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Archie Reveals Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1, a New Horror Anthology

Archie Comics is continuing their horror stories under the leadership of Senior Director of Editorial, Jamie L. Rotante. As a highlight to her newly expanded role, Rotante will oversee the release of the all-new anthology Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1 on November 3.

Chilling Adventures in Sorcery #1 is an expansion of last year’s thrilling Madam Satan one-shot by Eliot Rahal. It features Madam Satan not only trying to escape Hell, but also stepping into the role as host for a series of scary stories, paying homage to legendary television anthologies and iconic horror hosts like Rod Serling, Elvira, and Vincent Price. Madam Satan will play tour guide as readers explore the horrifying underbelly of Riverdale while the classic Archie Comics characters face their deepest fears, along with some frightful bonus content Archie horror fans will absolutely die for.

Each new circle of Hell Madam Satan enters during her escape features another horror-fueled tale starring beloved Riverdale characters and filled with fun nods to fan-favorite horror titles including The Twilight ZoneEvil Dead 2, and Five Nights at Freddy’s. In addition to Rahal returning to continue Madam Satan’s adventure, the anthology features talented work by Vincenzo Federici, Evan Stanley, Amy Chu, Derek Charm, and Pat and Tim Kennedy spearheaded by Rotante.

The Dreaded Sith Lord will Haunt Your Dreams in IDW’s Star Wars: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle

Since 2018, comic book and graphic novel publisher IDW Publishing has explored the darkest corners of the Star Wars universe, beginning with Tales from Vader’s Castle and continuing with Return to Vader’s Castle and Shadow of Vader’s Castle. This fall, Star Wars fans will feel that familiar shiver down their spine once more in Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle, a five-issue comic book miniseries and the latest horror-packed entry in the Vader’s Castle saga!

Cavan Scott, author of the Star Wars: Adventures in Wild Space novels and one of the architects of Lucasfilm’s massive The High Republic publishing initiative, returns to scribe Ghosts of Vader’s Castle, beginning in September and shipping weekly through mid-October.

Ghosts of Vader’s Castle sees fan-favorite supporting Star Wars characters haunted by nightmares of zombie droids, vicious Wookiees the size of mountains, and monstrous terrors aplenty…  all tied to their experiences at the dreaded Fortress Vader.

Each issue of Star Wars: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle will be available with three cover variants for fans and retailers to enjoy: Cover A by Francesco Francavilla, Cover B by Derek Charm, and a Retailer Incentive edition featuring Francavilla’s line art in its stark black-and-white beauty.

Review: Marvel Voices Pride #1

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In honor of Pride Month, Marvel Comics dropped a big 84 pages one-shot celebrating both its LGBTQ+ creators and characters. Beginning with a story from Luciano Vecchio that’s not sure if it’s telling the story of queer characters in the Marvel Universe from an in-universe or more of a real-world documentary perspective, Marvel Voices Pride #1 sputters with a story that basically says aliens and shapeshifters brought the idea of being non-binary, genderqueer, or gender nonconforming to this world followed by a text-heavy Allan Heinberg/Jim Cheung Young Avengers reunion. However, it catches its footing with a cute Karolina Dean/Nico Minoru story, and for the most part, it provides a wide spectrum of LGBTQ+ representation with a special focus on the mutant/X-Men side of the Marvel Universe, who have acted as a mostly metaphorical representation to queer fans like myself. However, it’s nice to see characters like Anole, Prodigy, Destiny, Karma, and Jessie Drake get the spotlight along with more prominently featured cis male gay characters like Northstar (His coming out story in Alpha Flight #106 is reprinted at the end) and Iceman. But fans of non-mutant/Runaways/Wiccan and Hulkling characters may be disappointed as characters like Angela, Sera, Hercules, and America Chavez don’t appear except in small cameo roles.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 kicks off with a journey through the LGBTQ+ history of the Marvel Universe from writer/artist Luciano Vecchio. Even though many of his adult characters look like teens, Vecchio has a beautiful art style and color palette. However, my issue with this first story isn’t the form, but the content. As mentioned earlier, this introductory story isn’t sure if it’s being told from the perspective of the real world or Earth-616 even though it’s narrated by Prodigy. It also has a very self-congratulatory, back-patting tone, especially for a company that recently cancelled a book starring many of its queer characters (X-Factor) and mentions characters like Angela and Sera that haven’t been barely heard or seen from since getting their own title in 2015. Even though Vecchio is a queer creator, there’s big “ally” energy in this first story with a heterosexual character, Captain America getting the spotlight, and the implication that non-binary identities came from aliens and shapeshifters. He does successfully lay out what ended up being a thesis for the anthology, which is the connection between mutants and queer identity.

