Review: “Echoes of the Triumphant” no. 2

Things are starting to heat up in Reverb Comics’ “Echoes of the Triumphant no 2.” Ever since the chemical accident that has made some of the citizens of Echo City into Tweaks, or metahumans with special abilities,  Adrian has gone from MMA fighter to beleaguered accountant to a wanted vigilante. And from the last issue, with some help from his brother Martin (a Tweak who can control computers),  he has also stolen a suit of state-of-the-art armor from X-Pel (an organization aimed at policing the Tweaks and Echo City) to help him with his mission to track down Lionheart, the leader of the Tweaks.

Property of Reverb Comics

With the first and second issues, comic writer Pat Murphy introduces us to Adrian, a young man who is  just starting to figure out his purpose in the post-accident Echo City. Now, it seems that the vigilante may be in over his head. While Adrian is a formidable fighter and a capable investigator (is able to take on two Tweaks and is able to successfully track Lionheart’s money laundering activities to a strip club), he is still just a non-powered vigilante fighting against superhuman Tweaks. Even with a super-powered suit, Adrian does not know what he is getting himself into. A lesson he will soon learn.

While investigating Lionheart’s activities, he is admonished by his sister Alida who warns him to be careful. Little to Adrian’s knowledge, she sends over a friend to follow the neophyte vigilante and keep an eye on him. We learn that this friend of Alida’s is Loretta who happens to be a Tweak. 

Property of Reverb Comics

After Adrian encounters and gets beaten to a pulp by Lionheart, who is a muscle bound lion and human hybrid, Loretta comes to his rescue using her teleportation powers. He is taken to Loretta’s dimension at the behest of Alida. In addition, his sister urges Loretta to train Adrian to fight the Tweaks. Here, we also see Adrian’s arrogance. He feels that as an MMA fighter, he does not need any training but Loretta reminds him that he almost died at the hands of Lionheart. Adrian reluctantly takes Loretta up on her offer but he is quickly kicked out of her dimension for trying to make a move on her.Later on,  Adrian finds Martin and they both decide to return to his apartment 

Meanwhile, Richie, an acquaintance of Adrian,  comes to Adrian’s apartment to tell Alida that he was fired for stealing the X-Pel armor he created (when it was Adrian who stole the armor). We learn that Richie needs medication after being exposed to the chemicals from the accident. It seems that he struggles with both anxiety and evil thoughts. Haunted by the lingering thoughts, Richie screams at them to shut up much to Alida’s horror.  When Adrian and Martin return, the former throws Richie out much to his sister’s dismay. Saddened, Richie is still haunted by evil thoughts until, at the end of this issue, he meets a Tweak who shows him surveillance footage of Adrian stealing the X-Pel armor. 

The story has gotten interesting and is connecting the characters. Adrian is hellbent on taking down Lionheart so that he could get the promotion he feels he deserves. However, it seems that his desires cause him to push people away. For instance, his arrogance and lust pushed away the aforementioned Loretta who offered to train him for his war against Lionheart. In addition, his desire to take out Lionheart caused him to push Richie away. Furthermore, Adrian always viewed Richie as a stalker or a tag-along and not a true friend. When I read this issue for a second time, I felt sorry for Richie since it seemed that he needed a friend and that Adrian further hurt him by not only kicking him out but stealing his armor which got him fired. And amidst all this, Alida has to pick up the pieces caused by the mess Adrian creates.

Property of Reverb Comics

While the art done by Jarrod Bezzina has been amazing due to showcasing the character designs, I feel that there needs to be more in depth setting in the panels.  For example, the first three panels of Alida talking with Adrian on the phone made me wonder whether she was at his apartment or if she was outside. The only way I was able to realize that she was outside was when she was handing flowers to a Tweak and the fourth panel showed her outside the store. I also feel that the timing of the panels is a little too quick at times. One notable example of this is on page 7 when Adrian is infiltrating Lionheart’s operation. I would have loved to see more panels of him running to evade fire from the Tweak and then changing into his suit. However, the fight scenes between the Tweak, and eventually Lionheart were my favorite panels since they showed a lot of action-to-action panel scenes. 

Overall, the story and art of the comic are great and I am looking forward to seeing where “Echoes of the Triumphant” goes!

Written by Pat Murphy

Art by Jarrod Bezzina

Letters by Michael McAdam

Edited by Alexi Kott

‘Dark Knights of Steel no. 1’ makes it’s medieval debut with some crazy twists


When it was announced that comic writer Tom Taylor (“Superman: Son of Kal-El,” “DCeased,” “Nightwing”) was going to pen the series “Dark Knights of Steel,” something told me that I had to read this story. Something also told me that I was going to be in for a treat. 

And sure enough I was. 

“Dark Knights of Steel,” is not just a retelling of the origin stories of our favorite heroes and villains of the DC Universe in the vein of a medieval epic like “Game of Thrones.” In some ways, it is a story about family. In other ways, it is a story about a sinister conspiracy involving kingdoms. I feel that it is also a story about one man’s birthright and another man’s revenge. 

