Friday, February 6, 2015

The New Star Wars Comic Sucks Bantha Dicks

As a child I loved Star Wars, not just the film, but the whole shebang.  I played with the toys, I dressed in Halloween costumes, I made up new stories with the characters (we now call that Fan Fic); essentially I did what fans and kids do.  This did not end as I grew older, indeed well past my college years I was a Star Wars fan.  I would enter into debates with friends about some picayune point, often heated debates, and watched the original trilogy endlessly.
Then came the prequels.
Well I still had the EU (Expanded Universe), so I was not completely bereft of my fandom.  Only the EU became infected by all that I did not like about Star Wars so one day I just gave it all up.
The NEW Star Wars...from the House where Ideas go to die.
Yesterday I purchased the first two issues of Marvel's new ongoing Star Wars comic.  Marvel, being a Disney property, and Star Wars being a Disney property, meant that the license for Star Wars comics moved from Dark Horse to Marvel.  Now Marvel has a history in this area.  In 1977 Marvel published the adaptation of the movie Star Wars (now known as A New Hope) with Roy Thomas doing the writing and Howard Chaykin doing the art.  After spending 6 issues adapting the film they continued on with a seventh issue writing new stories with the characters, often quite good, and quite apart from any canonical Lucas storyline.  That comic would run for 107 issues finally ending in 1986, nearly a decade after the first issue had hit newsstands.  Marvel had taken the characters and the story of Star Wars into areas that the bulk of the EU never managed and for a kid growing up, loving the property and reading the comics, it was all so wonderful.  No Lucas lawyers looking over the shoulder to approve or reject every new story or idea.  No bloody continuity and canon to worry about.  Just stories about the heroes you loved and the villains you loved to hate (or loved, because we have some serious Darth Vader fans out there).

The Original 1977 Star Wars...check it out, Vader's green!
Well that's not the new Star Wars, I'm sorry to say.  So what is it?  Aside from ass gravy?
The new comic opens sometime between A New Hope (ANH) and The Empire Strikes Back (ESB) with a shuttle from Tatooine landing on Cymoon 1, an Imperial industrial outpost munitions factory in the Corellian sector (because fucking EVERYTHING happens in the Corellian sector).  An emissary from Jabba the Hutt has arrived to do a deal with the Empire to supply raw materials for the Imperial war machine.  We are treated to our first "shout out" moment (SOM!) when the Imperial Overseer calls the visitors, sight unseen, "outer rim scum" and expresses his desire to kill them all.  Out of the shuttle comes...Han Solo, flanked by two guards that are wearing the attire Lando used to infiltrate Jabba's palace.  Oh and R2-D2 as well.  Back on the Falcon is Threepio, who comments that he has "a VERY GOOD feeling about this" (SOM!), flipping the script on that classic line in every SW film.  So Han is walking with the overseer where he learns, in no uncertain terms, that he is not there to bargain or negotiate.  When the Imperial negotiator arrives said negotiator will state the terms, Han will agree and Jabba will accept whatever price the Empire is willing to pay.  So Artoo pisses lube all over the floor and shock-prods soem Stormtroopers and the remainder of the Keystone Cop-out as Han and his guard beat them up.  The guards take off helmets to reveal...Luke and Leia (oh, come on, you knew that was coming) then they ask where the power core is and the overseer stands firm.  He lets them know he is a sworn Imperial officer and want talk, but all it takes is the comedy threat of a shock prod from old Artoo and he's pointing the way.  Then Xena punches him out.  So they take time to change into their cool Rebellion action clothes and run to the core.  Meanwhile Threepio is sitting in the Falcon, hiding among the garbage and refuse on the planet (SOM!).  Han and Leia rig the power core to blow, Luke is on look out but decides to use the Force and discovers slaves are being held in cages, so off he goes to rescue them.  And then the fucking Rancor Keeper arrives.
I'm not making this up.  The Imperial slave master/jailer is drawn to look exactly like that fat dude who cried when Luke killed the rancor at Jabba's.  So Luke tries the Jedi mind trick but fails.  (SOM!)Then he cuts the dude's hand off with his lightsaber (SOM!).
Back in the power core the writer (Jason Aaron) felt that what we really needed was to see some background on the Han and Leia love story, so he has Han deliver some lascivious dialog then get all embarrassed schoolboy crush and clam up when Leia asks him why he sticks with the Rebellion.  Very deep (shit).
Did I mention Chewie yet?  He's in a tower acting as overwatch sniper for the team.  Yeah, I know.
Then the negotiator arrives.  Can you guess who?  I'll give you a hint: his initials are Darth Vader.
Yeah, so suddenly Leia tells Chewie to assassinate Vader, despite the fact that in ANH he was not that important.  Oh well, prequels and shit.
So Chewie doesn't want his balls broken by Princess Ballbreaker, and takes the shot.
But Vader is all like, "Oh no you di'nt" and blocks the first shot.  Then he grabs two Stormtroopers with the Force and lifts them up as a human (clone?) shield.  That shit is cold.  Then he drops the tower on Chewie.  Shit you not.
So Chewie escapes and Han calls Threepio to bring the Falcon and Vader senses the "Rebel pilot who destroyed the Death Star" and sets out to find him.  But Threepio can't get the Falcon off the ground because pink slug-like, horribly tentacled ersatz Jawas are taking the Falcon apart for salvage.  Because Threepio says they are.  So Han tells him to grab the blaster from the cockpit and deal with the situation.
Then Han and Leia and the slaves find AT-ATs without VIN plates and steal one, but Luke is talking to Obi Wan in his head and comes face to face with Vader.  End of first issue.