This story is followed by a one page Young Avengers creator reunion as Allan Heinberg, Jim Cheung, and Marcelo Maiolo chronicle Hulking and Wiccan’s wedding vows. Heinberg’s writing is tender, but this feels like more of a prose piece than a comic. Heinberg and Cheung’s inclusion seems like more stunt-casting to get older queer Marvel fans interested in the one-shot rather than being any kind of substantial addition to their work on Young Avengers. However, Marvel Voices: Pride rights the ship (Pun fully intended.) in its next story featuring two members of Marvel’s other prominent 2000s teen superhero team, the Runaways. Mariko Tamaki, Kris Anka, and Tamra Bonvillain turns in three pages of sweet glances, chatter, and a super adorable kiss as Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean think about what they would tell people if they asked how they met. The long line out of the venue reminded me of the pre-pandemic days when I would wait in line for hours to get a good spot to see artists like Carly Rae Jepsen and Robyn with my fellow queer folks, and Bonvillain’s summery color palette matches Anka’s skill with facial expressions. This story is like the cherry on top of the sundae that he helped build when he was the artist on Runaways and finally put Karolina and Nico in a relationship together.

The next story in Marvel Voices Pride is the first one to feature a trans protagonist, Dr. Charlene McGowan from Immortal Hulk. The plot of Lilah Sturges, Derek Charm, and Brittany Peer is about some “hilarious” misunderstandings when Lady Daredevil aka the artist formerly known as Elektra Natchios and some Z-list, rapping supervillains raid McGowan’s lab when they think she’s producing mutant growth hormone when when she’s actually working on a way to get trans women’s bodies to produce progesterone without taking pills. What follows is Trans 101 with a little bit of ass kicking courtesy Charm, who is in his Bronze Age element with the cheesy costumes and dark shadows. However, other than the fact that’s she a scientist who sometimes makes jokes, we don’t learn anything about Dr. McGowan except that she’s surprisingly cool with microaggressions from A-List Marvel heroes. Kudos to Marvel Voices‘ editorial for getting a trans writer in Sturges to pen this story, but the whole thing feels reductive and geared towards fanboys who know every member of Daredevil or Hulk’s rogues gallery and have never interacted with a transgender person.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

In contrast, Leah Williams, Jan Bazaldua, and Erick Arciniega re-introduce Marvel’s first transgender character, the mutant Jessie Drake in a thrilling manner as she appears in her first comic in 27 years. However, Black Cat is the protagonist of this story and is tracking down Steel Raven, a villain who’s been impersonating her, pulling some sloppy heists, and ruining her reputation. Williams’ quippy writing style works well for the fast-paced short story as Black Cat and Jessie meet, flirt, and figure out their next move in catching Steel Raven. Bazaldua plays with space and transforms what would normally be your run of the mill villain warehouse into something more surreal. She and Williams do succeed in building a connection between Jessie and Black Cat as well as showing off Jesse’s empathy-based abilities, but this is just a teaser for a bigger cat and mouse game. Hopefully, there’s room for more batting of eyes, power showcasing, and insight into the character of Jessie Drake, both in her own series or in Black Cat’s current ongoing, which has been a sneaky good read.

Continuing this positive trend is Crystal Frasier, Jethro Morales, and Rachelle Rosenberg telling a wonderful She-Hulk and Titania. But there’s a twist as Jennifer Walters doesn’t appear, but Jennifer Harris, who was inspired by her to come out as trans and cosplay her at a copyright friendly version of New York Comic Con. As someone who came out as bi around the same time Prodigy did in Young Avengers or when Iceman came out as gay in All-New X-Men, I can definitely connect to the inspirational power of fictional characters like Jennifer did with She-Hulk. She and Titania also have some nice banter, and Frasier and Morales also remind readers that She-Hulk was the original fourth wall breaker with some jokes and exploding layouts.

