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Category Archives: Comic Book Reviews
October 16, 2015Posted by on
After four collections, Star Wars: Legacy ends. It is really tough to talk about the conclusion to this series given the circumstances of why it ended. When Disney bought Lucasfilm in 2012, it was only a matter of time before Dark Horse Comics would lose the rights to publish Star Wars comics to Marvel (also owned by Disney). When that axe finally came down, it forced Legacy writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman to quickly wrap up their storyline.
And they do. But, boy-oh-boy, is it ever rushed. Reading Empire of One made it feel like they were cramming as much in as they could. It almost felt like a recap instead of the actual story. And, because of that, it is difficult to truly judge the story on its own merits since it was forced against a wall.
The biggest problem is that things happen much too quickly. Towards the climax, Darth Wredd had some tricks up his sleeve and was able to get the entire Sith and all the Imperial Knights to face off against each other as a way to finally rid the galaxy of the dark side users (more on that below). This should have been an epic, sweeping battle that could have lasted pages and pages. As was revealed, the whole series was leading up to this moment (it was Wredd’s endgame).
Instead, it starts, really begins to develop. But then we get an one-panel time jump to the end and we are at the end with the SIth in total defeat. We never saw the battle. This was as anti-climactic as possible. This group of Sith are connected to the original Legacy series and were this huge threat for the entirety of the two series. For them to be disposed of in such an off-handedly matter is incredibly disappointing and it just made the whole thing too easy.
That said, I did like Wredd’s plan. It works and there is a nice twist to it in that he wanted the Sith destroyed because of what they did to him and what they made him into. For Star Wars, that is something new. I just wish there was more time to actually develop it.
But with the shortcomings of the rushed finale, this collection still suffers from the problems it has had since the beginning. Specifically, scenes will cut away mid-conversation and go elsewhere. I know this can be a good way to have some drama in story. Stop to reveal later. But it just completely over uses the trope. Where was the editor during all this? Did no one suggest to maybe cut back on it?
Again, I realize that Empire of One was going to be a tough read to bring all of Legacy – Volume II’s threads together. It is successful in accomplishing that, but it is clear that they were rushed and forced an “epic” ending. But, that aside, Legacy – Volume II is not a great series. It is such a step backwards when compared to the first volume. They story that was trying to be told here isn’t bad; it is just the execution of it that is incredibly lacking. And since Legacy – Volume II prematurely ended, it’ll never be able to really discover it’s potential.
Look at that! Ania and Fel sort of acknowledged that they are related!
So, why is Ania Solo so special? And what is AG’s connection to Han? This was never revealed
If the series continued from where Empire of One ended, would Ania and her group meet with Cade and his group (since they were in adjunct rooms in the final scene)?
October 9, 2015Posted by on
I am glad that we are finally getting an info dump on Legacy’s main character, Ania. This is the third story in the series and Ania was such a non-character this far. Others such as Jao and Wredd have at least some element of characterization. Ania, on the other hand, hasn’t really been focused on all that much beyond that she is impulsive and that everyone likes her for no real reason given. Granted, this was done so readers could uncover what she is about over time, but while I don’t mind mystery, it was handled so poorly so far.
That starts to change with Wanted: Ania Solo. Since she ran off during Outcasts of the Broken Ring, a bounty was placed on her head for the killing of an Imperial Knight (which explains Empress Fel’s interest in her). At the same time, a bounty hunter with ties to Ania’s past is tracking her down with a personal score to settle. This was a very capable adventure that stands one its own while pushing Legacy’s storyline forward.
I still do think they are trying a bit too hard with Ania’s importance, at least how AG-37’s dedication to her. That isn’t clicking with me and writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman continue to pull away from a scene right when something big is about to be revealed. Too much teasing gets annoyingly frustrating. Don’t continually tease if you don’t plan on giving some nugget of information.
I really liked the reveal of the bounty hunter and what her plot actually is about. It might not be super original, but it really works. It is also interesting to see how the resolution of this ultimately led to Jao turning himself in to the Imperial Knights and Wredd’s desire to turn him to the dark side.
Anyone else thing that Jao, not Ania, is our protagonist?
Wanted: Ania Solo got me into this series. The first two story arcs were really middling, but this one makes me actually care about what might happen next. Unfortunately, there is only one book left. Can things be resolved?
