Monday, September 1, 2014

Rebirth: The Calm Before The Storm

The New Jedi Order was my first passion in Star Wars literature. Soon after seeing the movies for the first time, I got caught up in this ongoing story about Jedi fighting aliens. About ten years later I’m re-reading the series with a fresh perspective.

What to say about Rebirth? It is a curious mix of hugely significant events (Ben Skywalker's birth, Anakin and Tahiri's first kiss) and others that seem to exist in a vacuum (Kyp's plot, the Givin.) 

One thing I found interesting about Ben's birth was that Mara calls herself selfish for wanting to fight her disease alone. This is a nice follow-up to her earlier insistence on going it alone, and I definitely wasn't paying that much attention to her character development the last time I read these. On the other hand, seeing Ben and Tahiri in the same book for the first time makes their later interactions in the EU extremely awkward.

Rebirth doesn't have much in common with Conquest, and again one of the major surprises for me on the second go-around was how quickly the Yavin IV plot was over. By now in Rebirth, the Jedi have established a new home base in the Maw (another way the Kevin J. Anderson books continue to influence the EU.)

Nen Yim has her own plotline in Rebirth, and its creepiness really made me understand her frustration and drive.Omini comes into his own as a thoroughly hateable villain-behind-the-villain, in this case a lecherous Master Shaper. 

While I'm not the Jaina expert, it seems like this is the book that kicked off the discussions about Jaina's romantic relationships - would she end up with Kyp Durron or Jag Fel? I found Kyp to be unremarkable even when attempting to be charismatic.

Rebirth was slow going for me, especially since it starts out with Luke and Mara walking on a beach. I tend to side with Skywalkers, but I can understand where their critics are coming from when they ask why the leaders of the Jedi are vacationing during a war. Over all, the book was simply unremarkable, and hard to pin down because of it.  I suppose this was the calm before the storm that is Star By Star.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #4 Review

Darth Maul Son of Dathomir 4Improved art and a plot-driven story make Son of Dathomir #4 an exciting ending to the post-Clone Wars story.

This review is spoiler-free.

The art has been growing on me steadily throughout the comic’s run. Color was used to set scenes in previous issues, but seems amped up here. A red and orange sunset to match Darth Maul’s Nightbrothers contrasts with the cool green of Talzin’s alter. In this, as in the writing in #4, the creators trust the reader to keep up. Scenes and colors switch quickly and keep the story moving toward the inevitable ending - an all-out fight between five bad guys.

The art also helps sell the relationship between Darth Maul and Mother Talzin. He follows her blindly, and overall I would have liked more about the source of this loyalty - familial fondness made stronger by Savage’s death, or a feeling that he owes her for saving his life? However, one panel toward the end makes me believe that relationship, no matter what it was built on, and that’s because of the strength of the art.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ashley Eckstein judges cosplay contest

Tumblr user crownofbirds played Catbug.

Ashley Eckstein, voice of Ahsoka Tano and founder of girl geek outfitter Her Universe, made a stop in New Jersey on Saturday to host a cosplay contest for the grand opening of a new FYE. I and Johnamarie got to talk to her about The Clone Wars and Her Universe's process - it can take a year to go from acquisition of a license to products coming out for a new franchise.

VictoriaCosplay, with whom I had not been familiar before, also judged the contest.  About 20 people in a variety of costumes, including a Jedi and Dark Helmet, showed off their work in the store.

I remember FYE fondly from my teenage days, and the new store has a welcome change in emphasis from CDs and records to licensed clothing and accessories from brands like We Love Fine.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Talking Mark Hamill and Rebels news on the ForceCast was very honored and excited to be part of the ForceCast this Wednesday. The link is below, but first, my other favorite Star Wars interaction this week: Episode VII star John Boyega met the master, Samuel L. Jackson, at an Adidas launch party in London on Aug. 14.

Here's Boyega's Instagram video.

Justin Bolger and I co-hosted this week's ForceCast, and talked about J. J. Abrams' mysterious message, Luke's role in Episode VII and Mark Hamill's new bear friend, and the first seven chapters of the Rebels novel "A New Dawn," which are now available in a free preview from Random House. There are also puns. You can listen to that here.