The latest issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy picks up afresh with two brand new stories, one a first part, another a stand alone adventure.
The first story in this issue, ‘Separation Anxiety’ by Michael Moreci, is set during the early days of The Clone Wars, and follows Jedi Master Mace Windu and his clone troopers as they travel to the planet Ridlay, a world where the Republic has lost all contact with the inhabitants. Upon arriving at the planet they find that it’s undergoing an eclipse – plunging the world into a perpetual twilight.
Searching the world, they find the local village deserted, but no signs of what could have happened to the inhabitants. It’s whilst trekking through the thick wilderness that they come across a frightened villager, a man warning them about ghosts. Not believing in something like the supernatural, Windu has his resolve put to the test when strange ghost-like beings descend on them.
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This story is a pretty interesting start, it builds up slowly, allowing the spookiness of the abandoned village and the constant darkness to get under your skin before the big reveal of the ghost-like creatures that are causing havoc; a reveal that isn’t even the most surprising in the story. It ends on a genuinely interesting cliffhanger, one that will have you wanting to see what happens next.
The art on this story is pretty good, provided by Michael Avon Oeming and Chris O’Halloran, and tries to emulate the style of The Clone Wars series. Mace Windu looks like his animated counterpart here, rather than Samuel L. Jackson, and the brief appearance of Anakin Skywalker also seems to be based on that version of the character. There are a few moments where the artwork seems to shift a bit in style, with one or two panels that seem very different from the others, but overall it’s a pretty decent recreation of the show.
The second story in the issue, ‘Trade Relations’ by Vita Ayala, is set at some later point in the Star Wars timeline, following Han Solo and Chewbacca as they transport goods across the galaxy. Midway through their journey their ship gets shot by a mystery assailant, and the package they’re moving gets thrown off the ship. It’s then down to Han to travel across the planet to try and find it whilst Chewbacca repairs the Millenium Falcon; but who keeps leaving strange traps for him along the way?
This story is a fun little distraction, one that doesn’t really do much or adds anything to the universe or our understanding of the characters, but is enjoyable enough in what it does. I did have to read over one of the pages a couple of times to fully understand what was happening at one point, as there was a narrative jump that wasn’t made completely clear what was happening in the panel, so it led me to not understanding what was happening until I went back over it.
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The art itself, provided by Devaun Dowdy and Charlie Kirchoff was pretty nice, though there were a couple of times that I found Han and Chewie looked a bit odd, with Chewbacca being quite rounded and more bear-like, and Han looking almost like a kid in a few panels. There is a surprise character in the final few pages who looks really good though, and the art style in this story really suited them.
After a big disappointment in the last issue it’s nice to see the series right itself a little, managing to provide a couple of entertaining stories, one of which is yet to be resolved, but managed to create enough interest that I’m eager to find out what happens next.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #9 is out now from IDW Publishing.