Marvel 616 Review – The Fantastic Four #14

The Fantastic Four Issue #14. Writer: Stan Lee, Artist: Jack Kirby

The last time we checked in with The Fantastic Four in their own series, they had defeated and enemy on the moon known as The Red Ghost. The FF are heading home expecting a heroes welcome as they’ve become the first people to successfully land on and return from the moon. This was years before it happened in reality so it was still anyone’s guess what would really be found there.

The first page gives us a small recap and then Ben Grimm says he wants to take over the controls of the ship, although Reed Richards brags he designed it to practically land itself.

Sure enough, as they land in New York, there is a huge mob of people there to cheer on the team. They were already notable as heroes and explorers in New York City but it seems this return trip solidifies their status as not only heroes but super celebrities. It’s depicted in the way one might expect The Beatles to have been greeted at the height of their fame. Reed Richards even has two rival fan clubs both desperately trying to touch him or maybe get a lock of his hair. Meanwhile, a super star wrestler named The Golden Angel challenges The Thing to a fight to the finish. The Thing just tosses this dude in a trash can and walks away. Sue Storm is badgered by people wanting her to sign Hollywood contracts or sell their deodorant on television. Lucky for her, she can just turn invisible. Johnny Storm sees the problem with the crowd here and makes a whirling tunnel of warm air which creates a vacuum of suction to get the team back to the Baxter building. This is clearly one of the sillier powers Johnny has displayed but I think as an audience we’re past caring about that sort of thing now.

The team goes back to their penthouse apartments and tries to get in a bit of relaxation time. Although, in the fashion of the day, Sue Storm says she’s going to, “do a little housecleaning” instead. Reed dictates his notes on the rocket fuel he invented for the trip and goes to find Sue to have her type them up. When he finds her, she’s taking a look at some of Reed’s cameras on the bottom of the sea. She immediately switches it off when Reed enters. Reed knows she’s hoping for a glimpse of The Sub-Mariner and then goes off feeling kinda sorry for himself. Sue brings the roving camera back to the Baxter Building.

Meanwhile, we see a mysterious man speaking with a doctor who says the man is cured. This man says he knew he was cured long ago but was waiting for the world to forget him. The man seems to have a vendetta against our heroes after he experienced a fall that people seemed to have thought killed him. He’s also planning to get a scapegoat to do the job for him. This person goes through a list of enemies The Fantastic Four have defeated before until he thinks of The Sub-Mariner. It turns out our mystery man is The Puppet Master. This is a person who can control others simply by making a clay sculpture out of them with his magic clay. And of course, he’s ready with a sculpture of Sub-Mariner.

Namor, The Sub-Mariner is looking for his lost people under the sea when he’s pulled away by a powerful force. It seems he’s compelled to do as Puppet Master asks. Namor then uses something called a, “Mento-fish” which can sense human thoughts ad transmit them to any point on earth through, “mental electro waves!” Yeah, I dunno, doesn’t make much sense to me either. Anyway, Namor uses this fish to call to Sue Storm. Thinking Namor is in distress, Sue goes to him. She sneaks past her team while invisible to do so, and thinks this meeting will at long last decide her feelings for Namor.

Sue meets Namor at a pier on the lower east side of New York. Namor uses a, “hypno-fish” to hypnotize Sue. The fish puts Sue in an air bubble and they go under the sea. Puppet Master decides not to put the FF under his control, figuring his revenge will be sweeter if they retain their free will. Namor then transmits a mental image to the remaining members of the superhero team to tell them he has Sue Storm. He basically dares them to come after her, which, of course, they do. Before setting out, Reed and Johnny go to deliver their secret files to the police commissioner and Ben goes to let Alicia know where he’ll be so she doesn’t worry.

When Ben gets to the building, he’s overcharged for parking. He agrees to let Alicia come along with him, and then Ben stacks up the cars in the parking lot so he can fly outta there. But off panel he says he put them back so I guess no harm done?

Reed has gotten the loan of a deep water diving vehicle so he can search for Namor and the group piles in to go find him. They have to evade some attacks set up by Namor, including sharp quills shooting at their vehicle and a whirling tornado of water. Johnny flames on with white hot flame to dissipate the tornado and nearly drowns until Reed saves him. Namor springs a final trap where the heroes get trapped in a giant clam and knocked out with chloroform gas the clam naturally produces. Yeah, not sure I believe any of that but we’ll just go with it. Namor brings them back to his headquarters.

Namor has a giant octopus guarding Sue who is inside a glass globule the octopus could probably crush. Reed realizes pretty quickly this behavior is not typical of Namor. He’s always professed his love for Sue so putting her in this kind of danger seems extreme even for him. Namor then challenges the heroes to fight him one by one. First up is Johnny. He’s defeated because Namor has a strange living undersea weapon that absorbs any kind of heat. The Thing sees the use of this weapon as cheating so he grabs Namor who easily gets away. Namor throws some kind of sea foam on Ben which hardens and traps him in place. But The Thing breaks out anyway. Reed Richards tangles Namor up in his stretchy arms, trapping him, as Ben goes to save Sue.

Ben Grimm tosses the octopus by the tentacles and saves Sue. He tells her to hold her breath as they swim through the water. And we get this super sexist gem from Stan Lee, as The Thing thinks, “First time I ever saw a female who could keep her mouth shut so long!” Yeah, I mean I know it was different times and all, but there are some real sexist gems dropped by Stan the man in these days.

The Puppet Master has been watching from afar in his own submarine. He ups the stakes by telling Namor he has to do more than defeat the FF, he has to slay them. Alicia seems to sense Puppet Master’s presence and lets Reed know what’s going on. Sub-Mariner grabs some deadly sea tubes which will release a poisonous gas but still hesitates because he doesn’t want to harm Sue. Namor does eventually release the gas but also realizes he’s being controlled. Luckily for everyone involved, Reed put on special, “flex-o-gen” masks on the team and Alicia so they wouldn’t breathe in the fumes. Reed, Ben and Johnny all want to clobber Namor but Sue stops them, telling them she knows he’s under some kind of influence.

Remember the octopus The Thing threw? So that finds The Puppet Master’s submarine and attacks it. Puppet Master tries to carve a clay sculpture of it to control it but apparently the octopus doesn’t have enough of a brain for it to be controlled. This breaks the control on Sub-Mariner and the team have to escape because a hole in the dome of Namor’s place is letting in water. Johnny fixes it and Namor thinks he’s been invaded by the Fantastic Four. He sees Sue and asks if she’s come to share his underwater kingdom. She tells him no, that her loyalties are with Reed. But she keeps open the love triangle by saying her heart has not made a final choice yet. It honestly makes you feel a little bad for Reed here since he’s made it pretty clear he is in love with Sue. Namor does let them go because he wants to go back to looking for his lost people. Sue still hopes he’ll someday be their friend and we end the issue with the promise that the Fantastic Four are about to head for one of the most bizarre adventures of all time in the next issue.

With an issue about telepathic fish, people who live under the sea, and a dude who can control minds through clay, saying the next issue will be bizarre is a pretty bold statement here.

