Man, Star Wars is just in the air right now, isn’t it? I read both of these books a few weeks back when speculation was running rampant about who would be directing the next episode of Star Wars for the now Disney owned Lucasfilm and rumors were swirling that there might be spinoff/non-episodic entries in the franchise. After reading Star Wars Legacy and Tag & Bink, I was all the more convinced that the latter would be a fantastic idea because just look at how diverse these two comics are. You’ve got a straightahead, in-the-future action adventure in Legacy featuring almost no characters from the origina trilogy and a comedic Rosencrantz and Guildenstern look at the events of, first, the original films and then the prequels. In fact, I’m way more familiar with Tag and Bink, so I refer to any “comedic look behind the scenes of a piece you’re already familiar with” by their names instead of Shakespeare’s characters.
Anyway, as I mentioned, Legacy focuses on the future of the Star Wars Universe relative to the original films (as the cover bust says, 125 years after Jedi) and focuses on a descendant of Luke Skywalker called Cade. As a teen, Cade was training to be a Jedi like his father before him and his grandfather before him, but most of the group was slaughtered by Sith agents. Cut to present day and Cade’s a bounty hunter working with Jariah Syn (who hates Jedis, but doesn’t know Cade is/was one) and Deliah Blue (who loves Cade). Cade’s doing his best to avoid the Jedi thing, but it very much falls into his lap and he’s reunited with some of the survivors of his old group while also meeting the daughter of the new Emporer (who is not the main Sith bad guy, that’s Darth Krayt).
I don’t want to get too deep into the connections and triangles, but I do have to say that John Ostrander is fantastic at making comics. He not only gives great single issues stories, but also works so damn well in arcs with foreshadowing and moving the story forward that it makes you realize how bad some other writers are at it. Everything of his that I read, I wind up loving from the original Suicide Squad and GrimJack to random 90s Valaint Magnus Robot Fighter issues. I’m very interested in getting the rest of these trades and seeing where this story goes, it’s a good one, one that actually make for a great film series in and of itself. Someone get on that.
I want to talk about Jan Duursema’s artwork for a second. She’s fantastic on this book and does all kinds of work from panel to panel. The characters look lived in gritty was the first word I thought of, but there are too many negative connotations to that term in comics, they don’t look like action figures that were just taken out of the packages. At the same time, they look heroic and iconic. That might sound like a contradiction, but think of how Indiana Jones looks on screen, that’s what I’m talking about. Duuresema does do something interesting in the book though, every few pages it looks like one panel doesn’t get inked, so that panel comes off softer in comparison to the others which might be because of inker Dan Parsons or colorist Brad Anderson. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about these panels. On one hand they kind of take me out of the story because you’ve got a less polished looking panel in the middle of “finished” looking ones, but on the other I wonder if the art shift is an indicator of something important that I’m missing. Thoughts?
As I mentioned above, Tag & Bink is a comedy book featuring a pair of Rebel fights who wind up finding their way into the background of just about ever major scene in the Star Wars films. Remember the Emproer’s red-clad Royal Guards? Yup, that was them. Same with the two Stormtroopers who Obi-Wan tricked to get to the generators. How they get there and why is the real fun of the book. And yes, this book is a ton of fun, Rubio actually got the gig making these comics after making a fan film called Troops.
Like with Legacy, I don’t want to get too far into what makes this book funny because talking about humor can be super boring and, worse, unfunny. So, to fill space past saying, “Hey, if you like funny and Star Wars, do your best to dig up one of these trades,” I’m going to mention how both of these comics remind me of working at Wizard. I actually got the Tag & Bink book for free while working at Wizard and was either turned on to it by my co-workers or if they were talking about the book in the magazine before I started working there. Also, at one point, the ToyFare guys did a feature on the series and were raving about it around the office (this was before I joined the team). They even did a really cool feature in the mag that was a kind of wish list for characters from the comic. This memory came back to me when I was reading through the first volume when I kept recognizing characters even though I’d never cracked one of these comics. I want to say I even helped get artwork for that feature, so there’s even more of an old school connect.
Anyway, if you dig Star Wars and haven’t gotten too far into Dark Horse’s Star Wars comics, I’d recommend giving these two books a shot because they’re both high quality and also show the width and breadth of this franchise.