipation, the release of the first issue of Vector (Knights of the Old Republic #25) is less than a week away. Dark Horse has been advertising Vector as the comic book event of ’08, something I really hope it ends up being. While I beleive some of the initial excitement has died down, my spirits soared again when I saw the rather stange and bizzare preview up on Dark Horse’s website. The preview features our renegade Jedi Master fighting a hoard of rakghouls while having some sort of vision of the future, which features Dark Vader, Luke Skywalker and Cade Skywalker.

While this doesn’t give away practically anything, it does lead me to think that this arc will have somthing to do with the rakghould disease. In a nutshell, the rakghoul disease is transmitted through it’s fangs, and if you get bit, you turn into a rakghoul yourself. You see them in the first KOTOR video game, in which they are a huge pain in the neck to kill. Beleive me, though, there is nothing I would like to see more than Lucien Dray turn into a Rakghoul.

 The preview also shows some sort of dark jedi standing among the rakghouls. While I might be going out on a limb, I’m guessing the Sith have somthing to do with the rakghoul disease, and are planning to take over the galaxy with an army of mutant soilders. How they’ll tie that into Rebellion and Legacy, I have no idea. Anyway, we’ll all find out a little bit more about this series when the first issue comes out in the a few days. I’ll be sure to have a review with all my thoughts up as soon as possible.

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A few weeks ago, I talked about how my changing the way I reviewed comic books has sort of thrown me off-kilter. To sum up the last post, I talked about how I used to review my comic books in my Star Wars Book News posts, and now that I do them seperatly, I don’t have seperate reviews for my dozens of other comic books. I recently had the idea to just go back and review them all, one every week, untill I’d reviewed them all.

This would, of course, mean I’d have to have to go back and inventory every single comic book I’d bought over the past year. It took about two hours, but the site now has an entire list of everything I own on that nifty “Review” tab. The ones that light up green when the curser goes over it are the ones I’ve already reviewed. The rest I’ll add links for as I work on reviewing every comic I own.

This means, of course, I’ll have to do the same thing for books, which means going back and reading 60-somthing full-length novels. More to come soon.

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A question that people often ask is what books are good for taking your first steps into the expanded universe. Because I’ve seen this asked so often, I decided to put together an article I can refer people to, a sort of field guide for starting to delve into the hundreds of books and comics that have already been published.

While some people might disagree, I think the best place to start is with the original Zahn trilogy, consisting of Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising and The Last Command. These books take place a few years after Return of the Jedi, in a time where the Rebellion is now the New Republic,  a thriving democracy at war with a group of Imperial extremists under the command of the master-tactician Grand Admiral Thrawn. While these books feature original characters like Luke, Han and Leah, we are also introduced to some new characters that go on to play important roles in later books.

Second, I’ll suggest some one-shot books, to get the feel of the expanded universe. These books start and end in one volume, and often are about characters that we see in the beginning and never see again afterwards. First is the book Dark Lord, by James Luceno. This book chronicles the journey of group of Jedi survivors being hunted by Darth Vader after Order 66. Next, I’d suggest Allegiance by Timothy Zahn. This book is also a one-shot taking place two months after A New Hope, featuring favorites like Luke, Han and Chewie, as well as some characters we’ll get to know later in continuity like Mara Jade.

Another great series taking place in the early New Republic era that I think is the X-Wing series, written by Michael Stockpole and Aaron Allstron. These books follow the journeys of Rouge Squadron, and later Wraith Squadron, as they wage war against the Imperial Remnant. Stockpole and Allstron mix humor with amazing fight sequences to create some amazingly entertaining books. While there are many books in this series, I’d first suggest reading the first four before moving on: Rouge Squadron, Wedge’s Gamble, The Kyrtos Trap and The Bacta War.

If you plan to move on to the New Jedi Order and the Legacy of the Force books, it’s essential to read the Young Jedi Knights books. Written by Kevin J. Anderson, these books introduce us to characters like Jaina, Jacen, Zekk and Tenel Ka, all of whome become the main characters of the NJO and the LOTF.

Now comes the hard part: comic books. For beginners, starting to delve into comic books looks harder than it actually is. To your luck, it just so happens that about two years ago, Dark Horse, Lucasfilm’s comic book rights holder, started four new series, each of which is still in it’s early issues. This makes it easier to get into these series than say, Republic, which ended after Issue #80. For people new to comics, I’d suggest picking up the first two trade paperbacks of the Rebellion: My Brother, My Enemy and The Akhista Gambit. These take place after A New Hope and feature characters we already know, as well as some characters created for the series. After you get the feel of the comics, I’d suggest starting some of the Knights of the Old Republic comic series, which recetnly released it’s third trade paperback collection.

