Friday, August 18, 2017
Home  >  Features  >  Celebrating STAR WARS at Dark Horse

 

It’s a heady and exciting time to be a Star Wars fan. The sequel trilogy and a slew of ancillary films focusing on individual characters are just around the proverbial corner. December 2015 can’t get here soon enough for many hardcore fans like myself. It’s not just the films we fans are excited for, though. There’s a new animated show coming that promises to focus on the era between the prequel films and the original trilogy. The entirety of the "Expanded Universe" (or E.U.) continuity has been sent out to pasture, labeled as “Legends” than accepted canon. That might hurt, but many have been hurt even more by the fact that Dark Horse Comics has lost the publishing right for the comic books to Marvel Comics, Star Wars’ brother-in-arms at Disney.

That is a ton of change for any property to weather. Most of the above changes are positive, but fans can’t help but feel some slight pains as the transitions occur. As a dual-threat geek, a comic book fan and Star Wars aficionado, I feel like it’s important to pause and celebrate the contribution Dark Horse has given to the Star Wars community the last two decades. While I am excited by the prospects of the new and needed changes Marvel promises to bring, I want to give a tip of the Stormtrooper helmet to Dark Horse. 

Dark Horse has been an excellent steward of the Star Wars property. The publisher helped expand the vocabulary of the Star Wars E.U. by publishing a wide variety of titles that explored a number of aspects and time periods of the Star Wars universe. I am curious to see what Marvel brings to the table, but I can almost guarantee that they won’t be exploring the range of titles that Dark Horse was willing to explore. That breadth is what I’m going to miss the most.  

 

STAR WARS

 

I would be lying if I said that the Star Wars titles at Dark Horse were free of the occasional hiccups or uninteresting storylines that are a concern for nearly any tent-pole comic franchise. Those kinds of problems crop up everywhere and for everyone. The fact that Dark Horse has more often than not provided consistent, entertaining Star Wars stories for fans since 1991 is an impressive feat. 

With the DH Star Wars titles winding down currently, I wanted to offer some great reading recommendations for fans wanting to pay homage to the franchise's years at Dark Horse. For many fans, the Dark Horse comics became the main venue for telling and consuming further stories of the saga we all loved so well. This isn’t meant to be a definitive “Best of” list. Having followed the Dark Horse’s adventures of a galaxy far, far away from the earliest stages, I want to offer up a few stories and titles everyone should check out to remember to the Dark Horse glory days...

 

Star Wars: Dark Empire

 

DARK EMPIRE

 

Dark Empire was the first Star Wars comic to be published by Dark Horse. Many fans would argue that is was their greatest achievement, though that might be a flawed argument since this series has its origin at Marvel. The story focuses on the years after Return of the Jedi. The Republic is fighting the remnants of the Galactic Empire, led by a returned Emperor Palpatine, whose spirit has returned in a clone body. In a move to complete his training, Luke Skywalker has seemingly joined the Emperor to wreak havoc on the galaxy. Along with the Thrawn Trilogy, Dark Empire provided the sequel that all fans were craving. Dark Empire spawned its own set of sequels, Dark Empire II and Empire’s End. The former is certainly worth your time, while the latter is best left to the history books. 

Where to start: The best place to begin is the Star Wars: Dark Empire tradepaperback or the Dark Empire Trilogy hardcover if you have the cheddar and fortitude to make it through Empire’s End

 

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

 

TALES OF THE JEDI

 

Not only were fans hungry for sequels, we were also hungry to find out about the history of the Star Wars universe. The films hinted at a rich, multi-textured foundation that scaffolded the stories we were seeing on the screen. Tales of the Jedi took readers back thousands of years to an untamed time of Jedis and Sith roaming around the dark corners of space. What readers were treated to was essentially Star Wars: The Wild West Years. Characters like Nomi Sunrider and Ulic Qel Droma became near and dear to many fans.  

Where to start: Tale of the Jedi Omnibus Volumes 1 and 2 cover the entire Tales of the Jedi saga. While some of the stories are superior to others, it’s a rewarding series to read from beginning to end. 

 

Star Wars Visionaries

 

VISIONARIES

 

Visionaries was a trade paperback featuring stories by the Revenge of the Sith art team. The stories contained in this volume were strange, yet beautiful. Most of the stories weren’t considered canon even before Disney decided to wash it all away. The stories felt fresh and vibrant. Want to see more about Dooku? Want to see Darth Maul return before the animated Clone Wars did it? Want to know the origin of General Grievous? It’s all here. By allowing the concept artists for the film to tell their own unique stories, this trade holds and unusual place on any fan’s shelf. 

