Alex Ross is one of my favorite comic artists of all time, and his work on this variant cover for [Marvel](channel:932254)'s Star Wars: Darth Vader, an upcoming series on the publisher's Star Wars slate, shows why. It's being penned by Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Young Avengers) with interior art by Salvador Larocca, and it hits the shelves next January. Presumably, the comic will follow Darth Vader's offscreen missions and growth as a Sith Lord. Here's the full cover:
With that said, Star Wars comics were my weekly-to-monthly buy as a kid. I obsessed over the adventures of Luke, Leia, Han, Mara Jade, and their growing offspring. So, when I found out that Marvel was releasing Star Wars Omnibuses (the second one comes out soon), I was thrilled!
For anyone who didn't catch it, the Expanded Universe of Star Wars has been retitled "Legends" -- and removed from canon. Filmmakers, writers and creators for the new Star Wars universe are allowed to borrow as much or as little from the EU as they like. So, in essence, think of the EU as stories told by someone in a cantina. Some of it might be true for this new canon; other things, rather than being completely wiped from existence, are now 'legends'. So while they may not be completely canon, they're still available (and TONS of fun) to read.
In fact, here are a few of my favorites!
This one was pretty obvious, since I totally just talked about it above, but Dark Empire is an incredible story that involves Luke struggling not to follow his father's path, and Leia showing off her ongoing Jedi training. The Emperor returns as a clone and gets pretty close to taking Luke completely, but everything works out in the end. The journey to the end isn't quite that simple, of course. This is easily one of my favorite Star Wars comics, and totally recommended reading.
As opposed to most modern Star Wars comics, which have been published under Dark Horse until recently, this comic was under the Marvel umbrella. One of the most unique titles in the comic franchise, The Hunter introduces a character that's apparently coming back named Jaxxon. If you're looking forward to reading the new Star Wars comics, brushing up on this weird Lepi smuggler who attempted to defend Luke Skywalker from a dangerous, out of this world bounty hunter. If anything, this comic could totally cross over with [Guardians of the Galaxy](movie:424073) and it's a really fun spin on the usual Star Wars antics. Just keep in mind that it was written at Marvel, when details for the future of Star Wars were still pretty... nonexistent.
If you're gearing up for Marvel's take on Darth Vader, check out Dark Horse's incredible story to prep! Taking place some time after the events of Revenge of the Sith, the story follows Vader on his quest to kill every last remaining Jedi. It's not really the happiest story, but it does delve into Vader becoming "more machine than man."
Shadows of the Empire
Whether you read the book, play the video game, or read the comic (I recommend all three, because this is a great story) Shadows of the Empire was a classic Expanded Universe story with a huge following - myself included. Follow Luke, Han, Leia, and smouldering epic smuggler with a terrible vest, Dash Rendar, as they outwit the Empire and fight for good. No, really, if you don't know Dash Rendar, please get on this story. You might need that knowledge for future reference...
Marvel is releasing many of these stories in giant Omnibus editions, but there are more, new comics coming up as well. That said, here's my top pick out of the new crop:
This 5-issue mini-series by Mark Waid stars none other than Princess Leia Organa in the high-action adventure that many of us have been waiting for (I have been waiting for it, so by that logic everyone else has, too. Duh). It will deal with the aftermath of Alderaan's destruction as readers follow Leia on a solo mission to find survivors, answers, and more. That's right, solo -- according to Waid, other primary Star Wars characters will not feature in this book. I'm so excited to see this take on Leia, because despite being set up as a damsel, she proved time and time again to be a skilled fighter and an even more efficient leader.
As a side note, Marvel is also penning new adventures that follow our original trio during their offscreen time, so look out for that in January as well!
What is your favorite Star Wars comic of all time? Let me know below in the comments!