Marvel Comics has been producing a series of Star Wars one-shots that have proven to be filler after a year where many of its critically acclaimed titles ended.
Several Star Wars comics published by Marvel came to a standstill in 2018. Both popular Darth Vader titles were over. The Poe Dameron series ended. All that was left was Doctor Aphra and the ubiquitous Star Wars flagship title as long form series.
There were a few miniseries like a Han Solo series that explored his time as an imperial cadet but other than that there wasn’t much that could headline and catch the eyes of comic book fans.
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Marvel comics announced, mid-year 2018, a series of one-shots that would span the entire current Star Wars timeline from the prequel era through the original trilogy and end in the era of the third film trilogy. When the news first broke I thought there might be an interesting high-level narrative that connected all the books but as the initial Age of the Republic books release dates came near it became clear that these books would stand alone.
I still had high hopes. The majority of these characters were rich with history and mystery. The films left a lot of story to tell especially for characters like Qui-Gon Jinn, whose one-shot was one of the first to be released. Unfortunately Qui-Gon’s title would be a preview of what the series as a whole would be: filler stories that at best reinforce traits that have already been established or at worst were a complete waste of your time and $3.99.
I won’t get into summaries of every book but the Qui-Gon story was him having a moral dilemma and then talking to Yoda about it and having a force vision. Is this meaningful? It felt like fan fiction. We were introduced to a plant-based species but the story was so basic there will never be a reason to revisit that species and it’ll likely be forgotten. This is indicative of the entire event.
There were stories I enjoyed, the IG-88 mini-story in the Age of Rebellion special and Boba Fett’s issue (although both firmly fall into the character reinforcing trope). Finding issues to like is to be expected, there were a lot of comics and I am a Star Wars fan.
There are very few things that were memorable or mattered to the canon: Jango making his deal with Count Dooku on a moon of Bogden and the Princess Leia comic gave the very rare story set in between episodes five and six and led right into Jabba’s palace.
In general these events and items are trivial. If they appeared in a trivia contest they’d be thrown away for being too obscure. I had to reach to find examples.
Jody Houser and Greg Pak are both good writers. There is nothing wrong with the writing of these comics. The plotting is fine and Marvel was at least smart enough to hire people who could tell a full story in a normal comic-sized setting.
But it doesn’t appear either writer was given much leeway to impress or to write anything that matters. Greg Pak will get the chance writing the main title starting with issue 68. and Jody Houser is writing a solid Tie Fighter miniseries that ties into the Alphabet Squadron novel.
I have hope for the Age of Resistance one-shots. These characters have barely been touched except in episodes seven and eight. But this week’s Age of Resistance: Finn does not give me high hopes.
Perhaps Tom Taylor will do something interesting with Rey and Snoke but more than a dozen issues into the ‘Age of’ series I doubt it.
It’s not all mediocre in Star Wars comics and I think that’s what makes the “Age of…” event so disappointing. Kieron Gillen just finished a wonderful run on the main title that is its own epic. And Marvel comics is getting creative keeping Darth Vader on shelves with the Vader: Dark Visions miniseries and the Target Vader miniseries, where they revive a Legends character to hunt and assassinate the sith lord.
The Galaxy’s Edge tie-in comic has been great. There is hope in the world of Star Wars comics.
Am I being too hard on the Age of event? How have you enjoyed the one-shot series?