In my review of the last “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi,” the one-off tales that split up new arcs for the Star Wars mainline comic series, I wrote that it had, “a sense of finality” to it and I’d be okay if they didn’t return to his time on Tatooine (though I’d gladly take more). Technically they will be returning, but instead of a tale of Obi-Wan’s deeds it’ll be of Yoda’s deeds. And not only is it a full arc instead of a one-off, it’ll be drawn by Salvador Larroca, the genius artist behind the Darth Vader series. Can this just come out now, please?!? Also, it looks like those curious to see what new on-going will replace the DV series might have their first clues as what to expect (*cough*Aprha*cough*). More details below!
Starting with issue #26 of the Star Wars series, meaning the current “The Last Flight of Harbinger” arc ends with issue #25, the Yoda-arc will takeover the series for an undisclosed number of issues. It’s a bit of a tale within a tale, as Luke will be reading another entry in Obi-Wan’s journal (which he picked up back in issue #6) that is Obi-Wan’s retelling of an adventure Yoda went on, which in a strange way connects the three Jedi for the first time. There weren’t a lot of details released regarding the story of Yoda’s tale in Jason Aaron’s (writer of the SW comic) interview at the official site, but Aaron did reveal a rough time frame for the tale, how he’ll bring the jollier Yoda back, and how he plans to actually give the powerful little green Jedi Master a bit of a challenge.
The biggest story hint for Yoda’s adventure comes at the very end of the interview, where Aaron reveals the “Harbinger” arc has, “a big moment at the end…that kind of leans into this one.” Since that arc has only just truly begun (as of this writing) I can’t honestly speculate what could build into a Yoda story, but seeing as Luke is out reading the journal in his X-wing again (as seen in a preview panel posted with the interview) makes me wonder if he’ll be taking a break from the team to do some Jedi Temple/Force-knowledge/soul-searching because of something that happens in the arc. Aaron also inadvertently seems to hint the Star Wars comic won’t be ending anytime soon when he says, “we’ve got a lot of stuff going on that’s really setting up stories that will be playing out for the next couple of years in the book,” (emphasis being mine).
Timeline junkies or those just curious when Obi-Wan’s recounting of Yoda’s adventure takes place will be happy to note Aaron gave a very rough but somewhat specific quote to help pin it down, “It does take place before Phantom Menace. We do get a brief appearance by Qui-Gon and young Obi-Wan, so that’ll probably help date it.” Likewise, those concerned with continuity problems considering Luke will be reading about Yoda prior to meeting him in The Empire Strikes Back, which is where he first learns of Yoda/meets him (besides when he was a brand-spanking-newborn) should fear not as the official site’s Dan Brooks mentions, “…Luke will read [the journal entry] — without knowing who Yoda is or that it’s actually about him.” A simple explanation is Obi-Wan doesn’t name Yoda when recounting the tale and I wonder if it’ll be any more complicated than that.
Salvador Larroca’s art has given the strange and weird of the Darth Vader‘s series story a grounded Star Wars-feel, even when it’s space whale fleets, Mon Calamari cyborgs, and murderous droid duo Triple-Zero and Beetee-One. If he can tackle some of the stranger things I’ve ever seen in SW and make them feel a part of the saga, I eagerly anticipate what he’ll create for the new planet Yoda’s tale takes place on. There are two teaser panels of his work over at the official site’s interview (linked above) and already his Luke looks fantastic (as he proved in the “Vader Down” crossover event) and his Yoda even more so. While I’m sad Larroca working on this reminds me the DV series will be over soon, he’ll be an artist I’ll always be glad to have back in whatever capacity for SW comics.
What I’m most excited for regarding this announcement is how they are changing up how they use entries in the “Journals of Old Ben Kenobi,” as it makes sense a consummate teacher and devoted Jedi like Obi-Wan would do more than talk about the twenty years he spent watching over a boy on Tatooine. This means the story potential opens wide up going forward when they decide to use the “Journals” again to break up main arcs for the SW series. I’m a little disappointed the first one Luke reads isn’t about Qui-Gon Jinn, considering how much Obi-Wan did end up caring for his Master, no matter how much he disagreed with him or might have had misgivings (post-Revenge of the Sith) on being asked to train Anakin. Time will only tell where they’ll go from here.
But if there’s anyone I want to have a series (or novel) about more than Qui-Gon, it’s most certainly Dr. Aphra. Which, speaking of the good doctor, leads me to the teaser image in Marvel’s solicitations revealing a new on-going which will release its first two issues in December. If you examine the image a little closer, clues and hints as to what the series could entail hides within. Before I dig in, let me clear up that Star Wars: Classified is highly unlikely to be the title for the new series and merely a placeholder name until it’s officially announced. The other obvious bits include that Kieron Gillen, who has created a classic with the DV series, will be writing the new series and he’ll be joined by Kev Walker as an artist. As the Newsarama article points out, Gillen teased this on his Tumblr not too long ago. But when you take Gillen’s involvement and some of the variant cover titles into consideration, hints begin to form: two variant covers are of “droids” and one is a “story so far” by Larroca. Gillen created two of the most dastardly fan-favorite droids of all time, Triple-Zero and Beetee-One, so it would only make sense he would be apart of their continuing tales, especially since I’d trust only him to write their dark humor in an on-going. The “story so far” cover would seem to point to this new on-going taking place after the events of a different series, and who better to sum up the events of DV than Larroca? This would mean the yet-to-be-named series would be taking place chronologically after the DV series ends…begging the question: is Dr. Aphra involved as well? If the droids are getting variant covers, it could mean they are playing second-fiddle to someone and since it won’t be Vader, the one person they take orders from is Dr. Aphra herself. Is this the Dr. Aphra series myself and fans have been dying for? Are we truly being blessed with the first on-going featuring a female lead and she isn’t even in the movies (and is LGBT)? Can Force dreams really come true?!? We might know officially come New York Comic Con in October, though if this is a Dr. Aphra series, an announcement at NYCC ’16 would spoil her fate in the DV series, as its final issue drops October 12 (the Wednesday follow NYCC). I’ll be 100% okay with that spoiler, though if it means more Aphra.
And heck, I could be completely wrong with my guess, but we’ll find out either way in a whole a few short weeks. UPDATE: Classified is totally a Doctor Aphra ongoing series! Dreams come true, folks, dreams come true. UPDATE 2: Review of issue #1!
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Marvel’s Back: Star Wars Comics 2015 Year-in-Review
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)