King of the Ring, Justin Bieber, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

King of the Ring logo, WWEBy Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Ponderings From WWE Raw:

The King of the Ring tournament returns, will take place throughout the week. For the past decade or so, the King of the Ring tournament has always returned on a whim when WWE remembers, “Oh yeah! This was a thing! Let’s make it a thing again!” And then the next year it goes away just as quickly as it returned. I’ve always been of the opinion that if we’re going to do this, let’s build it up and make it a yearly event like it used to be, especially now that the WWE Network exists. With fans having easier access to pay per view events, it be less of a risk to replace a show like Payback with a King of the Ring show. We could still have a WWE Championship match, but the show could also host a one-night tournament and put somebody over big time.

As for the tournament this year, Bad News Barrett seems like the favorite. WWE seems to like the snobby European King persona. They did it with Sheamus and William Regal. Hell, they even did it with Booker T! Plus, the guy is a big star waiting to happen. It’s just a matter of WWE pulling the trigger. Granted, it could be Neville. But for my money, Barrett is the more likely candidate.

Seth Rollins, WWE Extreme Rules 2015WWE lets the fans pick the main event of Payback. Seth Rollins to defend against both Randy Orton and Roman Reigns. I can’t exactly fault WWE for this. When in doubt, just let the fans choose. Though if we’re being honest, the triple-threat match was the obvious choice. That being said, I was hoping to see Reigns get an opportunity to face Rollins one-on-one. There’s certainly enough backstory between the two at this point. Perhaps that’s coming down the line.

Kane gets the line of the night by calling Seth Rollins the WWE equivalent of Justin Bieber. In the aftermath of Wrestlemania, Kane has become relevant again. Does he always deliver great matches? No. But he’s still an amazing actor, and can do great things on the mic.

WWE Extreme Rules 2015, Roman ReignsRoman Reigns def. The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules. This match was better than I think anyone expected it to be. Reigns seems to be in the process of doing something he should have done before they had him win the damn Royal Rumble match: Paying his dues as a main eventer. He’s showing the more hardcore fans that he’s not just a good looking guy, but a tough S.O.B. who deserves respect. I always liked the nickname Paul Heyman gave him: The Samoan Bad Ass.

Tension is built between Rusev and Lana, as the Bulgarian Brute loses to John Cena again at Extreme Rules. The two will face yet again at Payback in an I-Quit match. Lana has proved herself worthy of the adulation she’s getting from the fans. Plus, she’s drop dead gorgeous. So there’s that.

So it’s looks like after Payback is over, Rusev will have lost to John Cena on three straight pay per views. I don’t expect Rusev to go away after Payback, but he’ll definitely need to re-establish himself as a dominant monster. But against who…?

Bray Wyatt, Ryback, Raw, 04/27/15Ryback def. Bo Dallas, is then attacked by Bray Wyatt. For those not in the know, Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas are actually real-life brothers. It’s actually pretty obvious if you look at them side-by-side. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that they were involved in this segment together. But it does make you wonder how they could work Bo into some sort of story with Bray.

As cool as it would have been to have Roman Reigns be Bray’s next opponent, Ryback is a good choice for him. He’s someone Bray can beat to build himself back up following the Wrestlemania loss to The Undertaker. Plus, Ryback’s pretty weird in his own right. I’m interested to see how he reacts to the Bray Wyatt mind games.

Damien Sandow reintroduces himself to the WWE audience. One of my favorite internet wrestling podcasters, The Solomonster, has joked about the possibility of Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow forming a tag team akin to the Mega Powers. Obviously it would be Axel in the role of Hulk Hogan, and Sandow playing “Macho Mandow.” Not going to lie, I was almost hoping for that during this segment.

Damien Sandow, Curtis Axel, Raw, 04/27/15The WWE fans seemed more into Sandow as a person than they were the comedic stuff on display here. On the plus side, Sandow’s new theme is pretty cool.

The New Day wins the WWE Tag Team Titles at Extreme Rules. Big E. defeats Tyson Kidd on Raw. Part of me wonders if a New Day heel turn was part of WWE’s plan all along. But then I chuckle. As much of a WWE fan as I am, they just don’t think that way. Still, all three of these guys are talented. They deserve credit for really selling this crappy gimmick and making it into something the fans love to hate. This is also a great opportunity for Xavier Woods to prove his worth as the mouthpiece of this group.

