Finishing out this list of my personal Star Wars recommendations are a few of my favorite comic books, graphic novels, and trade paperbacks.
Star Wars: Vader Down by Jason Aaron/Kieron Gillen
At the top of this list is the first big Star Wars crossover event Vader Down written by Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen with illustrations contributed by Mike Deodato and Salvador Larroca respectively.
This book puts Darth Vader in the precarious situation of being the hunted, instead of the hunter, as he is most accustomed to being. His greatest adversary during this face-off with the Rebel Alliance is a Mon Calamari cyborg named Commander Karbin. This foe has a similar form to General Grievous but is an improvement on his counterpart. However, none of this helps him when going toe-to-toe with a guy like Vader.
One of my favorite scenes in this book is the wookie versus wookie slobber-knocker between Chewbacca and the wookie bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan. Between the headbutts and bodyslams I was getting sore just looking at this fur-flying contest between these two furry titans.
Star Wars: Last Flight of the Harbinger
My other favorite trade paperback from Marvel’s new Star Wars series was Last Flight of the Harbinger written by Jason Aaron, with illustrations provided by Mike Mayhew and Jorge Molina. This books featured story-arc follows an elite squad of stormtroopers called Task Force 99.
The groups leader Sergeant Kreel is a lightsaber-wielding stormtrooper who Luke Skywalker had an earlier encounter with while on Nar Shadaa. The other members of the SCAR squad include the female sniper Misty, the knife-wielding Cav, the big-gun toting powerhouse Zuke, along with the Jet-pack tech specialist Aero, plus a flame-throwing incinerator trooper.
This highly specialized squad of troopers are more component than their other brothers-in-arms, including the dreaded Death Troopers. Their paths eventually cross with Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewbacca onboard the Imperial Star Destroyer The Harbinger.
Surprisingly, the two sides seem evenly matched particularly with Chewbacca and Zuke. Luke’s lack of training leaves him outmatched against the more experienced Kreel, but his strength with the Force eventually helps give him the much needed advantage and a chance to fight another day.
Besides the introduction of the SCAR squad, this trade paperback also includes a story taken from the Journals of Ben Kenobi. This particular story involves a panel-rocking showdown between Obi-Wan Kenobi (or Ben as he goes by) and the previously mentioned wookiee bounty hunter, Black Krrsantan.
The two characters’ paths collide after Krrsantan kidnaps Luke’s Uncle Owen Lars. Despite his considerable skill with the Force and his lightsaber, Kenobi’s victory in this confrontation isn’t guaranteed. Black Krrsantan proves this by biting down on Kenobi’s shoulder!
After a bad start, Ben finally gets the advantage over his foe through a series of telekinetic stone slams and the use of his lightsaber to deflect the other weapon. One of my favorite moments is when Kenobi slices through a boulder intended by the Wookie to crush his body, leaving behind a distinct facial scar.
Star Wars Infinities series by Dark Horse
If you’re looking for an interesting alternate look at what the Star Wars universe could have been then I would suggest you all check out the Star Wars Infinities books. Each of these What If – style books explores the original trilogy films by altering one of its events. In the case of A New Hope the story examines the aftermath of what would have happened if Luke had not destroyed the Death Star during the Battle of Yavin. On the plus side, Luke becomes better trained as a Jedi, but on the flip-side Leia is turned to the dark side by Darth Vader.
Star Wars Infinities: The Empire Strikes Back is one of my favorites, as its twist begins with the death of Luke on Hoth, and ends up with Leia taking his place by training with Yoda on Dagobah. If that wasn’t cool enough there is also a fight between Yoda and Darth Vader. Urrm, most impressive it is.
Star Wars Infinities: The Return of the Jedi twist has fans dreams of Darth Vader living beyond the original film to take up his fight against the Imperials. As a sign that his heart has changed, his traditional black armor is replaced instead by a white version.
So, there you go, my personal recommendations of Star Wars books for your reading list. What do you think? Do you have some favorites of your own that you would like to include in the comments section below? If so, please feel free to share them. Thank you and happy reading!