It’s still early days in the Marvel 616 universe here but it’s always great to see a good villain come back. And in this one there are two worthy villains. For one, the team isn’t certain Puppet Master is actually back, although we as the audience know he is. And secondly, the love triangle between Namor, Reed and Sue is always interesting. Namor is a compelling character in that he never quite crosses the line to total villain (at least in the eyes of the Fantastic Four) but he’s not an outright hero either. One gets the impression with him that if Sue Storm was not around, the Fantastic Four could be in real trouble from him.

The way villains keep returning in Marvel 616 comics really helps build out the universe and makes it feel like things are happening all over even when we’re not reading the comics. It takes a while before there’s a great connection between everything but the building blocks are definitely starting to shape up.

Next up on the reading list, we’ll be getting small again with Ant-Man in the pages of Tales to Astonish #43!


The Only Way to Get Started With Star Wars

The first Star Wars film was Star Wars: A New Hope debuting 1977

Hello internet, it’s Slick Dungeon here!

This week marks a special treat for Star Wars fans. I, myself, am a huuuge Star Wars fan so I’m pretty pumped about the fact that Return of the Jedi is playing in my area. For those of us who are big Star Wars fans this is something fun to go do and we always get a kick out of seeing some of our favorite films back in theaters. But, what I realized recently after talking to someone who has never seen any of the Star Wars movies is if you are new to Star Wars you might have no idea where to start.

I’m the type of Star Wars fan who loves it all. Yes, even that one that you’ve heard is terrible, or that other thing people are arguing about online. I find at least some entertainment value in everything Star Wars I have ever consumed. Yes, including that other one you heard not even Star Wars fans like. I like it. What this means is I have a pretty big base of knowledge when it comes to my favorite fandom. And that makes me the perfect person to guide someone who is overwhelmed by the sheer amount of Star Wars out there. You may not know how to begin and feel like there is so much media, it’s pointless to even try.

Well, good news if that’s you. I have you covered. I’m going to throw a lot of information at you here but if you stick with me through this post I’ll tell you the only way to get started with Star Wars.

I’m going to go through what Star Wars has to offer in all kinds of media, including film, television, books, video games and more. I’ll focus on the films mostly because that’s how 90% of people are introduced into the storylines but if you’d rather see what there is in the way of books, games, or whatever, I’m going to throw those in there as well.

The MOvies

As of this writing there are eleven live action films that have been released and it can be daunting to figure out what order to watch them in. There is an original trilogy, a prequel trilogy, a sequel trilogy and two spin off movies which don’t have to be watched to get the larger context but can be fun to fill in gaps. There is also an animated movie that debuted in theaters but doesn’t really belong in the list when you’re first trying to watch the main story. We’ll cover that one in the television section.

With these films there are two basic ways to watch. One way is in release order, as in, you watch them based on what year the film released. The other way is in chronological order. This would be going through the movies by episode number, with the spin offs squeezed in roughly around the time periods they would happen in the larger storyline.

With either method, the spin offs are technically optional, but I still recommend watching them.

Also, there are a couple of other methods some Star Wars fans use to watch the movies but that’s more advanced level watching so I’m just sticking to the two methods here.

Chronological Order

If you watch the movies in chronological order you get a fairly linear storyline and it’s pretty easy to follow the events in the films. It won’t be hard to keep track of the characters and you’ll know who the good guys and bad guys are. The problem with this method is it’s not very adventurous and it will make what would have been original twists in the movies seem like mundane facts everyone should know. I’ll give you the chronological order but I will say it is not my recommended way of watching for the first time.

  1. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  2. Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  3. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  4. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  5. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  6. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
  7. Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  8. Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  9. Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  10. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  11. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker

Release Order

Using the release order method you’ll feel like you were dropped into the middle of an episodic drama where there is missing information but you’ll still get a sense of the larger story. As you go through all of the films, many of the gaps will be filled in and a lot of the drama is intensified. It’s the way us original Star Wars fans saw them after years of speculating what would happen while we waited for the next installment. There are plot holes the size of a spaceship in some of these movies but they get filled in eventually either with other films in the series or through television, comic books, novels, and other media. Watching in release order will allow the viewer to have a lot more questions about the story and the twists and turns are a lot more fun to see unfold this way. I highly recommend using this method if you are new.

  1. Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope
  2. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
  3. Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  4. Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace
  5. Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones
  6. Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
  7. Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens
  8. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
  9. Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
  10. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  11. Star Wars: Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker


It used the be the case the only way to consume Star Wars was through film. Then came novelizations, comic books and video games. But recently there is a new Star Wars phenomena. Television. There are live action shows and animated shows. These shows take place during different periods in the larger storyline but in general, the television shows tend to fill in gaps in time between films. If you put the films and shows together, you start to get a massive storyline with hours and hours of stuff to watch. You can, in fact, just watch the television shows if you want to and not see the films. But, if you do that, you’re missing the most vital part of the story. While I don’t recommend it to someone new to Star Wars, television can be an entry point. I’m going to list the shows here and tell you how they fit in with the movies. Some shows are better than others but it also depends on what kind of show you like. There are shows full of action and cameos and fun easter eggs for hardcore fans. There are also shows that are slow burn character dramas. Whatever you like in the way of television, you can probably find a Star Wars show that fits your preferences.

I’ll give you the list of live action shows and the list of animated shows. As a rule of thumb the live action shows tend to lean toward a more adult audience and the animated shows are geared a bit more towards the younger crowd. There’s really only one show on here, Andor which you might think twice before showing to kids. Everything else is generally family friendly, depending on your viewing preferences.

Live Action Television Shows

  1. Obi-Wan Kenobi – This focuses on a singular character and takes place between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
  2. Andor – This also focuses on a singular character and it’s more of a slow burn character drama. It takes place after Obi Wan Kenobi but it is also between Solo: A Star Wars Story and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
  3. Star Wars: Holiday Special – This was a live action holiday special variety show George Lucas was contractually obligated to make. Not recommended to anyone but a superfan and it’s hard to find. It takes place between Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope and Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.
  4. Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure – This is actually a movie made for television in the 1980’s and it takes place on the planet Endor which is featured in the movie Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. It’s made for kids and has a bit of a cult following but definitely looks like it was made in the 1980’s for television. It takes place after Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back but before Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
  5. Ewoks: The Battle for Endor – This is a sequel to Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. It was also made for television and takes place in the same time period as the first Ewok movie.
  6. The Mandalorian – The most well known of all the live action shows. This is the one that stars Pedro Pascal and if you are going to start watching Star Wars through a television series, this would be my recommended entry point. It takes place between Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens. It connects to the larger stories but you can follow this story without knowing a lot about Star Wars to begin with.
  7. The Book of Bobba Fett – This show has strong connections to The Mandalorian and they tie in together but the focus of this show is on a character from the movies. This takes place in the same relative time period as The Mandalorian.

Some of these shows are better than others but as I said above, the best entry point in TV shows for a new fan is far and away The Mandalorian. There is some question as to whether numbers 3, 4, and 5 on the list above count as “cannon” to the main story. I included them just because they are live action shows you could watch. One thing to make clear here is that you do not have to watch any of these shows for the films to make sense. Instead, the shows tend to do the job of filling in story gaps for the movies rather than being a launchpad for any of the films.