R-Truth def. Stardust. I’m an R-Truth fan, but this sucked. Cody Rhodes is so damn talented, and he deserves to be featured more prominently than he is. For that matter, he deserves to pick up where he left off in his feud with Goldust. That program wasn’t even half of what it should have been.

Raw, 04/27/2015, Adam Rose, Rosa MendesAdam Rose def. Fandango after a Rosa Mendes distraction. Rosa Mendes can’t dance. At least not on her own. That seemed like more of a “What the hell is she doing?” distraction than an “Oh my God, she’s so hot!” distraction.

Jerry Springer hosts WWE “Too Hot For TV” show on the WWE Network. Springer said in a recent interview that his audience and the WWE audience cross over. I really wish he hadn’t said that. I don’t doubt that it’s true. But do you have to remind me?

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

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A Star Wars #4 Review – The Unlikely Alliance

Star Wars #4 (2015)TITLE: Star Wars #1
AUTHOR:
Jason Aaron
PENCILLER:
John Cassaday
PUBLISHER:
Marvel
PRICE:
$3.99
RELEASED:
April 22, 2015

***WARNING: Minor spoilers for Star Wars #4 ahead.***

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Jason Aaron and John Cassaday’s Star Wars is finally starting to pick up a bit of steam. And go figure, it’s the issue that’s most interwoven with the far superior Darth Vader title that made it happen.

When we open issue #4, Luke Skywalker and the others have escaped the clutches of the Empire yet again. But where does either side go from here? Oddly enough, the answer for both Luke and Darth Vader is Tatooine. With some of the Empire’s resources depleted, Vader seeks help from none other than Jabba the Hutt. Meanwhile, Luke realizes that to become the warrior the Rebel Alliance needs him to be, he’ll need to find some answers at home.

I’ve picked on this book previously for relying too heavily on classic Star Wars imagery and dialogue to carry it. Granted, it’s almost impossible to have a Star Wars comic book without that factor being there to some extent. Thankfully, we see less of that here. But there are still needless pieces of it here. Hell, this issue’s biggest offense is right on the opening page via dialogue from Darth Vader and Jabba’s lackey, Bib Fortuna…

Star Wars #4, Darth Vader, John Cassaday– “The Illustrious Jabba bids you welcome to the humble sands of Tattooine…”

– “You may dispense with the pleasantries.”

Those are two lines plucked directly from Return of the Jedi. And why? What’s the point? You’ve got an iconic Star Wars character standing in an iconic Star Wars setting. Even if you’re not a Star Wars junkie like so many of us are, the visuals are enough to take you where you need to be. Peppering in dialogue like that only cheapens things, especially when you’ve already been pretty cheap thus far.

On the flip side, the SW junkie in me did highly appreciate one piece of dialogue in this issue very much. During a scene where Han Solo and Chewbacca are working on the Millennium Falcon (as Han has a somewhat comedic bandage wrapped around his head), Solo references Darth Vader using his lightsaber. The exact line is: “It was Vader. Him and his…whatever you call it. Laser sword.” I loved that. It’s very much fitting with Han’s irreverence for the Jedi culture, which we saw in A New Hope.

Star Wars #4, Luke Skywalker, John CassadayOn the subject of Jedi culture, we see a frustrated Luke trying to do the blind remote exercise again, this time with two robots instead of one. Cassaday strikes an interesting balance between pre and post-plastic surgery Mark Hamill here. The character’s frustration feels very natural. Why exactly he feels the need to go back to Tatooine is unclear, though based on the cover I assume it’s to go back to Obi-Wan’s home and look for clues. What kind of clues those might be, I’m not sure. But given what we’ve seen so far in this book, I’d be very surprised if we didn’t get a bunch of verbal and artistic references to A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.

While Cassaday draws a great Ralph McQuarrie-inspired Darth Vader, the sequences between Jabba and Vader in this book draw inevitable comparisons to the ones in the Kieron Gillen/Salvador Larroca Vader book. For this issue’s sake, that’s not a good comparison. Obviously Cassaday’s no slouch, but Larroca’s got him beat here. On the plus side, he and colorist Laura Martin are a solid combination. Their renderings of the Tatooine landscape reflecting off the Darth Vader death mask are really nice.

Still, I continue to be underwhelmed with this title at best. I’m willing to hang on for at least another month, as I still enjoy Cassaday’s art. Plus I’ve got some money to spare, as DC’s Convergence stunt has left a huge hole in my pull list. But c’mon, guys. You’re doing a Star Wars comic for Marvel! You HAVE to do better than this!

