When Disney acquired Lucasfilm in 2014, they chose to restart the timeline, and in doing so, placed the previous comics under the label ‘Legends.’ Despite no longer being considered canon by Disney, Legends comics are still some of the best Star Wars comics you can read. Therefore, a list of the best Star Wars comics wouldn’t be complete without them.
It’s not an easy task to take 40 years of Star Wars comics and limit it to 15 of the best of them! Best to me doesn’t necessarily mean the most popular, or the most enjoyable; the best comics are those that bring stories to life in epic detail. Therefore, this best Star Wars comics list also encompasses comics that tell stories that had never been told before.
Star Wars Legends Comics
I’m choosing to begin my list with the best Star Wars Legends comics, as they came first and they are in the previous timeline. In this timeline, the Resistance became the New Republic, and the heroes of the Rebel Alliance went on to become prominent members in the new government.
Luke successfully founded a new Jedi Order, found love, and had a family. Leia and Han also married and had twins (a son and a daughter) and a younger son. It sounds very idyllic compared to the events of the new films, but I assure you, our heroes never have it easy.
1. Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi — The Golden Age of the Sith
Unlike the new Star Wars canon, the Legends timeline had over thirty years to fill in the blanks and flesh out the history of the Jedi and the Sith. The Tales of the Jedi series set 4,000 BBY (Before the Battle of Yavin aka Episode IV: A New Hope) was instrumental in doing just that.
They are set in a time when Jedi and Sith both existed in more significant numbers. They tell the story of the legendary Jedi Exar Kun, Ulic Qel-Droma, and Nomi Sunrider.
Their fates would later entwine with the students of Luke’s Jedi Academy of Yavin 4. This series is an excellent read for anyone who wants to learn more about the history of the Force and the relationship between Jedi and Sith.
2. Jedi: Aayla Secura
Rising through the ranks to become a Jedi Master and a General in the Clone Wars, Aayla Secura only appears briefly in the Prequel movies. In this comic series, we get to know her better.
We also learn about her past through a series of flashbacks. It is beautifully illustrated from start to finish, including an epic lightsaber battle which is one of my favorite Star Wars comic book strips to date. The supporting characters are equally fantastic, with witty banter and rich storylines of their own.
3. Star Wars: Jedi – Mace Windu
When asked to undertake a special assignment by the Jedi Council, Mace Windu hand-picks his team: a fellow member of the council, a Jedi Knight with special skills, and a newly knighted Jedi who is a mechanical whizz.
Each one of them is integral to the mission, although for the youngest member of the team, working with the illustrious Jedi Master is an exciting but terrifying experience. As they all rush headlong into danger, tempers will fray, and secrets will come out.
That doesn’t sound very Jedi like, does it? This Star Wars comic explores the role of the Jedi as the galaxies’ peacekeepers, as well as their role in the Clone Wars. It asks some difficult questions which I feel needed to be asked and got overlooked in the prequel films.
The serious elements are juxtaposed with humor, with the charismatic Kit Fisto keeping things light and always on hand to offer some witty banter.
The diversity of the characters extends beyond their skills, and solid storytelling keeps that diversity relevant and out of character trope territory. Overall, it’s a brilliant and cleverly written accompaniment to the Prequel movies.
4. Shadows of the Empire: Evolution
The sequel to the novel of the same name by Steve Perry, Evolution is set directly after and follows Guri. She is the personal assassin and human replica droid of the recently deceased leader of the largest crime syndicate in the galaxy.
While she’s just trying to figure out what her newfound freedom means, everyone else (the Empire and the Rebels) are only interested in what information she has in her noggin. Guri’s an interesting character, and this comic is an excellent follow up to the novel.
I suggest reading Shadows of the Empire first to learn more about Guri, but also because these are set between Episode V and VI and explain precisely how Leia and Lando end up at Jabba’s palace at the start of Return of the Jedi.
5. Star Wars: Mara Jade – By The Emperor’s Hand
The mysterious Mara Jade originally appeared in Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn Trilogy, the same trilogy that introduced the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn to fans. While Rebels fans might be familiar with that name, sadly, Mara Jade never made it into the new Star Wars canon.
This comic series delves into Mara’s past as the Emperor’s Hand, a force-sensitive operative trained by the Emperor who works on special assignments for him.
After failing to kill Luke Skywalker at Jabba’s Palace on Tattooine, Mara is sent off on another assignment while the Emperor meets Luke above the forest moon of Endor — and Mara’s life is changed forever.
She wants answers and instead finds herself knee-deep in problems, including a target who won’t stay dead. What’s a girl to do? Kick ass and take no prisoners. It’s Mara doing what she does best.
6. Star Wars: X-Wing Rogue Squadron
The Rogues are some of my favorite characters to read about in the Legends timeline, and it all started right here with this comic book series. The hotshot starfighter pilots from the films are back, causing trouble and kicking Imperial ass. No one does it quite like Rogue Squadron, and space battles were made to be illustrated.