Issue 2 opens with Vader kicking Luke's ass.  Just swing, block, and Force grab that lightsaber.  Only Vader recognizes Luke's lightsaber.  He bloody well should, seeing as how he's the one that built it.  Anyway, before he can kill Luke, Han and Leia smash through the roof with the stolen AT-AT and there's some fighting and while Artoo and some convenient Jawas attempt to get the AT-AT's guns online Threepio gets the blaster and steps out of the Falcon to deal with the natives.  Only he drops the blaster, because he just isn't built for blaster holding, let's face it, and the natives speak in some language we don't understand, prompting Threepio to say, "Sorry, could you repeat that?  I am fluent in over six million forms of communication.  Do you speak...Bocce perhaps? Or..." (SOM!) then he gets blasted.  So Luke is pinned down by enemy fire, hiding behind some boxes and starts berating himself for sucking so much when he sees some speeder bikes (SOM!) and says, "Yeah.  I'm a farm boy, all right.  A farm boy who can bullseye womp rats." (SOM!...also WTF?).
Now let's take stock here.  Luke's on a speeder bike blasting Stormtroopers, Vader's just standing there looking all...well Vader, and up comes Han and Leia to STEP ON HIM WITH AN AT-AT.  Oh like you've never thought of it.
But they can't, because he stops them.  With the Force.  Then he starts crushing the AT-AT.  With the Force (SOM!-special Force Unleashed).  Han was as confused as I was, but Leia quickly explained that Vader was "using the Force!"  Right.  Han, ever the rationalist, responds with a classic "THERE'S NO SUCH THING AS THE FORCE!"
So Artoo gets the guns online and Leia shoots the shit out of Vader with them.  I promise, I'm not making any of this up.  I know it sounds like a story I would have written in 2nd grade, but this is an actual comic book that Marvel paid people to write and printed and sells for real Earth monies.
Threepio is being carried away by the slug people, so he says "Sir, if you'll not be needing me...I believe I'll close down...for a while."  (Double SOM!)
So how does it end?
Vader rises from the rubble Leia put him in...WITHOUT HIS HELMET AND MASK!  It just FELL OFF.  You remember how Luke had to disengage it and it made all sorts of hissing sounds because it is a locked down, sealed life support system (ROTJ)?  Yeah, it just fell the fuck off.  We only see the back of his head and in shadows (SOM!) then a Stormtrooper sees him and gets his head rotated 180 degrees on its axis by the Force for his troubles.  So the overseer comms in and tells Vader they have to evacuate because the factory is going to explode but Vader tells him that if it does explode the Overseer, "best blow up with it."  Jason, please, for the love of Obi Wan's Force ghost...this is not Vader dialog.  Go back.  Watch the films.  Vader does not talk like an angry Southerner.  And off Vader goes, posing with a bunch of Stormtroopers on speeder bikes as he declares that the boy is his to deal with (Luke).