When I read this “Dark Knights of Steel no. 1,” there were several twists I did not see coming. 

Property of DC Comics

The first twist is when Taylor takes us back to the fateful moment of the planet Krypton’s doom. We see Jor El and his beloved wife Lara, the parents of Superman, lament their planet’s impending destruction. You know how this story goes: the rocket ship blasts off from an exploding Krypton and it ends up on a grassy field on planet Earth. At this point, you’d think that this is where Jonathan and Martha Kent come into the picture to see a little curly-haired boy, who would become  Earth’s greatest champion, stretching his arms out to them in a loving gesture. However, we see that Ma and Pa Kent are nowhere to be found and even more surprising,we see that Jor and a pregnant Lara are the occupants of the crashed spaceship. And what is even crazier is that Lara is about to give birth. Jor-El, notices a group of knights on horses surrounding him. As Jor-El tries to get help for his pregnant wife, the knights shoot their bows and arrows at him and suddenly, he kills the assailants with his heat vision. After that,Jor El and Lara welcome their son Kal-El to the world that they now call their home. 

19 years later, the Els would establish their own kingdom alongside Thomas and Martha Wayne (a king and queen who would mysteriously die leaving their son Bruce an orphan). Both  Kal-El and Bruce would become princes of the Kingdom of El. However, not everyone is happy to welcome the family of strange visitors from a dying world. Hence comes the second twist. 

The El’s arrival is foreseen in a doomed  prophecy by a young John Constantine and King Jefferson (aka Black Lightning). King Jefferson’s fear that the Els would take over the world causes him to send assassins who wield magic to assassinate them. This causes Jor and Lara to outlaw magic and forbid Kal from accompanying the Bat-Prince Bruce Wayne on his mission to fight the magic wielders. 

Prince Kal-El, like his original counterpart that we know and love, is always eager to help much to the annoyance of Bruce. We see that he has a sense of justice and holds all life (innocent or evil) sacred. This is shown when he questions Bruce and his father on how to treat the captured Banshee (Dinah “Black Canary”Lance). While he seems to be a bit of a boyscout,  he also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder as he brushes off the fact that Bruce is only an orphan when Jor El suggests that the Bat-Prince sit on the throne. When I read the interaction between Kal and Bruce, I saw that Kal may see Bruce as a rival for the throne since it is his birthright. This brings us to the third twist which involves Bat-Prince.

Property of DC Comics

Bruce the Bat-Prince is every bit as Batman as Batman can be. He is stoic. He is as Harley in this universe would put it “ dark and brooding.” And like the original Batman, he has help in the form of his trusty friend (and occasional servant) Alfred and his “Robins” (Dick, Jason, Duke, and Stephanie). And comes the twist that drops the bomb: Bruce Wayne is a product of a tryst between Jor-El and Martha Wayne. That’s right, Jor-El reveals to the shocked readers and Batman that the Dark Knight is his son which makes him Superman’s Kyptonian-Human hybrid half-brother in this universe. And while Bruce is  processing the revelation, Jor-El is assassinated by Green Arrow and the “Green Man” (Green Lantern) which causes a grief stricken Bruce’s eyes to turn into the familiar heat vision red. And that is when the story of “Dark Nights of Steel” actually begins. 

Tom Taylor  wrote an epic comic book story with the perfect ingredients: the  DC Comics and medieval archetypes! And the twists in this first issue were the chef’s kiss! And I suspect that there are more twists and turns to come. 

Another thing I enjoyed about the comic was  illustratrations and coloring done by Yasmine Putri. Purtri’s art was the icing on the cake for this medieval DC epic. My favorite scene in the first issue is where Bruce and Jor-El are having their talk at the castle. The lightning is a common trope used in the Batman mythos and also serves an ominous omen for things to come. Another favorite drawing is the half splash of Bruce cradling his father Jor-El in his arms. It is here where we will really see him become the Bat-Prince, full-circle, and with Kryptonian powers which makes him more dangerous. 

Overall, it is a retelling that would make everyone who has ever read, watched, or heard the stories of the heroes and villains of the DC Universe talk about this story for years to come. I’m serious when I write this! I am already looking forward to reading issue no. 2 and to see where it goes from there. 

“Dark Knights of Steel no. 1” is available at your local comic book shop or wherever comic books are sold! 

“Dark Knights of Steel no. 1” 

Writer: Tom Taylor

Artist: Yasmine Putri

Colorist: Yasmine Putri

Letterer: Wes Abbot

Publisher: DC Comics 

An entire medieval world will be forever changed when a spaceship crash-lands from a doomed planet. Monarchs will die, kingdoms will rise, and what seemed the end of the world for many…was only the beginning! An epic high-fantasy story set in a DC Universe where nothing is what it seems… From worldwide bestselling writer Tom Taylor (DCeased, Superman: Son of Kal-El) and acclaimed artist Yasmine Putri comes a generational tale of good and evil within a brand-new DCU!

‘Doctor Who’ companion Rose Tyler becomes the center of the ‘Empire of the Wolf’ crossover comic event

It is a team up that will have Whovians, or “Doctor Who” fans, hollering the words “geronimo” or “allons-y!” Better get strapped in your TARDIS because this team up is gonna be a whopper! 