In these Star Wars comic books, you’ll find space battles spread across the pages in glorious detail. Get to know Wedge, Tycho, Wes, and the gang as they undertake the most daring missions the Rebel Alliance has to give with a smile on their face.
7. Star Wars Union
They met by accident, then she tried to kill him, and then it took forever for them to actually admit their feelings for one another. But finally, the day arrived for Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, and Mara Jade, former Emperor’s Hand, to get hitched!
Naturally, everything that could go wrong goes wrong. Mara can’t even find a dress without causing a political incident. It’s got everything you’d expect from a Star Wars wedding: bar fights, kick-ass ladies, Rogue Squadron antics, and of course, Jedi.
8. Star Wars: The Crimson Empire Saga
The Crimson Empire Saga is an entirely different breed of Star Wars story, and that is what makes it so good. Described in the blurb as “the blood-soaked tale of the last surviving member of Emperor Palpatine’s Royal Guard,” the comic is not for the faint-hearted.
In this all-new adventure, we get to learn more about the imposing scarlet knights silently seen guarding the Emperor in the Original Trilogy.
Once one of the most feared forces in the galaxy, the Royal Guard have been hunted down following the Emperor’s death and now, only one survives. Kir Kanos is on the run, tracking down a traitor and looking for vengeance for his fallen brothers.
In his wake, he’ll leave a pile of bodies, and meet some familiar faces as he cuts a bloody path across the galaxy to fulfill his oath of vengeance.
Through flashbacks, we learn more about the history and the training of the Royal Guard, including some exciting encounters with Darth Vader and the Emperor himself.
While Luke, Leia, and Han do feature, the focus is primarily on Kir Kanos and his story. It’s a refreshing change of pace and an alternative view of the Imperial/Rebel war from someone who finds himself fighting for his own cause.
9. Star Wars: Chewbacca
In the Legends timeline, it was Chewbacca who lost his life, not Han, and it was while saving Han’s youngest son, Anakin. His death sent a massive shock wave through the fandom because up to that point, significant characters didn’t die in the Star Wars universe — especially not someone like Chewbacca.
Following the death of their friend, C3P0 and R2-D2 are struggling to come to terms with it, and so in typical droid-style, they decide to fix it the best way they know-how. Their solution is to find out more about the Wookie by collecting stories of his life.
As you can expect from this duo, they can’t do anything without getting into trouble, and they even go as far as asking a bounty hunter and a Trandoshan slaver!
The result is a beautifully written and illustrated commemoration of a well-loved character featuring never before heard stories about Chewbacca and his friends and family. Have some tissues on hand because make no mistake, there will be tears — whether they will be from sadness or laughter depends on the story!
10. Star Wars: Legacy
Have you ever wondered what would happen 100 years after the events of Episode VI? Back before Rey, Finn, and Poe ever existed, there was the Legacy comic series which ventured way into the future and imagined just that.
There’s a whole new Empire, the Sith are back in town, and Cade Skywalker, the only living Skywalker heir, wants absolutely nothing to do with his legendary heritage.
I fell in love with the diverse characters and well written dynamic storylines that are paired with incredible illustrations. While Volume I is complete, sadly, due to the Disney take over, Volume II was one of the casualties.
The second volume follows Ania Solo, a descendant of Han and Leia, and it had the potential to be as good (if not better) than its predecessor.
The six-issue mini-series is fantastic. However, it feels rushed and completely unfinished. The elaborately woven storylines that created a masterpiece in the first volume only worked so well due to continuity.
When Dark Horse comics lost the Star Wars comics license to Marvel comics, the magic was broken. The result was a pile of unanswered questions, storylines floating in space and unknown character fates.
Star Wars Disney Comics
The Disney takeover has been met with some hostility by the Star Wars fan community, especially with the implementation of the new Star Wars canon.
However, Disney’s comic game has been incredibly strong from day one. They have put a lot of effort into creating a new and sustainable Star Wars comic book franchise with ongoing series and regular new releases with solid talent behind them.
They are successfully using comics as a method to explore areas of a character’s history rather than leaving gaps unfilled; a particular issue that the Legends timeline had.
This unified approach is not just much more organized; it’s resulted in some fabulous reading material. If they’re all so brilliant; where do you start? You’ve seen the best Legends comics, and now it’s time to take a look at the best Star Wars canon comics!
1. Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin
One such gap in the timeline is the events between Episode I and Episode II. We know that Obi-Wan took Anakin as his Padawan after Qui-Gon died, but little is known about those early years of Anakin’s training. Until now!
Several years later, Obi-Wan is learning how to be a Master for the first time, and with the most powerful force user the Temple has seen in generations. All the while, Anakin is struggling to understand precisely what his destiny as the ‘Chosen One’ means.