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Parrelels continues with it’s second vulume in this issue of Dark Times, chronicling the journeys of the crew of the freighter Uhumelé and that of Master Kruhk and his band of Jedi survivors. This issue starts after the melencholly end of #6, in which we see the death of Jeisel and the Uhumele’s crew loose on of their members. It truly is the Dark Times for Star Wars in this series, as Dark Horse depicts an era of hopelessness and disaster.

This issue is mostly build up for the next issue of Dark Times, and in my opinion, it didn’t do do great of a job building up anticipation. Apparently, the crew of the Uhumele has a peice of extremely important cargo, and before they meet with the potential buyers, they stash it on an astroid above the planet. This way, if the buyer trys to double cross them, he gets an empty box. When they meet the buyer, negotiations escallate into a firefight, paving the way to the events in the next issue of Dark Times.

In this issue, we also get to see a little more into the personalities and history of a few diffrent characters, including finding out why Crys hates the Jedi. During the Clone Wars, the Jedi took her son Kennan to the Jedi Temple. After the news of Order 66, Crys assumed that her son had been killed along with all the other Jedi at the Temple. FYI: Right after this, we learn that Kennan is alive and well, under the care of Master Kruhk and the rest of their Jedi survivors that crash-landed their escape shuttle onto an unknown (at this point) planet.

While this issue didn’t really impress me that much, I do realize that this was a hype-up issue, and you can expect the next few issues of Parreles to be much better. Dave Ross’ art is, as always, superb, and the overall story was good. I’ll have to see a few more issues of this before I can really suggest it, though. But if it’s anything like the Path to Knowwhere, the last two issues will be awsome, and we’ll all wish we’d bought the earlier issues so we’d know what was going on.

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Book Review: Death Star

When this book was announced, people thought it was going to be the all-telling, secret-revealing guide to the Death Star. While it did organize the many diffrent stories in a small way, most of the book was personal stories about people living and working on the Death Star. Even though I was dissapointed at first with this, after the first couple of chapters, the book is very enjoyable. Michael Reaves and Steve Perry did an excellent job writing this book. The fast-paced, short chapters kept my interest throughout the entire book.

The book, of course, focuses on the construction of the Death Star, which is being built over the prison planet of Despayre. The story weaves around many diffrent characters, including a stormtrooper, an architect, a fighter pilot and a bar tender. While some say that this book is obsolete because we already know how the story ends (e.g., Titanic), seeing the story from the side of the Imperials was very interesting.
There are a few things in this book that sort of contradict cannon. First is the appereance of Admiral Dalaa on the Death Star. In the Jedi Academy series by Kevin J. Anderson, she said she had never even seen the Death Star. Sure, this fix this problem with her getting hit in the head and loosing all recent memory, but that has unoriganal and tacky in my opinion.
Overall, this was an entertaining and origanal book. I might suggest waiting untill the trade paperback comes out, because even though it’s a good book, I might not suggest paying the twenty-five dollar price to read it now.

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Knights of the Old Republic #24 took the Days/Knights story arc out with a bang. For anyone who hasn’t already picked up the issue, I ask you now to read it first before reading my spoiler-ridden review. I’d much rather you find out what happens in the actual issue.

This issue picks up right where the last ends. When Zayne, Shel and Raana Tey infiltrate the Mandalorian’s headquarters (the former Jedi Embassy on Taris), they discover that Cassus Fett evacuated the building after hearing of the Taris Resistance’s plans to attack there. Afterwards, when Shel hesitates to kill Zayne with her brother’s lightsaber, Raana Tey decides to kill Zayne herself. A wonderfully-pencilled duel ensues, with Raana Tey and Zayne battling it out in the Council Room. Shel ends up killing Tey to save Zayne, finally coming to the realization that Zayne didn’t kill her brother.

This issue also brings light to a few theories that have been floating around. It is now apparent that the Masters themselves are the five sith they’ve seen in their visions. I think this is a great and rather ironic twist in the plot.

Overall, this was a great issue, and a great ending to the twelve issues leading up to it. Definatly pick it up. Also, this last series is definatly a must-read before the KOToR issues of Vector begin.

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