Image 1 from comicbook.com. Image 2 from kotaku.com.

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Kane Nails It, Orton’s “Stunning Spree” and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Kane, Seth Rollins, Raw 04202015Ponderings From WWE Raw:

After going on a rant against Seth Rollins, Triple H makes Kane “guardian of the gate” at Extreme Rules. Kane really nailed this one. It’s amazing how the right program with the right partner can reinvigorate a character. Hell, about a year ago I was ready for a Triple H/Big Show match on pay per view. Now I’m just about ready for a Seth Rollins/Kane match for the WWE Title. And yes, I did enjoy that El Torito line.

My guess is at Extreme , Kane keeps J&J Security out of the cage, and possibly even Triple H. But then he ends up accidentally slamming the door on Orton’s head or something, costing him the match.

Randy Orton goes on a “Stunning Spree.” Stone Cold Steve Austin used to do this kind of thing occasionally. He’d just come out and hit the Stone Cold Stunner on random guys, heel or babyface. And oddly enough, Orton’s “Venom” shirt is slightly reminiscent of a Stone Cold shirt they used to sell during the Attitude Era. Still, the crowd was into it. And it’s still fun to watch.

Incidentally, Orton’s promos have been better recently. For my money, angry Orton beats slow and methodical Orton any day.

Seth Rollins, WWE Raw, 04202015Seth Rollins def. Dolph Ziggler in the main event. Now this was a main event. Two five-star performers going one-on-one. A predictable finish, of course, with Sheamus costing Ziggler the match. But seeing Dolph being featured so prominently in a Raw main event was pretty damn cool.

Fandango def. Curtis Axel. I came away from this match thinking about Axel dancing during Fandango’s entrance. I’m not sure if that was a good move or a bad one, as the attention was obviously supposed to be on Fandango. Either way, he got himself noticed.

The decision to turn Fandango into a babyface is a curious one, and actually seems two years too late. The real-life Curtis Hussey has always been a great talent, and he really dove into this role head-first. But they didn’t seem to know what to do with him once “Fandangoing” became a big thing. I’m not immensely optimistic that he can gain a lot of momentum as a babyface. But I’m definitely rooting for him.

Speaking of missing the boat on a great talent…

Damien Sandow, The Miz, Summer Rae, Smackdown, April 2015Summer Rae costs Damien Sandow his match with The Miz. I wondered if this was going to happen. Summer Rae turns on Sandow, giving Miz the win. So…where does Sandow go from here? Is he dead in the water? Does he start from scratch now after gaining all that steam?

John Cena def. Kane in another US Open Challenge. I’m starting to look forward to this segment every week, even if we do have to endure a hokey John Cena promo every time. Thus far it’s given the midcard guys (Stardust, for example), a nice chance to shine, even if they do end up losing in the end.

However, as good as Kane was with his promo, he wasn’t the guy I wanted to see come out there this week. In all honesty, I’d have preferred Heath Slater.

Naomi def. Brie Bella. Good lord…STOP PUTTING THE BELLAS ON COMMENTARY. Instant mute button! And yes, I know I’m being a hater, but I refuse to buy them as babyfaces. I’m on Team Naomi. Her promos are decent (though her punches suck), and she’s talking about how she’s been held down too long by management. She’s got my vote. Better her than one of the Kardashian twins…

Kofi Kingston, Sin Cara, Raw, 04202015The New Day def. The Lucha Dragons. They’re heading in a heel direction with The New Day, which of course is the direction they should have taken to begin with. More than anybody, Kofi Kingston should be thrilled about that. This poor guy has been a smilin’ babyface for the better part of eight years now, and he’s never had the chance to go heel. And it’s not like he’s just a nobody. He’s been a midcard champion multiple times. I’m very interested to see what he can do on that side of the fence.

Dean Ambrose and Luke Harper have a brawl. I’m no more into Luke Harper now than I was when I was in The Wyatt Family. All I really know about him is that he’s a big guy with dirty clothes and big eyes. There’s nothing for me to grasp about him. He just feels like Bray Wyatt light.

Sheamus brutalizes Zack Ryder, cutting a promo all the while. Jeez. As if Zack Ryder hasn’t suffered enough…

Ponderings From Elsewhere in the Wrestling World:

Taz, TNATaz and TNA part ways. Apparently due to issues with late paychecks, Taz has parted ways with TNA. It truly seems to be a sad state of affairs down in Dixieland, with so many talents dropping like flies. Still, I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing Taz return to the announce position on Raw or Smackdown. Of perhaps more likely, doing something with the WWE Network. At one point, Taz was indeed the best color man in the business. I’m not sure who that distinction would go to these days. Certainly not Booker T. or JBL. But hopefully that door is still open, if WWE chooses to go in that direction.