After the She-Hulk story is probably my favorite story of Marvel Voices Pride #1, which is a Prodigy and Speed one from Kieron Gillen, Jen Hickman, and Brittany Peer as Gillen returns to both the X-Men and Young Avengers franchises. The dialogue between Speed and Prodigy sparkles, and Hickman shows off their chops as a storyteller working in eating pizza, stealing glances at Colossus, and empathizing with Kitty Pryde as Prodigy basically tells his bisexual origin story. His story also acts as a critique of how the mutant books have been good about metaphorical queer representation, but not actual queer representation. This is timely because the book that Prodigy was a main cast member in is getting cancelled. However, this is really a lovely story full of hilarious and insightful writing from Kieron Gillen and pitch-perfect images and comedic timing from Hickman as Speed teases Prodigy for having a crush on Colossus when he ran with the New Mutants. Prodigy is true overthinking, chaos bisexual representation, and I’m personally glad to see him get a spotlight in this story even if it’s only a few pages long.

The anthology takes a break from comics for a bit and features an interview with Christian Cooper, one of the first queer editors at Marvel, and he talks about his experiences at the company and the impact comics have had on his life. After this, there’s a timeline of big LGBTQ+ moments in Marvel Comics. It’s followed up with a cute Anole story from Terry Blas, the wonderful Paulina Ganucheau, and Kendall Goode. Blas connects the idea of Krakoa being a mutant utopia to things like Pride, and the ability to unwind at the Green Lagoon with folks who understand your struggles being the goal of all this hard work and fighting. However, it’s not all big metaphors as he and Ganucheau probe into Anole’s body issues leading to him not wanting to date along with his friendship with Jonas Graymalkin. It all ends on a fabulous final page, and this story is worth checking out for Ganucheau and Goode’s soft, colorful takes on the different mutants.

Sticking with the mutant theme, Anthony Oliveira, Javier Garron, and David Curiel go all in with the mutant as gay metaphor in an Iceman story set during the time period of the original five X-Men. They play on the fact that Magneto was played by a gay man in four of the X-Men films and find a real connection between Bobby and Magneto, who takes a break from the missiles to provide a listening ear to this young man struggling with his identity. Oliveira writes Iceman as having a crush on Angel, and Garron nails the longing glances that he throws at the majestic mutant that turn into words when Magneto sits down to chat with him. They take the subtext (For example, Bobby not being interested in Jean Grey when she joins the team.) of these Silver Age text and transform them into glorious text while also showing off the sweeter side of Magneto, a man who would one day break down when he realized that his crusade almost led to the death of an innocent child, Kitty Pryde.

This story is followed up by one focusing on the relationship between Northstar and his husband, Kyle Jinadu from writer/artist J.J. Kirby. It’s touching to see what Northstar is like away from the cameras and public, and what Kyle loves about them. However, Kirby’s 1990s-style artwork with modern, digital coloring is a mismatch for the story, and I spent most of the time wondering why Northstar looked like a vampire or a block of ice instead of the events of the story. Luckily, the misstep is remedied by a thrilling riff on Sherlock Holmes vs. Professor Moriarty from Tini Howard, Samantha Dodge, and Brittany Peer featuring Mystique and Destiny. The story is adventurous filled with wits matching, chess games, and lover’s embraces and shows how iconic a couple these two are while also showing what a big deal it was for them to be open with their love in a time period where being queer got you thrown in jail. Plus it’s a reminder that queer people have always existed in history. (Or fiction.)

Vita Ayala, Joanna Estep, Brittney Williams, and Brittany Peer continue the theme of both mutants and queer women in a Karma story set during the Hellfire Gala after party where Magik gives her a pep talk to dance (and maybe even smooch) Elle, who as far as I can tell is a new, queer mutant created for this anthology. Karma truly gets the spotlight this story and gets to work out some of her issues with her powers and emotions as she’s afraid that if she asks Elle out that she’ll use her abilities to mess with her free will. However, this doesn’t happen, and we get to see a mutant who has been screwed over so many times be happy for once and get the girl in a beautiful sequence from Ayala, Estep, Williams, and Peer.

Marvel Voices Pride #1

The final story in Marvel Voices Pride #1 again shows that Steve Orlando is perfect for writing violent, queer characters with a sensitive side as he and Claudia Aguirre tell the story of Daken and Somnus, a new character who can make one night seem like a life time together. He used this power on Daken back in the day during a one night stand and then ended up living a long life without him even though he didn’t divulge his oneiromantic mutant abilities to everyone. However, Krakoa and its resurrection protocols are all about second chances, and Daken gives him one in this story. As well as digging deep into Daken’s emotions, Orlando and Aguirre also use this story to remind readers of queer elders, who because of society’s hate, never came out or came out later in life, and this is what makes Somnus’ second chance so special. Also, his abilities are pretty cool and bring a little Vertigo into the X-Books.

