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Reuniting the creative team of DC Comics’ acclaimed Starman series for the first time in decades, and sold with the promise of revealing the story behind Threepio’s one red arm in The Force Awakens, this issue was delayed numerous times (it was originally intended to be published shortly before the film’s release, not months after) due to a long script approval process from LucasFilm (according to Harris, he and Robinson didn’t receive final approval until about a week before the issue’s first solicited release date). As a result, expectations for this issue grew to possible unreasonable proportions: no story could possibly live up to the hype generated just by virtue of its constant rescheduling.
The oft-tumultuous publication history of this series ends with this issue, the series’ final. Originally announced as six issue miniseries, it was promoted to ongoing before the first issue went on sale. Then, when issue #12 was solicited last December, it became the first casualty of Marvel’s new Star Wars line (sort of, because again, it technically was conceived as finite series to begin with). At any rate, it’s not really a surprise; despite strong sales relative to many other mainstream Marvel and DC series, the back half of the series were some of the lowest-selling issues of any of Star Wars books, and quality-wise, the book always seemed to land thoroughly in the middle of the pack, rarely awful but just as rarely never excellent, either.
Like Darth Vader #16, this issue picks up on threads left over from “Vader Down”, helping make that crossover feel more like a part of the overall narrative and not just a one-off stunt. It also features Sana Starros, the character introduced as Han’s wife in the series’ second story arc, which also helps add to the impression that these issues are part of a larger whole, and not just a series of self-contained stories.
January 2016 marked the one year anniversary of Marvel’s new Star Wars line, launched in the wake of Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm and the transfer of the comic book license to Disney’s in-house comic book company. In that year, Marvel has churned out comics on a level that is somehow both restrained and filled with gusto, in that, they released a ton of Star Wars comics in that first year, but at the same time, it would have surprised nobody if they’d released a whole lot more. The quality level of those comics, in three ongoing series (Star Wars, Darth Vader and Kanan: The Last Padawan) and five limited series (Princess Leia, Lando, Shattered Empire, Chewbacca, and one issue of Obi-Wan Kenobi & Anakin Skywalker) has remained remarkably consistent, maintaining a level of above average quality alongside some top notch issues and a (surprisingly) few out-and-out stinkers. Looking back over that first year, here are the ten best moments from across the line, the moments that made reading Star Wars comics this last year worthwhile.