The Last Jedi hit theaters last week, and opinion is mixed. Some loved it, some hated it. I am somewhere in between. My feelings have literally changed daily — some days I like The Last Jedi, some days I don’t care for it as much. Of course, every fan varies in their opinion, but one thing most can agree on are how enjoyable the Star Wars comics that Marvel releases are. I got my hands on Star Wars Legends: Rise of the Sith Vol. 2, but hold on. This book wasn’t originally published by Marvel Comics; all the stories contained within were originally published by Dark Horse. Is it worth the buy? Read on and find out!
Rise of the Sith Vol. 2 is a thick graphic novel, clocking in over a whopping 475 pages. First up is all six parts of Prelude to Rebellion, written by Jan Stmad, with artwork by Anthony Wynn and colors by Dave Nestelle. Jedi Ki-Adi-Mundi is the central character in this story. Most of the citizens on his homeworld of Cerea are happy to live in a low-tech world, but there is a growing voice calling for advanced technologies brought in by offworlders. Ki-Adi-Mundi becomes a voice of opposition for the development and gets falsely charged with murder. Add in a conspiracy that includes Jabba the Hutt and the Trade Federation and you have the stage set for The Phantom Menace.
Another fan favorite, Star Wars: Darth Maul, makes its way into the book. Maul is written by Ron Marz with artwork by Jan Duursema and colors by Dave McCaig. This story takes place before the events of The Phantom Menace, and focuses on Darth Maul hunting down one of the most powerful organizations in the galaxy, the Black Sun. This has always been one of my favorite stories, as it shows how ruthless Maul is, yet he is very loyal to Darth Sidious. And he stops at nothing to achieve his goal.
A majority of Rise of the Sith Vol. 2 is filled with Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. The story is by George Lucas, scripted by Henry Gilroy, artwork by Rodolfo Damaggio, and colors by Dave Nestelle. It collects all four issues of the movie, but it also includes Anakin Skwalker, Queen Amidala, Qui-Gon Jinn, and Obi-Wan Kenobi’s solo comics respectively. Each of these show what the individual character was doing during the events of The Phantom Menace while they were not featured in the main story.
Rounding out the Rise of the Sith Vol. 2 are select, smaller stories. There is the somber Death of Captain Tarpals, and some are amusing like George R Binks — the story of Jar Jar’s father, who is the captain of his own boat that gets wrecked, stranding him and his family, including a younger, more annoying Jar Jar….if that’s even possible, on an island. Another tale, which I found kinda boring is Urchins, focusing on a young Anakin Skywalker and his friends on Tattooine. Rounding out the smaller tales is Force Fiction, a parody of the Pulp Fiction restaurant scene with Yoda as Vincent Vega, and of course Mace Windu in the Jules role. Easily my favorite of the four short stories.
There is an all-star crew of writers, illustrators, colorists, inkers, and letterers that are a part of this amazing volume. Each writer does a considerable job capturing the essence of the characters we’ve all become familiar with over the years. In some instances, characters expand from their theatrical appearance, like Darth Maul. His four-chapter story is both entertaining and appealing to look at. I wish there were more stories with him back in the Dark Horse days.
Bottom line is if you are a Star Wars fan, you will not be disappointed with Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: Rise of the Sith Vol. 2. There’s a story in this book that caters to every type of Star Wars fan, from casual to hardcore. I am not a big fan of Ki-Adi-Mundi, but his tale was interesting. My favorite is the Darth Maul story, and I have never been a big fan of reading movies translated into comics, but The Phantom Menace wasn’t a terrible read. If you have room in your collection, and I don’t know a single Star Wars fan that will say he doesn’t, run out and grab Star Wars Legends: Rise of the Sith Vol. 2.