Where to start: The Star Wars Visionaries tradepaperback is about the only place you can start. However, the Star Wars: Wild Space Omnibus II reproduces the trade as well. That might be a better value since it is chock full of some quirky, odd, and rare stories. 

 

Star Wars: Republic

 

REPUBLIC

 

The standard logic of many fans and naysayers is that the prequels added nothing of value to the overall story of the Star Wars saga. It’s hard not to agree with that sentiment given what one could see on film, but I would argue that the prequels were routinely redeemed in the expanded universe. When Attack of the Clones was set to hit theaters, the regular Star Wars title shifted into a new mode. Star Wars became Star Wars: Republic with issue #46. The series bridged the gap between Episodes II and III, giving fans the Clone Wars they were denied on the movie screen. The story of fan favorite character Quinlan Vos, though first appearing in the earlier life of this comic, comes alive during these cool and woefully under-appreciated comics. Plus, fans are treated some truly amazing Obi-Wan Kenobi stories as well. 

Where to start: The entire Republic run is collected in The Clone Wars Volumes 1-9 and the Star Wars: Clone War Omnibus Volumes 1-3. That’s a lot of comics to absorb! 

 

Star Wars: Dark Times

 

DARK TIMES

 

Dark Times replaced the ongoing Republic title back in 2006 to reflect the changes brought on by Revenge of the Sith. The story focuses on Jedi Knight Dass Jennir (previously introduced in the final issues of Republic) and a renegade crew of misfits fleeing the aftershocks from The Clone Wars and the great Jedi Purge. Jennir becomes a true knight errant, fleeing Vader’s watchful gaze while trying to help others without bringing too much attention on himself or his friends. The bleak tone of this series was always a shock to me, despite the title cluing us all in to the fact that this was not a particularly rosey time for the galaxy. The new Rebels animated television show promises to cover the period between the prequels and original trilogy, but it’s important to remember the comic books did it first! 

Where to start: Dark Times Omnibus Volume 1 is available, though a second volume wasn't released. Not to worry, everything else has been collect in trade.

 

Star Wars: Agent of the Empire

 

AGENT OF THE EMPIRE

 

Need some spy/thriller action mixed in with your Star Wars? This title is a newer book, but it’s still a classic. Both Agent of the Empire miniseries’ focused on the exploits of Imperial intelligence agent Jahan Cross. Cross is sent across the galaxy to assassinate enemies of the Empire, conduct behind the scenes negotiations, gather intelligence, and bed the occasional space vixen. If all of this sounds a little too James Bond, don’t worry. It’s not all shaken martinis and bikini clad chick. Politics and action intermingle in equal parts with this unique title from the Star Wars stable. 

Where to start: Both volumes of Agent of the Empire were collected in trades, Iron Eclipse and Hard Targets. The title was seemingly a victim to the Marvel hand over, releasing only two miniseries during its short time in publication. With the way Dark Horse enjoyed releasing miniseries every year, there surely was a third miniseries planned. 

 

Star Wars: Legacy

 

LEGACY

 

Dark Horse always did a great job of exploring the past of Star Wars, but it seemed to shy away from it future. However, John Ostrander and Jan Duursema created one of the most compelling Star Wars titles by exploring the taboo world of the far flung future. Taking place over 120 years after Return of the Jedi, Legacy showed a galaxy on the edge of war between the Sith, the Galactic Empire, and the New Republic. The main character was Cade Skywalker, great-grandson to Luke Skywalker. The series focused on Cade’s misadventures in the far future. A criticism of Dark Horse could be that they were afraid of having too many Jedi or Sith having all out lightsaber duels. That wasn't the case for Legacy. This series has all of the lightsaber slinging varieties a reader would care to want: Jedi Knights, Imperial Knights, and Sith warriors. While many fans have been bummed by the shuttering of the E.U. as accepted continuity, the fanciful and far-out concepts that drive Legacy appear to be less likely to be realized as leaks about Episode VII continue to tinkle out. Don’t let the fact that this may all have been a canonical wash deter you as a reader! This might not be canon, but one would hard pressed to find better Star Wars stories out there than what one could find in Legacy

Where to start: Like pretty much every comic printed in the last decade, all issues of Legacy are collected in trade paperback format. A sequel of sorts was also released called Legacy II. The connections between the two series aren’t vast and the quality is not quite as consistently good as the first series, it’s still worth a peek.  

Honorable Mentions (aka, stuff I also enjoyed but left out of the above list): Rogue Squadron, Knights of the Old Republic, Clone Wars Adventures, Crimson Empire I and II, Legacy II, Tag and Bink Are Dead, and The Jedi one-shots. 

