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Tag - Darth Vader

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #1

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inks: Cam Smith
Colorist: David Curiel

Summary from Comixology: “The most fearsome villain of all time returns with an all-new series! When Anakin Skywalker fell, both to the pull of the dark side and to the blade of Obi-Wan Kenobi, he rose back up, more machine than man. Having lost everything that was once dear to him, the former chosen one must take his first steps into a darker world…as Darth Vader, Dark Lord of the Sith!”

This is a series I have patiently been waiting for since it’s announcement some time ago. If you have been reading this site for any amount time, you would know that Charles Soule is one of my top 5 current comic book writers, and if he writes something I’m going to pick it up. His work on Poe Dameron has been fantastic, and his mini-series Obi-Wan and Anakin was a refreshing look at the characters set between Phantom Menace and Clone Wars. It’s been a few months since we had a Darth Vader book (Kieron Gillen’s book ended in October of 2016), but this is already shaping up to be the most interesting book in the ongoing Star Wars series.

In the first issue of Charles Soule’s run on Darth Vader, we pick up immediately where Revenge of the Sith leaves us. Darth Vader is awaking from his surgery and operation that added his new armor, and in his rage he throws Emperor Palpatine into the wall and this sets Palpatine into a rage and he attacks Vader, forcing Vader to come to the realization that he no longer has his lightsaber, which Obi-Wan takes after his battle on Mustafar and later gives to Luke in A New Hope.

The first arc will more than likely focus on the story of how Darth Vader got his iconic red lightsaber, and this first issue goes into great detail explaining the significance of the red kyber crystal, and that alone is worth the $4.99 sticker price. I would love to go into more detail about that, but don’t want to risk spoiling anything.

Along with Charles Soule’s fantastic work, Giuseppe Camuncoli makes a triumphant appearance on a Star Wars book and his art style matches perfectly with a story exploring Vader’s quest for his lightsaber. Giuseppe Camuncoli has worked previously on other Marvel books such as The Amazing Spider-Man and Superior Spider-Man. His artwork is a little bit more animated compared to previous Star War books, but it works great with the story. I think one of the most memorable scenes of Darth Vader #1 would have to be towards the end of the issue when Vader is on a planet in the Mid Rim and he experiments with the different lenses inside his helmet and we see the planet through Vader’s eyes and it’s a truly unique view of the character.

Personally, I can not wait to see where this story is going to lead to. So much happened between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope that there is almost an endless amount of stories to tell. Nineteen years have passed and in that time, Darth Vader went from an unknown Sith to the most terrifying Sith Lord in the Galaxy, and I can’t wait to see the horrible things Vader has done in the unknown. Be sure to head down to your LCS and pick up a copy of Darth Vader #1. This is the perfect book for any Star Wars fan or any comic book fan, it’s also a great jumping on point because if you’ve seen Revenge of the Sith, then you will be able to follow this series without a single hiccup.

Also, the issue has an extremely dark minimalist bonus comic by Chris Eliopoulos and Jodie Bellaire that pretty much consists of Darth Vader killing everyone he has an interaction with. It was much darker than I expected and it even had me laughing a few times. It is definitely worth the short read, you’ll enjoy it.

Music Pairing:

John Williams, Imperial Death March because come on, it’s a Darth Vader book. What did you expect?

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #25

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
Page Count: 46
Price: $5.99

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Summary from Comixology: “It has all built up to this! Vader’s trials against Cylo’s creations! His machinations against the Emperor! His covert missions with Doctor Aphra and her murderous droids! All comes to fruition in an ending you can’t miss!” (Not from Comixology but should be stated immediately, that cover is f*cking awesome.)

Darth Vader has been my favorite of all the Star Wars books since it’s release in February of last year. Darth Vader #25 is the perfect end to one of the best books being published. This book is a lot like Breaking Bad, I’m saddened that it had to come to an end, but I’m glad it didn’t drag out and become a chore to keep up with (*cough* Son’s Of Anarchy *cough*). Kieron Gillen understood the character of Darth Vader so well that he makes it completely unbelievable that Hayden Christensen could become the Sith Lord.

This issue was full of perfect conclusions for a 25 issue long story. My fellow 4LN writer Stephen Andrew and I agree that Vader Down had one of the most BRUTAL comic book lines in a long time, but I now believe that the most brutal line of Darth Vader was said in this final issue. There are two moments in this book that left my jaw literally hanging open because I just couldn’t believe how ruthless Darth Vader truly is. I want to go into detail, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers that will take away from the experience of reading this issue.

From beginning to end, Salvador Larroca’s art has been absolutely prepossessing and captures the grandness of space and Star Wars. From epic outer space light saber battles to intimate character designs, Larroca has thoroughly brought Darth Vader back to life in comics. When it comes to writing a villain, Kieron Gillen is truly one of the best writers for that bracket of characters. Gillen does a fantastic job of writing part of a story that we all know (I.E. Vader can’t die yet because we aren’t at Return Of The Jedi yet), but still leaving suspense and wonder with what will happen with all characters involved. Looking back on this book now that it’s over, I couldn’t think of a better creative team for it. Gillen and Larroca truly worked elegantly together.

