As temperatures threaten to rise with the approach of Spring, the tone is light at IDW Publishing with their latest offering of Star Wars Adventures #31. Although the main focus is still on the Rise of Skywalker-era, there’s no time for doom and gloom.
First out of the hangar is the 12-page ‘Squad Goals’, an X-Wing based two-hander set in the depths of space. On a routine training mission, Poe Dameron attempts to pass his pilot’s expertise to the younger and more excitable Rey. As a scavenger she knows the build of these ships inside out, yet that’s not the same as being able to handle one in a crisis. And crisis is what rears its head as even the most straightforward of plans can’t be relied upon in a wild galaxy…
Pencils and inks come from Arianna Florean. The brilliant stylisation leans toward a manga-esque rendering, especially as Rey and Poe’s visored appearances evoke Battle Of The Planets. With only a small area of individuality to play with, the likeness of Daisy Ridley is still captured effortlessly. Poe Dameron looks less like Oscar Isaac, but that seems to be par for the course.
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Colours are provided by Valentina Taddeo with a simple-yet-strong range for our heroes, while backgrounds and scenery are applied with intricate precision. It’s no easy feat to carry off this combination and the result here is a joy to look at.
‘Squad Goals’ is penned by title regular Michael Moreci with an efficient script that keeps a good handle on the established identities of the leads. It’s inescapable however that this story is absolute, event-free filler. This barely even qualifies as an in-universe anecdote, let alone An Adventure™. In terms of texturing it’s a passable effort, but feels decidedly anticlimactic so soon after Episode IX.
Following in short order is part two of ‘The Lost Stories’, which last saw galactic historian Emil Graf discovering The Lost Library of Nelgenam in the company of his faithful crew. In doing this, the gang awaken a pair of long-dormant and heavily armed librarian droids. We hit the ground running here. With the setup and exposition handled last month, this is an 8-page chase and standoff sequence…
The strip is chaotic yet never less that crystal clear. Writer Cavan Scott uses show and tell to full advantage, ensuring just enough commentary to keep younger readers in the loop.
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With art by David M. Buisan and colours from Charlie Kirchoff it’s a slightly more sketchy affair than the issue’s opening act, but no less expressive. One of the best aspects of the ‘Tales From Wild Space’ segment is the array of artists consistently capturing the likenesses of the varied crew in different styles. Perhaps General Dameron should put in for a transfer.
While the ‘backup’ tale a great platform for action, the brevity of eight pages is the enemy of narrative depth of course. This chapter doesn’t quite work under its own steam and the full effectiveness of ‘The Lost Stories’ will not become apparent until issue #32’s conclusion.
Star Wars Adventures #31 looks outstanding but feels more than a little disposable. The Skywalker Saga may have ended in 2019 but that doesn’t mean the rest of the galaxy has to peter out (the readership has been here before – and more than once). Next month we have a long-awaited reunion with Finn, after which the title could probably look at expanding its timeline horizons…
Star Wars Adventures #31 is available from IDW Publishing and your preferred comic retailer.