Missy Hyatt arrested for grand theft in Florida last month. This sad bit of news surfaced late last week. According to the report, what the real-life Melissa Hiatt stole was worth more than $300, but less than $500. Needless to say, it’s sad whenever this kind of thing happens. But hey, if we want to spray a little positivity on this, we can always say: “Controversy follows Missy Hyatt wherever she goes.”

Images 1-4 from WWE.com. Image 5 from noticiasdewrestlingexpress.blogspot.co‪m.

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A Convergence: Justice League International #1 Review – Man, I Miss the ’80s…

Convergence: Justice League #1TITLE: Convergence: Justice League International #1
AUTHOR: Ron Marz
PENCILLER: Mike Manley. Cover by Paul Renaud.
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
PRICE:
$3.99
RELEASED:
April 15, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

DC Comics has been trying on and off to recapture some of the magic of Justice League International for the past 10 years or so. So it comes as no surprise that JLI is part of the line-up of Convergence tie-ins. It’s also no surprise that this issue doesn’t quite capture the spirit of its namesake. Still, it does manage to be a decent read.

Set in pre-Zero Hour Metropolis, our Justice League must face Metallo and his batalion of “metallic men.” They must also face the harsh reality that their days may be numbered under the dome that has imprisoned the city for a year. But once the events of Convergence #1 set in, the JLI faces a new enemy: Heroes from the Kingdom Come universe.

Convergence: Justice League International #1For this outing, our JLI consists of Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Martian Manhunter, Captain Atom, Fire & Ice, and Red Tornado. Mind you, all the heroes with organic superpowers have been stripped of their abilities by the dome. In addition, much like other cities captured by Brainiac, Metropolis faces depleted resources. And even with their powers, they’ll be hard-pressed to fight the likes of Kingdom Come Wonder Woman, Shazam, etc. So the JLI find themselves in a familiar underdog position, which is a nice touch. It’s also worth noting that the Kingdom Come version of Blue Beetle is among the invaders, which means Ted could meet an alternate version of himself next issue.

It’s not necessarily fair to expect the same brand of humor from this issue that was a trademark of the original JLI title. Ron Marz and Mike Manley are veterans, but to my knowledge neither of them had anything to do with JLI. So they’re in an unenviable position, as is anyone tasked with trying to recreate that lightning-in-a-bottle Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, and Kevin Maguire had in the ’80s. So one can’t be too hard on them.

That being said, you’d think they’d have come up with an initial threat with a more comedic skew than Metallo. Blue Beetle has some decent lines. But certainly nothing snicker-worthy.

Convergence: Justice League International #1I did find myself sympathetic for Ted Kord, though. He’s been tasked with leading heroes that, without powers, are suddenly out of their element. And they’re protecting a city that’s falling apart at the seams. Marz and Manley are able to convey this during a simple scene of expository dialogue between Beetle and Manhunter, so I’ll credit them for that.

Manley’s art is passable. I was by no means blown away. But as we know, he’s very much at home in a superhero story. His opening pages were able to sell me on the grandeur of seeing Metallo take on the Justice League International. But as it becomes clear this isn’t the JLI we’re hoping to see, a damper is put on on the issue at large.

Still, I will indeed be back for the second issue, just to see how these underdogs fare against the Kingdom Come heroes. I’m not expecting great quality, but I’m curious to see what Marz and Manley do.

Image 1 from infinitecomix.com. Image 2 from splittingatomsblog.wordpress.com. 

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A Convergence #2 Review – The Disappearing Knight Light

Convergence #2, coverTITLE: Convergence #2
AUTHOR: Jeff King
PENCILLERS: Carlo Pagulayan. Cover by Ivan Reis.
PUBLISHER:
DC Comics
PRICE:
$4.99
RELEASED:
April 15, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

***WARNING: Spoilers ahead for Convergence #2.***

Business started to pick up for Convergence in this issue. While certain problems remain, and this issue saw a pretty bad consistency error, Convergence does finally manage to give us a decent emotional tether via Earth-2 Dick Grayson.

As worlds continue to collide via Telos’ “perverse tournament,” our heroes from Earth-2 take a stand and fight back. But how does Dick Grayson fit into that plan? And by the end of the issue, our heroes have found a new ally…or have they?

