Friday, February 15, 2019

Microreview [book]: The Song of All, by Tina LeCount Myers

The Song of All uses Saami culture and mythology, as well as a crunchy set of characters and motivations to portray a frozen and bloody tale.

Irjan just wants to live a peaceful life as a farmer on the cold fringes of the tundra with his wife, Sohja. He has a past that he has not told her about, and frankly would far sooner forget. But when an ambitious priest decides that his key to escape the hardscrabble life on the edge of civilization is to motivate Irjan to action by means of a violent tragedy inflicted on his family, Irjan’s course will affect not only himself, the life of his child, or his people, but the fate of two races.

This is the story of Tina LeCount Myers’ The Song of All.

The opening chapters of the novel felt a bit rough and rushed, with the inciting incident of the novel coming off tempo. The novel feels like its in too much of a hurry to get to that point, at the expense of setting it up better. I think it could have been foregrounded better. We only afterwards really get a sense of who and what and why, and what it all means.

Once the novel gets past that and we get into the meat of the story, the novel settles into its strengths. Once we get a real sense of what Irjan is about, the black tragedy of his arc makes for a dark, but compelling read. Combine that with the Japmemeahttun, the race of immortals that man once warred with and that some would see that war prosecuted again. Theirs is a dying, diminishing race, who are raging against the dying of their light, but the press of mankind means that their days do indeed seem to be numbered. The slow inexorable decline of their race brings to mind novels revolving around the tragic fall of the Fae, particularly in, say, Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword. Indeed, not to spoil some things revealed in the background of the novel, there are other parallels to be made, too.

But while The Broken Sword goes for Norse and Germanic myth for its taproots for its worldbuilding and sets it in our Dark Ages, The Song of All elects to go northeast, to the Saami and Finish cultures and mythologies and stay strictly in a secondary world. This is not quite borrowing from the Kalevala, but it is inspired by the culture and legends.  The author has a penchant for a lot of loan words, further grounding the worldbuilding in that culture. While the language of the novel is descriptive and immersive, the author does not go into tremendous worldbuilding detail. We feel the cold thin existence on the edge of the tundra, writing that seeps that cold into the bones, but it's written so that the reader can bring many of the details themselves, rather than going into deep depth of description. It’s evocative rather than plainly descriptive writing, but it works very well for that.

This is a novel that reads  much more like a saga than an epic fantasy novel, and a saga told to locals more than a secondary fantasy novel in typical fashion trying to build that out. One could imagine Irjan’s story, as written here, being presented for the benefit of the inhabitants of that world, who would already know what, for instance, a duollji is. The novel is far more interested in actions, and the consequences of those actions. So while the novel is light on traditional worldbuilding, it is very strong on plot. There is a rich tapestry of character stories and motivations here that, when the novel gets out of that early roughness, propels the narratives of the characters forward in a very readable fashion

Irjan's story is at the heart, but the novel is full of characters with hopes, agendas and plans of their own. The scheming Apotti (priest), Rikkar.. His assistant, Siggur, equally ambitious in his own right. The Japmemeahttun, Ailllun and Djorn, seeking to try and follow the precepts and traditions of their culture to keep their race alive. And more.

However, in addition to a bit of a rough opening, I was not entirely satisfied with the end matter of the book. The novel, after that very solid core, suddenly slingshots the narrative far into the future in the last, shortest portion of the novel. That future feels much more sketched in, world and character wise, as compared to the richness of what has come before. That section seems to exist more for an event to occur than anything else, and it left me questions about the intervening years and just what has happened in that gap. I do understand wanting to, and being motivated to skip the “dull bits”.  With the majority of the book being so deep and rich in the characters and the plot, this felt like a too brief wade into the future of the series (there is another book coming) and it feels like an unsatisfactory bridge to me, thereby, to it.

Overall, however, the vividity of the characters and the plotting, and the language of the novel made this an enjoyable and intriguing epic fantasy experience to read. I will be curious where the series goes from here, based on the events of that last section.