Now that her name is cleared, I still want to see what will happen between Fel and Ania given that they should be distantly related to each other. Do either of them know this? Will this even come up? It would be a shame to waste the drama that can arise from that.
What is AG-37’s connection to Han Solo? Clearly, he has encountered Han from over 100 years previously. What’s the story there?
Despite the sales pitch, I no longer believe that Ania Solo is the actual protagonist of Legacy – Volume II. Given that nearly everything in this series so far had more direct consequences on Jao Assam, he is clearly our hero. I know I said this above, but it bears repeating here.
October 2, 2015Posted by on
I have to say, I am loving the titles of these volumes so far. So unique and very Star Wars-y sounding.
In this second volume, Ania and Jao Assam can’t let go of their obsession over Darth Wredd and his plot to slowly make his way to control the galaxy. The two head out after him and become renegades in the process as the Galactic Triumvirate doesn’t see Wredd as a pressing threat. Ania and Jao eventually stumble upon a Sith plot to enslave the remaining Mon Calamari around their destroyed planet, Dac.
As you can imagine, the story is all over the place. They go from planet to planet before they eventually get to the main plot of this volume. I am a bit conflicted over this. On one hand, it read as a bit of a mess in one setting. If it was a movie, it would feel incredibly disjointed as if the filmmakers didn’t know what to settle on. On the other, I do wonder if this read better as single issues, where each “mini-story” that built up to the adventure on Dac. I can really see that as a more satisfying experience, especially since that is how this was originally intended to be read.
Wredd is a character that is still difficult to pin down. It’s neat that he is trying to kill off the other Sith in order to avoid competition, but what is he striving for? We hardly see him this time around (which is fine), and it turns out that Ania and Jao’s adventure to take down Darth Luft, their main nemesis this time around, was part of his plot.
I guess it could be said that many of these characters are difficult to pin down. Ania is barely a character. I don’t get any depth from her and we should since she is the series protagonist. I do like Jao. He at least has something to work with as he is an Imperial Knight who is doing his duty by abandoning deserting and tracking down Wredd. I guess what I am saying here is that I need more out of these characters for me to really connect with them and ultimately care about what they are doing. Right now, I really don’t.
This volume still has the problem of jump cutting from one scene to another without much of a transition. It isn’t as bad as the previous volume, but it is getting better. I am also not sold on the art by Brian Albert Thies in this volume. It feels a bit scratchy and unfinished. Then again, I can also see myself growing to like it over time. It has that kind of quality for me.
Outcasts of the Broken Ring is an improvement over the first volume. I want to continue on and see where this will lead. Hopefully, the momentum will continue into something really special.
How does taking out Darth Luft help Wredd with his plot? Was it just because it is one less rival to worry about or is it something more?
Why do the Galactic Triumvirate not care about Wredd? He seems like a real-enough threat. Can’t they spare at least one or two Imperial Knights to investigate him or at least share the information with the Jedi who might be interested?
I wonder how Empress Fel will feel that Admiral Stazi took her Knights to take down a threat that she openly opposed it?
September 25, 2015Posted by on
Though the original Star Wars: Legacy series came to a close, the people in charge at Dark Horse Comics felt there was more story tell in this time period. Enter a sequel series (which is less of a sequel and more of a spin-off). Two years have passed since the end of War, and the galaxy is united under a somewhat fragile triumvirate of the Jedi, the Empire, and the Galactic Alliance. Though the Sith are still out there, things are relatively stable in the galaxy.
But this being Star Wars, we can’t have any of that. We find a new group of characters to follow in Legacy II being led by Ania Solo, a descendent of the original trilogy’s Han Solo. Clearly series creators Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman are taking some cues from the first Legacy series.
Legacy II has a lot of good and bad. I like how it is not trying to repeat the steps of the first series in a story sense. While the galaxy is threatened, it is less of “we need to overthrow the oppressive government”. Instead, we have an outside threat trying to burrow itself in to take over.
Yes, we have a new Sith bad guy as our primary nemesis, but the execution of his character is very different from what came before. He wants to rule the galaxy, but he is a total wild card in that he doesn’t necessarily ally himself with the Sith.
