Comic Book Corner — Star Wars, The X-Files, & Princess Ugg

Star Wars #1 (Art by John Cassaday) © Marvel

Star Wars #1 (Art by John Cassaday) © Marvel / Lucasfilm

Happy Comic Release Day! Welcome to another installment of GeekMom Comic Book Corner, where we recap our adventures in comics for the week. This week the Force is with Kelly as she checks out Star Wars #1. Sophie tackles the latest in The X-Files. Meanwhile, I take a walk on the barbarian side in the world of Princess Ugg.

Kelly Knox — Star Wars #1 by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday (Marvel)

I didn’t plan on liking Star Wars #1. Oh, sure, I’m a diehard Star Wars fan, so of course I bought it, but I was already skeptical about another comic series re-treading the same ground that I enjoyed so much when Dark Horse Comics released their Star Wars books in 2013. After all, Princess Leia kicked some serious butt, and the entire series just felt like Star Wars. No way that could happen again, I decided.

I was wrong.

© Marvel

© Marvel /Lucasfilm

I highly recommend picking this book up in print, because once you flip the pages and see STAR WARS blazoned across the two-page spread, you can practically hear the Star Wars theme. The story even opens similarly to A New Hope with a ship floating above a planet to give readers the familiar feeling of being back in the galaxy far, far away, while it sets up our favorite heroes’ current escapade on Cymoon 1.

If you can’t tell by the images above, I needn’t have worried about Princess Leia sitting back and not getting in on the action. She’s unabashedly bashing, punching, shooting, and giving Han Solo a hard time, and doesn’t hesitate to make the right calls. And Darth Vader… I won’t spoil it for you here, but Darth Vader is properly ominous and ruthless.

While I’m still far more excited about the Princess Leia mini-series coming up in March, this first issue of Star Wars has given me a new hope for the ongoing series. (Groan, I know, but I had to say it.)

Age Recommendation: 12 and up

Dakster Sullivan — Princess Ugg #6 and #7 written and drawn by Ted Naifeh (Oni Press)

Princess Ugg continues to be my favorite series with a strong female lead. The last time we saw our heroine, the carriage carrying her and her fellow princesses was being attacked.

Princess Ugg, never one to stand down from a fight, kicked their tails and then some. Unfortunately, in the end, the bad guys got away and Princess Ugg was left standing with the Captain of the Royal Guard.

The attackers wanted a ransom for the safe return of the princesses, and while the Captain was happy to do things in a diplomatic way, Ugg was less inclined and took after the men.

After a bloody battle between Ugg and the men who attacked them, the girls are back on their way to see Queen Astoria of Atraesca, Issue 7 opens up and we immediately see how the other princesses have changed their opinion of Ugg. She’s a valiant warrior and by saving their lives, apparently has earned their respect and friendship.

Julifer is the only one that doesn’t want to give Ugg a chance and despite saving their lives, is still against her. Tired of Julifer’s bickering about Ugg, one of the other princesses reveals that Julifer is the least royal of all the princesses (her father is a Prime Minister). Ugg on the other hand, has more royal blood than all of them combined.

Once in the audience of the Queen, each perform a talent to entertain the court.

When it comes time for Ugg to entertain the Queen, she is embarrassed because her instrument and her dress were destroyed saving her classmates. One of her fellow princesses convinces her to go back to her roots and hands her the original outfit she wore to the school. Since her instrument was destroyed in the fight, the Queen asks Ugg to sing instead. Princess Ugg obliges and sings a lullaby common to her people. It’s a depressing song about loss, and it summed up why Ugg went to the princess academy to begin with and what she wants to prevent when it’s her turn to rule. Her voice blows everyone away and they see that Ugg can do more than wield a sword.

The issue doesn’t end well for our heroines and with Princess Ugg’s story ending in March, I’m interested to see how the issues following this one tie up her story with how this issue ended.

Age Recommendation: 12 and up due to some flying heads and bloodshed.

Princess Ugg: Vol 1 is available in comic book stores now.

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of this title. 