It was announced that the Eighth Doctor (Portrayed by Paul McGann) and Eleventh Doctor (Portrayed by Matt Smith) will team up with former companion Rose Tyler in “Empire of the Wolf,” a 4 issue series “Doctor Who” crossover comic event. The miniseries was announced at a panel this past weeked at New York City Comic Con 2021. 

The comic series was discussed in a panel that consisted of writer Jody Houser, colorist Warnia K. Sahadewa, and editor Jake Devine. The panel was moderated by Titan Comics Executive Vice-President Andrew Summer. 

During the panel, Houser hinted that there may be “more than one Rose Tyler” which also means that this comic is going to have a heavy focus on the former companion.

“Rose Tyler” (Portrayed by Billie Piper) Property of BBC

An article from the The Comics Beat magazine that covered the panel, mentions a “Doctor Who” crossover event (also penned by Houser and illustrated by Roberta Ingranata) in which the Tenth Doctor (Portrayed by David Tennant)  and Thirteenth Doctor (Portrayed by Jodie Whitaker) team up in an alternate Earth that is conquered by Sea Devils. On that earth, they encounter an alternate Rose Tyler who is a resistance fighter.  Houser also explained that the comic is also going to explain what happened to that version of Rose Tyler. 

Rose Tyler (Portrayed by Billie Piper) was introduced to the television screens in the 2005 Doctor Who revival. She was the first companion of the Ninth Doctor (Portrayed by Christopher  Eccelston) and then became a companion to the Tenth Doctor. Toward the end of Series 2 of the revived “Doctor Who,” Rose would end up on an alternate Earth in which her late father’s counterpart resided. She would also briefly reunite with the Doctor until ending up on that alternate earth again this time with the Meta-Crisis Doctor, a clone of the Tenth Doctor that was created after an aborted regeneration of the Time Lord. 

In addition, another significant thing that Houser mentioned about “Empire of the Wolf,” is that it is said that the Doctors in this comic are “the Doctor from before [Rose] came along, and the Doctor after she left.” And also she mentioned Rose being iconic due to helping “introduce a new era of Doctor Who… more than companions usually are, she was an audience surrogate.”

When I think of Houser’s view on Rose’s being an audience surrogate, I think of how we are introduced, and reintroduced, to the Doctors through the eyes of each companion. Like the companions, we are taken along for the ride of the TARDIS and we are mesmerized by how everything is bigger on the inside. We are also enamored by the character known as the Doctor. 

We root for the Doctor. We laugh at the Doctor. We get frustrated at the Doctor. We see the Doctor smile and smile with the Doctor. We see the Doctor cry and we cry with the Doctor. But overall, all of that is because, like the companions,  we love the Doctor because the Doctor always saves our world and the worlds of others. And Rose was the companion that displayed that. 

When I started watching “Doctor Who” in late 2014, the Tenth Doctor was my first Doctor which would make Rose Tyler my first companion. This is what  makes this comic event special to me. 

When I first saw Rose Tyler running alongside the Tenth Doctor, I saw someone who was not afraid of the crazy life she was thrown into (Her starring into the heart of the TARDIS which mad her into the “Bad Wolf” entity is a testament to that). Rose was brave, resourceful and often funny even in the face of the hell she went through with the Doctor.  In a sense, Rose, like the Doctor, inspired me that as long as I am at my best (even when I am in my darkest moments) I can overcome adversity or whatever challenge I am facing. 

“Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf no. 1” – Property of BBC

When I first started watching “Doctor Who,” I was in a rather dark place in which I began to question my own worth. But after watching Rose and the many adventures she had with the Doctor, I slowly began to crawl out of that dark place in my life. And it has been like that with every companion, (like Donna Noble, Martha Jones, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, River Song, and Clara Oswald) and every Doctor since. There is always just as much of us in the Doctor as there is in the companions because they are us. They share our triumphs and our struggles. Our happiness and our pain. 

I am definitely looking forward to “The Empire of the Wolf” because it is a Rose Tyler story. We are going to see a different but rather familiar side, or sides,  to the companion who was a part of the modern Doctor Who revival. 

When I saw the splash of the Eighth Doctor standing before the TARDIS emblazoned with the words “Bad Wolf,” I knew that Rose Tyler’s story was not over yet. And, I know that Jody Houser and Warnia Sahadewa are going to make an amazing comic. 

“Doctor Who: Empire of the Wolf no. 1” arrives in November at your local comic book shop or wherever comic books are sold. 

Are you excited about the return of Rose Tyler? Please share your comments below on what you think!

The DC Superheroes go medieval in ‘Dark Knights of Steel’

From Tom Taylor,  the creator of the DC Comics zombie horror ‘DCeased,’ comes  “Dark Knights of Steel,” a new Batman universe set in the medieval times.  

The news of the comic being created was announced in an article from “Entertainment Weekly” Magazine.  The issue will span 12-issues and Taylor will be teaming up with artist Yasmine Putri, who previously worked with him on “DCeased” . 

