Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #2 – Comic Review

Back to the Outer Rim now, as the glistening dunes of Jakku offer a perennial Summer and the only shelter you’ll need to take is from the occasional blistering sandstorm. The shifting nature of the terrain also means that the planet occasionally offers up lost treasure, such as an Interdictor-Class Star Destroyer buried for several decades after crash landing in the desert. And it’s to this hunk of Imperial power we travel, as young Rey races to lay claim to its salvageable contents…

Welcome to issue 2 of IDW Publishing’s Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down, the extra-curricular side project which explores the Battle Of Jakku around a year after the Empire’s defeat over Endor. True to form, we’re treated to a pair of stories, but in this series they’re directly linked by the Star Destroyer in question, The Spectral.

Opening the comic is the second 14-page installment of ‘Destroyer Down’, sub-titled ‘Discover’. This tale takes place sometime before the events of The Force Awakens, with Rey making the aforementioned beeline to the wreck before it’s claimed by rival scavengers. A gang of these follows in close pursuit, but they’re willing for Rey to take the lead as their conversation centres around what potential curse lies aboard the sunken vessel.

And sure enough, as the youngster re-activates dormant Rebel astromech unit Z2-Z2, there turns out to be some semblance of truth in the Jakkuvian rumours. Unkar Plutt’s henchmen are alarmed to discover the desolate hallways ringing once more to the clatter of white armour, and an impossible army driving it forward.

Writer Scott Beatty pens the whole issue once again, with the Derek Charm’s artwork and Tom B. Long’s lettering completing the lineup for this section. Charm’s work is efficient without feeling simplistic, a freshness which doesn’t necessarily tie in with the grit of Jakku, but is perfectly at home depicting our heroine.

The intrigue of why exactly The Spectral crashed is slowly unravelled as Rebel artefacts come into play, and the only thing really stemming the flow is how wordy our protagonist is throughout (to the point where Rey faintly berates herself for narrating her own adventures, then continues to do so – a side-effect of desert life, no doubt). But in terms of the core character, Scott Beatty is very much at home here, and the ship interior is rendered with real atmosphere, a rare stretch of dank threat on the perpetually sunny world.

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What’s also worth noting is that the masked thieves trailing Rey and getting into scrapes are very reminiscent of those Force Awakens background-character action figures from Hasbro which sat discounted on the pegs for the longest time. So if your padawan has a few of those lounging at the bottom of the toybox, they’ll finally have more play value now.

Onto the smaller second tale and ‘The Ghost Ship’ continues with ‘Lost Shepherd’. Taking place in the events leading up to the Battle of Jakku, The Spectral jumps to hyperspace to escape a Rebel attack. Bak Rychuk’s lone Y-Wing is close enough to the Destroyer’s surface that it’s pulled along for the ride however, and once the trip ends at Jakku, he swears to bring the ship down by fair means or foul. The creative team for this is also carried over from last time, with Jon Sommariva on more detailed and slightly more cartoonish pencils, with Sean Parsons’ inks bringing fantastic depth and Matt Herms muted colours matching the tone of the story. With only six pages to play with, it’s a story which moves along at a cracking pace.

And it’s here that the threads begin to pull together, with the droid that Rey discovers being the navigator from Rychuk’s ship. Could these events be leading to details we’ve seen in The Force Awakens? Because a further thought then occurs that this Rebel pilot’s helmet could very well go on to be the battle-scarred antique Rey wears as she watches the sunset before meeting BB-8. Alas, a brief visual comparison shows that the markings aren’t the same, so that’s not the case.

Continuity-fiends will also be already aware that the crashed Star Destroyer in Episode VII is (or was) the Imperial II-class Inflictor, a visibly different ship from The Spectral whose story has already been touched upon in Claudia Gray’s young-adult novel Lost Stars. So hopes of a direct tie-in are dashed in that direction, too.

But we still have an issue to go with Destroyer Down, and its trajectory is aiming toward a promising conclusion, even if that may not cast a new light on old sands…

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #2 is available on 5 December 2018, from IDW Publishing.

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