This Past Week

Over the past week, I managed to hunt down the four Target-exclusive Clone Wars figures: General Obi-Wan Kenobi, General Skywalker, ARC Trooper Echo and Clone Pilot Hawk. For the past few months, I assumed these would be frustrating and difficult to find, more so than other figures, because the first three are dream figures of just about the entire collecting community. In the end, the hunt wasn’t bad at all. Last Saturday, a helpful employee pulled an Echo for me from the backroom. On Sunday, a few other collectors and I were there for the “official” release of Obi-Wan right when the store opened. Anakin and Hawk were easy to order off Target.com.

They’re great figures, well worth the exclusive price premium ($25 rather than $20). In some ways, I think if I were to stop collecting Black Series figures, these would be a proper jumping-off point. But I don’t think I can quit. Not with the rest of the Bad Batch themselves to collect later this year!

Last Saturday, I got a tip from my buddy Alex that one of the most difficult to find Star Wars Legends Epic Collection volumes was available from a Malaysian book wholesaler. The Legends Epic Collections are Marvel’s paperback reprints of classic Star Wars comics from the three decades that Dark Horse held the license. Marvel’s done some great new-canon Star Wars stories (anything after 2015), but these Dark Horse books are the ones I grew up with and show a breadth of creativity that can only come from the era when the franchise was neither so well-defined nor tightly controlled.

I don’t collect all of the Epic line, which includes a lot of series I never cared about, but I’ve been seeking to collect the Tales of the Jedi, The Clone Wars, The New Republic and Legacy series in their entirety. (I am also hoping to buy the Legends Omnibus of The Old Republic in July.) After the collecting apocalypse of 2020, each of these series features at least one absurdly hard-to-find volume. The Clone Wars, Vol. 2 and The New Republic, Vol. 4 are the last remaining released volumes I need for my collection, and thanks to Alex, I now have a cover-price copy of The Clone Wars, Vol.2 shipping to me from overseas. We’ll see how it survives the trip!

Rampage

Anyway, this week delivers another great episode of The Bad Batch, a show that has not disappointed me so far. We’ve finally arrived at the A-Team stage of the show (or at least seeded it), with the Batch taking on a job from an old Republic-friendly Informant on Ord Mantell. Those with a good memory recall Ord Mantell as the planet where Han ran into one of Jabba’s bounty hunters prior to The Empire Strikes Back. It’s been mentioned and has appeared in various Star Wars stories since then but rarely in Disney canon material. It’s a nice callback.

The Batch is asked to save Moochie, who turns out to be a baby Rancor. In fact, it may be the Rancor we see Luke beat at the end of Return of the Jedi, which tonally makes this a really sad episode regardless of how the immediate story ends happily. Moochie the cutie is destined to die at the hands of Star Wars‘ greatest hero. The ending is bleak. Appropriate for The Bad Batch, I guess, which is not a happy story about people with any hope of fixing the galaxy in which they’ve found themselves.

Slavery is a significant theme in the prequel films (and in episodes of The Clone Wars, who introduce the Zygerrian slavers seen here). Anakin is of course a slave when he’s first rescued by Qui-Gon to become a Jedi. Padme is shocked when she learns worlds like Tatooine still allow the barbaric practice. In The Phantom Menace, slavery is used to show how the Republic (and the Jedi Order) has decayed beneath the beautiful gilded ideals of the Senate. In The Bad Batch, its open resurgence is a sign of how quickly things are moving in a bad, bad direction.

I loved the appearance of Bib Fortuna at the end and Omega picking up what seems to be her signature weapon down the line, a light bow. Once again, Wrecker lifting his Gonk droid is a funny sight gag. His headaches, though, are really making me nervous.

I’d Buy

  • 6” Bib Fortuna (ROTJ) — $20
  • 6” Zygerrian Slaver — $20