 

Thanks B.J.! 

 

THE STAR WARS

 

More Star Wars on MightyVille:

STAR WARS Volume 1 - A MightyVille Roundtable Review

STAR WARS Double-Shot Advance Review

STAR WARS #7: A MightyVille Advance Review

 

Comments (29)
  • gpadav
    I was there at star wars start and I'll be there until my end.
  • Ransack
    I love Jarjar
  • baladalpaca  - BaldAlpaca
    These comics would be awesome to read.
  • rdsharp
    been a star wars fan just about my entire life
  • LUCKYLADY50
    May The Force Be With Me!And I'm glad Harrison Ford has recovered so well.
  • cubbiecutie
    What a fantastic giveaway! Thx for the chance!
  • penemio  - penemio
    This would awesome for my collection!
  • ivel1977
    Thanks for the giveaway
  • redron
    love to win I remember when stars first came out
  • NotEd3k
    I've read a few of these. I'd like the rest.
  • iggysaysno  - Star Wars is awesome!
    I love Star Wars graphic novels and have the entire Tales of the Jedi series. Would love to add the newer series to my collection!
  • Denis  - Dark Horse Star Wars Celebration!
    I was seven when I saw "A New Hope" at the drive-in theatre in my small town. I have been a fan of the Star Wars universe ever since and even saw the "Star Wars Christmas Special" during its lone televised airing. I have the paperback books written around the time of the original trilogy's release. The comic books would be the icing on the cake for this guy who still has the original Kenner line of action figures, playsets, and vehicles.
  • rtrexel  - Great Star Wars Collection
    This prize would be a great way for me to start my Star Wars comic collection.
  • Keither31  - Wookie's
    Han Solo and Chewbacca the laurel and Hardy of space.
  • deckit  - this would be sweet
    I lost all my comics in a flood
  • myflower  - my son
    my son would so love these ty for the chance
  • wjmmoore  - My daughter and I would get a kick out of these
    Thanks for the chance.
  • penemio
    Count me in
  • ivel1977
    Thanks for the giveaway
  • kdancer04  - Perfect!
    I would absolutely love to add these to my collection! I love everything Star Wards!!
  • kdancer04  - Sorry
    I meant Star Wars!!! lol Anyway thanks for having this giveaway!
  • jb10000lakes  - Nothing like pulp
    Love actually holding comics in your hands and enjoying them.
  • diane92345
    I would love to win these comics! Thanks for having the giveaway!
  • takhis  - My husband lives for Star Wars!
    My husband would flip If I won this for him! thanks for the giveaway!
  • darcybel  - yes please!
    I can remember the first time I saw --Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope---first movie that opened my eyes to the magic of movies!
  • theworstfan
    I had Dark Empire when it first came out. I don't remember a thing from it. I may not have even finished the series.
  • CarlWhiteEntry  - Thanks for the Opportunity

    Dark Horse Comics has done a fine job with Star Wars and I welcome this chance to win these comics which will be a wonderful addition to my Star Wars collection.
    Thanks Dark Horse!!
  • dragonflower093  - Thanks for the giveaway!
    This collection is awesome - my sister LOVES Star Wars (and rightfully so) and this would make an amazing Christmas gift for her! Thanks for the article, and for the giveaway!
  • juleemm
    My twins would love these. Thanks for the chance.
Only registered users can write comments!
 

MightyVille Spotlight

 ImageFor MightyVille's newest Writer Spotlight, we talked to Sweet Lullaby writer and creator, A.J. Scherkenbach!

Mighty Poll

What will be the ULTIMATE Superhero Movie of 2017?

JUSTICE LEAGUE - 37.5%
THOR: RAGNAROK - 12.5%
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE - 12.5%
LOGAN - 25%
POWER RANGERS - 0%
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 - 0%
WONDER WOMAN - 12.5%
SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING - 0%
The voting for this poll has ended

Be Our Friend

Mighty Tweets

Mightyville RT @Joe_Kach: I interviewed @DarickR & it's my favorite spotlight to date. Check it out & let me know what you think! https://t.co/v5iYs7nY
Mightyville The Voices of @ValiantComics Part 8: @DarickR by @Joe_Kach- our most revealing interview yet! https://t.co/9t084Cq7lU #mightyville #valiant
Mightyville Joe Kach talks to Darick Robertson, co-creator of TRANSMETROPOLITAN and THE BOYS, in our most revealing interview... https://t.co/Tfal9OcXyF

The Geek Speak Show

Comic Shop Locator

Main Menu

(C) 2016 MightyVille Enterprises. All rights reserved.