Contains spoilers for this issue of Star Wars Adventures.
Sometimes Star Wars Adventures will give you a couple of great stories, sometimes it will shed light onto parts of the Star Wars universe that don’t always get showcased, sometimes it puts minor characters in the spotlight and shows how cool they are; and sometimes you finish reading an issue and you feel pretty bored with it. Sadly, issue eight of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy falls into that final category.
The first story, ‘The Princess and the Bog, A Twin Tale’, written by Sam Maggs with art by Liana Kangas and Brittany Peer, concludes a story started in the previous issue, that sees Leia and Luke on the planet Bogano, scouting for a new Rebel base. Whilst the planet seems to be a pretty good location they’re shocked to find that there’s already an Imperial presence there, as a group of Storm Troopers are rounding up Boglings, small fuzzy creatures native to the planet.
READ MORE: Blind Beast (1969) – Blu-ray Review
The Skywalker kids, being the good and moral heroes they are, decide that they have to stop the Empire from taking these cute little creatures prisoner. And this is where we reach the big issue with this story. Both of them feel like they have the better plan of action, and instead of discussing it rationally they just butt heads. Leia want them to make sure that there are no more Troopers hiding around, and to attack from the sides in a surprise tactic. Luke, on the other hand, wants to run at them shooting. Eventually, the two of them decide to compromise, by running at the enemy, them splitting up and attacking from the sides.
Honestly, this was pretty bad. Not only is this a terrible plan, because the enemy could gun you down straight away, but because there was no reason for them to compromise. Whilst Leia was not a General in the Rebellion she was one of its leaders, and held command over a lot of troops and military campaigns. In contrast, Luke was at this point in the story just a pilot, a low ranking member of the Rebellion, despite being a hero for destroying the Death Star. So this isn’t a situation where two people of comparable rank have to come up with a plan together, this is a time where Luke should have shut the hell up and listen to his boss who had a much better plan based on her years of experience.
I couldn’t help but come away from this story thinking that both characters were incredibly short sighted. Leia backed down too quickly. She gave in to an inexperienced farm boy who was insisting that they act recklessly and without a plan. She didn’t come across as a competent leader of the Rebellion, nor as someone who should be commanding troops if she’s going to fold under the slightest scrutiny. Luke, equally looks as silly. He’s being impatient and reckless, insisting that his plan is the only way and not listening to his commander. If I was Leia I’d have charged Luke with insubordination once we got back to base.
The art on this story didn’t help my enjoyment much either. The art had very thick lines on a lot of stuff, and very little detail. The characters were often standing in almost blank voids, and if it wasn’t for the colourist adding some gradients or shading to the panels it would have been people standing in a lot of voids. It also meant that the characters didn’t really look like Luke or Leia either, and that if you didn’t have the names in the text you wouldn’t know who they were supposed to be. The action scene is also pretty messy looking, and it was pretty hard to follow. Overall, I was hugely disappointed with this particular story. It felt rushed and sloppy, with very little of the characters actually being present here. This was not Luke and Leia.
The second story, ‘Trade Relations’, written by Danny Lore with art by Arianna Florean and Ronda Pattison, was better, but still failed to impress. The story sees an unnamed senator from the Republic coming to finalise a trade agreement with the planet Rylorii Minor during the Clone Wars. The talks are tense, as the mayor of the planet feels that the Republic are overstepping their bounds and putting his planet at risk. When an assassination attempt is then made, and later a kidnapping, by people wearing cloaks from Coruscant, the mayor believes it’s a Republic plot. Fortunately, a couple of the Clone Troopers are able to apprehend the people, and prove that it’s locals; allowing the deal to be closed.
READ MORE: Blade Runner Origins #5 – Comic Review
The story is honestly quite dull, and even the reveal at the end that this was all happening because Count Dooku was pulling strings behind the scenes did little to make it feel like it mattered in any real way. And I think a large part of this was down to there being no other recognisable figures in the story. This could have felt more important if the Senator was Amidala, or even Bail Organa, or if the Clone Troops were ones we knew. But this was all completely new characters, on a world we didn’t know, and none of it felt important at all.
The art in this story is at least an improvement over the first, with the whole thing looking a lot cleaner and neater. The line work is nice, and there’s plenty of detail given both to characters and location. The planet manages to feel like a lived in location, with things go on outside of the main story. The artist and colourist work well together to make a story that looks cartoony, but is still recognisably a part of the Clone Wars era.
Overall, this might be one of the worst issues of the series to date, thanks in large part to one story that made two of the best characters in the franchise look awful, and one story that felt like it had no impact or relevance at all. Hopefully the next issue will improve things significantly.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #8 is out now from IDW Publishing.