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Naked Reading 2023 XXVIII - XXXII

I've updated my Naked Reading 2023 page with a bumper five self-portraits featuring five different comic series or story arcs!

Here are my mini reviews for each!

Star Wars: Darth Vader #33-36: Unbound Force and Target Aphra. This pair of two-part stories follow Vader has he deals with losing control of the force, and the consequences and help his sidekicks Sabé, Doctor Aphra, and Ochi of Bestoon face as a result. An impactful and visually impressive end to Sabé arc, and a pleasing reunion with Vader for Aphra.

Star Wars #34-36: A Fractured Alliance, et al.. This three-issue run of comics gives us two short adventures between bigger stories. The first featuring Luke on a quest to fix his lightsaber was a satisfying exploration of Luke's Jedi training with some intriguing characters I wish we'd had more time with. The second tale focuses on a mission led by Lando which felt a little pointless, but had some good moments for Lando at least.

Star Trek #7–10: The Red Path. This second arc in the crossover Star Trek series sees a visit to Cardassia in a welcome follow-up to the Dominion War, giving an interesting new take on the post-war situation. Meanwhile the crew of the USS Theseus, now with Lower Decks' Shaxs on board, head off to discover more about the Red Path cult's plans for the galaxy. A really strong second arc, with a pleasing follow-up to DS9 and good growth of this series' original story.

Star Trek: Defiant #1-5. This first story arc in the second series in IDWs recent interconnected world of Star Trek comics sees Worf steal the USS Defiant and assemble a crew of outcasts and rogues to try and hunt down the cult leader Kahless. The assembled characters make for a very odd and moody crew, but once you get over the awkward feeling setup the series is a lot of fun, thanks entirely to the great selection of characters and how they work together. A weird but promising start to the series.

Don't Spit in the Wind. This four-part comic miniseries envisions a world so wrecked by humans that most have abandoned it to live on a space station while a few remain to try and clean it up. It has some interesting nuggets of ideas and commentaries on the environmental damage done by humans, and how our culture responds or ignores that. The narrative is fairly lightly sketched though, with the artwork really driving the story thanks to some fantastic and creative visuals, all presented in bright colour and grimy detail. It appealed to my tastes, but I could imagine being hit or miss for others.

As ever I've also written more extensive thoughts on my book review blog:

And as usual as a little bonus for my Patreon supporters, I have shared a few alternate takes of all these self portraits on that platform too!


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