Animated Television Shows

  1. Lego Star Wars: The Yoda Chronicles – A fun, silly show perfect for young kids and Lego enthusiasts. It talks about things in the movies but doesn’t count towards the larger story.
  2. Lego Star Wars: The Padawan Menace – Similar to the above, this is a silly Lego version that relates to Episode I but is not actually part of the main story. Lots of fun to watch.
  3. Star Wars: The Clone Wars – This is an animated film which takes place between Episode II and Episode III. The movie itself wasn’t well received but it is the official start to the fantastic animated series The Clone Wars.
  4. The Clone Wars – This is a series that ran from 2008 – 2014. It’s a great show full of intense action and intriguing drama. This is not only great for kids but adults can find a lot of value in this show as well. It does a great job filling in a lot of the blanks between Episode II and Episode III and really adds context to the story. If you are going to begin watching Star Wars through animated television, I highly recommend starting with this series.
  5. Star Wars: The Bad Batch – This is a series that follows The Clone Wars which focuses on a few characters. It’s still going on but it started in 2021. I don’t recommend watching it until you have seen The Clone Wars but once you have seen that one, it’s a great follow up.
  6. Star Wars Rebels – This is a Disney series that takes place between Episode III and Episode IV. It shows the beginnings of the rebellion we see in Episode IV but it doesn’t focus on the characters from that film. The animation leaves a bit to be desired but the storylines are great and it’s definitely a good one for kids.
  7. Star Wars Droids – This was a cartoon from the 1980s and it focuses on the droids from the Star Wars films. It takes place between Episode III and Episode IV but doesn’t really count towards the larger story. It’s fun to watch if you like 80’s cartoons but otherwise, definitely skippable.
  8. Lego Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Out – Another Lego movie, pretty fun and it obviously lampoons Episode V but again, doesn’t count towards the larger story.
  9. Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures – This was a series that aired from 2016-2017. It’s a bit of an outlier in that it is a Lego show that is episodic. At one point it was supposed to count towards the larger story but it doesn’t really fit. It’s still a fun watch, especially for kids, though.
  10. Lego Star Wars: Droid Tales – This is another Lego special which focuses on the droids. And again, like the other Lego shows doesn’t really count for the whole story but is sure fun to watch.
  11. Ewoks – This was the partner show to Star Wars Droids in the 1980s. This show focuses on the furry creatures known as Ewoks from Episode VI. I liked it as a kid but this probably doesn’t hold up that well compared to other cartoons of the time.
  12. Star Wars Resistance – This is an animated series that takes place between Episode VI and Episode VII and focuses on a group of pilots. It’s a fun show but definitely geared towards the younger crowd. It does follow a bit of a story similar to how The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch, and Rebels do.
  13. Lego Star Wars: The Resistance Rises – Another Lego special. This takes place just before Episode VII but again doesn’t count towards the larger story.

I’ve left off several shows that are either upcoming, anthology series, or don’t count as cannon to the story. Those have their merits but most of the ones on the list above are worth watching (although if you hate Lego stuff don’t watch those). For my money, the best shows to watch on this list are The Clone Wars, The Bad Batch, and Rebels. The rest are fun but those three have really engaging stories and there is some top notch animation in Clone Wars and Bad Batch. If you want to start watching Star Wars with animated series, I strongly recommend starting with Star Wars: The Clone Wars and then watching the follow up The Clone Wars series.

Video Games

Video games are a bit tougher to categorize. In order to give you all the possible games you could play that were related to Star Wars in some way, I’d have to practically give you a history of video game consoles. Instead, I will keep this simple and just include the ones that are now considered cannon. Just know there are a whole lot more games I could have put here.

  1. Star Wars Battlefront 2 (2017) – This one is a cannon game. It’s a fun game and it does count toward the larger story though you don’t have to play it to understand the movies. It’s basically a first person shooter in space.
  2. Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order – This is an action adventure style game which focuses on a character who is not in the movies but does fill in some gaps between Episode III and Episode IV. It’s not only a great Star Wars game, it’s a great game. If you want to start your Star Wars journey with a video game, I recommend this one.
  3. Vader Immortal: A Star Wars Series – This is a virtual reality game where it tells a little side story about someone Darth Vader hires. But mostly it’s fun because you get to pretend to swing around a lightsaber.
  4. Star Wars Battlefront (2015) – This is fourth on the list, after Star Wars Battlefront because the main story happens in a time period later in the Star Wars universe. But technically both games cover multiple time periods so it’s a little confusing. Also, this is actually a reboot of a different Star Wars Battlefront just to make it even more confusing. But like the other one on this list, it’s an FPS style game with a bit of story that relates to the movies.
  5. Star Wars Squadrons – This is a space battle game where you get to fly different kinds of ships and blow stuff up. It’s got a decent story as well. It’s a fun game but I wouldn’t recommend starting here as an entry point.
  6. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor – This is the sequel to Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order and it counts toward the story. I wouldn’t play this one without playing the first one but this is the newest Star Wars game out there. The gameplay is fun and the story is as interesting as the first one (though I have not played to the end yet)

There are a few more games slated to come out but I won’t get into those here. If you just have to get started with Star Wars through video games, then I definitely recommend Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. But if you love FPS games, the Battlefront ones are good too.


There are soooo many Star Wars books out there. Broadly they can be divided into two types, Cannon and Legends. Cannon means they count towards the current Star Wars stories. Legends means they once did but no longer do, or were written as something as a fun book but not meant to count towards the bigger story. To save us from the longest blogpost in human history, I am going to just put the Cannon books here. There are tons of Legends books I recommend people read but it really helps if you’re familiar with Star Wars at large before diving into those.

Also, there are many eras in the Star Wars timeline. The one that goes farthest back is called The High Republic. The thing with these books is they are coming out in phases and we are currently on phase 2. And in Star Wars tradition, phase 2 jumps even further back in time than phase 1. So I am putting these in order by chronology, not phases. Just know there are more books to come for phase 2.

The High Republic Phase 2

  1. The High Republic: Path of Deceit
  2. The High Republic: Convergence
  3. The High Republic: The Battle of Jedha
  4. The High Republic: Cataclysm
  5. The High Republic: Path of Vengeance

I wish I could tell you what all those books are about but I have not yet read them. (Watch this blog for reviews on them eventually) But I can tell you these books do not focus on the characters from the movies with the exception of a character named Yoda. If you know nothing about Star Wars and want to start with the books to get the story from the very beginning, these are the ones to start with. They are a mix of books made for adults and kids though. And one of them is an audio drama. What I like about the High Republic books is they tell a big, connected story, but you get different types of media to enjoy it in.

The High Republic Phase 1

  1. The High Republic: Light of the Jedi
  2. The High Republic: Into the Dark
  3. The High Republic: The Rising Storm
  4. The High Republic: Out Of The Shadows
  5. The High Republic: Tempest Runner
  6. Star Wars Insider: The High Republic: Starlight Stories
  7. The High Republic: The Fallen Star
  8. The High Republic: Midnight Horizon
  9. The High Republic: Tales of Light and Life

Again I have not read all of these but what I have read so far I have enjoyed. If you want a real Star Wars experience without watching the movies, read phase 1 first and then read phase 2 which is the order they were released in.