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From issue one to twenty-five, Darth Vader has been one hell of a roller-coaster and full of surprises. I am really disappointed to see my preferred Star Wars book come to an end, but I’m also excited for whatever becomes the next on-going Star Wars book (crossing my fingers for Boba Fett or Kylo Ren).

(Writer’s Note: This review was written before the announcement that Doctor Aphra would be landing her own SW ongoing title)

Thanks for 25 distinguished issues of Darth Vader Salvador Larroca & Kieron Gillen. If you haven’t been reading Darth Vader, now is not the best jumping on point, since this is the epic conclusion; but, you will not be disappointed if you hunt down the previous issues (or trades) because they will be entirely worth the price. In my honest unabashedly biased opinion, this is one of the best final issues from Marvel. Ever.

Also, the book is $5.99 which really blows, but it is more pages than a typical issue, and part of that is an epic mini issue in the back about Darth Vader slaughtering Tusken Raiders while killing time on Tattooine waiting for a couple bounty hunters. Made it worth the extra couple dollars.

Music Pairing:
John Williams, like all Star Wars book reviews.

4LN Comic Review – Darth Vader #20

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca, with Edgar Delgado on Colors
Publisher: Marvel

Summary from Comixology – “New Story Arc! “END OF GAMES” begins this issue! Inspector Thanoth returns with some startling information. Vader may have passed his master’s tests…but will his own schemes prove his undoing? PLUS: A bonus tale of Triple-Zero and Beetee!”

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Marvel’s STAR WARS titles have, for the most part, been phenomenal, with STAR WARS and DARTH VADER being the best of the bunch.  Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca continue the streak with issue #20, which kicks off the “End of Games” story-line.

When I initially started reading this issue, I wasn’t planning on writing a review of it, but I just loved it.  There were so many reasons fans of STAR WARS might be interested in this issue, even if they haven’t been reading this series regularly.  First and foremost, we get to see the Super Star Destroyer “The Executor” under construction at the Kuat Drive Yards, which is Darth Vader’s capital ship as seen in Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.  I’m not going to lie, I nerded out for a while staring at that panel.  I mean, Larroca’s artwork on that two-page spread was worth the price of admission alone.

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Most of the issue is centered on a one-sided conversation between Darth Vader and Emperor Sheev Palpatine.  Sheev details how he rose to power and purged the galaxy of weakness, destroyed the Jedi, and how he forced a traitor to overplay their hand in order for Vader to cut him down.  Despite having very little action (other than the short story in the back, which I will get into later) Gillen, and the rest of the creative team, are so good they make a conversation about political subterfuge entertaining.

I was also really impressed with Larroca’s ability to depict the Emperor’s most popular, facial expressions.  The way his piercing eyes stood in contrast to his simple, black robes was unnerving, and there were several expressions that were pulled right out of the films.  Oh, and if you are a fan of Triple Zero and Beetee, this issue includes a solo story featuring the two murderbots as well.  It’s always fun to see Triple Zero and Beetee since they are the antithesis of of Threepio and Artoo.

This issue was one of the best issues in Marvel’s modern STAR WARS titles.  Despite having almost no action, and practically running solely on dialog, I loved every second of it.  Gillen and Larroca make a great team, and they get it.  They aren’t heavy handed with their references, but add just enough to keep STAR WARS devotees excited.  Make sure you pick this issue up.  It’s not imperative that you read issues 1-19 to understand what’s going on, and it just might make a believer out of you.

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4LN’s Favorite Comics of 2015

Cam Clark

Star Wars (all of them)
My pull list is relatively simple – all the Star Wars titles mixed in with most of the Valiant titles, and very little else (What can I say, I have a comic budget and it isn’t all that large due to other things like mortgages and diapers).  When it came time to choose my favorite comics of the year, I had a hard time deciding which book in the Star Wars line I should pick.  I mean, Jason Aaron’s work on Star Wars is brilliant, but so is Gillen’s work on Darth VaderKanan was surprisingly good and made me a fan of the show Rebels, while Lando, Chewbacca and Princess Leia were also very well done.  Shattered Empire shows the aftermath of Return of the Jedi and also showed Luke Skywalker really grasping what he could do with the Force.  Additionally, the Vader Down event is shaping up to be an incredibly successful event.  If I HAD to choose, I might select the main Star Wars title… but I don’t have to choose, so I choose all of the titles.  If you aren’t reading them and are a fan of the Star Wars you are missing out on some great stories.

Ninjak
Although Valiant Entertainment is a small publisher, they are putting out some magnificent work.  Now that we are a few years in to the shared universe of Valiant, it can be kind of intimidating trying to test the waters for a newcomer (although they have great prices on their trade paperback collections so you have little excuse).  Luckily Ninjak by Matt Kindt is a great jumping on point.  The story is mostly a standalone story that follows Britain’s number one super-spy/master assassin, Colin King (think British Batman with a sprinkle of 007-particularly the “license to kill” part).  During the main story of each issue, there are a few pages of flashbacks that give you backstory into his childhood, and each issue ends with a couple page story of his previous exploits prior to becoming the badass that is Ninjak.  So in essence you get two awesome comics for the price of one.  The first volume is already available in trade paperback, and you can find it available on Amazon and in most local comic shops.

