The second issue of Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle continues to recreate some of the best tropes of horror fiction, tackling giant monsters in a very fun, slightly silly way.
The stories continue on with the mystery that’s been building, with Darth Vader’s attendant Vaneé continuing to collect sacrifices for his ritual. It now seems like his gaze may have shifted from Milo Graf to his sister Lina, who has been having nightmares of her brother trapped inside Vader’s castle, calling for help. Knowing that she can’t get to Mustafar on her own, Lina asks Mon Mothma to help, but Mothma refuses to give her a ship. This results in Leia advising Lina where she can find a competent smuggler and pilot who can get her where she needs to go.
Anyone expecting this to be Han Solo obviously didn’t pay enough attention to the cover, as Lina finds herself going to Jaxxon T. Tumperakki, everyone’s favourite rabbit man. It’s here that we discover that Jaxxon, like the Graf siblings, has been having nightmares, and he recounts his tale. Now, this is where the issue gets pretty ridiculous, as Jaxxon describes a dream where Chewbacca is transformed into a giant monster and starts to trash the planet. It’s silly, it’s over the top, and probably one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever seen in Star Wars, but I honestly loved it.
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Where last issue we had a zombie story, this one we get a love letter to the classic kaiju movies, and it’s so wonderfully weird. Chewie becomes this giant creature and causes havoc, destroying settlements and terrorising the regular sized folk, so just like with kaiju movies they need to send another giant monster to fight him – by making Jaxxon into a giant monster too. It might make zero sense, but it doesn’t have to. This is just a nightmare that Jaxxon had, and it’s a ton of fun to read so there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this.
Much like the first issue there are two different artists working on this book. Francesco Francavilla once again provides the art for the ‘real’ parts of the book, those that are actually taking place outside of the dreams. Just like the first issue, his art has a frantic, messy style to it that suits the tone of the story. But I was also pleased to see just how well he’s able to capture the likenesses of certain characters too. For example, I instantly knew Leia was in a scene even before anyone called her by name because he captured her face wonderfully, without having to change his style in any way.
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The dream sequence parts of the book feature a different artist than last issue, with Derek Charm providing the line work and colours. The difference in art styles is less jarring here than in the first issue, and they’re similar in a lot of ways. But whilst the art in the first issue’s nightmare was supposed to capture the creepy feel of a zombie film and was quite simple and realistic, this art goes a little bit more cartoonish. This works brilliantly with it being a nod to giant monster films, which were always a bit goofy, a bit childish, and often bright and in your face.
With more hints at a bigger plot forming, more characters coming into the story, and some brilliantly fun moments this is a great issue, and one that is continuing the energy and excitement of the first issue. With a small preview of the next issue at the back seeming to hint that we could be getting swamp monsters next, this is quickly turning into one of the best Star Wars comics around.
Star Wars Adventures: Ghosts of Vader’s Castle #2 is out now from IDW Publishing.