The Math

Baseline Assessment: 7/10

Bonuses: +1 for immersive, poetic writing
+1 for a strong central character

Penalties: -1 for some roughness in the beginning that take some time to smooth out
-1 for an ending that feels like a compressed opening for a subsequent novel

Nerd Coefficient: 7/10: an enjoyable experience, but not without its flaws

Reference:  Myers, Tina Le Count, The Song og All, Night Shade Books, 2018]

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday Morning Superhero

This past week Tim Doyle had his final show in his Unreal Estate line of famous buildings/structures from pop culture at the Spoke Art gallery in San Francisco and it did not disappoint. I ordered three prints from the online sale and you can check out some of his work here featuring the Stonecutters, Princess Mononoke, Transformers, and other secret headquarters.

Pick of the Week:
Outer Darkness #4 - I saw a friendly tweet reminding me that the new Outer Darkness dropped this week and that John Layman was quite proud of this particular issue. That prompted me to purchase the second and third books, which slipped past my radar after enjoying the first, and after catching up it is important to note that Layman and artist Afu Chan have something really special in this book. Chan noted being inspired by Aliens and 2001: A Space Odyssey and his art shines through with how vibrant Chan makes the darkness of space feel.  A crew has been sent to the Outer Darkness on a highly classified mission to retrieve an individual that is crucial to the war. The captain appears to have his own agenda and is not making any friends in the process. Learning about the concepts of death and rebirth have really fueled this series in a way like no other book I've read. The ethical ramifications of retrieving souls and re-imprinting them on bodies are central to the book and the current twist of having a former God navigating the ship is one to keep an eye on.  I am glad I saw that tweet and was motivated to add a few additional books to my pull list this week.

The Rest:
Criminal #2- In a bit of a surprise, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips introduce a new story into the one they debuted last month. This book focused on former comic book artist Hal Crane who needed a handler to ensure he attends all of the appropriate events and a comic book convention over the weekend. Jacob, who was an aspiring artist and one of Hal's assistants back in the day, has been hand selected for the job and is trying to understand why.  Brubaker and Phillips toss in a couple of clues surrounding the shady death of one of Crane's co-workers and mention that Crane has a reputation for stealing art from editors desk to sell on the collectors market. It was an interesting turn, and one that is setting up a comic book art heist, but it didn't draw me in like the first issue. I am going to trust this team that the slow pace is intentional and look forward to resolving both stories.

Gideon Falls #11 - Like any other attempt to contact other dimensions, it doesn't bode well for those who are able to finally break through. Theh Weirdmageddon in Gravity Falls was a result of one such breach, the many horrors in Fringe, and it appears that there is a being between the realms that has been waiting for someone to return to the black between the different worlds in Gideon Falls. This was a very surreal issue that left us in a situation where there is now an invader in Gideon Falls and the implications are likely to change this series substantially.

POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Microreview [book]: Ninth Step Station by Malka Older, Fran Wilde, Jacqueline Koyanagi, and Curtis C. Chen

Suddenly Derailed

Tokyo is divided. In the (somewhat) near future, an war with China leaves Tokyo with a Chinese occupation and US-led military peacekeepers. The police force has to contend with both as they go about their duty of upholding the law. Ninth Step Station follows detective Miyako Koreda and her newly assigned peacekeeper partner Emma Higashi as they solve crimes, learn to deal with each other, and try to douse some of the fires that could result in a renewal of the war.

Ninth Step Station is a Serial Box product, which means I got to read the first 10 "episodes" which I assume comprise a season 1. Each episode is approximately novella size.

This format worked well for Ninth Step Station. With a limited number of authors, the deviations in voice and tone between each episode were pretty much non-existent. Every now and then, a character would do something a little out-of-line, but I was pleasantly surprised by how well each story flowed into the next. This is a police procedural, like Law & Order: SVU in a slightly futuristic Tokyo. Each episode follows a new case, but this isn't the kind of thing you could shuffle up and put into any order. Actions in previous stories have impacts later in the series, which is a nice touch. The stories themselves range from a really intriguing mysteries to a little plodding but not terrible.

Where they've nearly lost me, and it remains to be seen if I'm still in it, is the ending of the last episode. It's really not an ending at all. It's like they've built up to a crescendo and then stopped. I had to ask for confirmation that my copy wasn't missing some final chapter or epilogue. I was really put off by how it ends because it doesn't end anything, neither the novella episode nor the novel season. I want this series to continue, but I also expect some satisfying conclusion to the 10 episode season, and I didn't get that.