DC Comics, Convergence, Dick Grayson, Earth-2The scene that kicks off Convergence #2 is probably the one we should have gotten when the story began. Via flashback, we see Dick Grayson and his son Tommy desperately trying to get off Earth-2 during Darkseid’s invasion. Dick loses everything, including his wife Barbara Gordon, before being plucked from his world and tossed into the events of Convergence #1. This scene set the stakes of Convergence really well. We see Dick’s desperation to survive, and to see that his son survives. Later in the issue, King and Pagulayan amp things up emotionally by having Dick see the pre-New 52 Gotham version of Barbara. Finally, Convergence gets injected with a sense of epic tragedy and impending doom, as opposed to different versions of characters simply being drawn next to each other.

Actually, had the scene with Dick on Earth-2 swapped places with the Injustice scene in issue #1, the latter scene would have been much more impactful. The story at large would have been much more impactful. What a missed opportunity…

This issue sees the return of pre-New 52 Batman, which was a big moment for yours truly, as that’s the Batman I grew up with. He’s got his Batman Incorporated costume on, complete with what I call the “Knight Light” on his chest. Unfortunately, as the issue progresses, Pagulayan seems to forget about the light. When we first see Bruce, he has it. Then the light disappears in favor of the more commonly used Bat-insignia. Then it returns for a splash page shot of Bruce standing alone. I can only assume this is a mistake, and a rather obvious one, at that.

Convergence #2, Batman/BatmanWe end up watching a conversation between Earth-2 Batman and Knight Light Batman, where the dialogue is kept from the reader. I can only assume the pay off for that is down the line, and will end up being about how Dick Grayson is some kind of savior. It’s frustrating. But hopefully they’ll go somewhere with it.

So at the end, the rest of the Earth-2 heroes rescue a character named Deimos from a bunch of Telos’ drones. I’m not sure if this was supposed to be a big reveal or not. It certainly wasn’t for yours truly. Regrettably, this was one of the few times I had to Wikipedia a character’s name. As one might have gathered by his appearance, he’s a villain. I can’t say I’m overly intrigued by his appearance at this point, but obviously we’re only meeting him now.

Still conspicuous by his absence in Convergence is New 52 Superman, or anyone from the New 52 for that matter. Like the conversation between our Batmen, I can only assume there’s a payoff for that #0 issue coming, especially considering how much Superman imagery we’ve seen in this story. Regardless of what DC is doing behind the scenes (they’re moving their offices to California), seeing them take such a hard break from everything they’re been building since late 2011 is very surreal. The New 52 heroes will indeed join the main series at some point, and their continuity will indeed survive after Convergence. Thus, it’s all the more confusing that we haven’t heard word one from any of them yet, specifically Superman.

Still, Convergence #1 is indeed an improvement over its two predecessors. I now have a reason to care about something in this book. But thus far, Convergence proper is far from worth the cumulative $15 we’ve put down for it.

Images from insidepulse.com.

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Into the Cage, Laying Down For Rollins, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Randy Orton, Raw, 04/13/15Ponderings From WWE Raw

The WWE Championship match at Extreme Rules becomes a steel cage match where the RKO is banned. A steel cage match main event is tough to beat. I’m not sure we needed the RKO to be banned, though. The idea that Randy Orton can be disqualified in a steel cage match is pretty lame. But Rollins and Orton will make it work. The main event of Extreme Rules is most definitely in good hands.

Seth Rollins def. Kane, when Kane lays down. This was fairly entertaining. It was fun to see the crowd get riled up for the potential return of “The Demon” Kane. I can only assume Kane’s days in The Authority are numbered. Who needs a director of operations anyway?

Dolph Ziggler def. Neville. AWESOME match. And while some may disagree, the right guy won. Not every new guy on the main roster needs to have a big undefeated streak. Neville was in there with arguably the best performer on the roster, and he knocked it out of the park. That’s what counts.

Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Raw, May 13, 2015Naomi turns heel after Paige wins a #1 contender battle royal. I’m all for giving the girls a chance. And hey, they did get more time tonight. But as soon as Cole said the Bellas were coming to the announce position, I hit the mute button. I’M SORRY! I can’t help it that they sound like the Kardashians…

But what I’m wondering is…are the Bellas still heels? I know they tend to go in between. But if Naomi ends up challenging for the title eventually, it seems like they’ll either have to put it on Paige or turn the Bellas face. The former seems more likely. And I’m totally okay with that. Just sayin’.

