Seeing the textures of this series put together doesn’t diminish its tale at all but gives it a fuller conception as a cautionary tale. “Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader’s Castle” [Cavan Scott/IDW/120pgs] tells the approach of a rebel team into the planet of Mustafar which has become Anakin/Darth Vader’s home either by conscious or unconscious perception. It is fitting but also bathed in metaphor as it should be. As seen in parallel to say “The Mummy” from 1999, every character has their own flaws but also must know their limits. The lead character, a female pilot Llla, does not seem aware of Vader but the stories here correlate to the actual confidence building of a small insect-like crew member in Skritt (honestly the weakest part of the story). Different characters tell different stories like Han Solo on one of his misadventures where he is caught in the path of one of the disgraced witches who helped resurrect Darth Maul or an Ewok who was led astray in his aspect to avoid strife and appease his predators. Ultimately this reflects back on Vader’s merciless pursuit of the rebels until they leave. He takes down one of their ranks in Hudd, a gluttonous thief but does so off-screen while also dismantling one of the droids with his light saber. But ultimately there is a sadness in Vader simply because you almost understand he wants to be left alone but yet is brought out as a blunt instrument as that is his purpose.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of perception and how one sees characters can both inform and influence the idea of how they act or seem to persist in any given situation. The tendencies within these 4 comics below progress distinctly because of the ideas that came before them, both effective and bridged gaps….
Star Wars Adventures – Tales From Vader’s Castle #3 – Beware The Briar Witch With the tale of the young Han Solo on another smuggle gone wrong, the tone is exactly right. Unlike “Solo” [the film] which jumped in tone between the drama and the humor (getting some of it right along the way), this filters in this story more like Seth Green’s “Star Wars- Detours” which was scrapped after the Lucasfilm acquisition by Disney. Granted this is just a story within the overall siege the rebels make on Vader’s castle on Mustafar. But the Briar Patch intention, even in its ode to “Song Of The South”, shows the idea of be wary of that which seems too good to be true. The essence of Chewbacca seems really emotive in the art here because it is slightly stretched and skewed. “Beware The Briar Patch” is a tale of warning created against a large backdrop but a cool side story nonetheless.
Ghostbusters – Crossing Over #7 The melding of the different incarnations of the Ghostbusters within several inter dimensional rifts actually is less chaotic than one might think. The idea of new recruits shepherded by the original team but also the team being perceived in different times and dimensions including The Real Ghostbusters is quite interesting. Watching a Janine character who is more brazen and less cautious interacting with Ray Stanz from a certain time period does create an interesting perspective. The different ghosts and the sarcastic tone as usual seems to come through. The continuing interaction with Death and the idea in the fact that he can’t be captured as it will create a bottleneck is an interesting concept but there is a fate for us all.
TMNT – Rise Of The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 Like the launch of the new animated series on Nickelodeon, this iteration takes a different approach. Since Splinter is not yet seen in this episode, the appearance of Man Bun, a pet store owner turned mutant sent by Maxum, the puppet master, to test the turtles makes sense and the art is fluid and furious in its chaotic nature. Like the series, April O’Neill provides a sense of groundedness as a darker evil lurks below the surface but as it is just the first issue, the bigger texture of its mythology within the Rise has yet to make itself known.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #87 The storyline with this volume seems like one ,ore of war and the gritty colors in red and brown reflect this. The Turtles are out in the open and working with other mutants with a sense of purpose. They have become soldiers and are grown up in the truest sense of the word. There are still their idiosyncrasies but these turtles are more sure which makes their actions seem that much more intense and viable. The Krang are still the Krang but much more methodical in their focus and infighting adds a new dynamic to it even though the battle seems like it might be lost.
By Tim Wassberg
The ideals within these set of new issues contemplates the end of stories, the beginnings of others and the continuing journeys of others. It traverses the concepts of the existential in terms of what characters are meant for but also where their paths will lead.
Star Wars Adventures – Destroyer Down #1 This story traces back when Rey was still on Jakku and trying to make her way but speaks to what was called the Ghost Ship: The Imperial Destroyer Radius. The aspect of salvage is interplayed with the scavengers at the outpost but Rey is the first there. The Radius was one of the battles about Jakku where the Rebellion engaged what was left of the Imperial Navy. This issue simply sets up the story with more of what is to be revealed in the next issue so beyond simple plot structure it doesn’t allow for anything new.
Transformers – Lost Light #25 This comic assumes the ending of this story (which this reader did not witness in terms of the plot lead in) but does suffer from the continual element that plagues the Transformers comics which is the overarching verbose nature of the technology and mythology versus the true focus of the story at hand. The Lost Light (a starship) has come to the end of its usefulness in this universe but possibility not in the next one so much of this issue involves pontificating on the existential nature of what will happen “after”. The issue sets up the teams of Transformers to continue their quests in an arena where death is not a question and immortality is a given save for given circumstances. As a result it ,is this question and story structure that has always plagued the idea of Transformers since stakes tend to take on a different meaning.
Road Of The Dead: Highway To Hell #1 Moving in a similar trajectory of “The Walking Dead” but with the tone of “From Dusk Till Dawn”, this story takes Hanson, an unsuspecting hero and puts him in tandem with Shawn, a Jules type mercenary and Jayne, a bookworm biochemist. Putting in certain trajectories one would only need to add The Mystery Machine and a couple Scooby Snacks to round out the shenanigans. The progression is normal enough…a lot of bloodletting, some infighting and ultimately the set up for the next battle. It is all entertaining enough but, in all honesty, very similar to other iterations that have been seen before.
By Tim Wassberg