Fall of the Jedi Era

  1. Padawan
  2. Master & Apprentice
  3. Queen’s Peril
  4. Queen’s Shadow
  5. Dooku: Jedi Lost
  6. Queen’s Hope
  7. Brotherhood
  8. The Clone Wars Anthology: Stories of Light and Dark
  9. Dark Disciple
  10. Thrawn: Ascendancy: Chaos Rising

This era takes place just before and during Episodes I, II, and III. You’ll notice I’ve left out the novelizations of the films on this list. That’s for two reasons. First, they are constantly printing new books so where those go in the list of books is constantly changing. Second, you may only want to read and not watch the movies, in which case you wouldn’t be interested in the novelization of the films. The movies are meant to be experienced visually first.

This is one of the most interesting eras in Star Wars as wars are burgeoning and plots are being hatched in the shadows which will lead to a calamity of war and destruction.

Reign of the Empire Era

  1. Thrawn Ascendancy: Greater Good
  2. Thrawn Ascendancy: Lesser Evil
  3. Ahsoka
  4. Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade
  5. Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
  6. Lords of the Sith
  7. Tarkin
  8. Most Wanted
  9. Star Wars Jedi: Battle Scars
  10. A New Dawn
  11. Crimson Climb

This era is set between Episodes III and IV. Things start to take a darker turn here as a new power rises in the galaxy but with this rise also comes rebellion against those in control.

Age of Rebellion Era

  1. Leia: Princess of Alderaan
  2. Thrawn
  3. Thrawn: Alliances
  4. Thrawn: Treason
  5. Guardians of the Whills
  6. Rebel Rising
  7. Rogue One
  8. From A Certain Point of View
  9. Battlefront II: Inferno Squad
  10. Smuggler’s Run: A Han Solo & Chewbacca Adventure
  11. Heir to the Jedi
  12. The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure
  13. Doctor Aphra: An Audiobook Original
  14. From A Certain Point of View: The Empire Strikes Back
  15. Moving Target: A Princess Leia Adventure
  16. Battlefront: Twilight Company

These books take place in and around the time of the first three movies released. You have an evil empire in control with a small band of rebel fighters trying to overcome the powers that be. It’s my favorite era of Star Wars.

New Republic Era

  1. The Princess and the Scoundrel
  2. Alphabet Squadron
  3. Aftermath
  4. Alphabet Squadron: Shadow Fall
  5. Aftermath: Life Debt
  6. Aftermath: Empire’s End
  7. Alphabet Squadron: Victory’s Price
  8. Lost Stars
  9. Last Shot
  10. Poe Dameron: Free Fall
  11. Shadow of the Sith
  12. Bloodline

This era happens between Episode VI and Episode VII. It focuses on a time where it looks like the good guys have won but there are secret plans for a new evil power to rise. It’s one of the less explored eras in Star Wars which makes it pretty fun.

Rise of the First Order Era

  1. Force Collector
  2. Phasma
  3. Tales from a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens
  4. Before the Awakening
  5. The Legends of Luke Skywalker
  6. Canto Bight
  7. Cobalt Squadron
  8. Resistance Reborn
  9. Galaxy’s Edge: Black Spire
  10. Galaxy’s Edge: A Crash of Fate

These books take place before and during the so called sequel saga which comprises Episodes VII, VIII and IX. There is still a lot of territory to explore here so I am sure we’ll see more books to fill in here.

As you can see, there is no shortage of printed material to choose from when it comes to Star Wars. Most of the stories are self contained but connect to the larger story. You don’t have to read any of them to get into the movies. As far as quality of the writing goes, it varies, as does the subject matter. These are all generally kid friendly but some of them are slower and some of them are non-stop action. If you like to read, Star Wars will provide you with hours and hours of reading material.

Comic Books

I love a good comic book. And if it’s a good Star Wars comic book? Sign me up! There are tons of series out there and like the books they fall into legends and cannon. I’m only going to list the series that are cannon here. I’ll do my best to list them in order chronologically to the story, but these tend to jump around a bit. Pro Star Wars comics reading tip though – my favorite way to read this is to throw on the Star Wars soundtracks on a loop as I read them. That just makes it feel more like the films and gives me that good ol’ Star Wars movie vibe.

The High Republic Phase 2

  1. Star Wars: The High Republic Phase II Vol. 1 – Balance of the Force
  2. The High Republic: The Edge of Balance: Precedent

These are still being released so there’s not too much to catch up on here. It takes place thousands of years before most of the events in the movies.

The High Republic Phase 1

  1. Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Vol. 1
  2. Star Wars: The High Republic Vol. 1: There is No Fear 
  3. Star Wars: The High Republic: The Edge of Balance, Vol. 1
  4. Star Wars: The High Republic Adventures, Vol. 2
  5. The High Republic: Trail of Shadows
  6. Star Wars: The High Republic Vol. 2: The Heart of Drengir
  7. The High Republic: The Edge of Balance Vol. 2
  8. The High Republic Vol. 3: Jedi’s End

These are all a fun read but again, not really connected to the movies… yet.

The Fall of the Jedi Era

  1. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Qui-Gon Jinn #1 
  2. Darth Maul
  3. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Darth Maul #1 
  4. Star Wars: Age Of Republic Special #1 
  5. Star Wars: The Phantom Menace Graphic Novel Adaptation
  6. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Obi-Wan Kenobi #1
  7. Star Wars: Obi-Wan & Anakin
  8. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Jango Fett #1
  9. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Count Dooku #1
  10. Star Wars: Attack of the Clones Graphic Novel Adaptation
  11. Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu
  12. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – Anakin Skywalker #1
  13. Star Wars Adventures: The Clone Wars – Battle Tales
  14. Star Wars: Age Of Republic Special #1
  15. Star Wars: Age Of Republic – General Grievous #1
  16. Forces of Destiny: Ahsoka & Padmé #1
  17. Star Wars: Age Of Republic Special #1
  18. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
  19. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005))

You’ll notice here that I did put in the movie adaptations. That’s because in my opinion the comics do a great job of translating the films, better than the novels do. But, if you don’t want to read those, feel free to skip and watch the movies instead!

