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Star Wars: Crimson Reign
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Star Wars: Crimson Reign’ most certainly is a Star Wars comic

An interesting premise done in a boring way.


Modern Star Wars has found itself in a position where these massive moments have already been defined, so if we want more, smaller stories have to fit between the more “important” ones. Sometimes, this dancing between raindrops can really work in the favor of a given Star War, such as with any of the Vader comics, Rogue One, or the Alphabet Squadron novels. These stories know the way that the films emotionally resonate, and they support those feelings, even while subverting them in places. 

However, there’s another trend in ‘Star Wars’ recently, one that weaponizes that emotional resonance by way of cheap references and empty nostalgia similar in use to a Pavlovian bell. 

Listen to the latest episode of our Star Wars podcast, Talkin' Tauntauns!

Unfortunately, Crimson Reign veers toward the latter, though it does get to do some solid Star Wars-ing as well. 

'Star Wars: Crimson Reign' most certainly is a Star Wars comic
These guys are cute when they try to be threatening.
Marvel Comics

Now, the bad isn’t terrible by any means, it’s really just terribly average, which is particularly disappointing when the concept is pretty solid. A secret semi-criminal cabal is manipulating the actual criminal empires to make things harder for the Empire. There’s mileage there! I think part of the problem is that this is a follow-up to the also-terribly-average War of the Bounty Hunters, but also, I think that core good idea isn’t really given room to breathe. Instead, we more or less get vignettes about the core players doing their little crimes, which is entertaining enough (I guess), but never really escapes that velocity. 

While I have problems with the work as a whole, there was still some stuff that I liked, and it’s stuff that Soule tends to excel at: different perspectives on the Force.

The comic is narrated by a (to my knowledge) new character, The Archivist, who has an interesting relationship to the Force. She’s studied it through ancient relics, and is particularly interested in the Sith. What makes this interesting to me is that Star Wars stories tend to say that any interest in the Dark Side corrupts someone, but the situation here is less absolute, more nuanced. The Archivist is clearly changed by her interest in the Force, but it isn’t toward some kind of cartoonish villainy. Not to say her obsession had no effect, but it didn’t turn her into a complete egomaniac the way it did everyone else. 

The thing is, Pavlov and was hard at work when The Architect went to the spooky cave in Degobah, and the same issue where that happened also took time to explain the way the Empire propaganda’d the Jedi away from public perception. It’s not a totally weird pit stop in a comic that’s supposed to be about the politics of criminal empires, but it does seem unnecessary. 

And that’s kind of the vibe across the comic. I like that Soule found a way to write the Knights of Ren again, but why did they have to invade Vader’s castle? Then my annoyance makes me wonder if it was even worth it to bring Qi’ra back if she’s gonna star in some of the less good comics of the Disney era. It’s almost enough that—

'Star Wars: Crimson Reign' most certainly is a Star Wars comic
I love him forreal.
Marvel Comics

Never mind, maybe this is a perfect comic.  

Star Wars: Crimson Reign
‘Star Wars: Crimson Reign’ most certainly is a Star Wars comic
Star Wars: Crimson Reign
Average in basically every way imaginable. For every thing I enjoyed, there was something I didn’t like. Interesting premise done in a boring way.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Interesting, atypical treatment of the Dark Side
Later, Vader
I’m uncontrollably drooling from all the bell ringing
Why does everything need to be connected?
5.5
Average
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