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.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide’ by Jim Luceno, Laura Gilbert

I remember this oversized hardcover coffee table book coming out around the same time as Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in the late ’00s. I wanted it but didn’t buy it back then, as it was a bit pricey and I was pretty damn poor then.

Recently, a copy popped up on an eBay search and I bought it, as it was really cheap and still in great quality.

While “encyclopedias” like this aren’t all that necessary in modern times with Wikipedia and lots of fan-made very specific Wikias, the larger than life presentation of this book and all of its great pictures, art and images, makes me yearn for a time when books like this were more common.

It’s one small part of the book but the thing I really liked most about this was how it provided three-dimensional maps of many of the tombs, temples and secret caves that Indiana Jones visited throughout the film franchise.

This book delves into a little bit of everything, though.

This doesn’t only cover the films but it covers The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television show, the novels, the video games and even looks at the comics.

Additionally, it covers all of these things in as much detail as you can in the limited space of a book chock full of imagery.

For diehard Indiana Jones fans, I’d say that this is a really cool book to ad to your library. Especially, if you can find a good, affordable copy online.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: other reference books and guides from other Lucasfilm blockbusters.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Interior World’ by Rob MacGregor

This was the last Indiana Jones book written by Rob MacGregor and also the sixth of the twelve ’90s novels published by Bantam Books.

I was kind of excited going into this one, as it featured Easter Island, a place that has always fascinated me. With that, I hoped it had some Tiki flavor and tapped into that stuff, which it did to a point, but then this gets more focused on what lies beyond the surface… literally.

The book also spends some time in South America and it draws some comparisons to my favorite MacGregor Indy book, The Seven Veils. But sadly, this didn’t match that one in quality.

I thought that the first few chapters in this were really good and it built up my hopes further, as I wanted to see MacGregor go out with a bang. However, it just kind of gets duller and duller as one reads on.

Overall this book turns into an acid trip and it doesn’t really embrace what makes the Indiana Jones franchise so beloved and that’s adventure.

I like that MacGregor ties his books together and the characters and MacGuffins bleed into other works but I just feel like the guy was out of steam here. Maybe he had a six book contract and he was just trying to get it over with, I don’t know. This just feels rushed and severely lacking.

Being that I’m now halfway through the ’90s Indy novels, I am going to take a bit of a break. I will review the other six in the near future but honestly, this one was just tough to get through and I have so many other books in my stack on my reading desk.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Unicorn’s Legacy’ by Rob MacGregor

This is the fifth of the twelve Indiana Jones novels of the Bantam series from the ’90s. It is also Rob MacGregor’s second-to-last installment.

I found the previous book to be the weakest of the series from what I had read so far. Luckily, this one gets back on track fairly well and I enjoyed it more than its predecessor.

The setting of this book is primarily the American southwest. It also goes to Rome for the last few chapters but I liked the American setting and it gave the story a sort of western vibe and also drew some comparisons to the great opening of the 1989 film, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

MacGregor wrote the novelization for that film and maybe he was inspired by that opening and wanted to write something larger in that same geographical region.

The story revolves around Indy and a beautiful art historian colleague looking for the horn of a mythical unicorn. A villain from Indy’s past is also looking for the relic for sinister reasons. We also get Indy’s best bud, Jack Shannon, and my favorite Indy character that isn’t Indy, Marcus Brody.

As the story progresses, we learn that the girl might not be a love interest, as Indy had hoped, and that she might have her own nefarious reasons for wanting the horn. Additionally, all of this comes to a head when we learn of a conspiracy involving the Catholic Church and the possible overthrow of Italy’s fascist prime minister, Benito Mussolini.

The story has good action sequences and it’s well paced and there really isn’t a dull moment, even with some of the slower scenes.

I thought that it wrapped up really well with a solid conclusion and I hope this momentum carries over into MacGregor’s last Indiana Jones novel.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.

Book Review: ‘Indiana Jones and the Genesis Deluge’ by Rob MacGregor

This is the fourth book out of the twelve in the original Indiana Jones novel series from the ’90s. This is also my least favorite of the books so far.

Written by Rob MacGregor, who wrote the three before this one, I feel like he was sort of stuck in a creative rut after he told a pretty good, larger story arc that bridged the first three novels.

Before this, Indy had three adventures that were connected, as well as a girl he met in one book and then married and lost her in the next one. He was in a dark emotional place when this story starts but it also felt like he and the creative direction of the series had become a bit directionless. For one book, I can tolerate that, I just hope it picks back up in the next installment.

Additionally, the real international adventure doesn’t even start until the mid-point of the book and then it felt somewhat rushed, even though this is the thickest of the Indiana Jones books, thus far.

The first half of the story dealt with Indy returning to America, Chicago to be exact, meeting up with his friend Jack Shannon, a character throughout the series, and getting caught up in his family’s personal feud with Al Capone. It’s kind of an interesting thing to happen in an Indiana Jones story but it also made this feel like two separate books merged into one where neither story got as much time as it needed to be something solid.

The second half has to do with Indy, Jack and some others going to Turkey to investigate a site that is believed to have the surviving remains of Noah’s Ark. While I did enjoy this for the most part, as well as the Russian villains and their part in the story, it still felt rushed through.

I guess every book in this long-running series can’t be consistently good and stuff like this is typically rushed due to schedules. Still, this was decent enough and it didn’t wreck the Indiana Jones novel series. I just hope the fifth book gets back to the level I came to enjoy with the first three.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other Indiana Jones novels from Bantam Books’ run in the ’90s.