Thursday, March 26, 2009

Trade Waiting - Star Wars: Legacy Vol 1, Broken

Star Wars was one of the franchises I grew up on and has always been something I enjoyed, even outside of the movies. I guess you could call me a prequel hater, that is something most fans care about one way or the other, but I don't really care about them anymore.

Anyway, the Expanded Universe (EU) is the term for all non-Lucas written Star Wars stories. Before the prequels came out, many of the stories dealt with the continuing stories of the cast from the original trilogy. Han and Leia get married and have a family while Luke, eventually married as well, restores the Jedi Order. There are occasionally projects that focus on supporting or background characters like Wedge Antilles and the Rogue Squadron as well as books that take place thousands of years before A New Hope and deal with the origins of the Jedi and Sith.

Like with Marvel and DC, there is continuity but it is much easier. Basically all of the works Lucas is involved directly are "canon" while everything else is "continuity" and second to the canon. Not complicated and seems to work well.

The EU covers everything from books to comics to video games. Now, I never really got into the EU when I was young but what I did check out was almost always accessible and easy to actually get into. I tentatively recommend the Dark Empire (I and II) comic series as well as Crimson Empire (which deals with the Royal Guards from Return of the Jedi) comic since its been awhile since I've read them. I've also read the Thrawn trilogy of books which I enjoyed and worked as as a sequel to the original trilogy.

From what I've seen, as expansive as the EU may be, it is very accessible and generally enjoyable for Star Wars fans. Hit the jump for my review of the first volume of Star Wars: Legacy.

Written by John Ostrander and Jan Duursema
Art by Jan Duursema
Collects Star Wars: Legacy #1-3 and #5-7

Star Wars: Legacy is, for all intents and purposes, a continuity free Star Wars book. It takes place 125 years after the events of Return of the Jedi and isn't reliant on any other stories. It is a truly accessible jumping on point for fans who haven't ventured into the post-movies continuity, also know as the Expanded Universe, before.

Legacy begins with the establishment of a new Empire and the destruction of the Galactic Alliance, along with the Jedi Order. As such, the galaxy has once again fallen into darkness after the end of a Sith-Imperial War. Ostrander and Duursema provide enough information for readers to know what happened in the big picture while still not getting bogged down by it. The Sith betrayed the emperor, Roan Fel, who survives the coup and goes into exile.

The Empire, ruled by Fel, and the Sith Empire, led by Darth Krayt, are the two powers in the Galaxy. As for Force users, there are only a few Jedi left and the Sith are now a fully fledged order, much like the Jedi used to be, and have many members, not just two. Finally, there are the Imperial Knights, who are Emperor Fel's bodyguards.

Legacy follows the adventures of Cade Skywalker, the last of his family(nothing is mentioned about the Solos). He is a bounty hunter with his two partners, Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue, and one of the few survivors of the Jedi Order. However, he does his best to hide the fact that he was once a Jedi. He and his crew eventually get caught up in the civil war between the Imperials and the Sith when they take on Marasiah Fel, the only child and daughter of Roan Fel, as a passenger.

Overall, Legacy is a strong book. It has that sense of wonderment and awe that the original trilogy had. For that, Ostrander and Duursema deserve a lot of credit. And speaking of Ostrander, of Suicide Squad fame, it's nice to see an old school writer not only find work past Marvel and DC, but also update his style to suit modern sensibilities. Legacy is just a well written book; the characters are strong and well fleshed out, the story flows well and the plot is well thought out.

The art is nice as well. Duursema does an all around good job, but there are some missing actions at times and the story seems to jump a little. Despite this, the action scenes are great as well and work just fine. They also have the PG violence from the original trilogy, which helps to keep the same feel of the movies as well. Duursema also uses the same visual styles found throughout the various Star Wars tales, so it keeps the same visual feel, too.

There is only one problem I had with the art. A character from the original trilogy shows up, but Duursema can't decide if he wants to photo reference him or not and switches between doing so and not, which is quite distracting at times.

Verdict - Must Read. Star Wars: Legacy is the perfect book for fans who are looking for something beyond the movies but don't want to get into all of the stories that spin-off from the movies in addition to being a fantastic story on its own right.

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Matt Ampersand said...

I have always been a fan of Star Wars, I blame it on my dad who is also a big fan.

I have read a bunch of paperbacks from the library, most of them were short-ish stories, never any real storyline or anything. I am guessing most of those were not canon. There was one I remember particularly, that dealt with Han Solo dying on a seemingly random planet and Chewie staying in the forests near where Han died. Many years later, we learn that the planet was actually our earth, Chewie was the one that sparked all the Bigfoot myths, and an Indiana-Jones like character discovers the old space ship. Very trippy but fun story.

Also, how come issue #6 isn't collected on this?

Eric Rupe said...

Actually, it is issue #4 that is not included. My mistake. The reason why it is not included is that it is a stand alone issue and not part of the arc that is collected in the trade. It is part of the second trade though.

Matt Ampersand said...

Ahh, that explains it.

Médard said...

@ Matt Ampersand: wow, that sounds like a really fun trippy story. Is it collected in any trade?

Dracula Jones said...

Maaan, I'm supposed to believe the Jedi Order has fallen AGAIN, and the Sith, starting back up from absolute nothing, have become the dominant force in the galaxy? I'm sure it's well written and all, but as a premise, it's hard to take 6 movies' worth of setup and jump to this improbable conclusion only 125 years later.

Eric Rupe said...

Dracula Jones - Actually, the six movies are actually a tiny, tiny fraction of the number of Star Wars stories out there so there influence is relatively small in the overall picture.

Dracula Jones said...

I'm a big Star Wars fan, with a fair amount of EU knowledge, and despite how small the films are when put into a timeline with the EU, they are the foundation of that entire universe. I just don't think 125 years is nearly enough time to completely undo everything Lucas set into motion, and at such absurd levels. Really? A reigning Sith Order, when every major Sith was killed? If someone is writing a Star Wars story, and the films are only a relatively small influence, they should not be writing a Star Wars story, especially one so presumptuous as to star "the last Skywalker."

Sorry to geek out so hardcore, but this just sounds like a premise that should have been left at the lunch table in third grade.

Eric Rupe said...

Dracula Jones - See, for the EU, I view the movies as something as a origin, a good starting point. Plus, 125 years is a long time. Compare today to 1900. But yeah, geeking out isn't a problem.

Also, and I'm not completely sure about this, but I believe there is around a hundred year gap or so, probably less, between Legacy and the next closest story in the official chronology. And I believe there are several large scale disasters during those stories as well.

Matt Ampersand said...

Médard, I read the story in a trade I got from the library. Sadly, I do not remember the title or volume of it. Sorry I couldn't be of any more help.

Médard said...

@ Matt Ampersand: no problem. Maybe someone else here knows of this story?

Another question for all, are there any GOOD Star Wars comics that are set right after Return of the Jedi? I'm interested in the continuing stories of Luke, Han Solo and the rest of the gang. :)

Randallw said...

It does rely a lot on the whole Yuzhan Vong thing, which for the record I've never read. I did get the hardcover collection though and despite not being entirely familiar with the aforementioned Yuzhan Vong I found it interesting, although Luke's ancestor's behaviour was jarring.

Of course speaking as someone who always supported the Empire in part, I like that they're the good guys, of sorts.

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