And so, IDW Publishing bring us the fifth and final instalment in their Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny tie-in comic series, this time focusing on Rose and Paige Tico, recently introduced to audiences in The Last Jedi.
Our story takes place on the planet D’Qar, the location of the Resistance base shown in The Force Awakens (and briefly in its sequel). With General Organa’s band of fighters having recently established their secret headquarters, reconnaissance of the surrounding jungle terrain is needed. But with fuel high on the list of scarce resources and dense foliage to tackle, a method of efficiently scouting the area has yet to be formulated.
Step forward Paige Tico, volunteering the engineering services of her shy sister, Rose. But the latter’s reluctance to speak is proved well-founded as the more cynical rebels look down on her optimism. So it’s up to a resilient bomber-pilot and an intuitive mechanic to build a pair of discreet, rechargeable cruisers, and even more diplomatically prove their worth to grizzled contemporaries…
The first thing which hits the reader in ‘Rose & Paige’ is Nicoletta Baldari’s stunning artwork. Soft yet dynamic, effortlessly bold even with its neutral colour-palette and without relying on heavy outlines. Baldari’s work brings to mind the luscious, watercolour-illustrated storybooks of the 1960s and 70s.
The story is written by Delilah S. Dawson (author of the excellent Phasma and the ‘Rose Knows’ short from Star Wars Adventures #6), who brings the goods once again with a tale about self-confidence and perseverance in the face of adversity. But while the narrative itself is enjoyable, it’s let down slightly by the characters’ dialogue. Even accounting for both Rose’s chattiness and the target demographic of younger readers, much of what is said here feels clunky.
A hiccup in the recon-mission that leads to Rose becoming separated and encountering a flock of highly intelligent but flightless (and more to the point, non-speaking), native birds could have been the spur for Baldari’s illustration to take over with a few pages of purely visual storytelling. Instead we get an ongoing commentary from our heroine that’s largely unnecessary and serves only to sit over the art. Tom B. Long’s first-class lettering is little consolation.
All that said, ‘Rose & Paige’ is, as noted, visually fantastic and still feels like one of the more confident issues of this line. Along with the previous spotlight for ‘Hera’, this definitely stands out as a creative highlight.
Stories like these bring much needed ballast to the female characters of a Galaxy Far, Far Away, and Forces Of Destiny gives female creatives a much needed chance to tell them. The end result may have been a little uneven, but the canon (and its readership) is undoubtedly richer for having been given it, nonetheless…
Star Wars: Forces Of Destiny: Rose & Paige is available in digital and hard-copy formats from your preferred comics outlet. What’s been your favourite of the series, and which characters would you like to see featured in a future run? Let us know!