With Star Wars: The Last Jedi now in theaters, Star Wars fandom is as alive and well as it has ever been. For comic book readers looking for more of the galaxy far, far away, Marvel provides plenty of chances to get to know characters new and old.
Marvel has published several excellent canon stories that add to both the Original Trilogy and flesh out what went on between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens and make the world of The Last Jedi even richer. Here are five series that serve as great starting points for fans who can’t get enough Star Wars.
Darth Vader Vol. 1
Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Salvador Larroca
One of Marvel’s flagship Star Wars series is, at its best, an in-depth exploration of Vader’s self-hatred and viciousness. The series introduces some wild new villains–including fan-favorite rogue Doctor Aphra–and explores how Vader feels about transforming from Anakin Skywalker into the Dark Lord of the Sith. The first volume of the series is now complete, so this is a good time to check out the dark side. And if you want more, there’s a second Darth Vader series by Charles Soule and Giuseppe Camuncoli that takes place in the early days of Vader’s reign of terror.
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Writer: Kieron Gillen Artist: Kev Walker
Sketchy archaeologist Doctor Aphra has been described by writer Kieron Gillen as the inverse of Indiana Jones: she steals artifacts instead of making sure they end up in museums. She has a personality big enough to make an impact, even when her dark snark is aimed at Darth Vader. Her standalone adventures also reveal her conflicted relationship with her father, as well as the history of her Wookiee companion, Black Krrsantan. This is a fantastic series about Marvel’s standout Star Wars character.
Writer: Charles Soule Artist: Alex Maleev
If you’re looking for a miniseries that has a little bit of everything, Lando is a great place to start. With shady business deals, ancient Sith artifacts, sleek spaceships, and strange aliens, it enriches both the smooth businessman’s backstory and the Star Wars galaxy as a whole. And you’ll never look at Lobot the same way again!
writer: Kelly Thompson artist: March Checchetto
Phasma’s appearance in The Last Jedi might seem surprising if the last time you saw her was when she headed to the trash compactor. The four-issue comic series shows that Phasma escaped the trash compactor easily. Much more difficult was hiding the fact that she lowered Starkiller Base’s shield. She tracks the only witness to her act of treason to the wastelands of Luprora and kills everyone who might expose her — including the TIE pilot she had started to befriend. If you were disappointed with Phasma’s quick surrender in The Force Awakens, the book and comic provide plenty of action that shows what she can do when she’s properly motivated.
Writer: Charles Soule Artists: Phil Noto & Angel Unzueta
Fans looking for a connection to The Force Awakens might want to start with Poe Dameron, which fleshes out the charming pilot’s backstory. While Rey’s story is shrouded in mystery (is she or isn’t she a Skywalker?) and Finn’s history remains obscured, along with the origins of the First Order from which he defected, Poe’s story is relatively out in the open. The series shows his time as leader of Black Squadron in the fight against the First Order before Episode VII.
Writer: Greg Rucka Artist: Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta, Emilio Laiso, and Phil Noto
While it doesn’t progress the overall Star Wars story much, Shattered Empire carries some weight as it links The Force Awakens to the Original Trilogy. Starting at the Rebels’ celebration after the Battle of Endor, Shara Bey and Kes Dameron join Luke, Han, and Leia in the effort to mop up the remaining Imperials and recover a Force-strong tree. While learning about Poe Dameron’s parents is neat, this comic is also one of the several Star Wars pieces that show off Phil Noto’s warm art style.
We’ll continue to update this with more essential Star Wars comics, too! What are your favorites?