Oh yeah.  It's worse than I made it sound.

Why does it suck so much?
I get that it is doomed by canon.  We all know who these characters are and how they came to be, so there are not many surprises, but a better effort could be made.  Honestly, a slightly better effort would improve it immensely.  All this comic consists of is fanwank and shout outs to existing Star Wars IP.
Just a few points that really bug me...
1) Han Solo just comes out and says, "Hey, I'm Han Solo, how are you?"  Doesn't anyone remember how he wanted to avoid Imperial entanglements?  Hell, the Imperial droid in the comic positively IDs him on page 3 and provides his rap sheet to the overseer.
2) What is Leia even doing there?  This is not the stage for her to enter into commando missions.  At this stage of the saga she enters adventures by happenstance.  In ESB she is only with Han because they get cut off from her evac shuttle.  This is not a mission for the Rebellion's key leaders and diplomats.
3) Why can Threepio speak Teddy Bear but not Slug?  He's famously fluent in over six-million forms of communication, but as of ROTJ the Ewoks (not even named in the film) would seem to be an unknown species, yet he can speak Ewok.  Can't speak slug.  And then to ask if they speak Bocce?  Why?  Because we all heard it in ANH.  Stupid, fucking, shout out for the children (mentally,not chronologically) that need to hear "Star Wars" words to enjoy the work.  Well truth is, I was a child when Marvel did it the first time and I DIDN'T need Star Wars words to get into the story.
4) Keystone Cop-Out: All the Imperials in this story.  Oh,the side-splitting humor.  Oh.  Oh.  Burn in Space Hell, Marvel.
5) Oh, and this place is in the Corellian Sector.  That's a major civilization sector, not a backwater.  These Slugs don't speak Bocce, the Galactic Pidgin Trade Language made up of many languages?  Banthashit.
6) Love struck Han!  Little early, I think.
7) Sniper Chewie!  How did you get a wookie, a known slave species in the Empire, up on a tower with gun?  Star Trek transporter maybe?
8) The Force unleashed?  Wow is Vader powerful.  Never mind that he was nowhere near that powerful in the canonical films, or that Leia has him pegged as the number 2 man in the Empire (which he was not until, well, the bloody prequels), let's just focus on his AT-AT crumpling skills.  Where was that shit when Han was knocking him out of the trench in ANH?  Why didn't Vader just smash all the X-Wings together and be done with it?
9) Vader loses his helmet.  Oh, this is a laugh riot.  Oh, how good.  What a shout out!, wheeze).  I can't take it.  Seriously.  Stop.
Just.  Stop.

So there you have it.  The new Star Wars comic from Marvel is a case of herpes on the already syphilis infected Dewback dick that is Star Wars today.

And if you enjoy it...
Do I really have to finish that sentence?


  1. Like me with that Terminator Genisys bollocks I understand the need for a cathartic venting of the spleen in a a righteous rhetorical primal scream. I felt better after I typed all that up. I hope you feel better as well. It saddens me deeply to see Star Wars in this infantile state, but it certainly doesn't surprise me.

  2. Just one more symptom of the dumbing down of the world as we know it, or else I just have false nostalgic notions of the past.

    1. A lot of column A, a little of column B, I think.