Marvel Voices Pride #1 is definitely an up and down ride. Some of the stories mishandle nonbinary and gender nonconforming identities (Also, there are no nonbinary lead characters in this anthology.) or seem to pander heavily to allies while others have issues with their art or storytelling style. (Northstar/Kyle, Wiccan/Hulkling) But, for the most part, it’s nice to see queer creators and queer characters get the spotlight for once instead of being hidden behind things like the mutant metaphor, which is usually Marvel editorial’s approach. Time will tell if we see them beyond this anthology, but most of the creators in Marvel Voices Pride work on books in Marvel’s main line or have had consistent success at other companies or even television in Allan Heinberg’s case so, at least, that’s something they have going for them.

Story: Luciano Vecchio, Allan Heinberg, Mariko Tamaki, Lilah Sturges, Leah Williams,
Crystal Frasier, Kieron Gillen, Terry Blas, Anthony Oliveira, J.J. Kirby, Tini Howard, Vita Ayala, Steve Orlando
Art: Luciano Vecchio, Jim Cheung, Kris Anka, Derek Charm, Jan Bazaldua,
Jethro Morales, Jen Hickman, Paulina Ganucheau, Javier Garron, J.J. Kirby, Samantha Dodge, Joanna Estep with Brittney Williams, Claudia Aguirre, Jacopo Camagni
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo, Tamra Bonvillain, Brittany Peer,
Erick Arciniega, Rachelle Rosenberg, Kendall Goode, David Curiel
Letters: Ariana Maher
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.6 Overall: 8.3 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Kieron Gillen, More (A) Javi Garron, More (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel's Voices: Pride #1

Early Preview: Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

Marvel’s Voices: Pride #1

(W) Various (A) Various (CA) Luciano Vecchio
88 pages/ONE-SHOT/Rated T+
In Shops: Jun 23, 2021
SRP: $9.99

MARVEL CELEBRATES LGBTQ+ CHARACTERS & CREATORS WITH A RAINBOW-POWERED SPECIAL!
Marvel Comics is proud to present its first ever queer-centered anthology! Ring in Pride Month with an amazing assembly of writers and artists from all walks of life. Wiccan and Hulkling! Iceman! Mystique and Destiny! Karma! Akihiro! Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean! Celebrate these and so many more legendary characters from across the Marvel archive! New and fan-favorite creators tell their Pride stories – stories of inspiration and empowerment, stories that illustrate “the world outside your window” in full color. Plus, some of Marvel’s biggest LGBTQ+ moments get a special reprinting. Don’t miss an extraordinary new chapter in Marvel history!

Marvel has released teaser images for the upcoming anthology!

Story A
Starring Prodigy and Speed
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Jen Hickman
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story B
Starring Karma
Written by Vita Ayala
Art by Joanna Estep
Layouts by Brittney Williams
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story C
Starring Iceman
Written by Anthony Oliviera
Art by Javier Garrón
Colors by David Curiel

Story D
Starring Daken and Somnus
Written by Steve Orlando
Art by Claudia Aguirre
Somnus Character Design by Luciano Vecchio

Story E
Starring Mystique and Destiny
Written by Tini Howard
Art by Samantha Dodge
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story F
Starring Black Cat and Jessie Drake
Written by Leah Williams
Art by Jan Bazaldua
Colors by Erick Arciniega

Story G
Starring Nico Minoru and Karolina Dean
Written by Mariko Tamaki
Art by Kris Anka
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain

Story H
Starring Anole
Written by Terry Blas
Art by Paulina Ganucheau
Layouts by Kendall Goode

Story I
Starring Northstar
Written by JJ Kirby
Art by JJ Kirby

Story J
Starring Elektra and Dr. Charlene McGowan
Written by Lilah Sturges
Art by Derek Charm
Colors by Brittany Peer

Story K
Starring Titania and She-Hulk
Written by Crystal Frasier
Art by Jethro Morales
Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg

Review: Star Wars Adventures: Rise of the Wookies

Star Wars Adventures: Rise of the Wookies

As a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, I was more than happy to find out that there was a film adaptation. I remember the first time I read the books that took me to Middle Earth. I was 8 years old and was enraptured in that world and those characters. Of course, the film adaptation I found at that age was the Ralph Bakshi film of 1970s which left much to be desired. It wasn’t until 2001, that I got to see something that resembled the books.