As with most serialized media, there's a chance this thing never sees a season two and this particular series will suffer badly for it. It stops mid-sentence (figuratively), and I'll be really unhappy if it doesn't continue. But the build up to that non-ending is totally enjoyable. It's an exciting, complex weaving of many strands of plots across personal and national conflicts.


The Math
Baseline Assessment: 8/10

Bonuses: +1 Chinese detectives Liu and Wong are perfectly crafted scumbags.

Penalties: -2 WHERE. WAS. THE. ENDING?

Nerd Coefficient: 7/10 (an enjoyable experience, but not without its flaws)


POSTED BY: brian, sci-fi/fantasy/video game dork and contributor since 2014

Reference: Older, Malka, Wilde, Fran, Koyanagi, Jacqueline, and Chen, Curtis C. Ninth Step Station (Serial Box, 2019)

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Born to the Blade: Episode 11

The first season of Born to the Blade has come to an end and in some ways it is with more of a whimper than a bang. There is finally evidence that the inciting incident that sparked the war between Rumika and Quloo was instigated and perpetuated by the Merkitan Empire. The war should perhaps continue, but the directed wrath of the nations should all be pointed in one direction.

It's never that simple, of course. There are alliances and vassal states and interests that supercede "truth".

My problem with "All the Nations of the Sky" is that it works better (for me) as "Episode 11" than it does as the season finale. Michael R. Underwood does an excellent job setting up future storylines that I would like to see the resolution to in a presumed Season 2, but any episode can do that. Perhaps this is an instance of expectation clashing with storytelling choices, but this season ender felt smaller than I would expect from a finale. My excitement for a second season lies in the overall strength of the first season than it is for how it specifically ended.

Moments of "All the Nations of the Sky" are quite good. The duel (both verbal and with swords) between Kris and Bellona was exceptional. The development of Michiko going back home to foment rebellion is one that I would happily take a full novel of by itself. But somehow, the collected whole of how it all pulls together as a single episode capping off the season fails to fully satisfy.

With that underwhelming endorsement, I should remind myself (and anyone else who has followed along with my scattered thoughts on the full season since I began this project in May) that as a full season, Born to the Blade is delightful. One episode does not make (or break) a season. If it turns out that Season 1 did well enough for Serial Box, I look forward to seeing what Underwood and his team of writers has in store for us next. Having Malka Older, Marie Brennan, and Cassandra Khaw on the writing staff is a can't miss writers room.

Previous Reviews
Episodes 1 & 2
Episodes 3 & 4
Episodes 5 & 6
Episodes 7 & 8
Episodes 9 & 10

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 & 2018 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Minnesotan.  

Monday, February 11, 2019

Series Review: The Harwood Spellbook by Stephanie Burgis

A trio of magical, historical romances offering the most engaging, well-realised type of comfort reading.

Art by Leesha Hannigan
As winter continues its reign of terror over this part of the northern hemisphere, I've been doing my best to introduce a steady diet of comfort reading into what can become a pretty dark and dense TBR. That's why I've been so glad to finally make time for Stephanie Burgis, and particularly her Hardwood Spellbook series, an alternate historical romance set in a magical regency era reminiscent of Zen Cho, or Kate Elliott's Spiritwalker trilogy. The series currently consists of two "main" novellas - Snowspelled and the forthcoming Thornbound, as well as a shorter prequel novella, Spellswept, set fifteen years or so before the events of the main chronology, and from a different point of view, but with many of the same characters.

The focus of the series is Cassandra Harwood, a young woman born to an elite Anglish family. For 1700 years, elite men and women have maintained a balance of power by which only women can go into politics, but only men are allowed to study magic, and for families like the Harwoods, male and female children are expected to follow that most elite career path exactly. That seems limiting in a number of ways, and Cassandra's path has put her in collision with the most obvious taboo: she's a talented magician and is desperate to study magic, taking the place of her older brother, Jonathan, who is more than happy to step aside and follow his non-magical passion for history. To complicate matters further, members of the Boudiccate, the council that governs the country, must be married to a mage - which means that, despite general acceptance of same-sex relationships and the understanding that not all men can do magic, politically ambitious women must marry from a very limited group of men.