On that end, it seems to work. Where it struggles is that our new heroes are kind of boring. We have Ania who follows in a similar path of Han Solo in being an essential nobody who is forced into the galactic spotlight unexpectedly. That is okay, but there isn’t anything interesting about her. She’s a total screw-up, yet people continually want to work with her and/or trust her. That is fine, but she’s never really accountable for her screw-ups. Towards the climax, she doubts herself and her abilities, but she is given a pep-talk on how she is related to Han Solo, so that’ll, somehow, make her great.
That doesn’t wash with me, but I blame the writing. More on that below.
The rest of the characters are just dull or unmemorable. We have two forgettable Imperial Knights, Ania’s whiny Mon Calamari friend Sauk, and AG-37, a droid who inexplicitly Ania for no real reason whatsoever. I don’t know. Maybe there is room to grow, but I’m just having trouble connecting with these characters. When I was reading this, there were times I actively didn’t care what happened to them. At all.
But all of this I attribute to the writing. Nothing here is subtle. I feel that Bechko and Hardman are trying too hard to make this a pure action spectacle. There is nothing wrong with that, but the action really serves no major purpose. One thing just leads into another without any time to decompress. Enhancing this problem is that we just jump from scene to scene without much of a transition. The narrative flow is just clunky.
Not off to a good start, but I’m in it to see where this series goes. Given that the Disney acquirement of Star Wars kind of forced this series to end early, I am curious if a complete story will be eventually be told. Or if the plot threads begun here will be left dangling at the end. Perhaps I’ll be singing a different tune and will want to see more of these characters and their adventures by the time I finish.
Given Star Wars lore and Ania’s family line, what is her connection to Cade Skywalker? Shouldn’t they be distant cousins? And to Empress Fel for that matter? Maybe I’ll just settle for what her bloodline connection to Han is.
And if she is related to Han and Leia, does she have Force abilities?
How did she get separated from the Solo clan?
Is Darth Wredd part of the One Sith? His master? What he even around during Darth Krayt’s rule?
June 17, 2015Posted by on
Our two storylines finally collide and Future Flash deals with Overload and present-day Flash deals with Selkirk. And, in direct contrast to my earlier complaints of this storyline being too drawn out, the resolution feels completely rushed. And it was even a double issue!
In the Speed Force, Barry is strapped down as Selkirk talks in some kind of squiggly speak (wonder what that translates to) and brings down the Speed Force lightning. Obviously, things don’t go as easily as planned and he gets half his face blown off. But Barry gets his powers back and races out of there.
While that goes on, Future Flash gets his hand blown off trying to protect Iris and Patty (who thought they would somehow be able to stop him) from Overload. Where are the cops during this? Isn’t there a huge mayoral event going on a block away? Anyway, this causes Barry to come clean that he’s not Patty’s Barry, but a future version of Barry. Patty, for reasons that can only be described as “Comics!”, accepts this and demands to know where her Barry is.
After an exposition dump and a pep talk from Patty, Future Flash realizes how to defeat Overload without killing him and shorts out all the nearby electronics by causing them to be used all at once. Happy that the “buzzing” stopped, Overload is taken away by the police.
Then the present-day Barry arrives. But before these two Flashes can duke it out, Selkirk, now with speed abilities arrives on the scene.
Future Flash, who suddenly turned a leaf (from Patty’s pep talk?), decides to take himself out to end Selkirk and he forces a collision with Barry to recreate the explosion from issue 35. It works. Selkirk is gone and Future Flash winks out of existence just before he gives Barry a name connected to his mother’s death: Thawne.
Then Patty breaks up with Barry for the most questionable of reasons: she sees the Future Flash in him.
While I am not too saddened that Barry and Patty are over, her reasoning doesn’t seem to really make logical sense. She knew that Future Flash wasn’t her Barry and, partly due to the former’s actions, that her Barry would never become that. It seems horribly, horribly unfair to Barry that this happens.
I can see if she broke it off with him because of all the crazy danger she has found herself in. That’s different and justifiable, if clichéd a bit. Maybe they wanted to put the toys back into the box for DC’s mini-relaunch, but this was tough to buy into.
Following Barry’s heartbreak, we see Selkirk (presumably back in the Speed Force). His body is broken and spine is shattered. He’s talking to someone, and that person is the New 52’s Professor Zoom.
