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Meet the Marvels: Mark Waid

Daredevil_Vol_3_1In past entries of Meet the Marvels we spotlighted the works of Jason Aaron and Kieron Gillen, writers of the new Star Wars and Darth Vader comics respectively. We are not going to discuss Kanan‘s Greg Weisman in this series, as Ben Wahrman already took a good look at his career, so we are going to finish this feature (for now) looking at Mark Waid, writer of the Princess Leia miniseries.

And boy, what a daunting task. While Aaron and Gillen are both excellent writers, their careers started relatively recently. But Waid is a real veteran. No, I’d even go beyond that label and say he’s a legend. Several comic book scholars (and this author) consider his seminal Kingdom Come series to be the dividing line between the Iron Age of Comics and the Modern Age. Yes: to some, he defined a whole era of comic book publishing, one marked by the marriage of the Silver Age’s sense of wonder and the Iron Age’s modern sensibilities. He’s written for extended periods almost every single iconic superhero, from Superman (co-writing the fantastic Superman 2000 proposal) and Batman, to the X-Men or Captain America, leaving his mark in all these well loved properties. He’s also very active in the community, never shying away from controversy and often offering a clear point of view on many polemical subjects. Some would call him larger than life. So how to choose just one issue to spotlight here? Read More

Base Delta Fulcrum: The Lothal Conspiracy Theory

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It’s always fun to speculate about what our favorite TV shows have ready for us. Shows like Twin Peaks or Lost turned the art of teasing and fueling fan speculation into an art, and why wouldn’t Star Wars Rebels get a piece of that cake, as small as it might be? The serial nature of Rebels, unlike the anthology structure of The Clone Wars, lets Dave Filoni and company drop hints and seed future storylines in a very organic and natural way. The traitor Senator Trayvis appears twice in the background before the episode that features him, for example, and these appearances hint towards his eventually revealed Imperial allegiance. Most serious fan speculation so far has been directed towards the identity of the mysterious Fulcrum, the main intelligence source of the Ghost crew and apparently also the hand directing Hera Syndulla’s actions, probably the main mystery of this season. Although recent spoilers appear to be strongly pointing in one direction, we prefer to wait until we see it with our own eyes, so we are all here awaiting the official reveal of Fulcrum’s identity in the season finale. But there’s another really interesting theory that’s been gaining adepts among fans because of how intriguing and macabre it is. Let’s call it the Base Delta Zero theory.

Most of the audience probably missed the first mention of Base Delta Zero in Rebels, as it’s a pretty hard one to spot unless you already know what to be looking for. In episode 1×03, “Rise of the Old Masters”, our heroes are watching Holonet News when Senator Gall Trayvis interrupts the signal to broadcast the news that Master Luminara Unduli is alive and in the hands of the Empire, the main focus of the episode. When the pirated signal goes out and Holonet News returns, we can hear a brief fragment of a sentence before Sabine turns off the holoprojector: “–and another successful planetary liberation utilizing the Base Delta Zero initiative.” The regular fan probably didn’t think anything of it, considering the fragment just some random mumble jumble and promptly forgetting all about it. The old timer? Well, let’s say my wife had to elbow me a couple of times to get me to stop laughing. Read More

Meet the Marvels: Kieron Gillen

marvels-gillencoverWe continue with our look back at representative works penned by the new writers of the Marvel Star Wars comics. Last time we looked at Jason Aaron, and now we are going to take a look at Kieron Gillen, writer of this week’s Darth Vader. Given that he’s writing one of the largest villains in the history of fiction, we’ll take a look at one of his most villainous series: the critically-acclaimed Journey Into Mystery.

In 2011, Gillen was already a popular author and was slowly becoming one of Marvel’s staples. Coming from the world of media journalism, his New Games Journalism manifesto had tried to adapt the new journalism model to the world of video games. His first real comic, outside of comic strips for video game magazines, was called Phonogram, a delicious mish-mash of pop sorcery, britpop and true love for anything pop that he authored alongside long-time collaborator Jamie McKelvie and that turned him into someone to keep an eye on. After writing some one-shots for Marvel, he co-authored comic books with well-established writers like Warren Ellis or Matt Fraction and eventually took the reins of the Thor comic book for ten issues. After a long and well-received stint in Uncanny X-Men, Gillen returned to Thor, but to everyone’s surprise the book was renamed to Journey Into Mystery (the name of the comic where Thor and the Asgardians first appeared) and, well, stopped being a Thor comic. Read More

The Expanded Universe Explains, Special Edition – The Inquisitorius

The Inquisitor. The first Star Wars Rebels character the audience ever saw teased. The new bad guy in the building. The nameless Inquisitor appears as a merciless Jedi hunter on His Imperial Majesty’s service, wielding both considerable political power and a ridiculously kickass lightsaber and getting his orders straight from Lord Vader. The Inquisitor was actually the first new character in the new Star Wars canon, at least from a certain point of view. But this formidable darksider didn’t appear out of thin air: he’s actually an updated version of a very old Expanded Universe concept, of an old Expanded Universe character, even. So, where does he really come from? The concept of an Imperial Inquisition started as a completely unrelated one-off reference that over time would slowly morph from a sort of political police into a true army of the Emperor’s dark minions, not unlike the Knights of the Sith from the early Star Wars drafts.

The Imperial Inquisitors first appeared on the old West End Games roleplaying game, like most good things with the Expanded Universe (I’m just kidding –okay, I’m not). The first time we heard anything about Inquisitors was in the pages of one of the first books to try to describe the galaxy’s minutiae, The Star Wars Sourcebook (1987), and not even in a “Powerful Darksiders of the Empire” section or anything memorable like that. No, it was under “Assassin Droid”, where we can read an apparently random anecdote about an assassin droid that crashed a shuttle against the Imperial palace of Weerden, killing someone called “Lord Torbin, the Grand Inquisitor”. This character, later given the full name of Laddinare Torbin, was indeed our first Imperial Inquisitor, but the way the sourcebooks described him didn’t have much to do with the creepy dark side enforcer of Star Wars Rebels fame. Read More

Meet the Marvels: Jason Aaron

The first issue of Marvel’s new Star Wars ongoing is in stores today, and it seems like the Marvel announcement was just yesterday. There’s a certain mistrust among the hardcore fans about this comic’s quality and it’s easy to see why: Dark Horse Comics were a class act, one that is going to be hard to follow, and modern Marvel are an unknown quantity for a big chunk of the fandom.

Just who are these guys that are going to be headlining the new canon on a monthly basis in 2015? As we feel that most comic book fans are Star Wars fans, but not necessarily the other way around, we are going to profile a series of single issues penned by the authors of the new Marvel books (that’s what serious comic nerds call comics, “books”, get used to it). We are going to be spotlighting comics that we think could be the most representative of what to expect or, at least, the ones that feel closest to what their Star Wars book might end up being. And we are going to start with Jason Aaron and the first issue of Wolverine and the X-Men. Read More