Star Wars: 30th Anniversary Collection DARK HORSE hardcovers

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Star Wars celebrated its 30th Anniversary in 2007, so Dark Horse decided to commemorate the occasion with a series of limited edition hardcovers, released monthly from March 2007 to February 2008.

Back when Marvel Comics held the rights, Star Wars was my gateway into comic books, and the biggest influence over my pre-teen years. From the early 1990s, Dark Horse began expanding George Lucas’ universe, this at a time when many fans dropped off from the saga. I even stayed true, when the comic book industry seemed to be imploding in the mid-1990s from a glut of pointless, soulless comic books, with Dark Horse continuing to deepen the love for Star Wars.

This hardcover series is a high-cost venture, and I did not take the decision to purchasing them lightly, knowing that the entire collection would cost be approx. AU$300 by its’ completion. Would I pay $300 for a 12 set of Star Wars hardcovers? No way. Could I do it a month at a time, paying anywhere from $20 to $30? Sure.

The list of 12 titles chosen from Dark Horse’s inventory is nowhere close to the 12 titles I would have chosen from their large inventory. In hindsight, that’s been a good thing, as they have opened my eyes to some stunning tales that I’d either forgotten or totally missed the first time around.

Volume 1: The Freedon Nadd Uprising. Written by Tom Veitch, art by Tony Atkins, Denis Rodier (56 pages), $16.95
Volume 2: Jedi Vs. Sith. Written by Darco Macan, art by Ramon Bachs & Raul Fernandez, cover by Andrew Robinson (144 pages), $29.95
Volume 3: Darth Maul. Written by Ron Marz, art by Jan Duursema (pencils) and Rick Nagyar (inks) (96 pages), $22.95

Volume 4: Jango Fett/Zam Wesell. Written by Ron Marz, art by Tom Fowler and Ted Naifeh (120 pages), $19.95
Volume 5: Light and Dark. Written by John Ostrander, art by Jan Duursema (pencils) (144 pages), $24.95
Volume 6: Endgame. Written by John Ostrander and Welles Hartley, art by Jan Duursema and Doug Wheatley (pencils) (144 pages), $24.95
Volume 7: Darklighter. Written by Paul Chadwick, art by Doug Wheatly and Tomás Giorello (pencils) (96 pages) $19.95
Volume 8: Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Written by Terry Austin, based upon Alan Dean Foster novel, art by Duncan Fegredo (112 pages), $19.95
Volume 9: Boba Fett: Death, Lies and Treachery. Written by John Wagner, art by Cam Kennedy (144 pages), $24.95
Volume 10: Crimson Empire. Written by Mike Richardson and Randy Stradley, art by Paul Gulacy (pencils) (106 pages), $24.95
Volume 11: Union. Written by Michael A. Stackpole, art by Robert Teranishi (pencils) (96 pages), $19.95
Volume 12: Legacy. Written by John Ostrander, art by Jan Duursema (pencils) (144 pages), $24.95

So, now that I own and have read all the hardcovers, what do i think? Well, a lot like the films, once all the pieces are in place you can see the bigger picture. The bigger picture of this collection is that Star Wars is cyclical, the same kind of things occur in the past, present and future.

I initially bemoaned Dark Horse using Legacy as their final volume (I believed the Chewbacca series would have been an awesome addition), but upon reading it, I can see there’s more to it than just a launch of their latest series, but as also a tale that reaffirms their overall message of Star Wars. There will always be Sith. There will always be Jedi to stand in their way!

My biggest disappointment for the volumes is the lack of supplementary material at the back of the hardcovers. It would have been nice for Dark Horse to include cover art, sketches or ANYTHING additional to the volume.

I do like that Dark Horse hardcovers are manufactured without slipcase. I understand their purpose, but slipcases simply annoy me, as I always need to remove them when trying to read the book.

The volumes I recommend for casual Star Wars fans and general readers of comic books are Volume 3 – Darth Maul and Volume 7 – Darkighter. Both of these volumes expand upon the history of these supporting characters of the films and are really great tales. It should be noted that Volume 8 – Boba Fett stories take place AFTER his apparent death in Return of the Jedi. So, if we are to believe these stories are official Star Wars cannon = Boba Fett lives!

Overall score for the collection: 7.5 out of 10.

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