Cover by Ravven
What's fascinating about the main series - and while Spellswept is a delightful story and adds a lot to our overall understanding of Cassandra and her future sister-in-law Amy, it's worth reading after the initial introduction to the characters that Snowspelled provides - is that by the time we meet Cassandra, she's not the driven mage struggling against discrimination in her chosen path. Instead, in her own words, Cassandra is no longer "functional". Having pushed herself too hard in pursuit of securing the respect of her peers, she's burned out her own magic and is now unable to cast any spells at all. Luckily for us, this doesn't signal the end of any of her adventures, and Snowspelled and Thornbound deliver a tense pair of magically-driven mysteries: the first, set in a snowed-in house party, and the second in the Harwood's own estate next to a menacing forest. In both cases, unknown human meddling has upset the balance with their near neighbours, the elves and the fae, and it's up to Cassandra to untangle the mixture of human and fantastical motivations behind the mystery and save the day, all without a magical spell in sight.

As a reader, it's hard it is not to fixate on Cassandra's lack of magic, and how happy she - and we - would be if it returned, and to unconsciously expect that as an ending. What Burgis does so well is not to dismiss or deny that disappointment, but to make it very clear that the happy endings Cassandra and her family (including magic-school-rival-turned-fiance-turned-ex-fiance-turned-husband Wrexham) achieve are valid and satisfying even if they don't lead to undoing her past mistakes. Cassandra's response to the overwhelming hostility she has faced in achieving her ambitions has been to close herself off and attempt to achieve things on her own - even though Spellswept makes it clear that she has always had allies among her family - and each entry in the series explores that in a different way. Along the way, the story makes it abundantly clear that despite not being able to single-handedly achieve the reform she wanted by pushing through with blunt force, Cassandra there are perhaps even better ways to achieve her goal while also working with the family and allies around her. All three of these books are capital R Romance, so Cassandra's reconciliation with Wrexham and Amy's relationship with Jonathan are big elements of the "happily ever afters", but I very much enjoyed the fact that these relationships don't take total precedence over other family ties or personal goals, even if they sometimes provide more narrative fuel. Of course, the satisfaction of these endings relies on the strength of the main characters, and all three novellas benefit from a main cast who shine even when the limited space available means others are less fleshed out. Llewellyn, in Spellswept, has a particularly unfortunate time of it, though astute readers will note that it's because he's actually the worst.

Art by Leesha Hannigan
The worldbuilding of these novellas is quite focused, and there's a satisfying symmetry and an interesting power dynamic to the "women are politicians, men are mages" thing even if it might not stand up to super close scrutiny as a system of power distribution. Thornbound does add an interesting wrinkle when a character points out how many countries have a traditional patriarchal structure, which might also overturn the Boudiccate any moment if women were to give up or amend the political structure in any way. Certainly, Cassandra's struggles to be accepted as a magician feel more like someone of a marginalised gender hitting a glass ceiling than the disbelief and in-group policing (and/or appropriation) which might follow a privileged person taking on a marginalised person's social role. That's not to say that the conflict the book recounts isn't already compelling, but I do wonder if the complexities of Angland's gender politics might be fleshed out in later volumes. I'd also love to see the apparent precariousness of this political system explored, especially as it holds an interesting mirror to the storylines with the elves (in Snowspelled) and fae (in Thornbound), in which treaties must be upheld because of the unknowable but almost-certainly-dire consequences for humanity if they aren't, as doled out by non-human intelligences who aren't at all interested in nice human answers. There's a lot to explore here, and while I can see this series leaning in to the "Lady Trent" tactic of glossing over anything Cassandra doesn't find interesting in her own story, its nice to have the perspective from Amy (and other points of view in future) to hopefully expand on some of these questions and themes.

Ultimately, this series is one which takes a generous interpretation of human nature and applies it to the concept of sacrifice - of what we give up, when, and how, of what it does or doesn't help us achieve, and about how to cut one's losses and accept the best circumstances available. While there are a couple of genuinely unpleasant characters, most of the interpersonal conflict in Cassandra's world stems from those who have given something up in order to protect what they see as the good of society: whether that be upholding a status quo and forcing themselves into a particular mould to do so, or pushing for reforms at the expense of their own wellbeing. The result is a trio of well plotted, tense, emotionally satisfying novellas which punch well above their length in terms of thematic weight. Comfort reading this series may be, but it's comfort at its most engaging, balancing trauma and intrigue with a great cast of characters and some very satisfying - romantic and otherwise - outcomes.