“I’ve spent the last two years creating a new epic fantasy universe for DC Comics, and Dark Knights of Steel is an absolute dream come true,” Taylor told Entertainment weekly. 

According to Taylor, “Dark Knights of Steel” is going to be a “tale of war and love, of despair and hope, of betrayal and improbable alliances forged in battle.” He also noted that his work is a combination of his love for fantasy and DC superheroes. 

I’ll confess, I haven’t read too much of Tom Tyalor’s work but with the many alternate DC stories or universes he is creating, I am looking forward to reading this one, along with “DCeased” (since I also like horror comics like “The Walking Dead.” 

I am a fan of medieval folklore and tales such as the stories of King Arthur, Robin Hood (Check out one of  my reviews on Mad Cave Studios’ Nottingham), and the Lord of the Rings. My first brush with medieval stories was watching “Robin Hood: Men in Tights (Yep, a classic!),” “Conan The Barbarian,” and “Braveheart” when I was young. The sword fights, the conflict between good and evil, and chivalry displayed by the heroes and support characters seeped well into my childhood. 

We are going to see our favorite DC heroes in medieval form. But this is not the first time we have seen medieval retellings of the DC heroes. The DC Elseworlds comic “Superman: Kal,” written by Dave Gibbons (“Watchmen”) tells the story of Kal-El’s rocket ship landing in Middle Ages England where he is raised by farmers but grows up to become a blacksmith who catches the attention of Lady Loisse Layne (Lois Lane). This Superman goes head-to-head against Baron Luthor (Lex Luthor) who kills Loisse after assaulting and beating her. 

In addition, Batman also has a medieval counterpart in the comic “Batman: Dark Knight of the Round Table,” written by Bob Layton (“Batman: The Hollywood Knight”) in which Bruce Wayne and his family are exiled by King Arthur for the prophecies foretold by Morgan Le Fey. Le Fey has prophesied that “Bruce of Waynesmoor” would bring about her demise.  

In “Dark Knights of Steel,” we are going to see almost, if not all, the DC characters in medieval form. We will see characters Wonder Woman, Nightwing, Black Lightning, Spoiler, Signal, Robin, and Red Hood. 

“Dark Knights of Steel” will be out on Nov. 2. at your local comic book shop or wherever comic books and graphic novels are sold.  

Disney + announces the premiere date for ‘The Book of Boba Fett’

He’s just a simple man making his way in the galaxy. Like his father before him. 

And now, the galaxy’s greatest and most feared bounty hunter in the “Star Wars” galaxy is going to be making his way on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Coming out of the Sarlacc, Boba Fett, portrayed by Tamuera Morrison, will be the main focus on the Disney+ series “The Book of Boba Fett.” Disney + announced that the official release date for the series is Dec. 29. 2021. 

“The Book of Boba Fett” will take place right after the second season of “The Mandalorian”  and will be a continuation of the  story of the Mandalorian armor wearing bounty hunter.  

According to an article from Giant Freakin Robot, the series will have eight episodes with the first being titled “The Champion.” In addition, the article states that  “The Champion” will also be known as Chapter 17  which indicates that this is a direct continuation of “The Mandalorian” story.  The article also mentions the titles of the other seven episodes which include: “The Assassin,” “The Syndicate,” “The Battleground,” “The Homeworld,” “The Warlord,” “The Showdown,” and “The Hunter.”

Property of Lucasfilm and Disney

Judging from some of the episode’s titles, it seems that Boba is going to be a man on a personal mission. “The Battleground” could see Boba possibly returning to Geonosis to relive the memory of witnessing the death of his father Jango Fett at the hands of Jedi Master Mace Windu. And, “The Homeworld,” may be a reference to his homeworld of Kamino where he was born as a natural and unaltered clone of Jango. And since “The Homeworld” might focus on Kamino, it would be safe to assume that Boba knew that his home, along with Tipoca City and the cloning facilities, were destroyed by the Empire as seen on the 15th episode of the Disney + series, “The Bad Batch” titled “Return to Kamino.”  If the series goes this direction, It would be very interesting to see how Boba copes with the trauma he experienced in his past and how it made him a hardened and dangerous bounty hunter.

“The Showdown” could possibly be a reference to Boba finally confronting his enemy, the Corellian smuggler and Rebel Alliance hero, Han Solo who, in “Star Wars: Episode VI-Return of the Jedi” caused Boba to fall into the Sarlacc pit. Could we see Harrison Ford return as everyone’s favorite scruffy looking nerf herder like we saw Mark Hamill return as Luke Skywalker in the final episode of the second season of “The Mandalorian?” Or does “The Showdown” see Boba confront the man who previously wore his armor: the Marshall Cobb Vanth, portrayed by Timothy Olyphant (Justified)?  Perhaps, could we see Boba finally meeting his twin “sister,” the Bad Batch’s own Omega? 

Disney + has also released the promotional art for the series which has Boba Fett sitting on the throne he took from Fortuna while wearing his restored armor he reclaimed from the Mandalorian Din Djarrin. 

