Welcome back to the Marvel Rundown! This week in Marvel is chock full of major titles and big storylines, but our feature is looking ahead to the future of a galaxy far, far away. Marvel unveils their publishing line for the coming year in Star Wars: Revelations, an anthology that features a host of creators playing in different periods across the Star Wars timeline.

After that, we’ve got our usual roundup of what’s new and notable in the world outside your window, including Alien, G.O.D.S., Spider-Boy and the end of the first arc of Uncanny Avengers.

What did you think of this week’s batch of fresh Marvel Comics, True Believers? The Beat wants to hear from you! Give us a shout-out, here in the comment section or over on social media @comicsbeat, and let us know what you’re thinking.

Star Wars: Revelations #1

Written by: Charles Soule, Marc Bernardin, Alyssa Wong, Greg Pak, Ethan Sacks, Cavan Scott, and Marc Guggenheim
Art by: Andrea Di Vito, Chrisscross, David Baldeón, Salvador Larroca, Will Sliney, Marika Cresta, and Salva Espín
Colors by: Rachelle Rosenberg, Andrew Dalhouse, Jay David Ramos, Nolan Woodard, Chris Sotomayor, and Israel Silva
Letters by: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover by: Rod Reis

The best thing that can be said about Star Wars: Revelations is that it covers the breadth of the many different eras of the Star Wars franchise. In that sense, it offers a great diversity of options for fans of the different iterations of Star Wars. Unfortunately, most of the stories in this anthology, which is made up of short teases for next year’s upcoming titles, don’t do much with the vast potential of the franchise. It may provide some tantalizing hints for people keyed into the deep lore of the Marvel comics, but for newcomers, it does not make much effort to excite. I expected to come into this issue with some kind of framing device that hints at individual plot threads and teases some mysteries or larger plans. What we get instead is what feels like 6 random pages from a bunch of unrelated upcoming comics. 

That’s not to say these stories are bad in their own right. The Jango Fett story in particular highlights the character’s cool factor with slick art and exciting action sequences. The writer for the Fett section, Ethan Sacks, packs in just enough hints to the conflict and larger plot to make me want to read more of this fun caper story. It leans into the space-western side of Star Wars, and both Fetts are great vehicles to explore the seedy underbelly of the galaxy far, far away. Artist Will Sliney captures the lived-in feel of the universe and renders some nasty aliens and monsters. These two creators most embrace the vignette approach and manage to pack in a premise, conflict, and cliffhanger in just half a dozen pages. Sliney knows how to choreograph an action scene and pace individual pages to maximize the impact of his images and the larger story. It’s an impressive little package. 

Star Wars: Revelations

Contrast that with this issue’s opening scene, which is a courtroom comedy featuring third-string bounty hunter Dengar, which only tangentially ties into the main Star Wars comic and features none of the major characters. The other mini-stories in this anthology issue run the gamut from there. The Doctor Aphra tease is similarly tedious, mostly featuring heavy dialogue and some perfunctory action with unfamiliar characters. The Mace Windu short is a fun action scene but is the one that most feels like it was cut out of a larger comic. Writer Greg Pak and artist Salvador Larocca team up for a Darth Vader segment that illustrates how well Pak understands the character and how the comics have fleshed out his inner conflicts, but it offers little new for people who have been reading thee Vader solo title to get excited about.

Having not kept up with the new High Republic publishing initiative, I found myself pleasantly surprised by the glimpse of the series, which features the Jedi at the height of their powers. Cavan Scott peppers the script with details about the status quo of the galaxy at this point. Marika Cresta makes great use of the flapping Jedi robes and slashing effects. It’s a solid introduction and sets up Jedi Keeve’s quest.

Though most of the stories have some entertainment value, there is nothing vital here. One would expect this kind of anthology book to hold some surprises or at least promise major revelations like the title indicates, but there’s nothing so lofty here. The talent on this book will surely make some solid Star Wars books but this collection of shorts is an easy SKIP, especially at a $7 price point.

Star Wars: Revelations

Rapid Rundown!

  • Alien #2
    • Declan Shalvey and Andrea Broccardo dig into the nasty heart of an Alien story: the cruelty of capitalism. The majority of the crew is written to be disposable, and that’s absolutely intentional. Sure, they’re named, but at the end of the day, they’re here for Weyland-Yutani to use and abuse however they’d like. Yun Yutani’s appearance drives that point home, as his primary concern is his family’s personal property, no matter the cost. It’s not a new read for an Alien story, but it’s one that this team nails. The plot with the lead crew member, Cole, feels like it’s missing a bit to it, but Broccardo and colorist Ruth Redmond deliver some killer action, with these truly grotesque depictions of the Xenomorphs. I’m also looking forward to seeing how Shalvey’s flashbacks play out, but so far, the exploration of the role of the synths (and their similar standing to the Xenomorphs) has been pretty insightful. Clayton Cowles rocks on letters here.  —CB
  • G.O.D.S #3
    • The good thing about G.O.D.S. is that it feels different and momentous, and this latest issue is no exception. Jonathan Hickman’s dense and occasionally clunky dialogue and captions work (thankfully buoyed by Travis Lanham’s lettering)  is entirely excused and subsumed by a sense of scale and grandiosity, due in great part to the stunningly rendered visuals provided by Valerio Schiti and Marte Garcia. Do I fully understand what’s going on? Absolutely not. Do I have any idea if this is actually different and momentous or just posturing? Not right now, no. But it still feels different, and with art as breathtaking as this, that’s more than enough…for now. —LI
  • Spider-Boy #2
    • Finally Marvel Comics has its own Wesley Crusher in the form of Bailey Barnes, Spider-Boy. The premise of Spider-Boy as a character is intriguing. A superhero erased from existence returns but no one remembers them. The problem lies in the execution. So far, it’s mostly just “Gee whiz, everyone used to love me and now no one remembers me!” but when he meets these characters they think he’s swell anyways. Also he can kind of become a spider monster. So far there doesn’t seem to be much more to the character than that. This issue, Captain America shows up like Tom Hanks in The Simpsons Movie to lend Spider-Boy a little credibility (and to team up against Taskmaster). It’s frustrating the character’s sole purpose so far is just external validation. Even actual beloved character Squirrel Girl says in the back up “I believe in you Spider-Boy!” It’s fine not have a character wallow in what must be a horrifying situation. But swinging the other way robs the character of any internal conflict. Really if you want to read the adventures of a teen web slinger, just pick up a Miles Morales or Spider-Gwen book instead. Dan Slott writes this one with Paco Medina on art. —DM
  • Uncanny Avengers #5
    • In the wake of events following the Hellfire Gala, Captain America reassembles the Avengers Unity Squad in the hopes of healing the growing rift between Mutants and humans. Over the past few issues, Cap and his squad have been working to undo the damage after the Gala and confront the terrorist group the Mutant Liberation Front, Mutants misled by the anti-Mutant group Orchis and their agent Captain Krakoa. Spoilers from here as writer Gerry Duggan and artist Javier Garrón have resurrected Cap’s evil doppelganger, Grant Rogers, now using the Captain Krakoa armor to create greater discord between humans and Mutants. This issue ties up the plot thread of exposing the lie of the human deaths at the Gala while working to expose the threat of Orchis. Duggan’s Uncanny Avengers has taken proper advantage of Garrón’s detailed artwork on this zany run with over-the-top violence, multiple severed limbs, and broken bones, this series has been an interesting parallel to our current political landscape setting up the next phase of true Mutant empowerment versus good old fashion human hatred. —GC3

Next week, the Marvel Rundown team comes together with a holiday treat: our top Marvel comics of 2023.