Comic Review: Star Wars: Infinities – Omnibus

Published: February 5th, 2015
Written by: Adam Gallardo, Dave Land, Chris Warner
Art by: Ryan Benjamin, Davide Fabbri, Drew Edward Johnson
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas

Dark Horse, Marvel Comics (reprinted), 277 Pages

Review:

I always wanted to read these stories but back when they were coming out, my funds were extremely limited and I couldn’t pull every comic book that I wanted, each month.

Well, through the miracle of more income and Comixology Unlimited, I can read and afford just about anything that I missed out on.

This series was essentially Star Wars‘ version of Marvel’s What If? comic series. It took known stories and then changed some minor thing to show how it completely altered the famous tales. In the case of Infinities, it altered each film in the Original Trilogy of Star Wars movies.

For the most part, I liked what each of the three stories did here. Granted, there were moments where I was like, “Huh? WTF?!” but then it all came together in a good way in the end.

Honestly, these were pretty imaginative and entertaining alternate reality versions of the tales we all know. I can’t say that they’re better than the original movies but I like some of the concepts that came from this, such as Leia actually training to become a Jedi early on and Darth Vader redeeming himself and living.

Also, the art was pretty good in all three of the stories.

This was a pretty cool thing to read and hardcore fans of the original films might want to check it out just to see how things could’ve gone.

Rating: 8/10

Comic Review: Star Wars: Legacy – Book III

Published: January 8th, 2015 (Marvel reprint)
Written by: Jan Duursema, John Ostrander
Art by: Jan Duursema, Dave Ross
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas

Dark Horse, Marvel Comics (reprinted), 443 Pages

Review:

Well, here we are, the final act of this comic book series. I also had never read any of this, as I stopped reading the series before its end due to no longer being able to pull the issues at my local comic shop.

So seeing where all these characters ended up was something that I didn’t get to experience until now.

I’m very happy to say that this series ended with a giant f’n bang!

I loved this and it tied everything up perfectly and the long arcs of the main characters ended up being really damn satisfying. But then again, this was Star Wars before Disney took control and basically wrecked it with their warped ideology, complete lack of actual creativity and by putting people in charge of the franchise that cared more about current day “issues” than the actual art.

That being said, and as I have said many times before, this version of Star Wars is my canon. Fuck that Disney shit. The original Expanded Universe, as proven by this comic book series and just about every other release be it comics, books, video games or whatever, is the superior continuity. The reason for that, is it was made by creatives that were fans and cared about the franchise while respecting the fact that being given the keys to it, was a huge responsibility.

But enough about me bitching about the state of modern Star Wars.

This beefy collection of issues was fantastic. You finally get to see the final showdown between Cade Skywalker and Darth Krayt. You also get the satisfaction of seeing Krayt get revenge on the Sith who betrayed him, while shuffling the deck for the Sith’s survival going forward.

By this point, this series had a ton of characters. All of them get their stories wrapped up and it’s neat seeing new alliances formed as old ones dissolve in the wake of this big final battle between Krayt’s Sith Empire and their opposition.

We see heroes grow, destinies fulfilled, alliances formed, redemption achieved for some and the triumph of light over dark. This is Star Wars

Rating: 9.25/10
Pairs well with: other Star Wars comics of the Legacy era, as well as the stuff originally published by Dark Horse.

Documentary Review: Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (2014)

Release Date: January 14th, 2014
Directed by: Brian Stillman
Written by: Brian Stillman
Music by: Chris Ianuzzi
Cast: various

X-Ray Films, 70 Minutes

Review:

Plastic Galaxy is a documentary about the people who have a bit of an obsession with collecting Star Wars toys. It mainly focuses on the original line of toys from the original trilogy of movies and it also goes into their history and development.

I was initially excited to check this out back when it was a new film. However, it’s kind of light, if I’m being honest and suffers from some clunky editing, too much reliance on talking head interviews and, at times, being a bit overly dramatic.

That being said, I think that the Star Wars episode of Netflix’s The Toys That Made Us is a much better watch and a more professional production.

Still, this was neat to revisit and it’s engaging enough. But the 70 minute running time seems scant and I feel like this really needed to delve into the history more and provide more backstory.

All in all, this is okay but it could’ve been a lot better than what it was.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries on toys, video games, table top gaming, collecting and specific niche fandoms.

Comic Review: Star Wars: Legacy – Book II

Published: January 8th, 2015 (Marvel reprint)
Written by: Jan Duursema, John Ostrander
Art by: Jan Duursema, Kajo Baldisimo, Omar Francia, Alan Robinson, Adam Hughes (cover)
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas

Dark Horse, Marvel Comics (reprinted), 417 Pages

Review:

After being pretty drawn into the first large collection in the Star Wars: Legacy comic book series, I didn’t want to waste too much time before getting to the second of the three volumes.

This one is nearly as good. However, it jumps around a lot to tell different stories with some characters we haven’t met yet. Most of these side stories were there to lay the groundwork for the overall, bigger arc.

For the most part, I enjoyed these side plots even though I wanted to get back to Cade Skywalker and his friends, as well as seeing where Darth Krayt was after his first big encounter with Cade.

The biggest things that happen in this volume is that there is a legit power struggle on the Sith side of the coin, while on the Jedi side, Cade has to evolve and conquer his personal demons in an effort to allow the light to wash away the dark. He’s not quite there yet but things in his life continue to push him towards the destiny he keeps trying to deny.

