Star Wars Adventures: Tales Of Villainy continues as we rejoin Rey, Poe, and Finn on a distant planet filled with vicious pirates, and we also get to follow Kylo Ren as he subjugates worlds as the leader of the First Order.
The first story in this issue, written by Michael Moreci with art from Ilias Kyriazis, continues the tale from the first issue, where the heroes of the Resistance, Rey, Poe, and Finn, have travelled to a deserted planet, where the two guys have set up a special training course to help Rey with her Jedi training.
Unfortunately, the planet is also home to a secret base filled with pirates – pirates who are happy to hand the Resistance fighters over to the First Order to claim the reward offered for their capture. With Poe and Finn tied up by some of the pirates, it’s up to Rey to make her way across the barren wasteland to the Falcon, and free her friends before the pirates stop fighting amongst themselves, and bring the ruthless First Order to the planet.
There’s not a huge amount of story to this tale in issue two, with most of the character work and world building having been done in the first issue. Instead, this time the focus is the action, as our three heroes have to try to get themselves free and beat their captors. Thankfully, the pirates aren’t the most organised bunch, and it gives them an opportunity to do so.
I enjoyed the fact that these pirates were as disorganised as they are here, as it made it pretty easy for the heroes to get away, plus it actually gave us some good character moments as the criminals fought amongst themselves. It also goes to highlight how important strong leaders are in such groups, and indirectly showcases how good of a pirate characters like Hondo were in The Clone Wars, where similar pirates and criminals were kept squarely in line by his leadership.
Sadly, other than this there’s not a huge amount to this concluding part of the story, and I was left feeling like the heroes weren’t hugely challenged by what happened, and that this experience didn’t leave too much of an impression on them. I don’t think that anything that happened here really helped with Rey’s training, and that’s a bit of a shame. I think if there was a line of dialogue or two at the end where she made a comment about having had to push herself, or if she’d had performed a new Force ability for the first time it would have had more of an impact than this story ultimately ended up having.
The second story in the book, by Sam Maggs with art from Davide Tinto, shifts the focus away from the heroes to the leader of the First Order, Kylo Ren. This story, as opposed to the first, does seem to have something to say about its character, and we get into the head of Kylo a little here, and get to see what his thoughts are about having now ascended to be the Supreme Leader, following his murder of Snoke in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. It seems to be a role that Kylo never wanted, something that he found himself in a position to take, yes, but never one that he aimed for; which is definitely an insight I feel we didn’t get in any of the films.
The story follows Kylo as he leads the First Order to a planet and subjugates the citizens, yet it challenged by some brave freedom fighters, fighters who ultimately fail thanks to the overwhelming might of the First Order. This resistance ends in extreme levels of bloodshed as punishment, and its in these moments that Ren has doubts about his mission, specifically, whether or not there’ll be anyone left alive to follow the First Order. Again, the few pages of comic seem to spend more time with Kylo and what being the leader of the First Order means to him than any of the films, and adds more depth to a character than needed it.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.