A routine mission ends up being more significant than either of them could ever believe, testing their relationship to the extremes. They’ll either come out of it stronger, or it’ll break them — if they can survive.
What sets this Star Wars comic apart from other Jedi missions isn’t just the Obi-Wan and Anakin bond; it’s also the unique setting. An obscure planet with its own complex society provides a great backdrop for their growing relationship. Engaging characters, twists at every turn, and stunning art are the icing on the cake.
2. Star Wars: Kanan — The Last Padawan
This Star Wars comic is a must-read for fans of the animated series Rebels. As the name suggests, it follows young Kanan as a Padawan under the tutelage of his Jedi Master, Depa Billaba, at the height of the Clone Wars. How exactly did the cocky rebel survive Order 66?
This tell-all series takes us back to that crucial moment in Kanan Jarrus’ life when he has to learn to sink or swim. When being a Jedi puts a target on his head, he has to decide whether to turn his back on all he’s ever known or fight for what he believes in.
3. Star Wars: Princess Leia
The loss of a loved one is never easy to come to terms with; imagine losing your entire planet. Princess Leia’s loss was something that was never really dealt with in the Legends timeline. This was most likely due to the era’s lack of mental health awareness. This series takes that oversight and turns it into a compelling read with gorgeous artwork.
Leia’s on a mission, and we all know what that means; someone better watch out! After finding out that the Empire is hunting down the rest of her people, Leia goes on a mission to find the other survivors of Alderaan destruction.
But with a bounty on her head, she’s been ordered to stay put like a good little princess. What’s a Princess to do?
With the trusty R2-D2 and a fellow Alderaan rebel pilot in tow, Leia disobeys orders and steals a ship. Expect lots of firefights and two women kicking ass across the galaxy as they cross the Empire to save their people.
The writers specifically wanted to make a Princess Leia comic series, so it’s all Leia, all the time, and it’s fantastic.
4. Star Wars: Han Solo
Princess Leia wasn’t the only character to get her own comic series. The next on my list is the Han Solo comic written by bestselling author Marjorie Liu. She brings her incredible talent to this series set between Episode IV and V, and it shows. He’s taking part in the infamous Dragon Void Run race, the race that he’s dreamt of winning his entire life.
However, it wouldn’t be a Han Solo story without a hiccup, would it? The race is really just a front for a top-secret mission for the Rebel Alliance.
Torn between his duty to his own dreams and the mission, can he really both complete it and win the race? One thing’s for sure; never tell this guy the odds.
With his long-suffering co-pilot, Chewie, by his side, you can bet that this rock and roll adventure will see a few more twists and turns before it’s over. Place your bets now, ladies and gentlemen, because the Millennium Falcon is preparing to race and the stakes are deadly!
5. Star Wars: Darth Vader
On-screen, we never got to see how Emperor Palpatine reacted to his new toy being blown up in Episode IV. In the Original Trilogy, Darth Vader is seen imposing his will on several Imperial underlings (usually with deadly consequences) when they fail him.
In this comic, we’re reminded that for all his power, Vader is still very much the servant to Palpatine’s Master. While Vader responds to failure with brute Force, Palpatine’s punishments are much more creative, and he knows just how to push his servant’s buttons.
The result is a multi-layered story rich with new characters, one of which led to their own spin-off series due to popularity, as Vader starts to chafe beneath his Master’s constraints. Games are played, secrets are kept, and nothing is what it seems in this Darth Vader comic.
This brings me to the end of my list of 15 best Star Wars comics to read right now
I hope you enjoyed finding out more about them. If you’re new to the franchise, then these 15 are an excellent selection to get you started, and they will lead you onto additional material.
One missing from the best Star Wars canon comics list is the current Star Wars comic series. This is due to it being an ongoing monthly series compared to the limited issue format of most Star Wars comic books. It started publication in January 2015, so it has quite a few issues now, but it is most definitely worth a read.
Getting started with a large franchise like Star Wars can feel overwhelming, especially when there are multiple timelines to take into consideration.
Whether you were confused about the Legends timeline, or not quite sure about the new Disney comics, I hope that this list has given you some of the best Star Wars comics to get you started!
If you have any questions about any of the comics featured here or either timeline, feel free to drop me a comment.
As a child of the 80s and 90s, my journey into geekdom was fuelled by warrior princesses, NeverEnding Stories, magical creatures, sword fights, and people going off on adventures. Nothing much has changed really!
I’ve always been drawn to stories, and my two great loves are Star Wars and World of Warcraft. I fall in love with fandoms easily, devouring everything I can get my hands on including games, spin-offs, and extra material. As a huge animal lover, I’m constantly asking my fiance if I can adopt every cute fantasy creature I come across. Although we already have two cats, Milo and George, I would quite happily have many more – even a zoo if I was allowed!
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