book reviews, Comics

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains

comicbookreview

44777456._SY475_Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Villains by Tom Taylor

Rating (overall):

Published December 3rd 2019 by Marvel Comics

“You are in my command. You are another gun I hold. If your aim isn’t true. If you falter. Then you are no longer a gun. No longer worthy to be in my hand,”

This is the Age of Star Wars – an epic series of adventures that unites your favorite characters from all three trilogies! Now it’s the First Order’s turn to take center stage. As Captain Phasma leads an attack on the iron planet Demir, a young Stormtrooper looks to follow in Phasma’s footsteps. But will she have the heart to follow the merciless ways of the First Order captain? General Hux has always been looked down upon, but when a sabotaged shuttle crash-lands on an unknown planet it will be up to Hux to save Kylo Ren! Plus: Tales of Kylo Ren and Supreme Leader Snoke!

COLLECTING: STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – CAPTAIN PHASMA 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – GENERAL HUX 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – KYLO REN 1, STAR WARS: AGE OF RESISTANCE – SUPREME LEADER SNOKE 1.

In the desperate lead up to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker releasing last year I went a bit crazy buying Star Wars books and brought three of the newly released trade paperbacks from the Age of collection. I brought Age of Resistance – Villains and Age of Resistance – Heroes which are both set in the sequel era and Age of Republic – Heroes, set in the prequel era. There are two volumes, each entitled Heroes or Villains, set in each of the three main Star Wars eras and I would definitely like to get around to reading them all at some point but for now, I just picked the ones I found most interesting. I started with Age of Resistance – Villains as I have three issues of The Rise of Kylo Ren to read yet and figured they could be my next read after this. Although I’ve given an overall rating for this collection I will also give an individual mini-review and rating for each story/collected issue, much like I have done in the past for anthology reviews.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Captain Phasma. XXXXX
As someone who read and adored the novel Phasma by Delilah S. Dawson and loved getting to know the woman behind the mask and armour, this was a really fun read. Short, yet perfectly illustrates the core of Phasma’s personality and ultimate ‘flaw’ I loved it.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – General Hux. XXXXX
A brilliant look into the past and mind of General Armitage Hux, I knew a little bit of his background, mainly from Phasma and a few mentions here and there in other media but this laid things out plain and simple, the transition from page 2 to 3 felt almost cinematic and was done extremely well. I think we really see how Armitage works and it’s deliciously villainous. Another great short story. (Minor spoiler, Hux calls Kylo Ren, Ben and I’m honestly here for that).

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Supreme Leader Snoke. XXXX 
Another good read but I felt this one was more focused on and told us more about Kylo Ren instead of Snoke which I suppose fits with his whole mysterious persona but I’m still pretty salty about the whole Snoke thing. It does gives us a look into some of the training methods Snoke used when training Ren and a ‘cameo’ of sorts that I hadn’t been suspecting.

Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Kylo Ren. XXXXX
The essay piece after the Kylo Ren comic sums this up perfectly “Ben Solo – Part Skywalker, Part Vader, All Solo.” There are some brilliant side by side comparison panels between events in the present and in the past like I particularly enjoyed but my favourite moment is the one where I couldn’t help but smile and think to myself “if there was ever any doubt that Ben is Han Solo’s son it’s now been obliterated.”

After the four issues with each of their essay pieces that follow (I loved these and I’m so glad they were included in this bind up) we are treated to the variant cover art for each of the issues which a nice touch but also some WIP pages for a fair bit of the comics, I especially liked any that involved the “scale guy” and a look at the breakdown that goes into planning each panel.

I’m hoping to be able to read Star Wars: Age of Resistance – Heroes before the novelisation comes out in a couple of weeks to set the mood as it where. I also feel a rewatch of the films coming on too! Have you read any of the Star Wars comics or books? I used to read the comics religiously as a child so reading the newer ones now feels a little like coming home. Have a good week and I’ll see you back here Thursday for the first of this months book tags!

book reviews, book talk, Bookish Discuussions, Comics, spoiler free

Captain Marvel: Liberation Run

42583944Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by Tess Sharpe

Rating: XXXX

Published: February 26th 2019 by Titan Books

But nothing can resist the stars for long. And she was made of battle-worn-starlight – her own kind of fire, one that never went out.