Sophie Brown — The X-Files: Season 10 #20 by Joe Harris with art by Tom Mandrake (IDW Publishing)

Following up last month’s issue focused on government experiments with hallucinogenic drug G-23 comes The X-Files: Season 10 #20 and a conclusion that I think I needed to be high to fully comprehend.

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 20 \ Image: IDW Publishing

The X-Files Season 10 Issue 20 \ Image: IDW Publishing

The last we saw of Agent Mulder he had been dusted with G-23 and was hallucinating an image of Scully smoking a cigarette and wearing fishnets. Rather than picking up immediately where we left off, #20 begins with a flashback to a younger Mulder visiting a head shop with his then-girlfriend Diana Fowley and spotting a certain iconic poster. It’s a scene once very vaguely described in an episode of the TV show and it’s nice to see that note picked up, however briefly. Of course we then realize that this might too be part of a hallucination and not an accurate recounting, as Mulder wakes up back in the desert. The hallucination-Scully whom Mulder takes to calling Red is still around, only now with significantly less fishnets and more cleavage. The story takes a surprisingly violent turn for the series until Mulder blacks out again.

Mulder and Red take a confusing drive filled with bizarre occurrences, presumably imaginary cliff edges and ballet moves on top of a moving roof, before ending up at the ruins of the facility we saw last issue. The artwork here is spectacular, all black, haunting silhouettes against beautiful skies as Mulder discusses his father’s work with Red before finding himself in the dark depths of the old facility. Mulder finds something he believes is his final truth, only to wake up back on the surface with nothing. It’s a fairly typical X-Files resolution, only this time, thanks to the hallucinogens, we have no idea how much of what we just witnessed happened anyway. There’s also a minor subplot involving Langley waking up in the desert and having some hallucinations of his own, however these play absolutely no part in the storyline and seem at best pointless.

There are a lot of unanswered questions going on here. Mulder clearly moves from the site where he was sprayed with G-23 to the location of the old facility, but how? Did he drive himself while hallucinating Red entirely? Was Red actually a real person and Mulder projected the image of a warped, buxom Scully onto her? If so, who was that person? And as for the G-23 that supposedly “brings out the worst in people,” why did Mulder seem pretty much himself while on it? Where other characters have turned horrifically violent, Mulder just had a few visions. Does that mean Mulder is already so close to his own “worst” incarnation that we fail to see a difference? The concept of something causing people to see their worst fears has a strong precedent on The X-Files: We’ve seen it in Wetwired and again in X-Cops, but G-23 wasn’t explained well enough to really deliver the high it could had done.

Age Recommendation: 18+

Disclaimer: GeekMom received a review copy of this title.

Looking for something else, readers? Check out this week’s listed books:

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Aquaman #38
Arkham Manor #4
Batman #38
Batman Eternal #43
Bodies #7 (Of 8)
Catwoman #38
Deathstroke #4
Earth 2 World’s End #17
Effigy #1
Flash #38
Flash Vol. 5 History Lessons TP
Gotham Academy #4
Gotham By Midnight #3
Green Lantern By Geoff Johns Omnibus Vol. 1 HC
Harley Quinn #14 GM
He-Man The Eternity War #2
Infinity Man And The Forever People #7
Justice League Dark #38
Multiversity Guidebook #1
New 52 Futures End #39
Red Lanterns #38
Secret Origins #9
Showcase Presents Blue Beetle TP
Sinestro #9
Star-Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I. Zombie #6
Unwritten Vol. 2 Apocalypse #12
Vertigo Quarterly Black #1
All-New Invaders #14
Amazing X-Men #16
Cataclysm The Ultimates’ Last Stand TP
Deadpool #41
Deadpool The Ones With Deadpool TP
Guardians Of The Galaxy / All-New X-Men The Trial Of Jean Grey TP
Inhuman #11
Marvel Previews #138 (February 2015 For Products On-Sale April 2015)
Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Web Warriors #3 Kid-Friendly
New Avengers #29
New Warriors Vol. 2 Always And Forever TP
Nick Fury Agent Of S.H.I.E.L.D. Classic Vol. 2 TP
Nova #26 GM
Secret Avengers #12
Spider-Man 2099 #8
Spider-Man And The X-Men #2 New Series GM
Spider-Man Big Time The Complete Collection Vol. 3 TP
Superior Foes Of Spider-Man Vol. 3 Game Over TP
Thor #4
Uncanny Avengers #1 Reboot
Uncanny X-Men #30
Wolverine And The X-Men Vol. 2 Death Of Wolverine TP
Wolverines #4
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Angry Birds Comics #8 Kid Friendly
Angry Birds Transformers #3 (Of 4) Kid-Friendly
Creature Cops Special Varmint Unit #1 (Of 3) New-Mini Series
Doberman #5
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #210
G.I. JOE The IDW Collection Vol. 5 HC
Godzilla Rulers Of Earth #20
Judge Dredd #27
Judge Dredd Classics The Dark Judges #2 (Of 5)
Katabasis I TP
Life Eaters TP
Maxx Maxximized #16
Maxx Maxximized Vol. 3 HC
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic #27 Kid-Friendly
October Faction #2 New Series
Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #1 (Of 6) Kid Friendly
Rot And Ruin #5
Skylanders #5 (Of 5) Kid Friendly
Squidder TP
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Color Classics Vol. 3 #2 Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters #4 (Of 4) Final Issue Kid Friendly
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Vol. 10 New Mutant Order TP
Transformers Drift Empire Of Stone #3 (Of 4)
V-Wars #10
Winterworld #7
X-Files Season 10 #20
Captain Midnight #19
Captain Midnight Vol. 4 Crash And Burn TP
Colder The Bad Seed #4
Conan The Avenger #10
EC Archives The Vault Of Horror Vol. 4 HC
Eerie Archives Vol. 18 HC
ElfQuest The Final Quest #7
Eye Of Newt HC
Father’s Day #4 (Of 4)
Halo Escalation #14
Mind MGMT #30
Predator Fire And Stone #4 (Of 4)
Savage Sword Of Conan Vol. 18 TP
Sundowners #6
Tomb Raider #12

Acronym Key: HC = Hard Cover / TP = Trade Paperback / GM = GeekMom Recommended Reading

Marvel’s Star Wars Comics: A Not-So-New Hope

Princess Leia #1 by Terry Dodson

Princess Leia #1 by Terry and Rachel Dodson © Marvel Comics

A new Star Wars ongoing comic book series, coming in January, that covers the period of time between Episodes IV and V. Princess Leia grabbing a Rebel pilot helmet and taking center stage. Does all of this sound familiar? It’s because the same thing was announced in 2013.

Star Wars #1

Star Wars #1, Art by John Cassady © Marvel Comics

This weekend at San Diego Comic Con, Marvel Comics announced three new Star Wars comic book series coming in 2015. All three titles boast impressive creative talent. Star Wars: Darth Vader, an ongoing series, comes from writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca in February. A mini-series, Star Wars: Princess Leia, by writer Mark Waid and artist Terry Dodson, hits comic book store shelves in March. And Jason Aaron and John Cassaday are taking the helm of Star Wars, an ongoing series with a story that begins shortly after the Battle of Yavin as the Rebels begin to plan their next move.

This premise is the same as the Star Wars series from Dark Horse Comics that wraps up next month. In the Dark Horse series, writer Brian Wood has taken us from action-packed space battles to Leia-centric storylines that do the character justice through the twenty issue series, and combined with the brilliant artwork from Carlos D’Anda, each issue has maintained a “this feels like Star Wars!” quality.

I’ve enjoyed the series so much that I find it hard to be excited for the new ongoing from Marvel. Of course I’ll pick it up—these comic books, unlike the Expanded Universe, are actually going to be in Star Wars canon. That makes them practically required reading for any Star Wars fan. I’d just be more excited if this wasn’t the same ground that Dark Horse’s series hadn’t already covered well.

I am, however, happily intrigued by Mark Waid writing the five-issue Princess Leia mini-series beginning next March. I’m a fan. But why couldn’t it be an ongoing series? With the other two Star Wars series as both ongoing, this is a noticeable move by Marvel Comics, which has made some otherwise fantastic strides in the number of ongoing female-led books recently. Like the other Star Wars titles, I’ll gladly pick up my five issues of Star Wars: Princess Leia, but… I want the whole cake.