Back in December we compiled a definitive comics reading list to get you prepared for The Force Awakens. Star Wars season has been but it’s definitely not gone – we’ve got a good four years of geekdom to bask in ahead of us!
With a huge array of comics series taking place all over the galaxy and throughout many different ages, waiting for Rogue One will be made that bit easier by Marvel’s 2016 releases. We’ve listed everything coming out between now and May here, and we will be back with releases in the second half of 2016 later in the year.
Carrying on from Volume 1 and collecting issues 7-12, Vader finds himself besieged by strobe lights in an outer rim discotheque. Just kidding – but this cover gives off a certain Boogie Nights feel to it, right? That 3PO unit certainly looks ready to bust a move. All nonsense aside, Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca are killing it on this series, and Darth Vader has some of the strongest output of all the Marvel Star Wars titles. Following his efforts to prove himself to Palpatine in Volume 1, Vader now finds himself torn between his own curiosity about the Skywalker who destroyed the Death Star and his official orders from the Empire. This volume coincides with the corresponding issues of Star Wars but we don’t see the stories overlap in this book. – 5 January
[Alternate title here – Lando: Vice City. He pulls off the 80s vibe quite a bit better than Vader up there.]
Lando’s standalone miniseries takes place after A New Hope, before we meet him as Baron of Cloud City when he’s still but a smooth-talking smuggler. Struggling to pay off debts, Lando goes in over his head trying to steal a ship he doesn’t realise belongs to Emperor Palpatine himself, and we follow him throughout his natural habitat: trouble. – 19 January
Collecting the second arc of Marvel’s flagship Star Wars series, Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon branches further out than Skywalker Strikes, including a look back to the events of the prequel trilogy via Obi Wan’s journal. Leia and Han have some romantic issues to deal with, and Luke journeys towards Coruscant to learn more about his destiny as a Jedi – a neat little prelude to his trip to Skellig Michael in The Force Awakens. – 28 January
This collects the five-issue miniseries published between October and December of last year. Chewie is out on his own in this one and looking more ready for action than ever in Phil Noto’s artwork; his style sets this series apart hugely from the other Marvel releases. After the Battle of Yavin, our beloved Wookie finds himself stranded on an Imperial-controlled planet and must find his own way back to the Rebel base, saving the young lady you see on the cover while he’s at it. – 16 February
Wedge Antilles and a whole bunch of starfighters are the stars of this one and it’ll be a must for anyone who thinks X-wing action is the highlight of Star Wars – something I, a lightsaber lover, will never understand. This paperback collects classic 512 pages of comics from the X-Wing Rogue Leader, X-Wing Rogue Squadron, and Star Wars Tales series. – 5 April
Vader Down is a crossover event that took place across two issues of Star Wars, two issues of Darth Vader, and the Vader Down one-shot that started it all off. It sees poor Vader fight the entire Rebel Fleet all on his lonesome, while he’s still proving himself to Palpatine. This book is another opportunity to shout about how well Vader has been portrayed by Salvador Larroca and Mike Deodato – I think he’s the best looking character of all the Marvel output. – 19 April
Similar to 2015’s reissues of the original adaptations of Episodes IV-VI, these are affordable collections of the comics released in tandem with the prequel films. The artwork is pretty photorealistic and probably more for the collectors than anyone else. – 24 May
The Clone Wars are *on* and wee Caleb Dune finds himself in a Jedi Temple under attack. Bonus points go to this book for featuring a showdown with my all-time favourite villain, General Grievous. This collects issues 7-12 of Kanan’s ongoing series. – 31 May
Post by Heather Keane
Catch up with our pre-The Force Awakens reading list here