2011 brought us a plethora of Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. With 44 individual comic issues and 17 books (digests, trade paperbacks and omnibus collections), there was a lot for everyone, with nearly every era getting some stories. As part of Dark Horse’s 25th anniversary, the Star Wars lineup added some new titles (Jedi – The Dark Side, Darth Vader and the Lost Command, and Agent of the Empire), brought back some old favorites (Crimson Empire III) and finished up the Cade Skywalker storyline with the end of Legacy: War. Darth Vader and the Lost Command was Dark Horse’s bestselling Star Wars title of the year, which earned it a special hard-cover trade edition. While Haden Blackman’s tale of Vader on a mission filled with betrayal is a great story, I think there was another story that topped it to be the year’s best.
My pick for best comic goes to Invasion – Revelations. Tom Taylor wrote a masterful tale that captures the essence of Star Wars – balancing action with a good cast of characters and an epic scope, and whole boatload of surprises. Colin Wilson’s drawing style, with Wes Dzioba’s colors, fit well with depicting the grit of a galaxy dealing with a Vong invasion and has a great range for characters, action and space battles. Basically, Invasion – Revelations was full of awesome.
Some of my other favorites for 2011 are luscious visuals in Dark Times – Out of the Wilderness by Douglas Wheatley and Dan Jackson, the Zodoh the Hutt plot of John Jackson Miller’s Knight Errant – Deluge (especially the ending), and the epic finale as Darth Krayt plunged the galaxy into chaos in the finale of Legacy: War. As for best covers, Dave Dorman’s Crimson Empire III #1, Chris Scalf’s Invasion – Revelations #4, and Tsuneo Sanda’s Darth Vader and the Lost Command #5.
In the realm of actual books of comics, we had four digests: two The Clone Wars and two featuring classic-era characters in Star Wars Adventures, and more than a dozen trade paperback collections and omnibus editions. In the digests for kids, Star Wars Adventures: Chewbacca and the Slavers of the Shadowlands stands out for showing a young Chewbacca in a cute art style (despite the serious danger of the story) by Jennifer Meyer, while Ryder Windham’s The Clone Wars: Strange Allies brought back the swoop gangster Gizz as an unlikely hero and partner for a Chiss padawan.