Peter Jackson imbued the love all we fans had for the series. 20 years later, and I am still in love with those movies, and have even more hope for the new Amazon series. My favorite of Peter Jackson’s movies from that series was The Two Towers as we see our heroes defend the people of Rohan against Sauran’s forces. In the 11th volume of Star Wars Adventures, we get Rise Of  The Wookies, where we see Chewie defend his home planet much like the Fellowship and Riders of Rohan.

In “Ghosts of Kashyyyk”, we find Chewie in the Millennium Falcon leading a Resistance squadron back to his home planet, Kashyyyk, where The First Order has set up a base. Chewbacca goes on a solo recon mission where he finds that First Order has some Wookies as captives which leads to him jailbreaking them and taking Storm Troopers as a prisoner. In our second story, ”Secret Agent Droids”,  our favorite droids, C-3PO, R2D2, and BB-8, thwart the First Order’s plans to block all communications from a desolate planet. In our third story, “Tales From Wild Space”, we meet a young upstart, Emil, who discovers a long lost library, who ends up getting mind-controlled, but not before he is rescued by his droid. In “Loyalty Test”, the First Order arrives on the planet, Vaddexa, where Hux and Kylo Ren, get to test each other’s loyalty. In “Squad Goals”, Poe and Rey, go on a training drill, one that tests Rey’s piloting skills. In The last story,” The Battle for Horizon Base”, Finn leads the charge against the First Order, who is trying to take over an important focal point, and eventually recruits more to the Resistance.

Overall, a fun romp throughout the Star War universe. The stories by John Barber and Michael Moreci are compelling. The art by the creative team is enchanting. Altogether, a set of stories that reminds you why you fell in love with these characters in the first place.

Story: John Barber and Michael Moreci
Art: Derek Charm, Jake M. Wood, Tom B. Long, Matt Herms, David Buisan, Arianna Florean, Charlie Kirchoff, Mario Del Pennino, Valentina Taddeo,
and Tony Fleecs
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Reccomendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Review: Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

As somewhat disputed as the Clone Wars movie was, the television show is a whole different discussion. The Dave Filoni helmed epic was more than a television show, it was a love letter to the original trilogy. It comprised of some of our favorite characters while giving us what happened between the 2nd and 3rd movies. It did so much more, and even more so than any of the nine movies that comprise the primary canon.

As it uncovered who the storm troopers were, that they were not only clones. It gave each of the characters within the show, their own personalities, all very unique. They all became even more relatable which makes the end, so heartbreaking. In Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales, we get some new adventures that give a few new memories of these fan favorites.

We are taken to the Planet Hisseen, where a Republic squadron is taking fire from Battle Droids, and where Obi-Wan and Anakin swoop in to save them. Rex tells a story of when Anakin kept his troops safe from a goo monster on the planet Benglor. In another story, the Wolfpack is sent on a dangerous mission, to rescue a hostage from an impermeable fortress. In one tale, Padme learns of some Intel of a hidden base holding unsanctioned prisoners, leading to a prison break. In another tale, we get our version of “Dirty Dozen in space”, adding to the legend. In the last story, we get a story of Obi-Wan helping the inhabitants of Caliban free themselves of General Grievous.

Overall, Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales is a fun collection of stories that imbues the spirit of the series. The stories by Moreci are encapsulating. The art by the creative team is awe-inspiring. Altogether, a nice visit with some very familiar characters.

Story: Michael Moreci
Art: Derek Charm, Arianna Florean, Megan Levens, Mario Del Pennino, Luis Antonio Delgado Valentina Taddeo, Charlie Kirchoff, Thomas  Dear, Rebecca Nalty, and Valentina Pinto
Story: 9.6 Art: 9.2 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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Preview: Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

(W) Michael Moreci (A) Arianna Florean, Megan Levens, Valentina Pinto (A/CA) Derek Charm
In Shops: Jan 27, 2021
SRP: $14.99

Return to a time of great upheaval in the galaxy, the final years of the Republic, in this anthology based on the beloved animated series!

While Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker, and other Jedi Knights fight against incredible odds, two Republic squadrons must hold their position against an encroaching droid army of the Separatists. Pinned down for the duration, Commander Cody, Captain Rex, and other clones swap war stories that feature your favorite characters from The Clone Wars animated series, such as Padmé Amidala, General Grievous, and many more!

Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars: Battle Tales

Preview: Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle

Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle

(W) Cavan Scott (A) Derek Charm, Chris Fenoglio, Kelley Jones, Corin Howell, Robert Hack, Charles Paul Wilson, Nicoletta Baldari, Megan Levens (A/CA) Francesco Francavilla
In Shops: Jan 27, 2021
SRP: $19.99

Why would anyone break IN to the dreaded stronghold of Darth Vader? Find out in this spooky graphic novel perfect for middle-grade readers!

How does a band of rebels distract themselves when sneaking into the creepiest place in the galaxy? Tell scary stories of course! Your favorite characters, like Obi-Wan, Han and Chewie, Hera Syndulla, and the Ewoks, face classic creeps like ghosts, monsters, witches, and more. But the hidden corners of the Star Wars universe hold even more terrifying tales: stories featuring a wretched hive of scum and villainy including the likes of Darth Maul, Jabba the Hutt, Grand Moff Tarkin, and Asajj Ventress-all under the shadow of Vader himself!

Collects the two five-issue series, Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle and Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle.

Star Wars Adventures: Vader's Castle

Review: Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle

Star Wars Adventures: Vader's Castle

The best thing about new additions to the Star Wars canon is the cross-pollinating of genres. Each new project has given fans a fresh new take on the universe. No longer is it just a space opera, it has become so much more. Things have been expanded infusing the universe, with a plethora of new and interesting characters. Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle is an example collecting two volumes with a horror them about them.

Rogue One gave us an interesting take on the heist movie, it also gives us some much-needed explanation on a glossed over plot point in the original films. Then there is Solo, which gives us the definitive back-story of the coolest smuggler in 12 parsecs. But at its heart is a new take on the coming of age story. Then there is the much-lauded Mandalorian, which introduces new characters as well as let us know where certain characters have been like Boba Fett. In the generously devilish collection, Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle, the universe dips in the horror genre, while uncovering legends, true and untrue, about some of the universe’s most legendary figures through the well-spun tales of our crypt keeper, Lina Graf, while on  Mustafar, the home of Vader’s Castle.

In “The Haunting Of The Ghost”,  the crew of the Graysom lands on the planet of Mustafar, and uncover a haunted ship. In “Count Dooku: Prince Of Darkness”, the aforementioned villain takes refuge on the planet of Bray where a showdown with Obi-Wan becomes inevitable and where he gains an unfair advantage.  In “The Briar Witch”, where Han and Chewie take the job to Rendel, where a plant controlled by a witch makes anyone who touches it, suddenly much older. In “Night Of The Gorax”, we are taken back to Endor, where we saw an Ewok version of Beowulf. In “ The Fearful Finale”,  Han and Chewie help someone uncover the Treasure Of Rane Mahal, where everyone gets double-crossed. In “ The Horned Devil”,  we are taken to Lotho Minor, where a ragtag band of scavengers, find Darth Maul, only to almost finding their own ends.  In “The Curse Of Tarkin”,  a ship gets a surprise visit from Governor Tarkin, who unleashes his version of Frankenstein, which almost kills everyone on the ship. In “ Bop, She Bop, Little Sarloc Horror”, Asajj Ventress takes a job, where Sarlaccs is the center of a settlement’s many problems. In “Vault of the Living Brains”, Jabba The Hut’s cousin leads him to a place of untold riches, only to find that his cousin had their own ulterior motives. In the final story, “Night Of The Lava Zombies”, a zombie plague infects an Empire ally, making Vader, compliant to a different master.

Star Wars Adventures: Vader’s Castle is an entertaining set of stories that plunges into this universe while exploring some of these very famous characters. The stories by Cavan Scott are astonishing. The art by the creative team is splendid. Altogether, an excellent collection, that feels like Tales From The Crypt meets The Outer Limits.

Story: Cavan Scott
Art: Derek Charm, Chris Fenoglio, Robert Hack, Corin Howell, Kelley Jones, and Charles Paul Wilson III
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review


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