John Cena def. Wade Barrett in his US Open. Yeesh, Barrett just can’t get a break. He got totally squashed in the weeks leading up to the big ladder match at Wrestlemania, and tonight he loses a US Title match to Cena. And don’t kid yourself, he’s not getting the IC belt back at Extreme Rules.

John Cena, Bad News Barrett, Raw, April 13, 2015Incidentally, where was Daniel Bryan tonight? He had that backstage segment with Kane, but that was it. What the hell?

The Big Show chokeslams Roman Reigns on top of a taxi cab on the Raw set. I’m slowly but surely becoming a Roman Reigns fan. His smooth swagger, combined with the really good pay per view matches he’s had in the last two months have endeared him to me. It’s just a shame he keeps getting stuck with The Big Show. Those matches are always slow as molasses, and aren’t going to do him any favors.

Images from WWE.com.

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A Darth Vader #4 Review – Robot Insect Wasteland

Darth Vader #4, coverTITLE: Star Wars: Darth Vader #4
AUTHOR: Kieron Gillen
PENCILLER: Salvador Larroca
PUBLISHER: Marvel
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: April 8, 2015

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Hey kids! It’s Star Wars prequel stuff! Only this time, without the horrific dialogue and bad acting! And as a bonus: Evil C-3PO and R2-D2! We! Are! Winning!

Darth Vader #4 continues to be Marvel’s most compelling Star Wars title, as our protagonist continues to hunt for the Force-strong pilot who destroyed the Death Star, and investigate the identity of The Emperor’s mysterious co-conspirator. In his efforts, he has enlisted the aid of droid archaeologist Aphra, who has led him to Geonosis, the planet that sparked the Clone Wars. Once there, Vader hopes to use the long dormant battle droids for his own bidding.

The concept of Vader traveling to Geonosis and using the battle droids seems a little convenient as far as strategic use of familiar prequel-era imagery is concerned. Look no further than the cover to see this strategy in action. However, I won’t go as far as to call it cheap. The series has established that Vader trusts robots more than humans. Obviously he needs this army sooner rather than later, and given Anakin Skywalker’s experience in the Clone Wars, he has an understanding of how these droids work. So it does make a sort of sense that he’d use them. And let’s be honest, the prequel-meets-classic Star Wars element is usually pretty cool to see, as is the case here.

Darth Vader #4, Geonosis, queenI really enjoy the Doctor Aphra character. Obviously she fulfills a functional purpose in giving Vader someone to talk to, and saying expositional stuff. But what’s really interesting is her reverence of Vader. She’s not simply afraid of him. She is his humble servant. My question is…does she have bizarre romantic feelings for him? That’s a very interesting premise. What kind of woman loves Darth Vader? And can Darth Vader somehow find room amongst all his anger and hate to feel something resembling love again? A plotline like this could be an interesting foreshadowing to the events of Return of the Jedi. But romance or not, Aphra clearly doesn’t have a long life expectancy at this point. Either Vader kills her off when he has no use for her anymore, or her choice in men becomes her undoing.

Gillen, Larroca, and the creative team have also given this series a really fun resource for comedy: Triple-Zero and BT-1. Essentially, they’re evil versions of C-3PO and R2-D2. Zero’s dialogue is hysterical. He’s every bit the cordial, frittish butler C-3PO is. But the evil and sadistic is mixed in with the prim and proper. In this issue alone, he gives us these little gems…

Darth Vader #4, Triple-Zero– “Hello! I’m Triple-Zero and I’m looking forward immensely to torturing you today.”

– “Actually, a few words do spring to mind… Hahaha! You are on fire and also dead.”

Seeing Geonosis as a sterilized, depopulated wasteland so many years after the Clone Wars very much answers a “Whatever happened to…?” question left over from the prequels. It certainly seems in character for our buddies at the galactic Empire to eliminate a resource that is no longer of use. Though apparently they didn’t do as thorough a job as they should have. Larroca really gets to show off when we meet a surviving Geonosian queen who has taken on the remaining battle droids as her “children.” It’s an image that’s both very fitting of the Star Wars universe, and also extremely creepy.

I’m very much hoping Gillen and Larroca keep rolling here. This book’s writing is compelling on a number of levels, and its art is top notch. Truly, this is a Star Wars title worthy of the franchise’s legacy.

Image 1 from idigitaltimes.com. Image 2 from adventuresinpoortaste.com.

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