The title of the show was announced at the post-credit scene of the second season of “The Mandalorian.” In the scene, Fett is shown returning to Jabba’s Palace and killing Jabba the Hutt’s former right-hand man, the twi’lek Bib Fortuna to take his place as the new crime lord to his former employer’s empire. With him was fellow bounty hunter Fennec Shand, portrayed by Ming-Na Wen (Mulan, Marvel’s Agents of Shield). 

Are you excited about “The Book of Boba Fett?” And what are your theories on what will happen when the series unravels? Please share your comments below! 

Luke Skywalker and Starlight Squadron bring the fight to the Empire in ‘Star Wars no. 15′

Ever since leaving the Lars Homestead on Tatooine due to the tragic deaths of his beloved Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Luke Skywalker has had quite the hero’s journey. He would meet the wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi who would introduce him to the ways of the Jedi. Skywalker would also meet the smuggler Han Solo and his wookie partner Chewbacca which would baptise Luke on the perils of adventuring. He would then go from farmboy to Rebel Alliance hero almost in one night when he rescued Princess Leia and destroyed the Death Star. After having several adventures with Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, he eventually would further connect with his Jedi heritage when traveling down to the swamp planet of Dagobah. 

Skywalker’s biggest trial would come when he went face to face with Darth Vader on Cloud City in the cloudy skies of Bespin. Vader would reveal himself to be Luke’s father much to the aspiring Jedi’s horror and disbelief. In addition, Luke would also lose his hand and his lightsaber that once belonged to Vader when he was still Anakin Skywalker. 

However, the latest “Star Wars” comics have shown Luke slowly maturing after his ordeal on Cloud City. He has begun to take his training seriously and has also realized that he should not dwell on his failures but to learn from them. In the process, he had to let go of finding his first blue-bladed lightsaber and in the process, he found a new yellow-bladed lightsaber. 

Now as Leia, Chewie, Threepio, and Lando Calrissian are on Jekara taking part in the mission to rescue Han, Luke joins Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the Rebel Alliance 11th Fleet Division. But along the way, Skywalker has encountered something familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time. 

Warning Spoilers Ahead 

Issue no.15 begins with Luke Skywalker volunteering to join Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the 11th division. Although the Rebels have been successful in creating a new code thanks to the talky droid and having a few victories, not everyone is feeling hyped. A-Wing pilot L’ulo Lampar voices the condition of the scattered Rebel Fleet and the missing Shara Bey (Future mother of Poe Dameron). Luke tries to give his comrades hope by telling people that he, Leia, and the other heroes are planning on rescuing Han Solo from Crimson Dawn on Jekara. Wedge acknowledges this but tells the pilots that saving another fleet division would be more important. With that, Luke and Starlight Squadron blast off into hyperspace to find their fellow Rebels. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

When the Rebels jump out of hyperspace, they head to the orbit of Ab Dalis which should be familiar with fans or people who have read Charles Soule’s novel “Star Wars-The High Republic: Light of the Jedi.” Freyta Smyth, one of the Starlight Squadron pilots, makes a reference of the fragments from the doomed Legacy Run space freighter which is a part of the planet killing billions of inhabitants. Since the incident, which was about centuries before the Battle of Yavin, the planet had been abandoned. 

I feel that it was awesome that Soule’s writing bridges the High Republic era with the Skywalker Saga. From Luke’s new yellow-bladed lightsaber to the name of Starlight Squadron being named after Starlight Beacon (a space station created by the Jedi and the High Republic to unite the galaxy), it shows that the High Republic era was such a huge influence to the galaxy,  

Starlight Squadron picks up a transmission from the planet which is confirmed to be from the 11th Rebel Alliance Fleet Division. The 11th division is getting pinned down and overrun by Imperial forces which consists of a Star Destroyer Ultima II, tanks, AT-AT’s and an army of stormtroopers. The beleaguered Rebels and their Colonel, Chouch, receive news that among the six Rebel starfighters coming to rescue them are Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. However, the Imperials aboard Star Destroyer Ultima II  are overconfident that they can crush the Rebels. The commander plans on reporting his success to the ruthless Commander Zhara and orders  TIE Fighters to intercept Starlight Squadron. 

While Luke, Wedge, and Starlight Squadron fight the TIEs, one of the Rebel soldiers comes up with a crazy but brilliant idea. The soldier tells Colonel Chouch that when she was a part of the geological survey team, she was examining the stability of the planet. Her plan is  to have one of the pilots fire their weapons at a small target on the surface  just above the Ultima II which will create a chain reaction.

While the Imperial commander on board Ultima IIis confident that he will be victorious, the pilots of Starlight Squadron are contemplating on whether they should go through the coordinates given to them by the rebel ground forces. Freta discovers that since the target is so small, this task looks like a job for Skywalker, who destroyed the Death Star which also had a small target in the form of the thermal exhaust port. Now, we see the inspiration behind the soldier’s plan and who better than Luke Skywalker to take the shot? 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

As Luke goes in for the shot, he feels that he is in familiar territory. He’s back in the Battle of Yavin with his sights set on the thermal exhaust port with proton torpedoes ready to fire. However, as  Luke is cornered by Vader, he sees Han coming to his rescue with the Millennium Falcon. But to his horror, he also sees the Corellian YT-1300 freighter getting destroyed by Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced.  As Luke questions the  memory, he is in an unfamiliar situation. This is clearly not how things went during the Battle of Yavin. 