I suppose it was only a matter of time before we were reintroduced to Zoom. We already gotten a new Reverse Flash, but with the TV show using Eobard Thawne as the main nemesis, it seemed only logical that Thawne would show up in the books. I wonder if he’ll use the moniker of Reverse Flash or just Professor Zoom. Time will tell, I suppose, but I to love his new look.
Again, I feel that this issue was rushed, but it worked for a finale. Now that DC comics is going into their two-month Convergence story event and Flash coming back after that, maybe Venditti and Jensen will be able to work out their pacing problems. I’m excited about the Professor Zoom returning, but I am getting weary of another “evil speeder” story arc. This is the third one we’ve gotten in two years (four if you count the Future Flash as two). Let’s see what happens.
In other news, I am all caught up with my reviews! Huzzah!
Next: In June, The Flash Returns to Face his Deadliest Enemies Yet.
June 16, 2015Posted by on
All right. This is what I am talking about. Actual progression and development! I’ve been growing weary with this storyline as of late, and we get somewhere with it.
First: Flash in the Speed Force. The group finally makes it to the top of the mountain. There was danger along the way and one member of the group (who suspiciously looks exactly like Cyclops from the X-Men [including having a giant “X” on his shirt]) bites it. But they get there and find a temple. Flash sees all these carvings about speedsters and learns that Selkirk has been deceiving him the entire time.
Consider me not shocked by this at all.
You see, apparently Selkirk can (somehow) call down lightning that can get people out of the Speed Force, but lacks the proper lightning rod. Enter The Flash. So, Selkirk has lured the Flash to the mountain in order to make a rod out of him.
I have lots of questions about this. First, who made all the cave drawings – including the one that depicted Selkirk zapping lightning into The Flash? Two: Why didn’t Selkirk just tell Barry what he wanted to do? Barry is the type that probably would have been willing to work something out. Three: Is the “Savage Speed Force” different from the previous Speed Force? Up until now, it seems to have been the same place, just different locations. Now, the issue seems to backtrack from that indicating that this is a different place and that they need to call down the Speed Force to escape from it.
Maybe some of this will be explained next time. It just seems like this guy was obviously evil from the beginning (my evidence: the “too good to be true” technique), but Barry never bothered to question the guy. I can’t help but think that he wouldn’t do that. I don’t want to Monday morning quarterback here, but couldn’t Barry have questioned something at the beginning and Selkirk give him some line of bullshit? Then Barry (and the readers) could buy it only later realize Selkirk was lying?
As is, I couldn’t believe that Selkirk had Barry’s best intentions in mind. Then again, maybe we, the readers, were not supposed to think that. Instead, perhaps we were to watch Barry making a terrible decision by trusting the guy. Kind of like in a horror film when we know the soon-to-be-victim is going into a room that we, the viewers, know will lead to the character’s death. If that was the case, I am not sure Venditti and Jensen were successful in that regard.
Anyway, I’m going on long enough about that aspect of the story. I am sure more will come next time.
While Barry is dealing with his trust issues, Future Flash makes his move on Overload in Central City. Turns out Overload gets a super-migraine with all the electronics buzzing around and that causes him (somehow) to blow things/people up. Future Flash finally tracks him down before he really reigns down destruction. He’s about to go in for the kill with Iris and Patty arrive, and Future Flash accidently hits Patty. Iris sees this and is convinced Flash is a killer. Overload then strikes.
This moved along nicely. It had good action and pace and enough backstory to get who this Overload character was. I like the idea of him and the commentary of our digital devices. It makes him less of an outright villain and more of a sympathetic character. He seemingly doesn’t want to kill or destroy things. He’s just in that much pain that he doesn’t know how to deal with it. How that translates into powers, I am a bit unsure of, but I’m willing to let that one slide for right now, because “Comics!”.
As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, this storyline has gone on too long, but now that we are reaching the climax, it’s hitting all the right notes. Despite the issues I had with the Selkirk storyline this time around, it isn’t that bit of a deal. They are just questions I have – it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of The Flash #39. I’m pumped for the grand finale.
Next: Flash and Future Flash Race Toward The End of the Road!