The Punisher
I have a confession to make, I used to dislike the Punisher.  His anti-hero antics involving merciless retribution on the criminal underworld rubbed me the wrong way.  It all changed when I read Nathan Edmondson’s Punisher. Holy crap is it good.  Edmondson really focuses on Frank’s military background and expert tactical skills as he deals with Cartels, the Howling Commandos, and – the most dangerous of all – Los Angeles.  While he is still merciless, Edmondson’s writing and Mitch Gerad’s art made me a believer.

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Bill Clark

Marvel
Very similar to Cameron, I have been pulling every Star Wars book. But, out of all the books, I had a favorite. I personally like the Darth Vader solo book the most. I think Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job capturing the spirit of everyone’s favorite Sith lord. From the first issue, this book had my full attention. Now, I am slightly biased. I love Gillen as a writer, and I have a Darth Vader tattoo, so of course I’m going to love a comic solely about Vader. And, this book has two of the greatest assassin droids in Star Wars history, BT-1 and 0-0-0. If you haven’t read this book, you are really missing out. Go pick up some issues and fall in love with it like I did.

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DC
If you have ever read any of my reviews, you know how I feel about Scott Snyder and Batman… I F**KING LOVE THEM. And, because of my love, I am unabashedly biased about that book. When the Robot-Bat-Bunny Batman was announced Cameron dropped the book and Stephen Andrew eventually lost interest in it. But, here is the thing: it was awesome. The book had been in such a dark and serious place for so long that the creative team of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo decided to have some fun with the book. They introduced a super dark villain, but were still able to make the book fun and a bit lighter. Since I wouldn’t stop talking about the book, Cam and Stephen decided to give it a shot again, and wouldn’t you know, they loved it. Stephen even wrote an apology. Batman was seriously the best book DC was putting out all year.
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Archie Comics
When the all new Archie was announced I was pretty excited. I had never read an Archie comic before, but man was I hyped AF for this new book. Mark Waid and Fiona f**king Staples? How could one not love that? It would be the greatest sin. Now, I typically stay away from teen centered books. It’s just not my cup of tea, but this book changed that. From the very first issue I was instantly drawn into the lives of Archie, Veronica, Jughead and Betty. Mark Waid is able to strip everything down, give us raw real people, and make us extremely interested in the break up of Betty and Archie, and how that affects the entire town of Riverdale. Everyone knew Archie and Betty as “Archie and Betty,” so what does their identity look like without each other? Well, that’s what Mark Waid is trying to explore, and he’s doing a fantastic job at it.

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Stephen Andrew

Unlike Cam and Bill, I’m terribly irresponsible and have like 87 books on my pull-list. Obviously that’s an exaggeration, but in all honesty it’s not by much. I read a lot of comics, and that makes compiling this list much more difficult for me. I can’t just pick like 3 or 4 books so I’m gonna try to break it down by publishers, and attempt to keep it brief. I said ATTEMPT. I make no guarantees…

DC
I’m starting here because it’s the easiest one. Harley Quinn still is, and will remain my favorite DC title. In fact, it’s the only one I still currently read. The work that Amanda Connor & Jimmy Palmiotti have been doing on that series is unprecedented. They get away with jokes that probably no other mainstream comic ever would. Even though Harley is my maniacal mistress, I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the new Deathstroke run and might pick that back up because it was pretty intense and brutal. But, for now, I remain wholly committed to that adorable minx in red and blue clown paint. *swoon*

 

Marvel
Being that I’be always been a Marvel Guy, this section could potentially be more difficult to narrow down. But while thinking about it, It actually became pretty easy. The Marvel comics that stood out most in my mind as I thought about the year are Howard the Duck, from the creative team of Chip Zdarsky & Joe Quinones, and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, from Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Both series has been consistently well written, and I laugh out loud every single time I read a new issue. I already love Chip as a writer so I anticipated that I would love Howard, but I was honestly surprised at how much I ended up loving Squirrel Girl. Ryan North is an endless well of funny, and I’m gonna keep on drinking from his bucket. (Did that sound weird? I feel like it sounded weird…)

Valiant
I only read about 4 Valiant series. Bloodshot, Ninjak, Rai, and now the new Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. I just picked up Rai this year and I’m really glad I did because it’s great. Eternal Warrior is off to a solid start, and Bloodshot always delivers. I have to agree with my good pal Cam though, that Ninjak is by far the the best series being published over at Valiant right now. The writing is A-game material, and the artwork is always high grade, professional quality. It’s like they said, “How do we make the best comic?” and then just made it.

Image
Image Comics is my jam. I’d say that it at least ties with Marvel making up like 45% of my weekly pull list. All of my favorite comics are from Image. Outcast, Southern Bastards, Black Science, Deadly Class, East of West, Spread, Bitch Planet, etc. I could go on an on about the Image series’ that I love but I’d like to put the spotlight on two limited series they published this year. Airboy, from James Robinson & Greg Hinkle, and Big Man Plans, from Eric Powell & Tim Wiesch. Big Man Plans I chose becasue it was the most brutal and fearless series I read all year. Literally nothing was off limits. It reads like the storyboard for a Quentin Tarantino movie. If you can stomach the relentless ferocity of it all, then you should definitely pick up the trade.