Reign of the Empire

  1. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 1: Imperial Machine
  2. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 2: Legacy’s End
  3. Age of Rebellion: Darth Vader #1
  4. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 3: The Burning Seas
  5. Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith Vol. 4: Fortress Vader
  6. Jedi: Fallen Order: Dark Temple
  7. Han Solo: Imperial Cadet
  8. Lando: Double or Nothing
  9. Star Wars: Solo Graphic Novel Adaptation
  10. Star Wars: Han Solo & Chewbacca Vol. 1: The Crystal Run

Age of Rebellion

  1. Star Wars: Age Of Resistance Special #1
  2. Star Wars Rebels Manga Vol. 1
  3. Star Wars Rebels Manga Vol. 2
  4. Star Wars Rebels Manga Vol. 3 
  5. Kanan Vol. 1: The Last Padawan
  6. Kanan Vol. 2: First Blood
  7. Forces of Destiny: Hera #1
  8. Leia, Princess of Alderaan Vol. 1
  9. Rogue One: Cassian & K-2SO Special
  10. Star Wars: Thrawn
  11. Vader: Dark Visions
  12. Star Wars: Obi-Wan — A Jedi’s Purpose
  13. Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader’s Castle
  14. Star Wars Adventures: Return to Vader’s Castle
  15. Guardians of the Whills: The Manga
  16. Star Wars: Age Of Rebellion Special #1 
  17. Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation
  18. Star Wars: A New Hope Graphic Novel Adaptation (Star Wars Movie Adaptations)
  19. Age of Rebellion: Grand Moff Tarkin #1
  20. Princess Leia
  21. Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Run
  22. Age of Rebellion: Han Solo #1
  23. Chewbacca
  24. Han Solo
  25. Star Wars: Age Of Resistance Special #1 
  26. Target Vader
  27. Star Wars: Age Of Rebellion Special #1 
  28. Star Wars Adventures: The Weapon of a Jedi
  29. Star Wars (2015) Annual #4 
  30. Star Wars Vol. 1: Skywalker Strikes
  31. Darth Vader Vol. 1: Vader
  32. Star Wars Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon
  33. Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets
  34. Vader Down
  35. Star Wars Vol. 3: Rebel Jail
  36. Darth Vader Vol. 3: The Shu-Torun War
  37. Darth Vader Vol. 4: End of Games
  38. Star Wars Vol. 4: The Last Flight of the Harbinger
  39. Doctor Aphra Vol. 1: Aphra
  40. Star Wars Vol. 5: Yoda’s Secret War
  41. The Screaming Citadel
  42. Doctor Aphra Vol. 2: Doctor Aphra and The Enormous Profit
  43. Star Wars Vol. 6: Out Among the Stars
  44. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – The Storms Of Crait #1
  45. Doctor Aphra Annual #2
  46. Lando
  47. Star Wars Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha
  48. Star Wars Vol. 8: Mutiny at Mon Cala
  49. Doctor Aphra Vol. 3: Remastered
  50. Doctor Aphra Vol. 4: The Catastrophe Con
  51. Doctor Aphra Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals
  52. Star Wars Vol. 9: Hope Dies
  53. Star Wars Vol. 10: The Escape
  54. Star Wars Vol. 11: The Scourging of Shu-Torun
  55. Doctor Aphra Vol. 6: Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon
  56. Age of Rebellion: Lando Calrissian #1
  57. Star Wars Vol. 12: Rebels and Rogues
  58. Star Wars Vol. 13: Rogues and Rebels
  59. Doctor Aphra Vol. 7: A Rogue’s End
  60. Age of Rebellion: Boba Fett #1
  61. Age of Rebellion: Jabba the Hutt #1
  62. Star Wars: Age Of Rebellion Special #1
  63. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel Adaptation
  64. Lost Stars Vol. 1
  65. Star Wars Vol. 1: The Destiny Path
  66. Darth Vader Vol. 1: Dark Heart of the Sith
  67. Bounty Hunters Vol. 1: Galaxy’s Deadliest
  68. Doctor Aphra Vol. 1: Fortune and Fate
  69. Darth Vader Vol. 2: Into the Fire
  70. Star Wars Vol. 2: Operation Starlight
  71. Bounty Hunters Vol. 2: Target Valance
  72. Doctor Aphra Vol. 2: The Engine Job
  73. War of the Bounty Hunters
  74. War of the Bounty Hunters Companion
  75. Darth Vader Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters
  76. Star Wars Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters
  77. Bounty Hunters Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters
  78. Doctor Aphra Vol. 3: War of the Bounty Hunters
  79. Star Wars: Crimson Reign
  80. Star Wars Vol. 4: Crimson Reign
  81. Darth Vader Vol. 4: Crimson Reign
  82. Doctor Aphra Vol. 4: Crimson Reign
  83. Bounty Hunters Vol. 4: Crimson Reign
  84. Star Wars Vol. 5: The Path to Victory
  85. Doctor Aphra Vol. 5 — The Spark Eternal 
  86. Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 5 — The Shadow’s Shadow
  87. Star Wars: Bounty Hunters Vol. 5 — The Raid on the Vermillion
  88. Lost Stars Vol. 2
  89. Age of Rebellion: Luke Skywalker #1
  90. Age of Rebellion: Princess Leia #1
  91. Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Graphic Novel Adaptation
  92. TIE Fighter

I know this is a looong list. But remember, comics are fast, light reads. And while I enjoy most of these, I think the Darth Vader and Dr. Aphra comics are some of the best comics (not just Star Wars comics) I have ever read. You definitely don’t have to read them all but a lot of them interconnect and make the stories more fun.

The New Republic

  1. Star Wars Adventures: Shadow of Vader’s Castle #1
  2. Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle
  3. Shattered Empire
  4. Lost Stars Volume 3
  5. Star Wars: The Mandalorian Vol. 1: Season One Part One
  6. Star Wars: The Mandalorian Vol. 2 – Season One, Part Two
  7. The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga
  8. The Rise of Kylo Ren
  9. Life Day #1

As you can see from the short length of this list, this is some of the less explored territory in the Star Wars timeline. There are some great stories here and anything with The Mandalorian is usually worth a look.

Rise of the First Order

  1. Age of Resistance: Supreme Leader Snoke #1
  2. Age of Resistance: Captain Phasma #1 
  3. Age of Resistance: Finn #1 
  4. Age of Resistance: General Hux #1
  5. Age of Resistance: Kylo Ren #1
  6. Age of Resistance: Rose Tico #1
  7. Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down
  8. Age of Resistance: Poe Dameron #1 
  9. Poe Dameron Vol. 1: Black Squadron
  10. Age of Resistance Special #1 
  11. Poe Dameron Vol. 2: The Gathering Storm
  12. Poe Dameron Vol. 3: Legend Lost
  13. Poe Dameron Vol. 4: Legend Found
  14. Star Wars: The Force Awakens Graphic Novel Adaptation
  15. Captain Phasma
  16. The Last Jedi: DJ #1
  17. Age of Resistance: Rey #1
  18. Star Wars: The Last Jedi Graphic Novel Adaptation
  19. Poe Dameron Vol. 5: The Spark and the Fire
  20. Allegiance
  21. Galaxy’s Edge
  22. Halcyon Legacy
  23. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Graphic Novel Adaptation

These are decent comics but most of them are here just to get the audience geared up and excited for the sequel trilogy movies.

I think comic books can be a great way to get into Star Wars. If you’re not going to go with the movies, I think comics are the next best avenue for exploring the universe.

Tabletop Role Playing Games

This list would be incomplete without me at least mentioning some Table Top Role Playing Games (TTRPGs). If you are not into movies, video games, books or comic books, you can still enjoy the Star Wars universe. It certainly helps to at least have seen the movies but it’s not a requirement if you want to play these.