This volume also develops all of the main and secondary characters much more, as by this point, the series had gotten through what I would call its first act with this being the second.

This sets up everything for the final third of the larger story and it really keeps the momentum going, as we know shit will most assuredly hit the fan in the final volume.

Overall, this was solid and kept me invested in the series. Now there’s only one more book to go.

Rating: 8.75/10
Pairs well with: other Star Wars comics of the Legacy era, as well as the stuff originally published by Dark Horse.

Comic Review: Star Wars: Legacy – Book I

Published: January 8th, 2015 (Marvel reprint)
Written by: Jan Duursema, John Ostrander
Art by: Adam Dekraker, Jan Duursema, Travel Foreman, Colin Wilson, Adam Hughes (cover)
Based on: Star Wars by George Lucas

Dark Horse, Marvel Comics (reprinted), 473 Pages

Review:

I was in on this series from the day it was originally released. I was buying all the Star Wars comics series by Dark Horse at the time and this, along with Knights of the Old Republic, were solid additions to my pull list. From that mid-to-late ’00s era, these comics kept me interested in the Star Wars franchise, even though it seemed like there would be no more movies, as George Lucas seemed like he was shifting into retirement mode.

Having re-read this for the first time in well over a decade, I’m happy to say that it’s held up exceptionally well. Hell, it’s much better than the version of Star Wars that Disney has been spoon-feeding us since they bought the IP in 2012.

What stands out the most with this series is the writing. It’s just so good. Also, within a short time, you feel like you know these characters. Plus, once they’re established, this doesn’t waste any time in getting right into the thick of it.

This is action packed and the characters, especially the Sith, are really damn cool looking. I also like that the main Sith Lord, Darth Krayt, is a character that reaches all the way back into the prequel era.

Even though this takes place over a hundred years into the future beyond The Return of the Jedi, it still features characters like Luke Skywalker and Mara Jade in the form of Force ghosts trying to inspire this series’ reluctant hero into embracing his destiny as a Skywalker.

I like that Cade Skywalker, the main character, is sort of an amalgamation of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo but that he is also a heavy drug user, as he wants to suppress the Force and hide from who he is supposed to be.

Legacy has a darker edge to it than any other Star Wars comic series. I think that it actually adds to the sense of the dread that everyone in the galaxy should be feeling in this time period.

The galaxy is splintered and everything is in flux, making the future pretty damn uncertain and also solidifying the fact that even though the Empire fell a century earlier, life doesn’t just have a happy ending. There are still things that the survivors and heroes will always have to fight for.

I can’t wait to read the other two beefy volumes in this series.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other Star Wars comics of the Legacy era, as well as the stuff originally published by Dark Horse.

Film Review: THX 1138 – Director’s Cut (1971)

Also known as: THX-1138 (alternative spelling)
Release Date: March 11th, 1971
Directed by: George Lucas
Written by: George Lucas, Walter Murch
Based on: Electronic Labyrinth: THX 1138 4EB by George Lucas
Music by: Lalo Schifrin
Cast: Robert Duvall, Donald Pleasence, Don Pedro Colley, Maggie McOmie, Ian Wolfe, Sid Haig

American Zoetrope, Warner Bros., 86 Minutes, 88 Minutes (Director’s Cut), 81 Minutes (1971 Studio Theatrical Cut)

Review:

“Let us be thankful we have commerce. Buy more. Buy more now. Buy. And be happy.” – OMM

I had to review the Director’s Cut edition of THX 1138, which is unfortunately the only version the world has access to anymore. It’s similar to the original Star Wars trilogy after George Lucas altered those films. Frankly, I’d rather see and review this film in its original form but I don’t have this on a VHS tape from the ’80s or a working VCR.

For the most part, this film isn’t altered too greatly and the bits that have been updated are obvious due to them employing modern CGI, which sticks out like a sore thumb. But I can’t really examine the skill of George Lucas’ special effects prowess because those things have been wiped clean and replaced with modern tweaks.

Anyway, this is obviously inspired by some of the most famous dystopian novels and motion picture adaptations. However, even if it dips into Brave New World, 1984 and Fahrenheit 451, it still has it’s own identity and look. Frankly, despite heavy narrative similarities to what it was inspired by, this is still a unique and really cool film.

Being George Lucas’ first feature length movie, it’s damn impressive. This is also why I’d rather see it in its original form and not altered for modern eyes.

The film also benefits from the performances by its core cast members. While Robert Duvall is stellar in this, he’s backed up by Maggie McOmie’s memorable performance, as well as the always enjoyable Donald Pleasence.

Additionally, it’s impressive how much Lucas was able to achieve with so little. The sets are very minimalistic but nothing about this picture feels cheap. The world feels real, authentic and lived in, even with its generic, sterile, hospital hallways looking appearance.

I like this motion picture quite a bit and I always have. Seeing it in HD is pretty glorious but I still wish I had the ability to see it as it was original seen.

Lastly, this film features one of the coolest cars in motion picture history, which is featured in the big chase scene at the film’s climax.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: other dystopian science fiction films of the late ’60s through the ’80s.

Vids I Dig 363: Whang!: Was ‘Indiana Jones’ Changed After Release? – Lost Media

Taken from Justin Whang’s YouTube description: The ending of Indiana Jones: The Kingdom of the Crystal skull is different from how people remember it. Many recall Indy saying “In Your Dreams Kid”as he takes his hat back from Shia Labeouf’s character, Mutt, but the line is not there. Is this a case of the Mandela effect, or was it edited quickly after release?