Airboy really had a big impact on me. It’s essentially a parody of Robinson’s semi-autobiographical, debauched story of self-destruction that spirals him into a drug & alcohol induced fever dream into the world of the title golden age comic book character, Airboy. Among other things, he deals with things like his crumbling marriage, extreme substance abuse, and his insecurities and perceived failures as a writer. It’s all wrapped up in a brilliant and hilarious story of two guys just trying to motivate themselves to write and draw a comic book but falling into a shared hallucination… or dream… or f***ing nightmare. If you’re familiar with Robinson’s career then you owe it to yourself to read this series, but also if you just like comic book stores that aren’t afraid to be mercilessly honest and transparent.

4LN Comic Review: Darth Vader #13

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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Overview from Comixology: “The first crossover of Star Wars’ new Marvel age continues here! Vader vs. all the Rebels…it’s not a fair fight!”

This is part two of the 6 part crossover event, Vader Down, and my God is it off to a great start. If you haven’t read Vader Down #1, you are really missing out. To fully appreciate this issue, it’s mandatory that you read Vader Down #1. I mean, why read a crossover event and skip the first issue? This issue is a blast, and one of the fastest reads that I have ran across in a long time. The issue starts with Vader just slaughtering Rebel scum, and I can’t think of a better way to start a comic. From beginning to end, this issue is full of action and suspense, and I can’t stress how quick of a read it was. And that’s not a bad thing, so much was happening that the issue flew by like the Millennium Falcon doing the Kessel Run (I know that was cringy. I couldn’t help it.)

I personally think that Darth Vader is the best Star Wars book being published right now, and this has nothing to do with the fact that I have a Darth Vader tattoo, it’s just the most badass of the Star Wars books. I mean, who doesn’t like reading and watching Vader do secret mission and hunt down the terrorist known as the Rebel Alliance? I think Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job at capturing the feel of Vader, and I honestly can’t think of a writer who could do as well as he has on this book. Not only does he capture the feel of Vader, but he also brings Solo and Leia to the page in a great way.

When it comes to the fight scenes, and action in this issue, Salvador Larroca does a great job making you feel like you are actually in the middle of the firefight, and the use of reds and oranges makes the tone much darker and more warlike. It’s awesome seeing Darth Vader in hand to hand combat with an entire battalion of rebel soldiers. And, just like in Vader Down #1, Darth is just full of amazing quotes, and one liners from Vader. I am also extremely curious to see if anything comes from the Jedi temple that Luke found on the planet of Vrogas Vos. I hope in one issue of the crossover, either Luke or Vader will explore the ruins.

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If you are a fan of Star Wars, and can’t seem to get a big enough fix before The Force Awakens comes out, then you need to do yourself a favor pick up Vader Down #1, and Darth Vader #13. You’ll get some badass Darth Vader, awesome Star Wars action, and you’ll get to experience what maybe the best crossover event of the year. Come back next week for our review of Star Wars #13, which will be the third part of Vader Down. And, let us know what you think of this issue in the comments below.

Music Pairing:
John Williams Imperial Death March, duh.

 

Saturday Morning Review: Darth Vader #5

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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Summary from Comixology: “Vader continues his investigation into the Emperor’s secrets…Not everyone wants him to find out the truth. Who are Vader’s mysterious new rivals?”

Overview:
This is the one Star Wars series that I always read first when it comes out. I love the Star Wars self titled book, but Darth Vader has always been my favorite character. He’s the center figure in the original Star Wars Universe, and he’s tattooed on my leg, so I feel like I have a connection with the character. Kieron Gillen gets Darth Vader, you can tell the writer is invested in the character and it’s not written half-assed.

The Good:
As I said above, Darth Vader is a great book. From the art to the story, everything in this book is really top notch. Kieron Gillen really understands the characters, so as you read the book, it’s just a great fun read. When I finished reading this book, I immediately texted Cam, telling him how great it was and that Triple Zero was my new favorite character. For anyone reading the review, who isn’t reading the book, Triple Zero is a protocol droid similar to 3CPO, except a badass, and a bit of hilarious jerk. And Triple Zero uses torture, C3PO doesn’t do that… Salvador Larroca’s art is really on point in this issue, with clean lines and bright colors everything on this book really pops out at you. Which is a difficult task with so much black being involved in the character designs. The twist in the last three pages has left me upset. Upset that I have to wait a month to see what happens.

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The Bad:
I really couldn’t find anything wrong with this book. It was a great read. I am just bummed I have to wait a month to see what happens next.

The Final Say:
Do yourself a favor. Go pick up this book. If you haven’t read the other Darth Vader issues you can find the previous 4 issues pretty much anywhere (If you are OK with 2nd printings). This book is a 5 out of 5. It was just an awesome Darth Vader story, that any fan of the character will appreciate and love. Seriously, go pick these books up if you consider yourself a Star Wars fan, AND Darth Vader #3 contains three knew characters that will be in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Gillian knows how to write Darth Vader, and Larroca draws a beautiful space epic in each issue.

Music Pairing:
John Williams. Enough said.