June 15, 2015Posted by on
The duel-Flash stories continue on. I can’t help but feel that the “Future Flash” storyline was stretched out in order to facilitate DC Comics’ mandate to wrap-up storylines at issue 40 (to service the company’s move to the west coast) as there seems to be a lot of wheel spinning going on here. That said, the current issue does seem to be moving the storyline forward on multiple fronts.
The Flash from the now-alternate future continues to act hard-core with his enemies. The latest villain to encounter him is a wannabe Rogue, Napalm. Napalm, as we soon learn, is an obnoxious twit that even his evaluator, Mirror Master, finds annoying. Future-Flash doesn’t have time for this and winds up severing his arm. He’s even about to kill him in cold-blood when he notices Iris in the crowd. Future-Flash speeds off, and Iris fully believes that “The Flash” is now a killer.
Odd reasoning considering that Future-Flash didn’t kill Napalm, and, more importantly, Iris knows the Flash. Shouldn’t she wonder if something else is going on before jumping to the simplistic conclusions? Granted, she’s correct in her assumptions, but it seemed out of character to leap to her conclusion.
Not helping matters for the doppelgänger is that Patty is also refining her suspicions that Flash isn’t who he says he is.
While that is going on, the real Flash is still stuck in the Speed Force and learns a lot more about Selkirk. Turns out that he studies speedsters before he was pulled into the Speed Force. His past is outlined over a two-page spread, but the interesting thing I took away from this is that he very casually references that other speedsters have existed in the DC Universe before Barry Allen. I’m a little surprised that Barry didn’t find this the least bit interesting.
I hope this is the set-up for something. The Speed Force mythology as originated for the New 52 back in the first Grodd issue is very interesting as there seems to be a lot to mine. Hopefully, this can be explored when and if the Future Flash storyline is resolved.
Anyway, Selkirk and Flash then head out to the top of a mountain that will give Flash his powers back. Somehow. It still isn’t explained to Flash (or the readers) how this will work.
I am growing antsy with this story arc. What happened to Overload? He’s still around, right? We get a mention of him, but this character really feels like an afterthought. Oh well. At least, we got some good Brett Booth artwork to look at.
Next: On the Hunt for a Killer!
May 21, 2015Posted by on
The parallel stories of the two Flashes continue in this issue. We first find “present-day” Barry in the Speed Force with his new friend Selkirk. They approach the latter’s settlement housing several other time-lost people trapped in this world. After a brief battle between the settlers and a group of pre-historic robot creatures, Flash is determined to get back to Central City, and Selkirk indicates that is possible if they make it to the top of a very large mountain.
If it was possible to escape this version of the Speed Force, how come no one else here tried it before? Or is Flash the only one who ever wondered about it? Or, how does Selkirk know that it is a possibility? Lots of unanswered questions that Flash seems to just accept. He doesn’t know these people and, so far, things are just too good to be true. Flash, in this New 52 series, has been through too much to just be this trusting so quickly with a new group of people. It can be tough to buy into.
In addition to that, I’m not sure I care much for this version of the Speed Force. The take they have with it is just too mundane. Instead of the Speed Force being a mysterious place with some sort of hidden magic behind it, it comes off here as some sort of lost island in the Bermuda Triangle. I liked how the Speed Force had this mystical nature when we were first introduced to it back in issue 8 and am disappointed that it has been dropped. I bet this was done so each writer/writing team can do their own spin on it without contradicting each other.
Anyway, in Central City, not much happens. Future Flash acts like a jerk in front of Patty when she has some sympathy for the guy who he killed in the previous issue is brought into the morgue, Patty discovers (based on Barry’s tip), a whole host of bodies from the Forever Evil siege, and a new horse and carriage-themed bad guy appears and kills his jerk of a passenger (who, frankly, probably deserved it in the grand scheme of things).
Much of this is set-up, obviously, but with that last bit, I am assuming this is Overlord, who was teased last month and on this month’s cover. For a character given a lot of teases to, they really sort of make him an afterthought in this issue. They don’t even refer to him as Overlord. I had to re-read it a few times to get that this was him. Sure, he is going to be showing up some more next month, but still it seemed odd to prop him up and not do much with it.
A very uneven issue. Booth is back on art duties full-time, and that was good. The writing here could probably have used a bit more ironing out. The problems are minor, but, I think, could have been fixed at the editorial stage.
