Star Wars – Thrawn is a Triumph

Millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror when the mouse officially declared that the stories in the Star Wars expanded universe as non-canon. There was a glimmer of hope when Lucasfilm stated that aspects of what is now deemed “Legends” could be brought into the new canon. At that moment, fans in unison, all wanted one character more than anyone… Grand Admiral Thrawn.

Famed author Timothy Zahn brought this character into our consciousness in 1991 with the novel Heir to the Empire, the first installment of what would become known as the “Thrawn Trilogy.”

Thrawn’s reputation as a master military tactician is legendary. Now, the character’s creator Zahn returns to the Star Wars universe and gets reacquainted with an old friend.

Thrawn serves as an origin story of the blue-skinned, red-eyed Chiss warrior, while detailing his rise to power in the Empire. Most of what we know about Thrawn is pretty much intact. Various characters that served under Thrawn in “Legends” become canon, except for Captain Pellaeon. Instead, a new character named Eli Vanto is introduced and carries the essence of Pellaeon in a younger form.

Vanto is an imperial cadet from the outer rim who talks with what could be a southern accent and is considered a “wild space yokel.” He vies for simplicity until fate brings Thrawn into his life and changes it forever. Zahn sets up Vannto as the listener’s window into how he helps Thrawn adjust to a career as an Imperial while marveling at his cunning and reserved disposition.

Click here to read the entire review at Forces of Geek.com
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Third Time’s the Charm with Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End

In the abstract, the Aftermath series is reminiscent of the prequel films. The first installment left a lot to be desired, the second chapter is a curious but rough read, and the finale sticks the landing well enough to earn a place on the podium.

Star Wars: Aftermath – Empire’s End, the third and concluding novel in author Chuck Wendig’s trilogy that takes place following the events of Return of the Jedi and begins building an extended bridge to The Force Awakens.

The attack on Chandrila during the organized peace talks between the New Republic and the Empire looms over the story like a dark cloud. Despite the emotional toll she’s undergone throughout the series, the resolve of Nora Wexley is an enthralling journey to follow.

Tunnel vision towards the apprehension of the galaxy’s most wanted war criminal, Grand Admiral Rae Sloan, proves to be disheartening for those closest to Nora. While she’s not seething mad, her inner turmoil demands finality regarding this perilous situation.

Check out the rest of my review of Empire’s End at Forces of Geek.com

Origins of Suicide Squad

With the theatrical release of Suicide Squad in theaters this week, it’s only fitting that we go a little retro and explore the comic book origins of the murderous band of thieves and rogues.

I saw the movie last night and it was interesting to see the differences between what director David Ayer produced on screen and what writer John Ostrander presented on the printed page. Everyone knows the story by now, but for the ill-informed, here’s a quick review.

While held in captivity, some of the world’s most notorious super-villains are forced into the ultimate ultimatum by taking part in missions that are nearly impossible to survive. If one agrees, good. If one does not, they go anyway, and if you try to run…BOOM, your head explodes.

Sadly, there will be no mention of Harley Quinn since these stories take place prior to her first appearance in Batman: The Animated Series (1992).

Click here to read the entire review at Forces of Geek.com

Twilight Zone Vol 1: The Way Out TPB Review

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The Twilight Zone Vol 1: The Way Out TPB | Writer: J. Michael Straczynski | Artist: Guiu Vilanova | Colorist: Vinicius Andrade | Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment | Price: $15.99 | Release Date: June 18, 2014

The Twilight Zone was never my jam growing up, but I learned to apperciate the show’s classic moments such as Nightmare at 20,000 Feet and To Serve Man. J. Michael Straczynski pens an exhilarating story that brilliantly captures the essence of the famed TV show. Continue reading

Star Wars Dark Times Volume 7: A Spark Remains

swStar Wars Dark Times Volume 7: A Spark RemainsWriter: Randy Stradley | Artist: Douglas Wheatley | Colorist: Dan Jackson | Letters: Michael Heisler | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $19.99 | Form my column at Forces of Geek.com

The recent announcement of Lucasfilm’s decision to forgo the Expanded Universe as a part of the canonical story of Star Wars is a day that most hardcore fans feared.

While some don’t care, most are outraged and have issued the usual threats of swearing off things that took place in a galaxy far, far away. What’s the point of engaging in the novels, comics and video games that explore this cherished fiction within fiction?

Because nothing’s changed.  Good storytelling is still good storytelling no matter if it “counts” or not. Continue reading

Beautiful Scars Produces a Beautiful Story

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Beautiful Scars | Written and Illustrated by D.S. Talon & E.G. Thompson | Letters: Deron Bennett | Design: Scott Newman| Editor: Rebecca Taylor | Publisher: Archaia Entertainment | Price: $19.99| From my column at Forces of Geek

This book has garnered a good amount of hype among critics, reviewers, and pundits. I didn’t want to read it because I assumed my heightened expectations would be let down by the finished product. It turns out, I was worried over nothing. Continue reading

STAR WARS #1 Review

swStar Wars #1 | Writer: Brian Wood | Art: Carlos D’Anda | Colors: Gabe Eltaeb | Cover: Alex Ross | Publisher: Dark Horse Comics | Price: $2.99

Dark Horse has published a cornucopia of Star Wars comics since 1991, covering an array of time periods. From the “Dawn of the Jedi” to 100 years after the Battle of Endor, and everything in between, nothing has been out of bounds as some of the most creative minds in the business have brought their talents to this beloved franchise.

Brian Wood’s midas touch produces some of the best books in the game today and his turn with the pen on Star Wars is simply comic book nirvana. Nothing else has occurred other than “New Hope.”

Click here to read the rest of my review at Forces of Geek.com: We Like Pop Culture