What Star Wars Means to 4LN

 

My childhood was forever changed the first time I saw Star Wars. I actually can’t even remember life before Star Wars since I have an older brother, seven years older, he was a HUGE Star Wars fan. My brother Danny had all the action figures and knew the lines to all the movies. Slowly though, his fandom started to disintegrate and he began to lose interest in the greatest science fiction epic ever told. Though, for me, that passion never died. Actually, in recent months my fandom has actually been relit with the recent release of the Marvel Comics Star Wars titles. At the moment I am reading Darth Vader and Star Wars. I’m waiting to pick up all of Princess Leia once it’s finished and I’m still on the fence about Kanan: The Last Padawan,  but Cameron really loves it so I may be picking that up in the coming day, or bumming them off him.

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My Darth Vader tattoo.

 

When I think about Star Wars, I think about Darth Vader. For some reason, he has always been my favorite character.  After all, if there were no Darth Vader, there would be no Star Wars. Since 1977, Star Wars has forever changed pop culture from film to comic books. It’s easy to say that everyone has been impacted by Star Wars in one way or another. I’m such a fan of the movies, my girlfriend hates watching them with me because I can quote the original trilogy line for line. As much as I love Revenge of The Sith (My favorite of the prequels) I only let myself watch it once a year, since I always end up crying when Obi Wan says “You were the chosen one! I loved you like a brother!” Tears, tears everywhere. With all that being said, in light of today, check out what Star Wars means to all of us here at Four Letter Nerd along with some of our friends who have written for us over the last year, and May the 4th be with you.

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Cameron Clark: Star Wars has had a huge impact on who I am as a nerd.  I have seen the movies more times than I can count, played the video games, gotten a tattoo of an X-wing, and even wrote my fifty page college thesis on Philosophical, Theological, and Mythological Themes in Star Wars.  The original trilogy  changed so many facets of pop culture that it’s hard to quantify, while the prequel trilogy made way for a whole new generation of Star Wars fans.  I remember my dad taking me to see the re-release when I was about 11 years old and my fandom exploded.  Now I get to share that fandom with my sons (one of them is still a baby so he doesn’t care all that much).  My toddler usually gets frustrated when I first turn on Star Wars Rebels because it’s not one of “his shows,” but as soon as the opening music plays and the action starts, he is all in.  I think that’s what it has become for me – not only something I enjoy, but something I can enjoy with my wife Paige, and our kids.

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Cameron today in his cubicle.

 

Stephen Andrew: “F**k Star Wars, I’m not into the stupid nerd shit. Losers. Kirk > Skywalker.”

That’s how Bill thinks I feel about Star Wars. In reality… That’s entirely accurate. I’M KIDDING. I will admit to being the 4LNer with the least amount of personal interest in Star Wars, but that doesn’t change the fact that my life, like most people’s, has been greatly impacted by Star Wars. I remember seeing the movies for the first time when the re-released them in theaters in the mid-90’s. Return of the Jedi has been my favorite ever since. There was just something about that cocky-ass attitude of Luke’s that resonated with me. He has this swagger about him in that movie that is just so… f**king cool. Then there was Han. How could you not like Han? He was such a badass. Around the time of the theatrical re-releases, Kellog’s had this promo on their cereals where you could get a free Stormtrooper Han action figure with so many proofs of purchase. I made my mom buy as many boxes of cereal as it took so that I could send in for that immediately. It took so long for it to get there that by the time it arrived I had forgotten about it and when I opened the small white box that it came addressed to me in I got crazy excited.

I even saw every one of the second trilogy films on opening night at midnight. All of them. I liked them. I didn’t LOVE them, but I liked them. Star Wars may not excite me like it does many other people, but it’s been a big part of my life that I can’t deny. I’m eager to see what J.J. Abrams does with Episode 7, and I trust Disney has mapped out a plan that will bring us thrilling new Star Wars movies that will please both new and old fans alike.

Cody Russell: I’ll never forget being 12 years old and going to see the 20th anniversary editions of the original trilogy in theaters. We had watched the Star Wars movies so many times at home with our dad, between this and Indiana Jones, our VCR (remember those?????) had to be hurting. The excitement of standing in line knowing I was about to see Darth Vader air choke some crew members on the big screen was overwhelming. People were in full costume, whipping around those (then new to market) light sabers, and the place was just teeming with fandom. Star Wars is not only iconic to popular culture, but is a part of almost every American’s childhood in some way or fashion. I can’t count how many times my brothers and I would reenact the powerful plot twisting scene of “Luke, I am your father!” If my brain was a hamster, it had definitely been in the microwave too long when I first saw that scene. Ultimately, Star Wars has a deeper meaning for me as well. It portrays the concept of life that everyone seems to chase, that we are all on a journey of a greater purpose. That we all have something deep within us that is meant for greater things, and how we choose to live our life can affect the way our world exists. Why do you think Ancestory.Com is a big thing now? because everyone’s trying to figure out if they have a Darth Vader as a father, or a great great great grand father or something down the line, duh! Seriously though, it portrays the message that past mistakes don’t have to control your future. I just love Star Wars, and I’m so glad that we get to see the next chapter this year! May the 4th be with you!

Jeff Merrick: We live in a time today when nerdy obsessions (comic book characters, fantasy, science fiction) are considered mainstream. This was not the case for me when I was growing up. I cared nothing for fantasy, comic books and most sci-fi (other than Batman: The Animated Series, because what preteen boy didn’t love Batman: The Animated Series), but I loved Start Wars. Star Wars was the first nerdy thing I cared about and was, in my opinion, the first mainstream nerd brand. All of my friends and I (much to the annoyance of those around us) could quote pages and pages of dialogue from the trendsetting trilogy set a long time ago in a galaxy far away. So for me, Star Wars was like a gateway drug (interesting comparison I came up with now that I read it again) that opened the way for my appreciation of other future elements of nerd culture that I would welcome into my life years later.