Next: Meet Napalm, the World’s Worst Rogue!
May 14, 2015Posted by on
Yeah….it has been a while, hasn’t it? The Flash hasn’t been the only one “trapped in the savage Speed Force” since October. I feel like I’ve been saying that a lot lately. But, I’m back, and I’m all about getting caught up!
When we last left The Flash, Future Flash was stuck in the present, Future Wally is dead, and Barry was stuck in the past. Jams abound. Turns out that Barry was thrown into the Speed Force (but a different area of the Speed Force than what we have seen before), and Future Flash de-aged twenty years to pass as his current-day self (how convenient).
Barry meets Selkirk, a man who is part of (leads?) a settlement of other people who have been sucked into the Speed Force from the past and present (time has no meaning here). They battle their way to the settlement, fighting dinosaurs and future robots.
Meanwhile, Future Flash gets creepy with Patty and assumes Barry’s life. This causes various misunderstandings throughout the day as Future Flash misremembers some details from his life 20 years earlier such as thinking he is good buddies with Director Singh when the opposite couldn’t be more true (perhaps one day).
Eventually, Future Flash decides to kill would-be villains before they can become villains.
All this is pure set-up. By the end of last issue, I was kind of done with the Future Flash, but at least the story has been reset and going in a new direction. Though I do feel that there is some repetition here from the previous run. It wasn’t that long ago when Barry was stuck in the Speed Force and disappeared from the public eye. Granted, there is enough happening here to keep things fresh, but there is still a feeling of redundancy.
I still like Brett Booth’s art. Loves how he draws the Flash. For whatever reason, he needed an assist with this issue. I have to give DC a thumbs up for paring Booth with Andre Coelho whose art is style is close to Booth’s. So much so that I didn’t realize that two artists were used until I took a closer look.
So, that’s that. I have really nothing else to say about this issue. Let’s see where this goes.
October 23, 2014Posted by on
In the latest edition of The Flash, the much-more intense, blue-costumed Future Flash catches up to the present day to fix the Speed Force. His plan? Kill his younger self, of course! The issue focuses on the battle between our hero and his corrupt future self with another speedster stepping in to help save the day. Or does he?
It is a fairly simple issue which sort of rehashes what has been going on with the Future Flash for the past few months. Normally, that could be an irritating thing to hear what is going on again and again, but in this case, it sort of works considering that what is happening with the Speed Force and the Future Flash’s motivations has been incredibly muddled. Maybe that was by design, but I know that I was growing frustrated with the lengthiness of it.
The Future Flash abducts his present-day version and takes him to where the Speed Force ruptured. Apparently, the death of the present-day Flash combined will release enough energy to fix tear. Or something. It is one of those things in comics that you just have to go with.
I have to give credit to writers Robert Venditti and Van Jensen in directly connecting this Speed Force tear to the events during Manapul and Buccellato’s run (specifically when Dr. Elias’s monorail crashed). It feels like a natural continuation instead of something that just happened. In the past, I have noticed when a new creative team comes on to a comic, they will junk everything the previous team did to establish their own stamp. Here, it feels like a continuing story, and I really like that they did that.
Before Future Flash can kill Barry (why he doesn’t sacrifice himself is never explained – arrogance on his part, perhaps?), Future Wally appears and battles Future Flash. They duke it out, but in an ironic move, Future Flash accidently kills Future Wally (who was shielding Barry). Wally takes Barry’s energy, dies, and heals the wound in a big explosion. This leaves Wally dead, Barry stuck in the past, and Future Flash still standing.
Sort of a rushed ending and, again, I wish Future Wally would be sticking around. Not only is he a lot of fun to read, but artist Brett Booth killed it with Wally’s costume. I really like that silver and red motif. Hopefully, that design will make some sort of return down the line.
Overall, not bad. It was the likely conclusion and it delivered on its promise of a showdown. I do wish there was a bit more substance to the issue. Again, it was another boss fight. There was more at play this time around than in issue 34, but I just feel like I want a bit more out of it. That said, I am looking forward to the Future Flash in the present day. Will he try to completely take over Barry’s life (even though he is 20 years older)? I guess we’ll find out next month.
Next: The Flash – – All-New, All-Murderous!