Comic books are gateways to the broader universe of Star Wars. My favorite aspect of the comic book medium is the way the art can create a whole new visual take on the Star Wars story, or simply reinforce the pictures in your mind from childhood. Star Wars was unique in the world of pop culture franchises. It began first with the movie and then with the comic books. Ironically it has always been a world where the written word had to do justice to the visual, not vice versa, which is more often the case. Perhaps that is why such close attention to detail whether it be the art, the dialogue or the script, is what makes these Star Wars kindle comics some of the big fan favorites.
Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron, John Cassaday & Laura Martin
Luke Skywalker has destroyed the Death Star, but the Empire is far from toppled. Luke, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 take on Darth Vader in a post-Death Star universe. Remember, Luke at this point does not know much about the Force. Vader is pissed off about the Death Star. It feels very close to the source material, which makes sense given that creators Jason Aaron and John Cassaday really get what made the original trilogy so special.
Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1 by Kieron Gillen & Salvador Larocca
Like I said, Vader is pissed off after his Death Star is destroyed. So impossible did that seem, that we waited what seemed like lightyears to find out how that actually was possible. Ever since Darth Vader's first on-screen appearance, he has become one of pop culture's most well known villains. Like Luke and friends, Vader heads off on his own missions post-Death Star destruction, which eventually brings him back to Geonosis to build an army.
Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 4 by Kieron Gillen & Salvador Larroca
After reestablishing himself with the Emperor, Darth Vader's schemes may yet be his undoing. After 25 comics, Volume 4 ends the story between Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The entire series is visually stunning and a collection you will pass down to generations.
Star Wars : Obi-Wan and Anakin by Charles Soule & Marco Checchetto
"Before their military heroism in the Clone Wars, before their tragic battle on Mustafar and many decades before their final confrontation on the Death Star, they were Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and his young Padawan, Anakin Skywalker."
The student and his teacher are called to a remote planet on a mission. With very primitive technology and killer natives, the two Jedi find themselves on opposite sides. My favorite part of the story is the insight into Anakin's training.
Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 3 by Kieron Gillen, Leinil Yu & Salvador Larroca
When natives of Shu-Torun revolt, the Empire responds by unleashing Darth Vader. But Vader must deal with the old barons and the politics of the Empire. Generals and Admirals, wary of Vader's growing strength, plot his downfall. Volume 3 is fun because it is neither the end or the beginning of the series. It is simply Darth Vader being Darth Vader on a daily basis.
Star Wars: Han Solo by Marjorie Liu, Mark Brooks & Olivier Coipel
Selected for a solo mission, Han Solo is left to his own devices working undercover for the Rebellion. He is more James Bond than space scoundrel. We get to see the famous Dragon Void starship race, a welcome expansion to the Star Wars universe. As the first of his own graphic novels, this book and style is not only Han Solo centric, but it exposes the fans to a part of the Star Wars universe rarely seen.
Star Wars: Kanan by Greg Weisma, Pepe Larraz & Mark Brooks
Kanan Jarrus, the renegade fighter on the Ghost, battling the Empire, was once known as Caleb Dume. He was a Jedi Padawan under Master Depa Billaba. Escaping the Jedi Purge, he survived on his own eventually fighting with the Rebels as Kanan Jarrus. But his story really began with the Clone Wars.
Star Wars: Poe Dameron Volume 1 by Charles Soule, Chris Eliopoulos & Phil Noto
Republic flyer turned resistance fighter Poe Dameron is is asked by General Leia Organa to lead a top secret mission where he visits sites of historical importance to the Force. Most enticing is the formation of Black Squadron. We meet Snap Wexley, Jess Pava, Kare Kun, and L'uloand Oddy Muva.
Star Wars: Showdown on the Smuggler's Moon by Jason Aaron & Stuart Immonen
Luke continues his journey to learn about the powers of the Jedi. He heads for the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. Marvel has done an amazing job expanding the world of crucial original characters like Luke Skywalker, Ben Kenobi, and Han Solo. The art is so true to the original and at the same time feels so new because of the exotic locations never seen in the movies.
Star Wars: Darth Maul Son of Dathomir by Jeremy Barlow, Juan Frigeri & Chris Scalf
Darth Maul may have had a small part in Phantom Menace but thanks to the Clone Wars, he has a complex back story. Part of what makes this book so special is the crisp pace of the dialogue and the uncluttered visual intensity of the art.
Star Wars: Princess Leia by Mark Waid & Terry Dodson
It never quite sinks in that the character of Princess Leia lost her entire world and had no time to grieve. As Leia grapples with her loss after the destruction of the Death Star, a new mission takes her to Sullust, an underground world where she begins to rebuild her life and save a people.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens Adaptation by Chuck Wendig, Luke Ross & Phil Noto
While it is certainly not an exceptionally original comic, it is a beautiful conversion of the film to the pages of a graphic novel. What I love about the actual movie graphic novels is the ability to pick them up anytime and remember the day I saw the film, which in my life has always been a big event.
Star Wars - The Crimson Empire Saga by Mike Richardson, Randy Stradley & Paul Gulacy
The blood-soaked tale of the last surviving member of Emperor Palpatine's Royal Guard is now complete in one edition! From revenge to redemption, the story of Kir Kanos takes him from the deserts of Yinchorr, to the halls of Imperial power, and to the inner circle of the New Republic.
At a total of 504 pages, the graphic novel reveals the Crimson Empire series in its entirety. Perhaps one of the most interesting series of its type, it dives into the complex world of Palpatine's Guards. Kir Kanos becomes the bounty hunter Kenix Kil, in a truly epic tale in the Star Wars universe.
Star Wars: Lando by Charles Soule & Alex Maleev
Lando Calrissian get his own high-stakes mission. The graphic novel seamlessly moves the stylish Lando from the big screen to the colorful pages. Long before he was running the Cloud City, he was a space hustler making his way on his looks and charm. While it feels a little different than a typical Star Wars tale, it feels very Lando Calrissian.