Luke sees Vader aboard his TIE advanced  telling him that he will fail to save Solo and that he belongs to him. Then Luke sees Vader blast the Falcon with his ship. This is when Luke realizes that this is a Force vision. Horrified by this nightmare, Luke freezes up but Wedge snaps him out of it and Luke fires his torpedoes but misses! However, as Luke plans on making another run, Wedge and the other pilots fire their torpedoes onto the targeted area which causes a chain reaction. Suddenly, the surface erupts in an volcanic explosion which destroys the Star Destroyer Ultima II

I feel that Soule adding a very familiar scene was the best part of this comic. This scene takes you back to that moment when Luke hops aboard Red Five for the first time and takes the fight to the Empire. The moment that made Luke Skywalker a hero and a legend. However, in this scene, Luke gets a little cocky as he thinks that the task as of him will be a piece of cake. However, the Force vision of the Millennium Falcon getting destroyed causes Luke to freeze up and miss the shot. This shows that Luke still has a lot to learn as a Jedi since he still has an arrogant streak about him which he inherited from Anakin. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

The Rebels are victorious but Luke is a little bummed that he missed the target. Wedge assures his Force sensitive comrade that everyone misses and that he should not beat himself up for it. Wedge thanks Luke for assisting Starlight and wishes him luck with the mission to Jekara. The Rebels are elated to more good news when they receive a transmission from Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma who is accompanied by Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar. 

Meanwhile, as Luke heads to Jekara, he tries to contact Leia who, along with Lando and Chewie, is cornered by Boba Fett. Leia cuts off the transmission as Luke tries to tell her that he had experienced a Force vision warning him that Darth Vader is coming after Han (and if you have read “War of the Bounty Hunters no.2,”  “Doctor Aphra no. 12,” “Darth Vader no. 14,” along with the end of this issue, you would know Luke’s vision comes true.) 

The art done by Ramon Rosanas and the coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg made this issue vibrant as Soules’ writing. One of my favorite panels is of Luke reliving the memory of flying his X-Wing Fighter into that Death Star trench only to see an alternate version where Han gets shot down by Vader. My favorite splash is of the volcanic explosion on the Star Destroyer.  It symbolizes the Rebels’ tenacity to never give up despite insurmountable odds.  

Now that just about everyone and their mother has come to Jekara to bid for Han Solo, how will Luke react when he learns that his vision has come true. How will the young Jedi react when he discovers Boba Fett has Princess Leia and his friends cornered? And how will Luke react when he learns about Qi’ra’s history with Han? “War of the Bounty Hunters  no. 3” is, without a doubt, going to be another explosive issue but the next issue seems to be teasing a rematch against father and son before their fateful encounter on Death Star II!

Writer: Charles Soule

Artist: Ramon Rosanas 

Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg

Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles 

Publisher: Marvel 

Synopsis: “Friends and Enemies” Luke Skywalker embarks upon an epic mission with Wedge Antilles and the brave pilots of Starlight Squadron to rescue a lost division of the Rebel Fleet. Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian attempt to save Han Solo from the evil clutches of Boba Fett. But what hidden vision will the Force send to Luke about the troubles to come?

Administrator Sly Moore conspires against Darth Vader

Administrator Sly Moore has been in Emperor Palpatine’s inner circle when he was still Chancellor of the Galactic Republic. A cunning political figure hailing from the planet Umbara and  who is Force-Sensitive, Moore is dangerous, possibly much more so than the Emperor’s other right-hand person, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda. 

When Darth Vader was punished by Emperor Palpatine for his side quest of finding out more information about his son, Luke Skywalker, Moore was one of the allies the Emperor ordered to eliminate the former Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker. After Ochi of Bestoon, a Sith assassin, thought that he had defeated Vader on the volcanic planet of Mustafar, the Administrator felt that she had to pick up the pieces due to knowing that Vader could not be kept down that easily. After Vader got off Mustafar with Ochi as his prisoner, Moore was on board a Star Destroyer pursuing Vader and sending an entire fleet of TIE Fighters after him. However, the Sith quickly defeated the TIEs thanks to his skills as a pilot, his abilities in the Force, and a giant space creature enroute to the planet Exegol.  

After she, Vader, and Ochi witness the Emperor’s true power and his plans involving Exegol, Moore also witnesses the Emperor’s armored enforcer being restored. However, this has the administrator concerned and by the end of “Darth Vader no.13,” she is revealed to have conspired with IG-88 and a secret group of followers to finally kill Vader.

Warning Spoilers Ahead 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no. 14” begins on the Imperial throne world of Coruscant where two Imperial cadets are in awe at how Darth Vader survived his ordeal  on Mustafar by just being held together by Separatist droid parts. They comment that Vader is basically unstoppable. As Vader strides triumphantly with his new right hand man Ochi of Bestoon at his side, Administrator Sly Moore is not at all impressed. 

