The latest issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy features two stories that couldn’t feel further apart if they tried.
The first story in the issue, ‘Squad Goals, Part One’ is written by Cavan Scott, and features artwork by Manuele Bracchi and Bracardi Curry, and follows the adventures of the famed Rebel Alliance pilots Rogue Squadron. Rogue Squadron was a name that has been around for many years, and the team has been the focus of a number of novels and video games, and whilst much of that was made into ‘Legends’ by the Disney acquisition of the franchise it’s good to see that Rogue Squadron have started to make more canon appearances ahead of the upcoming movie.
This story follows the five members of the team: Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, Lyle Kullan, Ibti Myrak, and Isla Mantara, as they engage with Imperial forces whilst on a mission to destroy an Imperial shipyard. There to support and protect some B-Wings, things don’t go well for the team when their newest member, Ibti, decides that her ways are better, and doesn’t follow orders. Over the course of the story we see Ibti and the other members of Rogue Squadron knock heads more than once.
Making a space battle feel fun and exciting is easy when it’s in a medium where you can see the action. With ships flying around and shooting at each other, making near misses and pulling off wild manoeuvres, it’s not hard to get the audience feeling pumped; but when it’s just static images on a page like in a comic it’s a lot harder. Luckily, Cavan Scott seems to understand that another way to make these moments feel exciting an engaging is to inject character drama into it.
As such, this feels like one of the better comic book space battles that I’ve read in a long while. Thanks to the interpersonal issues, to Ibti showboating and going rogue (no pun intended), it makes things feel tense because you’re waiting for her decision to come back to haunt, either leading to a mission failure or an avoidable death. Despite only knowing two of these characters before coming to this issue I found myself quickly becoming absorbed in the drama, and wanting to see more of this team.
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The art on this story is some of the best I’ve seen in a Star Wars Adventures story too. The line work by Manuel Bracchi is very nice, and he’s able to put a load of detail into the panels. It really brings the ships and the characters to life, and it feels like a lot of care and attention to detail has been given to making this look as crisp and accurate as possible. Isla Mantara’s colours are very well done too, and feel very natural and depict more what you’d expect to see on the screen, rather than being overly stylised or cartoonish.
The second story is ‘Done Dirty’, written by Anne Toole, with art by Nick Brokenshire, and it feels very different to the first. Instead of being focused on the battle between right and wrong, and spending time in the vastness of space we come down to the more rundown parts of the Star Wars universe as we head to Tattooine to follow a lowly Gran working for Jabba the Hutt, tasked with looking after Jabba’s pet, Bubo. However, Bubo has gone missing somewhere on Jabba’s Sail Barge and Jabba is prepared to quite literally throw the poor man off for losing track of Bubo. Luckily, the Gran is able to convince Jabba that a better punishment would be to clean the entire ship, which would also allow him to search everywhere for the little critter. Thus begins a journey through the parts of this well known vessel that we’ve never seen before as the man tries his best to find the missing animal before his last chance runs out.
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Whilst the first story is focused on the large fight for the galaxy, this feels about as down to earth as you can get in Star Wars. It’s simply about one guy doing whatever he can to not get killed, even if it means crawling through the filth on Jabba’s ship. It’s an entertaining enough story, and whilst it offers a fun insight into a place we only see briefly in the films, and gives more depth to Jabba’s character (I was shocked to learn he would be concerned for a tiny creature) it doesn’t feel like the story does a great deal. It’s a throwaway story yes, but at least it’s an enjoyable one.
The art on the story is provided by Nick Brokenshire, who does both the line work and the colours, and it looks very different to the first story in this issue.The colours are much more muted, and even in the darker parts of the ship everything feels pretty light. There are no hard shadows or thick lines, and the end result is an art style that feels quite delicate and even fragile at times. A strange style to go for for a story set around Jabba the Hutt, but one that works really well.
Thanks to a great first part story with a genuinely good cliffhanger, and some good silly fun on Tattooine, the latest issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy has a lot to enjoy.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #11 is out now from IDW Publishing.