Jason Hill: I remember watching Episode IV: A New Hope on VHS with my dad. He would tell me about the time he waited two hours around the block to see this in theaters before putting the tape in the player. He had this mysticism in his eyes when he talked about it. I soon understood why. This was my first foray into space. I think I was six when I first watched Star Wars. This was before science taught me about what planets and asteroids were. I just remember seeing the huge ships and colorful landscapes and thinking “Wow, could this even be real?” The special effects mesmerized my brain before the cynicism set in. Now, there are CG effects that far surpass the ones Star Wars had, and I try to find the imperfections and tell people how it “doesn’t look real”. But Star Wars took me on a magical journey that I believed, and that is why it’s one of my favorites.

Austin Carter: Star Wars is like a door for me. It was the door that opened my eyes to different worlds, and a door that introduced me to the idea that there can be more to life than what we can see. Star Wars was my entrance into the world of fantasy and all the rewarding things it has to offer. Without Star Wars, I wouldn’t have developed the love for Music that I have, or the moral ideas and values that are present in our world. Star Wars has taught me a lot about myself, and many values I have to this day. Star Wars holds a special place in my heart, and is my favorite universe to reside in. I still look up to Obi-Wan Kenobi to this day, and can only hope to be as incredible as he is. I couldn’t even put it to words what it means to me.

Steven Boyd- ComicCollectorLive.comSTAR WARS is one of the most influential movie franchises of all time. I was only 4 when the first film came out, so STAR WARS reminds me of some of the best parts of my childhood (and as I read back over my list, kudos to STAR WARS for reinventing marketing): Christmas, Saturday morning cartoons and cereal, random trips to BURGER KING, read along books, those plastic BEN COOPER costumes you wear at Halloween, playing outside in the snow pretending I’m on Hoth, and most of all, a common bond with other people. To this day, you can walk up to someone you don’t know, talk about STAR WARS and the walls of unfamiliarity instantly come down. So for a mythology that spans universes and galaxies far, far away, STAR WARS has made our world a much smaller (and better) place to live in by bringing us closer…and that’s something politicians and world leaders can’t always do.

Be sure to get hyped for Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens coming out this December!

4LN Saturday Morning Review: Darth Vader #1

Series: Darth Vader
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

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Summary from Comixology: “Ever since Darth Vader made his first on-screen appearance, he became one of the most popular villains to ever haunt an audience’s dreams! Now, follow Vader straight from the ending of “Star Wars: A New Hope”, (and the pages of the new Star Wars comic book), into his own series, showing the Empire’s war with the Rebel Alliance from the other side! Writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larocca bring us a peek behind the mask of evil!”

 

Overview:
This has been the Star Wars book that I have been most looking forward too. I enjoyed Star Wars a lot, but personally I have always been more attracted to The Dark Side. In Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic I always ended up becoming a sith and in any other Star Wars game, I always fell to the dark side (That may even explain why I have a Darth Vader tattoo). I mean, lets be honest, the villains are always so much cooler, and this book just continues to prove that. I’m a big fan of Keiron Gillen, he’s actually writing two of my favorite ongoing series, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin and The Wicked + The Divine and I think this book is now in my top 5 reading spots.

Highs:
This is a great story about what Vader gets into after the destruction of the first Death Star. His appearance at Jaba the Hutts palace is one of my favorite scenes in recent comics. I absolutely loved seeing Darth Vader release his rage on Jaba for confusing him as a Jedi, and the issue captures the vibe of the palace almost like Return of The Jedi did, which I think in of itself is a major accomplishment. It was also very interesting seeing/reading Darth Vader’s interactions with his master Darth Sidious. Sidious is upset with Vader at the moment for letting the rebels escape a hidden base attack on a moon of Yavin, so the tension between master and apprentice is highly noted. The art is also a great addition to this book with being able to capture the feel of the original trilogy, but yet still give it a new feel.

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It looks like watching Return of The Jedi for the first time.

 

Lows:
I personally did not care for the $4.99 price, but with it being a #1 of such a major character I can see why Marvel would charge this. But, I hope to see the book to the same as Star Wars and drop to $3.99 for the next issue, which comes out February 25th. Besides the price my only serious other concern was Darth Vader’s speech bubbles. I really wish for this character they used some other from of bubble besides the standard white speech tone. I think if they used a more rugged bubble like in Swamp Thing books or the Iron Man series it would convey a different tone for the character. I found myself going back in forth between standard Vader voice and my normal mental voice when reading his dialogue.

*This section will contain possible spoilers*

I found it a little bothersome that Boba Fett is working alongside a Wookie in this series. He is one of my favorite characters in Star Wars, so it bothered me seeing this team up. I know that nothing from previous stories are cannon any longer, but my version of Boba is not fond of Wookies and hunts them for game. He even wears the fur of a wookie on his suit as a prize. So seeing him in the issue working along side one, makes me think they are going to try to give Boba Fett a strong Han Solo vibe in the new continuity.