  1. Star Wars: Edge of the Empire
  2. Star Wars: Age of Rebellion
  3. Star Wars: Force and Destiny

There are a bunch more Star Wars TTRPG’s than these but these three are pretty easy to find and get a group together to play. They let you be in charge of the story. It’s a lot like playing Dungeons & Dragons, only it’s in the Star Wars universe. I’ve spent a lot of hours playing these so I won’t bore you with the details but the only real difference between the three is at what time period in the Star Wars universe these things happen. I recommend them all if you do like TTRPGs.

The ONly Way to Get Started with sTar Wars

I’ve hit you with a lot of information here and you’re probably wanting me to get right to the point. Well, here’s the thing, there are tons of ways to get into Star Wars. I strongly suggest watching the movies in release order to begin with. But if you would rather read, watch TV shows or play video games, that’s totally fine. There is no wrong way to get into Star Wars.

So what’s the only way to get started with Star Wars? The way you want to! You might take a look and not like it at all. That’s totally fine. Some of the stuff on here is not for everyone’s taste. But I hope you give it a shot with one or more of the myriad avenues available to you. If you do get into Star Wars, I’ll have plenty to talk about with you.

Expect more Star Wars related content to pop up on this blog. If that’s not for you, no worries, I’ll still blog about other stuff.

Until then,

May the Force be with you!

Empire: Capital – Book Review

Empire: Capital by Tim Goff

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through this post I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you)

Rating: 3 out of 5.


After decades of bitter warfare, the Solarian Empire finally scored a pyric victory over demon ruled Traag. Now, Solaria is a tottering wreck of a nation, one step from the brink of collapse. Worse, the demons are still out there.

Tia traveled to the imperial capital to testify at the trial of a traitor tied to eldritch abominations. She stayed to court the rowdy knightly heroes roaming the palace halls. It seems normal – yet she is plagued by strange dreams and the court intrigues are taking a deadly turn.

Rebecca, Tia’s maid and personal minstrel, is ‘playing the palace’ – but there is something wrong with her music.

Sir Peter Cortez, Tia’s protector, parties with his fellow knights while navigating intrigues.

Kyle, Tia’s carriage driver and a petty magician, confronts his past and contemplates his future.

Opportunity and peril await them all.


After the events of Empire: Country the sequel follows the adventures of an ensemble cast of characters. Tia is still trying to find a suitable match for matrimony. Rebecca has musical talent and should be having the performance of her lifetime but there is something wrong with the music. Sir Peter Cortez is filling out his days in debauchery and unpleasant family matters. And Kyle is trying to figure out what a man with his talents can do and how he can further his fortunes. Meanwhile there is an evil presence growing in the capital which could destroy them all.

This second volume starts out with a prologue that definitely expands the world of Empire but seems as if it may be resolved further on in the series. There are more revelations from the past for most of the characters, and they all, in one way or another, are struggling to confront the reality of how to live their lives in the future. This all means quite a bit of political maneuvering as people try to position themselves to best survive whatever may be coming next. In the background of all this there is a bit of mystery and corruption that a few of the characters are able to perceive for one reason or another.

There are some passages which are a bit confusing for the reader but may become more clear as the story goes on. There are also some spelling and grammar issues in the book but the story is strong enough to keep the reader engaged for the most part.

It’s clear that Tim Goff is attempting to tell an ambitious story with a lot of moving parts. This second volume expands on that and has plenty of intrigue and action along the way. The idea of setting most of the main events after a major war has ended gives the story just enough edge to make it unique in fantasy books. This second volume touches quite a lot on themes of finding direction in one’s life and career, especially after the world has undergone a significant change. These themes certainly resonate to the audience today.

If you enjoy fantasy books with elements of cosmic horror you’ll enjoy the Empire series.

Marvel 616 Review – Journey Into Mystery #92

Journey Into Mystery Issue 92 Writers: Stan Lee, Robert Bernstein, Artist: Joe Sinnott, Cover Art: Jack Kirby, Photo Credit: Marvel

Journey Into Mystery continues to be a showcase for Thor and the other Norse gods who appear in Marvel 616. In this issue we get to see a deeper look at Asgard and the rivalry between Thor and Loki continues. But we have to take the good with the strange here because in the same issue, Thor has to take down several lowlife street thugs after his alter-ego Dr. Donald Blake has operated on one of them. It’s an odd mix of foes who are absolutely no match for Thor and one who can hold his own.

The story starts with a splash page, as most 616 comics do. Loki is scheming how to free himself from his bonds while at the same time weakening Thor. We next get a good look at the Bifrost bridge and see Heimdall guarding it. He doesn’t allow Neri, hand-maiden of Fricka, to cross the bridge until he’s made certain Loki is still chained in place.

Loki overhears the whole thing and he’s still hopping mad about being stuck here, chained to a rock with chains made of Uru metal. This is the same substance Thor’s hammer Mjolnir is made out of.

As Loki goes on swearing his vengeance on Thor, we switch back to Earth in the offices of Dr. Donald Blake. Jane goes out to run a blood sample to a lab. Outside, three common thugs wait. One of them has been shot and they plan to force Dr. Blake to operate, without filing a police report, whether he wants to or not. The crooks pulled off a jewel heist and Blake knows they are on the run. Being a good doctor, of course he operates. He also mentions Thor is helping the police. The thugs don’t believe him until Blake distracts them with the classic look over there technique and changes into Thor. Weirdly, he decides to tape the gangsters onto an operating table, tie his hammer onto the table, and basically chuck his hammer towards the police station. The cops figure out what happened rather quickly and the hammer returns to Thor who changes back into Dr. Blake.

A week goes by and Thor is summoned to… a film set. Yep, you read that right, he’s making a movie. His proceeds, “will go to various charities,” so he’s still doing heroic work. He starts filming a scene or two and Loki sees what he is doing. Thor’s final scene involves him throwing his hammer to cause an avalanche, which he does. The hammer doesn’t stop flying and we find out this is because… well because Loki has used his sorcery to… make the metal in his chains magnetic and attract the hammer to them. So, I guess Loki is kind of like Magneto for a minute here? It doesn’t make a lot of sense but it does break Loki free.

To press his advantage, Loki lures Thor to Asgard. Loki figures Thor knows Earth pretty well but Loki might gain advantage in his home. I suppose Loki has forgotten Thor is no stranger to Asgard but we’ll go with it. Thor asks Odin to transport him to Asgard, which he does. Conveniently, time stops on Earth when Odin is around and in Asgard Thor can’t lose his powers even without his hammer. So, we don’t have to follow the established rule that Thor can’t be away from his hammer for more than 60 seconds.

Loki also convinces the council of gods to say they’re too busy to help Thor find his hammer. Loki sends some killer trees after Thor but Thor makes a hammer out of wood and defeats them. Thor figures Loki must be up to something and goes to check on him. Loki turns some clouds into dragons to attack Thor. This time Thor makes a hammer out of stone. That hammer also flies to where Loki had been chained. There he finds Mjolnir. The gods Odin, Heimdall, and Fricka show up and take Loki prisoner again.