Seeing her disappointment, Emperor Palpatine instigates jealousy within the Umbaran when he asks if she is satisfied with Vader being restored to full function and health. Sly admits that she failed to defeat Vader which the Emperor agrees and then chuckles as he walks away from her. To make matters worse, as the Umbara follows the Emperor, Grand Vizier Mas Amedda tells her that she is needed at the Prescreen Department. Moore quickly learns that due to her failure, she has been demoted to Sub-administrator. The Umbaran looks on as Amedda and Palpatine take the turbolift toward the Imperial Palace. Several Imperial officers and stormtroopers look on at the now Sub-administrator Moore. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

As I continue to read this series, I continue to praise Greg Pak as one of the many writers who knows how to write Star Wars along with Charles Soule. In this issue, the story’s main focus is on Sly Moore and the ongoing battle for supremacy within the Emperor’s inner circle. The inner conflict within the Galactic Empire is nothing new in Star Wars. We have seen plenty of Imperials conspire against each other or their allies. For example, there have been several past stories where the Grand Moff Tarkin has traded blows with Darth Vader. In addition, there have been previous comic issues where the Emperor has sent potential new enforcers or apprentices to kill Vader so that he can replace him. Furthermore, there have been other stories in the Star Wars Legends lore, like “Shadows of the Empire, ” where Vader has deep animosity for the Emperor’s ally and leader of the Black Sun criminal syndicate, the Falleen Prince Xizor. In this latest “Vader” issue, Paks narration and dialogue between the characters  are a reminder of how the Sith operate with each other and their allies. I also feel that Pak’s inclusion of the subtle infighting within the Emperor’s inner circle is a reminder of  the Tragedy of Darth Plagueis with Wise. 

While toiling away at the Prescreen Department with two Imperial officers, the now Sub-administrator Moore discovers that a high-ranking Imperial has been given an invitation to attend the auction of the carbonite frozen Han Solo from Crimson Dawn. Moore also hears the name “Skywalker” and sees this as a potential opportunity to enact revenge on Darth Vader. 

Moore begins to put her plan into motion by heading to the repair block where Vader was fully restored back in “Darth Vader no. 12” so that she can get the schematics on his machine-infused anatomy. Mas Amedda catches her and the two discuss their roles within the Emperor’s inner circle and how they serve the Sith and do not have the power to “indulge in their pleasures.” Sly being sly tells Amedda to pretend that he did not catch her while she, unbeknownst to the Grand Vizier, creates a holodisk containing the schematics on Vader’s anatomy. 

It is here that we learn how bounty hunter assassin droid IG-88 was able to track down Vader and  temporarily have the upper hand on him during their fight in the last issue. It was Moore and her fellow conspirators who provided the assassin droid and his army of droids with the disk.

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

Toward the end of the comic, we are left off at the part where IG-88 meets with Moore and her followers. The droid tries to terminate his bounty contract since Vader defeated him during their last encounter. Much to Moore’s horror, Vader sneaks behind IG-88 and slices the droid with his crimson-colored lightsaber. Moore and her followers flee from the Sith Lord while they try to kill him. Moore also tries using the same mechanism IG-88 used to defeat Vader but ultimately, Vader overpowers her. 

With no choice and admitting defeat, the Umbaran bargains with Vader by mentioning the Crimson Dawn invitation to the auction of Han Solo and also how Luke (who would not be far behind to rescue the smuggler) could potentially kill Vader. Sly makes a promise with the Sith Lord to purchase Solo for Vader so that the Sith could not only take Solo but also potentially fight Luke. The two come to a compromise on the plan. However, at the auction, things go south when Jabba the Hutt and his fellow Hutt, Bokku (who has allied with Vader) outbid Sly. The administrator is puzzled as to why Bokku, who is allied with Vader, is bidding against her. Ochi responds that it is the Hutt’s way to humiliate her and himself which in turn would expose her weakness to the Emperor.The assassin further explains that although Sly was very power with uniting her allies to defeat Vader, the Sith Lord is too powerful to let that happen. The end of this issue leaves off toward where   “War of the Bounty Hunters no. 2” ended but with Vader inviting himself to the auction by force choking several Crimson Dawn guards. 

As I mentioned before, the character of Administrator Sly Moore is very dangerous and shrewd. Greg Pak brought this character to life. Before the “Vader” comic, Moore was just a character who stood on the sidelines with a brooding expression in the “Star Wars” prequel films.  Pak’s take on Sly Moore is a high ranking Imperial official who is an opportunist and a quick study. She is willing to do whatever it takes when an opening presents itself to execute her plan. She also is no push over when it comes to executing that plan by mentioning Luke Skywalker being the only person who could kill Vader and take his place. This shows that she is as much of a manipulator as the Emperor. In the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who dies in the fight between Vader and Luke (who she may or may not know are father and son). One way or another, whoever dies, she would probably go for the killing bow.