The Final Say:
If you love Star Wars and Darth Vader, then you really need to read this issue and jump on this series. Darth Vader is as dark and looming as he is in the original films and Gillen does a great job capturing the feel of Vader. The art work is also absolutely beautiful. So much detail in each panel, it’s almost like you are watching this on film. From all the wrinkles and slime in Jaba the Hutt to the void that is space. Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado are a prefect artistic team for this book. Head to your local comic store and be sure to pick this book up. Overall this book is a solid 4 out of 5 and you need to get your hands on this. I just hope we won’t have to read Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia in order to obtain the entire story…

 

Star Wars Part 3 – Return of the Franchise

Here it is, folks. We finally made it to the third article in this trilogy. In Part One we discussed the cultural influences from which Star Wars was borne, and in Part Two we looked at how the franchise impacted the entertainment industry and American culture as a whole (has anyone joined the Temple of the Jedi Order yet?). Now we look at all the glorious things the future holds, that some of us will undoubtedly whine about.

So far, Disney has kept almost every detail about the new trilogy close to the vest, but there are some details emerging. Here is a look at what is to come for the Star Wars franchise.

Probably the biggest news following Disney buying out Lucas is that Episodes VII, VIII, and IX are gearing up to be released in 2015, 2017, and 2019. I am beyond excited about this. J.J. Abrams will be ditching the trekkies, and will be directing (and he recently apologized for how much lens flare was used in Star Trek, so that shouldn’t be a problem).

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It still could be a problem though

Michael Arndt has been tasked with the screenplay. You may remember him as the man who caused grown men to try to silently weep while watching Toy Story 3 in theaters. The actual story is more under wrap than the Ark of the Covenant at the end of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark (or more so at the beginning of the movie I guess).

Apparently time heals all wounds, as perennial grump, Harrison Ford (who wanted Han Solo killed off in Empire Strikes Back, and was very vocal about his dislike of the monotony of the character) appears to be prepping to retake the captain’s chair in the Falcon along side Leia (is she still a princess if Alderaan is gone?) and Mark Hamill. I assume Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 will also make an appearance as well.

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Harrison Ford’s recurring fantasy

There are also plans for standalone films that are slated to be released in between the actual trilogy making it possible for us to have a new Star Wars film every year from 2015 through 2021. These films are rumored to focus on back-stories for fan favorites Yoda, Boba Fett (whose 3 minutes of screen time, and ridiculous “death” miraculously made everyone love him), and Han Solo. There have also been hints that Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine could make an appearance as well. This strategy seems similar to Disney’s Avengers strategy, where they release several individual movies that culminate with a joint venture. The man behind the Empire Strikes Back, Lawrence Kasdan, will write one of these films, and Simon Kinberg, who wrote Sherlock Holmes, will write another.

Star Wars Rebels will be an animated series set between Episodes III and IV, and will follow the birth of the Rebel Alliance. With a release date of Fall 2014, Rebels will be the first foray into the Star Wars universe and it will air on Disney XD. With the success of Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD, the possibility of a live-action TV show has skyrocketed, but they will probably wait to see how successful Episode VII will be before launching it.

Disney has also announced a multiyear, exclusive agreement with gaming juggernaut Electronic Arts. Star Wars Battlefront III (which originally was canned although it was almost complete) has already been announced and probably has me more excited that anything. EA has announced that three of their top studios – Dice, Visceral, and Bioware – will be working on games for the Star Wars franchise.

Bioware already has ventured into Star Wars with the MMORPG, Star Wars the Old Republic, and is also behind sci-fi epic Mass Effect. Dice is behind the beloved Battlefield franchise, which will translate very well into Battlefront style games, and Visceral is the team behind sci-fi horror series, Dead Space. It would be hard to choose a better set of companies to work on Star Wars games.

Lastly, it is highly likely that Disney will build a Star Wars themed park. At the D23 expo they scattered crates with Star Wars references around the expo center. The Star Wars franchise appears to lend itself almost perfectly to a theme park. Space dogfights, Cantina themed restaurants, podracing, it all can work and work well. I would love to walkthrough a life-sized Millennium Falcon, pilot an X-Wing, and walkthrough Imperial corridors. It all just appears to be so right.

If you are a Star Wars fan, there is a LOT of stuff coming down the trash chute. Undoubtedly, there will be fans that have low expectations after the prequel trilogy, but I think the pros outweigh the cons by a landslide, and I am excited to see where this franchise is going.

So what do you think? Will Disney be able to repeat the success they had with the Marvel brand?

From The Nerdery: Villains, Rivalries and iOS7

Well, it is that time again!  We will dive right in!

 

Scott Asks: Who are your favorite villains? And what do you think makes them special?

