Hitting shelves just in time to round out 2017 was issue 5 of Star Wars Adventures, the monthly anthology series from San Diego’s IDW Publishing, aimed at the younger-end of the comic-buying market. Each issue contains two stories, which have so far been picked from either the original, prequel or sequel trilogy eras. The storylines are by no means dumbed-down, but tend to be simpler in structure given the target demographic and limitations of the page-count.
Opening this month’s publication is the part two of ‘The Trouble At Tibrin’, concluding the adventure that began in issue 4. The story takes place shortly after the events of A New Hope and follows Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker on an undercover diplomatic/recruitment mission to the Ishi Tib homeworld. Naturally, the path to peace is never free of turbulence, and the planet’s occupying Imperial forces discover the Rebels’ presence, capturing Skywalker in the process and taking him to the Star Destroyer Stormbringer for further interrogation. Now the roles are reversed, and it’s Princess Leia who dons an Imp uniform to perform a daring rescue against a deadly clock (that’s not a spoiler, it’s on the fantastic cover-art from Eric Jones).
As with the opening half of the tale, Landry G Walker’s writing is efficient without feeling minimalistic. The bursts of dialogue from various characters aren’t always exactly short, but the accompanying art from Eric Jones encapsulates the mood and intent perfectly (as well as Tom B. Long and Christa Meisner giving excellent clarity again with their lettering).
But the real standout feature of this half is Charlie Kirchoff’s colour-work. Ironically, the inside of a Star Destroyer (or more accurately, the events therein) gives rise to a far wider palette than the surface of a rarely-seen planet. As well as the cool, icy blues of Imperial architecture, there are also vibrant, warmer hues which capture the action.
Jones is in his element with precision, detailed linework, now that the majority of the story takes place indoors. As well as a few more recognisable Easter Eggs scattered around the decks, it’s intriguing to see that the Imperial ‘interrogation rack’ we’re familiar with appears to have been modelled more closely on Hasbro’s 2007 accessory than the one from Han Solo’s non-Q&A session in The Empire Strikes Back. Likewise, the Dianoga we run into onboard the Stormbringer is a dead-ringer for Kenner’s 1978 rendering (rather than any later versions). It’s details like this which keep an old geek very happy.
And speaking of happy, this month’s ‘Tales From Wild Space’ segment takes a timely step into the newly-available world of The Last Jedi with ‘The Best Pet’, written by Delilah S. Dawson (author of the novel Star Wars: Phasma) centering everyone’s new favourite creatures, Porgs!
We open, as is usual, onboard story-collector Emil Graf’s ship the Star Herald, with Emil fussing over Noni, his Kowakian Monkey-Lizard, when the droid CR-8R begins extolling the vitrues of the Porg as a pet. What follows is six pages of antics starring the stowaways who made the Millennium Falcon their home during Episode VIII, as we see them exploring and settling-in while Rey and Chewbacca make their way back to the Resistance fleet.
In terms of content this is really a comedy/fluff-piece not a million lightyears away from issue 3’s ‘Pest Control’ strip, but it’s interesting to see which characteristics of real-world birds have made it across to the Porgs’ in-universe behavior (with them being modelled on puffins to begin with). The already-cute avians are made even moreso by Arianna Florean’s artwork, with strong lines, clean colours and hugely expressive facial contortions. Here’s hoping we get more of Rey and Chewie in their highly stylised form.
IDW have given us another strong issue with Star Wars Adventures #5, and the teaser-page for January’s #6 suggests there’s no sign of them slowing down just yet…
Star Wars Adventures #5 was published on 27th December, available from your preferred comic outlets. How do you think the series is panning out? Remember to let us know once you’ve read it!