Thor heads on back to Earth and we get a silly scene where Dr. Blake is testing someone’s reflexes with a rubber mallet. Jane Foster reassures the patient that, “Dr. Blake is very experienced in using a mallet!!” to which Blake thinks, “Jane, honey… you don’t know the half of it!”

While this story is a bit of an odd mix, it does drive the larger story forward just a bit. We get more of Asgard and more of Loki and this is vital to the upcoming creation of the Avengers. In time, a lot of the sillier stuff, including Thor fighting common street thugs will fade away but it’s still going to be a while before we get there.

Next up on the reading list, we’ll be checking in on Reed and company in The Fantastic Four #14!

The Underground by Ty Pape- Book Review

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through this post I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you)


In a not-so-distant future apocalyptic world, everything known has been thrown into a whirlwind of despair. Life as Josh Kimbo knows it is lived in a deep underground bunker built by the government nearly a century prior. Ten years of living in a secure bunker have driven Josh and those around him to their brink. Josh is forced to decide whether to escape from an authoritarian leader’s firm grip or risk breathing the “toxic” air above ground. Josh not only faces the people whose purpose is to put him down but his biggest enemy continues to be himself. Throughout his journey, Josh not only battles outside forces, he battles against his own inner demons to discover who he is. Love, fear, pain, comfort, action, and tragedy drive Josh’s story past anything that he thought was possible for himself. Physically and mentally.

Rating: 3 out of 5.


Josh Kimbo leads a simple life in the Underground. Ten years ago, there was a great disaster and since that time Josh and his brother have lived in a relatively safe space underground, protected from the radiation above and doing what they can to live a meager existence. Josh tends the garden in the underground, helping to grow the food to feed the people living there. It’s an important job that helps him to feel fulfilled but he still has the sense that there is more to life. The community is strictly regulated by the Governor of the Underground. Any infraction against the rules leads to punishment up tp and including execution. While this system seems to work well enough, there are signs the community is questioning what the future will hold. When Josh’s friend Reek is taken away by the Governor, it’s inevitable Josh will be taken next. Josh’s brother has a bold plan to get them out of the Underground. But, even if Josh makes it out, he doesn’t know what kind of harsh conditions he’ll have to face and if he will be able to survive. Will he give in to his fear or will he survive to help those he knows and loves?

The Underground is at times reminiscent of The City of Ember in setting but does tell a unique story. There are some intriguing action scenes and the reader gets to know Josh quite well as a character. While the author does a decent job of putting the story together, there are times where there is more telling than showing. There is also a bit too much head hopping in some scenes for my taste but overall this doesn’t detract too much from the story. The book truly picks up in the last third of the story and has a few surprises by the end.

If you like post-apocalyptic books like The Hunger GamesThe City of Ember, or Divergent, you will likely find this worth reading.

Marvel 616 Review – The Amazing Spider-Man #2

The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #2 Photo Credit: Marvel, Written by Stan Lee, Art by Steve Ditko

The second issue of The Amazing Spider-Man introduces a major recurring villain who is still in use in Spider-Man stories today and it has a second, completely forgettable story as its second feature. While both are included in Marvel 616, it’s clear The Vulture is the standout enemy.

The first page of the first story shows Vulture in aerial combat with Spider-Man, signaling a lot of the kinetic and fast pace action to come in many issues of Spider-Man. This is, of course, just a splash page to get the audience excited about reading.

The story starts with a figure wearing vulture wings coming out of nowhere and snatching a briefcase from a pedestrian. This was a briefcase full of a fortune in bonds and Vulture gets away easily. The crowd reacts in shock and excitement, and marvels at how silent the attack was.

We next get a glimpse of J. Jonah Jameson inside the building where Now magazine is published. While we will most associate J.J.J. with The Daily Bugle, he does publish this magazine and it pops up here and there in the comics. The publisher is in desperate need of photos of this Vulture character and is willing to pay top dollar to get them. He also continues his crusade against the menace known as Spider-Man.

We change scenes to a high school where Peter Parker is working at a lab experiment. His classmates mention how valuable pictures of the villain would be while looking at an issue of Now and Peter realizes he can probably make some money as a photographer if he can get a good shot. Peter gets a bit picked on for being a science nerd but he quips right back. He next goes home and Aunt May gives him a mini-camera perfect for what he wants to do.

Again shifting scenes, we check in with Vulture who has a plan to steal a million dollars worth of diamonds about to be moved across town. For some reason, Vulture decides to leave notes with the authorities tipping them off to the fact he’s trying to rob them. It’s not the plan I would go with but then again I am not a master criminal.

As Vulture is flying around, Spider-Man is setting up his camera. He senses The Vulture but doesn’t hear him flying silently through the air. The police get ready for the attack, with special attention paid to the skies. On his way to the crime, Vulture sees Spidey and knocks him out. Vulture dumps Peter in a water tower. It takes him a minute to figure it out but Spider-Man uses his strength to push off the bottom of the water tower so he can leap out of an open hatch. I doubt the physics would work like this here but it’s a comic so we’ll just go with it.

This is one of the first times Spider-Man runs out of web fluid when he needs it, since that would have helped him to get out. He realizes before he escapes, he needs to make some adjustments to the web shooters. He heads home and makes what is basically a utility belt he can hide under his costume with extra web fluid and a spot for his camera. He also rigs something up he says will stop The Vulture next time they meet.

The next day Peter goes to sell pictures he did get of Vulture to J.J.J. The publisher tells Parker he’ll pay even more for Spider-Man photos.

The day after, Peter goes to school and all his friends want to go watch the diamonds get moved. Peter knows he’ll need to slip away and be the hero. While the police were ready for an aerial attack, Vulture strikes from below, popping out of a manhole. He snags the diamonds and flies through the underground sewer system to escape. Peter catches up with him as Spider-Man. There’s a bit of a fight but Peter gets the upper hand when he uses a web to stick to Vulture and then uses his gadget to stop the Vulture from being able to fly. Vulture crashes to the ground and is captured by the police. Turns out Peter’s gadget was an “Anti-Magnetic inverter.” The Vulture powered his flight using magnetics so this device disrupted that. Again, the science is way off here but it’s a comic so we’ll have to let it slide. Peter cashes in on his photos and brings the money back to Aunt May. In the last panel of the story, Vulture swears revenge on Spider-Man.

The next story is about a group of aliens who try to take over the world by inserting special tubes in radio equipment. The main villain is called the Tinkerer and there’s a group of aliens, a rubber mask, and Spider-Man saving the day. It’s a remarkably forgettable story and it’s yet another entry in the superhero saves the world from aliens tales we keep seeing in 616 up to this point. We do get a little diagram of Peter’s web shooters in the story though. Other than that, there is just not much to mention here.

What I find interesting about this issue is this is the beginning of a really colorful rogues gallery in Spider-Man comics. Vulture may not be the smartest or best villain in the world but he’s unforgettable. In the months and years to come Spider-Man comics end up with villains that are consistently good, probably only rivaled by those found in the pages of Batman. We also get the first hints of the ongoing and somewhat complicated nature of Peter’s relationship with J. Jonah Jameson. Peter sort of has a triple problem going where he needs money, but he thinks it’s funny to get it from the guy who hates Spider-Man while hiding the fact he is Spider-Man. It works on a lot of levels and comes into play in more stories than can be counted. It’s easy to see, even in only the second issue of The Amazing Spider-Man why he has such appeal and goes on to be one of the most popular comics characters of all time.