Stephen – I’ve always like the villains with god-like design. When I was younger, Apocalypse was definitely my favorite villain. I used to be super into the X-Men and the idea of this eternal, immortal being that can change his size, regenerate from wounds, and wreck stuff with his mind-powers was just awesome. I mean, that dude just oozes I’ll-murder-your-pet-hamster-and-break-your-science-project-then-I’ll-make-your-parents-get-a-divorce-and-I’ll-marry-your-mom-and-be-your-new-step-dad-and-I’ll-buy-root-beer-and-drink-it-in-front-of-you-but-I-won’t-let-you-have-any. He’s THAT cruel. But now, I think I’m gonna go with Galactus. I like gray areas and and Galactus is a giant, world devouring gray area. He’s a villain, but not really. He consumes entire planets to sustain his life. It’s not like he’s doing it out of some vile thirst for world domination. He has to. It’s how he continues to live. It’s survival really. And there’s no “stopping” him. Sure, he can be weakened and slowed down, but the best that you can hope for is distracting him long enough to get him focused on a Jupiter-sized bean burrito, thus ensuring the preservation of your species for the time being.

Cam – I have a hard time naming a favorite villain. I am the kind of guy who creates an alternate save game for Mass Effect to play through as Renegade, then halfway through do everything I can to move towards Paragon. This is the same reason I am one of the few people that can’t really get into Breaking Bad. If I had to name one though, I would have to go with Darth Vader. Especially with the inclusion of the Prequel Trilogy (I know they aren’t great, but they do put some interesting twists on the overarching plotline). When it was just the Original Trilogy the story was ultimately about Luke Skywalker’s transition from farmboy to hero. When the prequels were released the story shifted from that to the fall and redemption of Anakin. I think that adds some depth to the character. He becomes more than just this dark antagonist. Are there plot holes? Absolutely. But ultimately when he turns away from the Dark Side to save his son, and overthrows (literally) the man who manipulated him into ruining his life, it carries more weight than before. Now, I don’t think it makes up for all of the terrible things he did, but it does lend itself to an interesting discussion. That change from dark to light though is what attracts me to the character.

Robbie – Currently I think my favorite villain is Walter White. I recently just started watching Breaking Bad from the beginning so it has been a rollercoaster to see Walt’s character evolve into what it is now. It’s just crazy to see how good motives can turn in to greed and other things.

 

Nathan asks: What duo is the best rivalry in comics, tv, or movies, and why

Cam – This is a great question. I am going to have to go with the Batman vs. the Joker. They are the antithesis of each other. They each are subject to some serious psychological issues, but land on completely opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to how it’s expressed. Batman strives for order, Joker strives for chaos. The existence of the one almost necessitates the existence of the other, and this is addressed in several different iterations of the story. In the Dark Knight, the Joker tells Batman “I don’t wanna kill you, what would I do without you? Go back to rippin’ off mob dealers? No, no, no… no you, you complete me.” Batman refuses to kill, and it seems like the Joker’s entire plan (not that he has a master plan) is to get Batman to break his rule. He wants justice and order to devolve into chaos, while Batman wants to pull Gotham out of chaos into order.   I’ll leave you with this quote — “You… you just couldn’t let me go could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You are truly incorruptible aren’t you. You won’t kill me because of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won’t kill you because…you’re just too much fun. I get the feeling that you and I are destined to do this forever.”

Stephen: I’m gonna go with Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty. I know that these are characters originated in literature and not necessarily from “nerd culture”, but literature is the original “geek culture”, right?! Anyway, I love that Sherlock and Moriarty are exactly alike and completely different. They are both brilliantly minded individuals on opposite ends of good and bad. You could even argue that the more current interpretations of Batman and the Joker are very much like Sherlock and Moriarty. The difference though is that Moriarty isn’t really insane, or crazy. He’s not the kind of person that just wants “to watch the world burn”. He has selfish pursuits and intentions, but his desire for power and control, while immoral, is pure. At the other end of that spectrum, Sherlock doesn’t desire to take power or control at all. He knows that his intellect IS power and that by using it he controls what he needs to. They both believe that they’re the end all, be all when it comes to intelligence, but for Moriarty, that isn’t enough, and for Sherlock, it’s everything.

 

Marie asks: What are some of the best and and worst features of the iOS7?

Robbie – My favorite feature of iOS7 is small but is already making things 10 times easier, that would be the control center. I love having the access to control brightness, volume and track selection as well as options for Wifi, Bluetooth and Airplane Mode too. The addition of quick buttons for a flashlight and calculator are pretty awesome too.

My least favorite feature of iOS7 is the amount of trouble I had installing it. I spent an hour downloading it, then tried to install it for 30 minutes. My phone bricked itself during the installation. It basically became a paperweight. I was able to restore it through iTunes, but lost everything in the process. I somehow miraculously had a backup from March on my computer that I was able to use, so I didn’t lose everything in the end. As a designer, I do hate some of the new app icons. I get that Apple does simple and minimalistic, but designers are starting to take it too far with that. I like the flatness of the interface, but I think it may be too flat. There are a couple of other small bugs, but Apple is releasing a 7.0.1 update in the next day or two to fix those.

Overall, I love iOS7 and totally recommend installing it. Make sure you do an iCloud or iTunes backup beforehand though! Check back tomorrow for my full review on iOS7!

Stephen – Just as a, hopefully helpful, side note: I’ve noticed a lot of people that don’t have enough space on their phones to download the iOS7. My recommendation is this: Amazon has a Cloud Drive app on the App Store where you can upload up to 5.0 GB’s of pictures. All you have to do is download that app and upload your pictures to it, then you can delete them from your Camera Roll. Yes, this does require already having, or creating, an Amazon account, but it’s very helpful in keeping you pictures accessible without them taking up too much space on your phone.