The Math:

Snowspelled: 8/10 Great introduction to the series, start here. Not-so-cosy winter themes perfect for cold nights under a blanket.

Spellswept: 7/10 A lovely diversion into the past. Slighter, but Amy remains a force to be reckoned with.

Thornbound: 8/10 A return to Cassandra and a great continuation of the overall themes, introducing new characters and settings and a fascinating central mystery.

Overall: 8/10

POSTED BY: Adri is a semi-aquatic migratory mammal most often found in the UK. She has many opinions about SFF books, and is also partial to gaming, baking, interacting with dogs, and Asian-style karaoke.

Reference: Burgis, Stephanie. Snowspelled [Five Fathoms Press, 2017]
"Spellswept, " first published in The Underwater Ballroom Society [Five Fathoms Press, 2018]
Thornbound [Five Fathoms Press, 2019]

Friday, February 8, 2019

Microreview [book]: Through Darkest Europe, by Harry Turtledove

Harry Turtledove's Through Darkest Europe tackles religious fundamentalism, prejudice and violence through his classic use of an alternate history world.

A pair of investigators visit a notorious backwater and corrupt portion of the world, a part of the world that resists coming into the modern era. The local autocrat is trying to hold down religious fundamentalists from running amok, women are expected to be seen (but covered up, of course) and not heard. Prejudice, racism, sexism and violence on the streets are a daily event. You probably already are imagining some place in the Middle East, or Central Asia, perhaps. You could likely see the investigators in your mind eye, maybe played by Chris Pratt and Tom Cruise. Americans abroad, helping democracy and freedom.

But since this is a Harry Turtledove alternate history novel, you would be wrong. The place is the Grand Duchy of Italy, in an alternate world where Europe is the backwater, and the investigators are from the civilized republic of the Maghreb of North Africa, in his latest novel, Through Darkest Europe.

The novel relies mainly on the setup, the world and the characters much more than a high throttle plot to propel the narrative. The two investigators come to Italy and get into trouble of all kinds, caught in the midst of secular and religious violence. Khalid, the Muslim, reaches across divides to find a relationship with a local woman,Annarita ,who struggles against the prejudices and backwater nature of her homeland. Dawud, is a Jew, and even in the modern world, still suffers prejudice there, and even more within the Grand Duchy. His is the older, mordantly funny observational type, a nice contrast to Khalid as lead. Turtledove carefully have Khalid note that in a more just world free of all prejudice, his partner would be the senior one.

In that line, too, this is not a “better” world by any means, although I have some unanswered questions about the world. With the center of civilization switched from Europe, history has rhymed if not repeated from our world, with devastating wars between Iran and Iraq mentioned. There is also mention of a Holocaust like genocide of millions of people, but it is not a Jewish Holocaust. His alternate world’s Dar Al Islam may be as advanced and modern as Europe and America in our world, but it is not and hasn’t always been peace and roses since the rise of Egypt, the Maghreb and the other nations.

And yes, friends, since this is a Harry Turtledove, there is a tuckerization, something I have spotted in his work since the days of realizing who a used car dealer in The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump was in our world. This time, the tuckerization I spotted was of a famous SF character, an alternate history character no less. I got a chuckle out of that. This novel is not quite like Matt Ruff’s The Mirage (one of the books that explores this novel’s theme in a different way)  in that regard which is replete with parallel versions of characters from our world. Turtledove can and does play with the net fairly high up. Ruff’s The Mirage doesn’t bother to try and figure out why the Middle East is civilized and America is a backwater, he just goes with it. Turtledove’s two small changes in the philosophy of a key scholar in Europe, and one from the Islamic World is enough to put things on a very different course.

And truthfully, some of the descriptions of what The Grand Duchy of Italy pulled at my heart in the same way that I felt when ISIS wrecked the ruins of the city of Palmyra. Italian heritage of their ancient sites is poor and the description of the neglect of those places in Rome, a couple of which I have seen for myself, was devastating. If the author meant to invoke the destruction of Palmyra explicitly, then for me, he succeeded.