I also like the direction Vader is going in this arc also. Yes, he knows that Luke is his son however, it seems that the Emperor wants to use that in order for him to have one less Skywalker to worry about. The Emperor is hell bent on manipulating Vader to kill Luke or vice versa since having an enforcer strong in the Force would serve his agenda. Especially if the Emperor was able to seduce someone as powerful as Anakin to the Dark Side. It will be interesting to see if Vader really is set on killing Luke or if this is just a ruse to get the Emperor off his scent of his own plans which involve having his son rule at his side. 

Property of Lucasfilm and Marvel

The art by Raffaele Lenco and the coloring by Jason Keith played just as huge of a role  as Pak’s writing did in bringing Sly Moore to life. The drawings of Sly Moore show the stark differences between her time as administrator in  the Galactic Republic to her time as administrator for the Empire. When she was administrator for the Republic, she was wearing a silver, or lighter, gown while under the Empire, she was wearing an all black short trench coat with black slacks and boots. In addition to her clothing, Moore’s facial features are further darkened and chiseled, possibly to show her age throughout the 23-years she has been in service to Palpatine. But I also think that those additional lines and shading on her face make her far more brooding than she did in the prequel films. 

Overall, the “War of the Bounty Hunters” arc has been the blockbuster of the summer that has rocked the Skywalker Saga in the Disney era. There hasn’t been such an arc since the Shadows of the Empire that has changed the landscape and expanded the Star Wars Universe. With the inclusion of Han Solo’s ex girlfriend Qi’ra, from “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” pulling the strings by gathering all entities in the galaxy, there is no way that it would be a “Star Wars” blockbuster without Darth Vader. Greg Pak’s post “Empire Strikes Back” Vader is ruthless, determined, and cold-blooded. From what I read, he knows that he cannot take on the Emperor alone but he also knows that Luke could very well defeat him. With that, Vader has no choice but to kill Luke or at least defeat him enough so that he could have one less potentially powerful enemy to worry about. Or, as I mentioned before, Vader is likely playing possum and secretly wants to have Luke at his side (which he actually does) so that they can overthrow the Emperor. 

“Star Wars: Darth Vader no.14” is now out wherever comic books are sold.

Writer: Greg Pak

Artist: Raffaele Ienco

Colorist: Jason Keith

Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagnna

Publisher: Marvel
Synopsis: “The Blade Behind the Curtain” For decades, no figure has stood as close to theEmperor with so much mystery surrounding her. Who is theUmbaran? What is her role within the Empire and in the War of the Bounty Hunters? And what happens when she emerges from the darkness to challenge Darth Vaderhimself? Featuring an unprecedented look at the inner workings of the Emperor  inner circle – and the return of IG-88!

Earth-16 Comics Wire Podcast Season 3, Episode 2: The Comic Collector

In this episode, Brendon Rooney and I speak with Psychiatrist Dr. Paul Rashid, the creator of The Comic Book Collector, a short documentary film about his mission to giveaway his comic books to children. We had fun chatting about this awesome story and so much more. 

You can follow the Earth-16 Comics Wire on Twitter: @Earth16Podcast

Instagram: earth16comicswire

If you want to find out more information on the Comic Book Collection, you can go to the Kickstarter page: 

Earth-16 Comics Wire Update

Hello Constant Readers and Listeners,

I hope that all of you have been having a happy new year. So far, this year has been all about staying committed to my goals. One of those goals involves writing. And speaking of writing, I am writing an update in regards to the Earth-16 Comics Wire.

The Earth-16 Comics Wire Podcast is partnering with the Daily Planet to produce episodes involving comic creators. The news site, which is based on the fictional Daily Planet from the Superman mythos, has become a new platform for the podcast. In addition, I am planning on posting most of my comic book reviews on the Daily Planet. However, I still plan on writing on this blog page but it will be geared towards updates on the podcast, comic book commentary that piques my interests, and comic book events/conventions.

2021 looks to be an exciting year and I continue finding more people to have on my podcast and talk about their comic book projects. I am also planning on talking to pro-wrestlers since I enjoy watching professional wrestling, whether its WWE, AEW, Impact, New Japan Pro-Wrestling, or Ring of Honor. Wrestling is awesome. I have been writing some wrestling content for the Daily Planet and plan on writing more in the comic months.

I also am planning on writing my first book. Writing a book is a process but I am taking it easy rather than rushing into the process. I have already outlined the first three chapters of the book. In the future, I plan on sharing some details of the book in the blogsite. This project has stuck with me since my second year at college and I feel that right now is the right time to start building on it. I am very excited to see this project goes.

I am also planning on doing more video game streams on my Twitch and Youtube where we can talk about anything (especially comic books) in a fun and safe environment. Also, this is a way to ward of the negativity from what is going on in our society. I am also going to be streaming some of my podcasts on Twitch and Youtube.

I hope that this year brings more awesome surprises and adventures. I plan on writing about those moments and sharing them with you on this awesome platform. So having wrote that, Let’s make 2021 and awesome year and lets look cool doing it. And as I always say….lets dream and work toward a better tomorrow!

And that my friends…is undisputed!

-Brian of Earth-16