Star Wars: Legacy – Prisoner of the Floating World #1 (Dark Horse)
The Legacy series was a fan-favorite during the first volume’s run, and we’ve been criminally deprived of it for a bit now. Thankfully, the wait is over for the second volume of the future-flung Star Wars title with the release this week of Prisoner of the Floating World. This time around the focal character is a different choice down the lineage tree of the original characters, introducing us to Ania Solo. The general state of affairs in the far away galaxy is one of tentative peace, being held together by loose alliances, strained by their very nature and conditions. The governing triumvirate consists of the Jedi Council, Imperial Court, and Galactic Alliance, and in a campaign of good will they are attempting to spread confidence to the far reaches of the outer systems. This means connecting previously isolated sections to the galactic center of governance, and in this mission they are sending Imperial Knight Yalta Val to secure a communications array within the Carreras system, hidden behind a giant nebula. Of course things go bad in the form of red-skinned baddies and things get bumpy, which is where the story of Ania, little more than a junkyard brat, comes into the book. Right off the bat with the first issue you can tell it’s going to be a fun ride with all the high-flying action and adventure of the first volume, and given the small taste of the little Solo descendant that we are given, there should be some interesting character parallels with Cade Skywalker in the way of light/dark ambiguity. As usual, the art is right on par for a Dark Horse SW book, Gabriel Hardman’s art is appropriately rough and gritty, but gives enough detail to do a good service to the lively environments, and when the action gets going his panels are explosive and stylish. Altogether a great start to a series that feels good to have back in my hands again.
Wild Rover and the Sacrifice #1 (Dark Horse)
Collected from issues #14-15 of Dark Horse Presents, Wild Rover is a fairly personal story of dependency and family demons from Michael Avon Oeming. The protagonist is a man tortured by his alcoholism, both inherited and learned from his deceased mother and seeks to end the struggle by any means necessary. In this quest, he is aided somewhat by the specter of his mother who directs him to literally fight his demons, personified in physical form as nightmarish beats, utilizing tools his estranged father left behind. The first thing that will strike you about the story, even within the first page, is the genuine tone and authenticity of the subject matter at hand. This is familiar ground for Mr. Oeming, and the fact that he is writing from both heart and experience is readily perceptible in the scripting. The feelings, metaphors, and descriptions used in the first person narration are instantly taken home by anyone with similar demons hiding under their skin, which gives the story a little more meat to it. The second short in this collected one-shot is The Sacrifice, culled from DHP #17. It is a thin one, but fun in a grim sort of way, telling the story of an esteemed warrior tasking a young boy to the perilous duty of choosing a new sword for him to bear from a rather prickly tree. While the two stories make for a bit of a mish mash of a one-shot, it is worth picking up, especially considering that doing so may well bring about a continuation of the Wild Rover tale.
Judge Dredd: Year One #1 (IDW)
It certainly didn’t take the boys at IDW long after their acquisition of the Dredd license to get its ‘Year One’ treatment going, and I still have not decided whether the practice is a straight gimmick or something more obligatory. Almost every publisher does it, and it is easy to ascribe it as nothing more than a marketing ploy that maintains the book’s integrity (unlike the also ubiquitous crossovers and tie-ins), but considering the widespread implementation it is just as easy to think of it as ‘just something you do’ if you’ve got an established character to play with. Anyway, as the title suggests this is a new mini-series that spotlights everyone’s favorite all-in-one judge jury and executioner in his early days, not even a year into his position. There are strange things going on with kids, namely kids causing trouble with their minds by way of spontaneous mental and telekinetic abilities, and Dredd has to deal with it the way Dredd does best. The story is serviceable, nothing too catching right off the bat with the first issue, but it will at least keep you entertained for the most part. The art, however, is a bit more under par. The pencils are a bit drab and unlively, although to be fair that may have something to do with the flat and textureless colors used on the pages. All in all a standard Dredd fair, nothing that will get you overly excited for the next issue, but a decent filler if you want to round out your comic shop haul for this week.
Five Ghosts: The Haunting of Fabian Gray #1 (Image)
Renowned treasure hunter Fabian Gray had a bit of an accident during one of his temple tromps, finding himself the victim of possession by five ghosts, a wizard, samurai, vampire, archer, and sleuth. An interesting condition but it makes his job that much easier. However, everything has its price and Fabian might well be about to pay it as he embarks on a personal mission to help a loved one with a friend. The setup is pretty interesting, especially considering that the entire idea for the comic is a standard adventure story archetype about a protagonist comprised of standard character archetypes. I guess if you throw enough clichés in a pot and mix it around just right you will eventually end up with a fun story. Think Mega Shark Vs. Crocosaurus, if Mega Shark was a famous treasure hunter and Crocosaurus was an evil Nazi. The art a good draw for the comic (see what I did there?), capturing a good pulp-noir style that fits the story. The action panels especially are slick and flashy, not to mention a few character close-ups just look killer. My one hesitation with this book is where the tale is going to take us though, because while the melting pot of different literary standards makes for a good attention-getter, the overall plot is not offering much by way of originality. Nevertheless, I will be picking up the second issue of Five Ghosts when it comes out next month and I have a feeling that it will be just as entertaining as the first.