I think, if anything, Turtledove could have been even sharper and more poignant in his flipped world and missed a couple of chances to do so. Since the novel almost exclusively takes place in peninsular Italy, I wonder if in Turtledove’s world that not only are the glorious remnants of the past falling down, but why haven’t they long since been sold off. Maybe a comment or two about Roman statues transplanted to Tunis or Alexandria. Heck, there is a mention of the obelisk in front of the (sadly very crumbling) Pantheon in this world. I’d think that if Egypt was a powerful country in the civilized world, they’d long since have put a lot of pressure on the Grand Duchy of Italy to give back the dozen or so obelisks the Romans carted off from Egypt two millennia ago. The very secularized North African nations of Turtledove’s world, I think, would have a higher appreciation for artifacts from before the time of the Prophet and seek their return. There is stated admiration for the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna, for example, showcases this.

All in all, however, some of the value of Turtledove’s alternate histories is to see our world, or an aspect of what our world once was, through the lens of a timeline that never was and never could be. The book shows just how senseless religious fundamentalism really is, by showing that with just a couple of changes,the center of civilization could have been elsewhere, and the world turned upside down, with those forces of intolerance hate taking root elsewhere.


The Math

Baseline Assessment: 7/10

Bonuses: +1 
for an effective and believable alternate world

Penalties: -1
for unignorable weakness in plot and story.

Nerd Coefficient: 7/10 an enjoyable experience, but not without its flaws

Reference:  Turtledove, Harry Through Darkest Europe, Tor Books, 2018]

POSTED BY: Paul Weimer. Ubiquitous in Shadow, but I’m just this guy, you know? @princejvstin.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Thursday Morning Superhero

Before we hop into this week's trio of comics I thought I would share a Kickstarter for a board game that has grabbed my attention.  In Dead Man's Cabal, you play a necromancer who is trying to raise the dead to join you for a party. While the premise is simple as you gain skulls and spell cards in order to raise the dead, the variable phase order is what has me excited about this game. On your turn you get to determine one action for yourself and one action for the everyone. Do you maximize both moves knowing it will benefit one of your opponents? Do you settle for a move that isn't as good, but doesn't help anyone else either? There are a lot of tense decisions and the Kickstarter has already reached some cool stretch goals including 3D bones as currency and the art ranks up there with some of the best in the business. The next stretch goal is 3D skulls!  Check it out here.

Pick of the Week:
Batman #64 - This marks the start of a Batman and Flash crossover and I am quickly learning that I need to read more Flash comics. I will openly admit that I grew up as a Marvel kid and have primarily dabbled in Batman in the DC Universe. Batman and Flash are teaming up in this arc to deal with a crimewave that is sweeping Gotham. Batman seems to have some sort of insider knowledge on the attacks and we learn that Gotham Girl, who he once attempted to train, is trying to somehow save her brother who was corrupted by Psycho Pirate. Despite having one of the worst names in all of comics, Psycho Pirate is adept at manipulating people and played a pivotal role in one of the arcs that caused me to abandon this series. While that thought has me a bit hesitant for this crossover, the dynamic for Batman and Flash teaming up has me very excited to explore more of the DC Universe.

The Rest:
Vindication #1 - I wanted to like this book based on the premise, but it felt too cliche and hook me despite a solid cliffhanger ending. Turn Washington was wrongly convicted for a murder 10 years ago and has just been set free. The detective who worked the case disagrees, and is set out to make sure that Washington returns to his prison cell at the first sign of a slip up. There are a lot of interesting elements to this book, including some racial undertones, a corrupt system, and attention grabbing lawyers, but it fell flat to me.  I am currently enjoying the latest season of True Detective and wonder if my standards are elevated due to that series having captivated my interest. There is a good chance that this series will improve as we learn more about the murder 10 years ago and the similarity to a recent murder, but I am not quite there.

Star Wars #61 - It looks like we reached the conclusion of another arc and that the Rebels are going to have to engage with the SCAR Squadron in the near future as they have obtained some of their secret plans. This was a big reunion issue as Han and Chewy join forces again, Han returns to his true love the Millennium Falcon, and Luke rejoins Tula after she helped him and the Rebels escape. The highlight in this issue was a two page interaction between C-3P0 and an alien having what appears to be a tense negotiation, only to learn that C-3P0 was nearly advocating for new leg plating which he successfully obtains. It felt very authentic to the humor that has been sprinkled throughout this series and I remain in awe at how effective the comics are at filling in the gaps of the films and remaining very true to the original source.

POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.