Next up on the reading list we catch up with the first family of superheroes in the pages of The Fantastic Four #13!

Marvel 616 Review – Strange Tales #108 (D Story)

Strange Tales Issue 108 D Story, Art by Steve Ditko, Script by Stan Lee

Strange Tales is an anthology book so sometimes there are multiple stories in a single issue which relate to the 616 universe. The D story in issue 108 is a bit of an oddball because while it doesn’t entirely relate to a lot of what is going on in 616, it does introduce some characters who will come up in the long run. Also, it’s one of the few comics so far in the 616 universe not available on Marvel Unlimited. If you want to read the issue you may have to do a bit of Google sleuthing to find it. Merlin the Magician, famous from the Arthurian legends shows up here and this will not be the last time we see him. We do also see a character called The Black Knight but this is not the modern character, nor is it the character who showed up in the Golden Age of comics. We also run into King Arthur himself, as well as our villain Sir Mogard. The Black Knight is nothing more than a construct and is the twist of the story but the rest of the characters mentioned do all come back into 616 at various times.

The story here is quite short, running only four pages long. It’s titled The Iron Warrior and relates a short incident in the life of Merlin the Magician. Basically, Sir Mogard thinks Merlin is not so powerful as he seems. Sir Mogard accuses Merlin of being a fake and throws down his gauntlet. Merlin is instructed to choose a champion and meet Mogard in battle. Merlin accepts.

Merlin shows up the next morning with his champion, a knight in black armor. There is a joust and a melee with swords. The Black Knight bests Sir Mogard who has to surrender. Mogard then says Merlin had nothing to do with the battle, therefore Merlin is not so powerful. The twist here is that Merlin was controlling the knight, nothing but an empty set of armor, the whole time with his magic. It also says Mogard is struck dumb from the wonder he beheld. We’ll see if that is true the next time he shows up.

And that is the whole story. A short one, but it has a few implications for 616. It reestablishes magic as a real theme and gives us a couple of characters who will become important later. Also, it was kind of nice to have a little bit of fantasy thrown into the superhero mix just to have something a little different to read. I don’t think the intention with this story was to set up anything long term and likely could have been a throw away story. Still, in the long run Stan Lee will make use of it and he does come back to Arthurian legend a few times.

Next up on the reading list we’ll be checking in on the wall crawler himself in The Amazing Spider-Man #2!

Empire Country – Book Review

Empire: Country by Tim Goff

Note: this review was first posted on Reedsy Discovery, an awesome website that pairs independent authors and readers. To see the post there, click here.

If you are a book reviewer and want to contribute reviews on Reedsy Discovery, click here.

(Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through this post I will get a small commission at no extra cost to you)


The decades long war against demon ruled Traag left the Solarian Empire a decimated wreck. Rebuilding the nation is a nightmare. Worse, the demons are still out there.

Tia traveled to Cosslet Barony in search of a nobleman willing to marry a wealthy commoner. She finds feuding aristocrats and an impoverished populace terrorized by a monster out of legend. Then matters get really bad…

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Lady Tia Samos of Equitant is a well connected merchant looking to find new enterprises and a suitable match for matrimony. She has gone around the Solarian Empire in an attempt to do both. While she has found some potential matches, none have worked out thus far. She travels with her companions Peter and Kyle who both saw action in the war. Peter is a knight and fighter and Kyle has some magical abilities, although he lets drink get to his head a bit too often. Tia and her party head to Cosslet Castle to see if a match with the minor noble and Peter’s half brother Ian both in business and marriage might be worthwhile.

While the war has ended, the Empire is still feeling some ill effects from it and everyone from peasants to nobles are trying to recover. To make matters worse, the demons who waged the war in the first place are not entirely gone. Tia an Ian make a discovery of some unknown resources that may help Cosslet Castle come back to full financial health. Unfortunately, there have been sightings of strange creatures and deaths of peasants and livestock plaguing the surrounding area. Tia will have to survive not only using her wits and friends but also avoiding the life threatening demons.

Empire: Country makes a good start for a fantasy series, taking a few key elements rarely seen in fantasy. We get to see the aftermath of war, rather than the throes of it, and Tia in particular, takes a major role in events. The book does have a large cast of characters and while it mostly manages the balance well, there are some spots where the shift in perspective seems not entirely necessary. At times this leads to some confusion on the part of the reader but most of those instances are minor.

The action that ensues is quite enjoyable and the last third of the book is surprising and inventive. The story here makes for a good start on what could be an excellent series.

If you like epic fantasy books with elements of cosmic horror and some truly nail biting moments, Empire: Country is a great choice to read next.

The Movement (Time Corrector Series Book 2) – Book Review

The Movement by Avi Datta

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In this mind-bending sequel, The Movement finds absolute genius and the prophesized time corrector living the life of his dream. His AI firm is booming, he’s in better control of his powers, and Akane is with him after all this time. But, there are gaps in his memory and a new enemy, Vandal, is hell-bent on destroying everyone and everything in Vincent’s life.

Vincent works frantically to stop him, but Vandal is always one step ahead with a sinister smile and blood on his hands. When Vandal comes after Akane, Vincent realizes there is only one way to protect her. Alter her reality so that she never meets Vincent.

To set things right, Vincent finds himself back at the core of time and reality, unveiling secrets from his past that reshaped his reality as he knew it. It only takes a moment to change everything. Alternate realities collide, and unfathomable powers and greeds unwind in this gripping new saga of the Time Corrector Series.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

In the first volume of The Time Corrector series, Dr. Vincent Abajian, saw one of the only people who cared about him slip away lost to time. Vincent dedicated his life and all his resources to finding Akame. But in the process he also found Emika who he developed a romantic relationship with. Meanwhile his breakthroughs in AI technology and time travel created enemies he was unaware of, causing ripple effects that would sweep him and everything he cares about just out of his reach.

In The Movement we get a new perspective on several of the events from the first book and more of the puzzle of Vincent’s past is revealed. He’s now torn between Akame who he tried to rescue for more than thirty years and Emika, the mother of his child.

While Vincent struggles to put together lost memories and get a better understanding of his time powers, a new threat named Vandal is on the horizon. Dr. Abajian, Emika, Akame and everyone else in the little circle of brilliant scientists and business leaders are under threat. Vincent will be forced to use all skill, brilliance and cunning to outsmart his enemy while keeping those he loves safe. But doing the right thing sometimes means losing everything.

The Movement is the rare sequel that not only matches but perhaps outshines the original. Avi Datta has proven to be an exceptionally skilled writer, able to handle both deep human connection and incredible action sequences.

The story is not linear but still comes together with a sensible conclusion. A book similar to this would be The Time Traveller’s Wife, although Datta provides much more action than that book does.

If you love books capable of telling a non-linear story but still wrapping things up perfectly, The Movement is the book for you.