Comic Fodder

Dark Horse's Star Wars 30th Anniversary Series Part I

30 years ago, George Lucas unleashed Star Wars on an unsuspecting world. I do not like to think about it, because I was also unleashed on an unsuspecting world in 1977 and will be turning 30 in a few months. But if you have to cross that barrier into quasi-old age, you might as well put some handsome Star Wars hardcovers on your shelf to admire while you are smoking your pipe and considering where to retire.

Dark Horse is publishing twelve deluxe hardcover volumes in the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Collection. The first three have already been released, and the rest are scheduled to come out monthly. These hardcovers are exclusive to the direct market, so you will not find them in chain bookstores or at Amazon. Dark Horse has also said that they are being printed only once--when they are gone, they are gone. The choices for these reprints are interesting, with some older stuff and recent material. The books are being published in chronological Star Wars timeline order. Here is a look at what to expect. Part I covers the first six volumes. Part II will cover volumes 7-12.

Vol 1 - The Freedon Nadd Uprising
Now available ($16.95)

This is a reprint from an old (by Dark Horse Star Wars comics standards) series called Tales of the Jedi. It originally appeared way back in 1994, when the first prequel film was still five years away and the EU was in its toddler stage. Readers of Legacy will recognize the planet Ossus as a location, and KOTOR readers will feel at home in this time period's milieu. This Tales of the Jedi series served as the original inspiration for the KOTOR videogames.

The titular Freedon Nadd is a deceased fallen Jedi who has become a Sith spirit. He inspires a secret legion of followers who invoke his name and seek conflict with the Jedi of that time period. Before this reprint, the collection was rare and expensive. It is dated by today's standards, but Sith lore enthusiasts will find a lot to like. You will not get a definitive resolution to the story, however, as it continued on in the Tales of the Jedi series which ultimately culminates in The Sith War. I am holding our for an omnibus to collect all of this material.

Vol 2- Jedi vs. Sith
Now available ($29.95)

In the aftermath of the Sith War, a yawning gap on the Star Wars comics timeline opens. The next story, Jedi vs. Sith, happens a few thousand years later. This series was originally published in 2001, after we know about the Sith's Rule of Two as explained in The Phantom Menace. This story explores the life of the architect of that rule and the resulting dynasty that culminated in Darth Sidious--the Sith lord Darth Bane. (He's the scary-looking guy on the cover.) This collection can be read in conjunction with the recent Darth Bane novel.

Jedi vs. Sith shows the seminal Battle of Ruusan, in which the Jedi order believes they have finally defeated and vanquished the Sith. It is essential reading for the Sith enthusiast, as the events it details form an important part of the framework of the prequel trilogy.

Vol 3 - Darth Maul
Now available ($22.95)

Even more Sith action. And I do mean action, as this story is basically just a showcase for Darth Maul doing violent, evil harm to overmatched foes in ever cooler ways. This is perfect for anyone in the mood for some gorgeous Jan Duuresma art and some first-class Sith badassery. You will not need to pull out the Guide to Characters or have Wookiepedia fired up to appreciate this story. Just sit back and enjoy.

Considering his paltry screen time in TPM, this is one of the few other ways for Maul fans to get a fix. Darth Maul was originally published in 2000. Recommended for anyone who likes Duuresma, Maul, or evil badassery.

Vol 4 - Jango Fett/Zam Wesell
June 13, 2007 ($19.95)

This volume collects two different, but related, one-shots: Jango Fett and Zam Wesell. These books were originally published in 2002 in the run-up to Attack of the Clones. If you do not remember, Zam was the bounty hunter who tried to kill Padme in that film. These books give some background to their relationship. I have not read these stores, so I will probably give this new collection a look.

Vol 5 - Light and Dark (Clone Wars Vol. 5)
July 4, 2007 ($24.95)

This is a new edition of Volume 5 of the Clone Wars trade paperbacks. It is highly regarded even among the generally excellent Clone Wars books, and features fan favorite Jedi Quinlan Voss taking on Count Dooku's forces. This is Ostrander/Duuresma Star Wars action at its best. Highly recommended.

Vol 6 - Endgame (Clone Wars Vol. 9)
August 29, 2007 ($24.95)

Endgame wraps up the Clone Wars from the comics perspective, collecting the end of the Republic series and the Purge one shot. Although it principally deals with the fate of Quinlan Voss, the main attraction (as evidenced by the covers of both the original softcover and this new reprint) is Darth Vader. Vader fans are treated to some of his first attempts to finish off the Jedi who escaped Order 66 and how he made his reputation as a Jedi hunter. It also gives a good look at how the surviving Jedi take different approaches to making sense of what has happened and how they should respond.

This collection leads directly into the new ongoing series Dark Times. Also recommended, and essential reading for fans of Vos or Vader. That must cover 90% of all Star Wars fans.

Bill covers Star Wars and the rest of the Dark Horse stable. He is enjoying the last fleeting moments of his twenties in Philadelphia, MS.