Books Graphic Novels and Comics Media Star Wars

Herky Jerky: Star Wars between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens (Review of Media)

As some of you may be aware, Disney has been publishing content in the Star Wars universe that covers the time between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens. You can find an aggregated list of the media here.

Shattered_Empire_1_CoverJourney to Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Shattered Empire by Marvel Comics. This four part comic series explains Poe Dameron’s background and clarifies what many of us probably suspected: the war doesn’t really end with the fall of the emperor, because the Empire is not centralized, it is exists on many planets throughout the galaxy. The only difference is now, the Empire is occupying territory that belongs to the Republic. The most gratifying moments occur when we see characters we know and love hanging out. The center of the comic series is on Poe’s mother, Shara, and perhaps the most obnoxious part of this comic series is the recurring “you’ve done so much, go home and be a housewife now” conversation that happens between each thing Shara does. Nonetheless, it’s a light, sweet read, and it occurs right after Return of the Jedi– you even get to see the after party. Kinda neat.


aftermath_new.6.red_Aftermath: Star Wars: Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens by Chuck Wendig is a novel that zooms around between characters that we know pretty well (Wedge Antilles!) and characters we’ve never met.  I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty badly written. Every sentence. Is. Dramatic and short. And eventually. You want to punch someone. Like the author. Yes, the author. The author did this. And WE WILL SEE JUSTICE.  I mean, you get the idea. That said, I appreciate its pretty in depth world building. You really get a sense of the fatigue that accompanies the post-victory life for rebel sympathizers. And there is substantial plot (the Empire is up to no good). I decided to listen to the audio book and was highly amused by it, the reader does voices but is a dude and therefore all the female characters are not super believable. My favorite moment so far in all the Star Wars media I’ve seen appears in this book, though, when a pilot refers to his ship’s ability to out maneuver most obstacles with the phrase “HERKY JERKY.” Overall, if you are a Star Wars fan, I think you should read this for actual plot reasons and for world building reasons…but not for good writing. Not that. Never that. We’ve been on this desert of a plant too long. We knew what to expect.


Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know by Adam Bray and Cole Horton should really be called Star Wars: Absolutely Everything You Need to Know Organized So Poorly That It’s Probably Worth Just Doing Your Own Research. I’m not joking. Do not read this. It will only frustrate you and make you sad.  The information is probably more scattered than it actually is on the internet. The fact of the matter is, all of the information in any given reference book on Star Wars is going to be on the internet, so if you’re reading a book like this, it’s because you hope it’ll be organized neatly for you and look pretty. Well it ain’t. If you don’t believe me, here’s an example. This is what EVERY PAGE looks like:


I hope Ships of the Galaxy turns out to be better.

Film and TV Graphic Novels and Comics Media

Alias and Marvel’s Jessica Jones

51FcV46opWL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The Alias Omnibus, by Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos is the collected comics which follow a minor superhero in the Marvel universe named Jessica Jones. Many people will have heard of the recent Netflix show, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, which is based on these comics. After watching the Netflix show, I ordered the omnibus expecting some good action. I was surprised by the level of character development and the smart humor. While the first season of the Netflix show focuses solely on the main villain from Jessica’s past, who is referred to as The Purple Man in the comics, and Killgrave in the Netflix series, only a small section of the Jessica Jones comics deals with this villain directly. The main focus of the comic series is on Jessica Jones PI jobs, her reluctant interactions with the Avengers, her alcoholism and her contradictory feelings about being a hero. The comics have a very noir feel, and are surprisingly deep. Don’t get me wrong: don’t come here for a literary treatise on the American condition. But if you ever wonder, can a superhero comic ever achieve the depth of character development and world building that a novel can, then Alias is for you (and if you already like superhero comics or graphic novels, then Alias is definitely also for you).



Netflix series Marvel's Jessica Jones stars Krysten Ritter and David Tenant.The Netflix adaptation of Alias, Marvel’s Jessica Jones, centers around the abusive relationship between Killgrave, who has the power of mind control, and Jessica, who has super strength and super speed, as well as limited flying abilities. Jessica suffers from PTSD and believes Killgrave to be dead. His return forces Jessica to decide whether to run or to play the hero. While addressing many of the same topics that Alias does, I found that Alias did a better job with presenting Jessica as a complex character whose toughness is consistently softened by loneliness. Nonetheless, Marvel’s Jessica Jones is the best thing to come out of the Marvel cinematic universe to date. While some have criticized the show for its pacing, and its decision to focus on the storylines of more minor characters in seemingly pivotal moments, I found it provided a much needed opportunity for world building. While both Alias and Marvel’s Jessica Jones have a lot of action, the story of Jessica Jones is really a thrillingly fucked up coming of age story- it is the story of how Jessica learns to be unrelentingly Jessica despite a world that wants her to be so many other things (and now and then, nothing at all).