Star Wars Adventures, Vol. 3 – Comic Review

For those who prefer to wait a little longer and read their comics in one fell swoop (and, let’s be fair, do it without all the ads), IDW Publishing’s latest Star Wars Adventures trade-paperback races towards our shelves, assembling issues 6, 7 and 8 of the monthly anthology series.

Titled ‘Endangered’, the third collection in the series begins with the story ‘Rose Knows’, centering around Resistance mechanic Rose Tico and her sister Paige from The Last Jedi. After this, we move back to the original-trilogy era (or more properly, shortly before) for ‘Endangered’, with the heroes of the Star Wars Rebels TV series. Originally presented as a two-part story in the regular series, the fable is stitched together here, which helps no end with the pacing issues that arise from splitting a 24-page strip over two months.

The ‘main’ features are followed up by each issue’s respective ‘Tales From Wild Space’ segments, shorter pieces that dot further around the timeline of the Galaxy Far, Far Away, with the in-universe framing device of story-collector Emil Graf narrating pertinent life-lessons to his crew of junkers, selecting examples from the lives of the Star Wars characters we know and love.

The first of these ushers us way back to the early prequel-era and ‘Podracer’s Rescue’, telling a story from Anakin Skywalker’s youth before he joined Qui-Gon Jinn to become a Jedi. Then it’s forward to the sequel-trilogy (roughly) for ‘Look Before You Leap’, starring that most underused of Lucasfilm’s legacy characters, Nien Nunb. Finally we’re taken back to the original trilogy and the deserts of Tatooine for ‘Gonk!’, focusing on the diminutive inhabitants of a certain sandcrawler (and a smattering of familiar faces, to boot).

To round things out we also get a cover-gallery of the collected issues (although this by no means includes all the variants for each), but the regular letters pages are reserved for the monthly format.

Always an interesting read for the younger and more long-term fans alike, when Star Wars Adventures is on good form, the series evokes the memory of Dark Horse’s quirky and unpredictable Star Wars Tales series. Although whereas Tales was a platform for telling ‘Infinities’ stories which disregarded the established timeline for dramatic and comic effect, Adventures is a part of the Lucasfilm Story Group canon – even if the series skirts around the events of the rebooted continuity, rather than fully interacting with it at this point.

That said, with each standard-size issue containing two tales, any weaker entries in the series tend to stand out more. Although these seem to have more to do with finding the balance between engaging writing and a low page-count than with the art itself, which is always varied, yet impeccable.

Perhaps another weakness in the long-term will be the series’ reluctance to move too far outside the narrative-box with its scope. The strips we’ve had so far have been anchored around either familiar characters or locations; there’s always the feeling that we’re looking just round the curtain of Star Wars, rather than unveiling something truly new in the same galaxy. There are practical as well as demographic reasons for this of course, but time will tell if that’s a hurdle which can be cleared (or even needs clearing).

Star Wars Adventures arguably works better in its trade-paperback form than its monthly one; the brevity of the stories themselves counterbalanced with the larger volume they’re in. There’s something in here for a broad range of fans, and readers unsure if the title is for them will get a firmer handle on IDW’s style from this collected volume…

Star Wars Adventures: Endangered is available from your preferred comic retailer from June 2018. Are you a fan of monthly releases or do you prefer the sturdiness of a trade-paperback? Let us know in the comments below!

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Pages: 84

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