Star Wars Adventures #25 – Review

Before the summer finally flickers out, there’s just time to enjoy the last rays of warmth and reminisce over past capers with friends. And that’s the order of the day for IDW’s Star Wars Adventures #25, as this special issue carries a feature-length story with everyone’s favourite Alderaanian princess.

Yes, ‘Tales From Wild Space’ takes a break this month, allowing the headline strip a full 20-page run, closer to the length in a standard one-shot comic. Stories feeling cramped within fewer pages is something we’ve noted in several Star Wars Adventures issues recently, and it’s great to see IDW being bold enough to play with their established format.

‘The Right Wrong Turn’ takes place before – but fairly close to – A New Hope, with a teenaged Princess Leia Organa on Coruscant in the company of her friend Amilyn Holdo (Laura Dern’s character from The Last Jedi), painting in some of the pair’s friendship. While Leia is already displaying the feisty yet stately attributes for which we come to know her, Amilyn is still yearning for excitement between legislative education classes. To this end, she convinces Leia to take her for a driving lesson in an airspeeder, and soon young Holdo is whizzing toward Coruscant’s lowest levels for a glimpse at an arcane attraction she’s read about. But the deeper Coruscant goes, the darker it gets and the danger increases accordingly…

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This tale is written by Phasma author Delilah S. Dawson, currently making a great name for herself in the Galaxy Far, Far Away through books and comics alike. Although the leading duo get into scrapes along the way their tone remains broadly conversational, capturing the casual familiarity between them. That said, there’s a lot of dialogue throughout ‘The Right Wrong Turn’, with much of the back-and-forth joshing becoming unnecessary.

What’s more of a draw here is the artwork (no pun intended). Margaux Saltel returns with the rounded, warm yet dynamic aesthetics she brought to the recent Star Wars Adventures Annual. The pastel-infused art captures the movement of a roaring airspeeder and the quiet panic of two buddies out of their depth with equal ease. Considering that the planet’s lower levels are renowned for seeing no daylight, the range of colours here is sublime, shifting in hue as our heroines move through their journey. The lights may be softer than we’re used to in the galaxy’s bustling centre, but the glow suits the tone of the story.

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Yet that narrative itself is somewhat linear and ultimately forgettable. More of a straightforward chain of events with a payoff that doesn’t quite justify the page-count (the irony of us feeling this way now is not lost upon the comics-corner of STT Towers, we assure you). While the end result is ‘nice’, that’s just damning with faint praise, and the feature could easily have done the same within 12 pages.

Given Holdo’s fate in The Last Jedi and the likelihood of a similar exit for Leia in December’s The Rise Of Skywalker, the feeling remains that ‘The Right Wrong Turn’ should have more emotional weight, somehow. That’s not to say there’s no place for lighter, more playful stories of course, just that the idea behind this is more satisfying than the final piece…

Star Wars Adventures #25 is available now from IDW Publishing and your preferred comic outlets.

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