Carol Danvers–Captain Marvel–narrowly stops a spacecraft from crashing. Its pilot Rhi is a young Inhuman woman from a group who left for a life among the stars. Instead, they were imprisoned on a planet where an enslaved Inhuman brings her owner great power and influence. Horrified by the account, Carol gathers a team–including Ant-Man, Mantis, and Amadeus Cho–and they set out to free Rhi’s people.

I was gifted this gorgeous finished copy of Captain Marvel: Liberation Run by the publisher, Titan Books in exchange for an honest review. When I was offered this book that comes out under two weeks before one of my most anticipated Marvel film releases, Captain Marvel hits cinemas across the world I thought this would be a great opportunity to really dip my toe back into the world of Marvel comics and familiarise myself with the story of Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. I’m usually very much a DC Comics reader (Give me Green Lantern or Gotham City Sirens any day) but the films we’ve seen from Marvel over the past decade have really piqued my interest and I’ve found my way to reading a few of their titles. I was excited however to find an entire story in one novelised volume instead of having to wait months for any kind of conclusion such as we often find in comics (I’m impatient okay?).

In the comics… Labelled as Marvels biggest female hero and quite possibly the Marvels mightiest Avenger, Carol Danvers  first entered the Marvel universe in the 1970’s as the security chief of a restricted military base and later in 1977 took on the title of Ms Marvel in her own self titled series after she effectively became a human-Kree hybrid thanks to being exposed to energy from an explosion of a device that tried to meld her genetic structure to that of  the Kree hero, Captain Marvel who was also in the vicinity. Despite some horrific treatment to her story in the 1980s, which even the former writer considered “inappropriate”, the title alone was socially progressive for its time by using the title Ms. which was then associated with the feminist movement. In 2012 after going through a lot of changes and different appearances, Carol returns with the title Captain Marvel in a new series written by Kelly Sue DeConnick which leads the way for a newer, more progressive side to the character and a slew of female writers. Fast forward to July 2018 and we get a “retelling” of Carol’s origin story with her mother instead being of Kree origin and the explosion merely unlocking her latent abilities, writer Margret Stohl has also commented on the fact that the series will share some similarities to the upcoming film although that is still “it’s own thing.”  Currently, Captain Marvels (and Carol’s) story is being written by Kelly Thompson (of Hawkeye and Jem and the Holograms fame) and illustrated by Carmen Carnero.

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Captain Marvel: Liberation Run was everything that I could have hoped for in that it felt like your typical but enjoyable YA storyline but became so much more with the addition of Carol and the team she assembles to aid Rhi, an inhuman girl who, along with her people have been trapped in a hellish prison disguised as a “safe place” for the powerful women of her kind. Not only do we get a well written, moderatley paced and interesting storyline with Rhi and the other inhumans but we also get to see a little into the lives of Carol and Scott Lang (Ant-man) as well as some great story and dialogue from Mantis, Hepzibah and Amadeus (with a hint of Brawn).

The only thing that I found irked me about this book, and it completely a problem of my own making, was that I wanted to know more about each character. If you’re an avid comic reader you will probably recognise all, if not most, of the Alpha Flight characters but as someone who only dips their toe in here and there with the occasional series that interests me I had to rely on my knowledge gleaned from the popular films which are not always entirely in line with the comic releases. Although each character does get a bit of an explanation as to their powers etc in the story, at times it kind of felt, to me, like the name was dropped and we should know everything we need to know about from just that and to be honest that is a fair assumption as someone who is picking up a Marvel novel will more than likely have at least a passing knowledge about it’s characters. I do think there maybe could have been an additional glossary type feature with a little explanation of each of the “superhero” characters – I just want to know how they got their powers is that so much to ask? – but as I said this is a problem that not everyone will have and is more to do with my inherent need to know backstories than any real problem.

Aside from the characters themselves, the story holds well, even on its own, I may have been less inclined to have picked this up without the Captain Marvel name but it does read very much like a YA story I would happily read and enjoy outside of the Marvel universe as well. I think this is one of the most enjoyable feminist books I’ve read in a while too, it really hits the nail on the head with a lot of its points and moments that I really connected to without feeling like it was steamrolling over the plot, it was a part of it that helped make it a whole instead of taking centre stage.

Captain Marvel: Liberation Run has definitely made me more excited about the upcoming film and has certainly piqued my interest in checking out the comics, I just need to decide where to start!

Have you read a novel based on or tied into a comic at all? How did you find it and had you read the linked comics beforehand? Let me know in the comments and sound off if you’re also looking forward to seeing Captain Marvel on the big screen on March 8th! Don’t forget Captain Marvel: Liberation Run is out today!

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