The previous issue of Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy was definitely an issue of two halves, with one really good story and one that felt a little lacklustre. With the second half of the Rogue Squadron story taking place here, the second story in this issue was going to need to be something really good to compete with it. Luckily, we got a couple of great stories this month.
The first story, ‘Squad Goals’ part two by Cavan Scott, picks up where it left off last time, with Rogue Squadron coming across an Imperial ambush, whilst their grounded pilot, Ibti Myrak, discovers that they’ve fallen into a trap. As the issue starts, Rogue Squardon, down two pilots now due to Ibti being grounded and Lyle Kullan, the pilot they came to rescue, being missing, find themselves in hot water as they deal with Imperial fighters and a Star Destroyer.
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The ship to ship action is really well done, and there’s always a sense of dynamic movement going on; something that isn’t always easy to portray in still images. It really feels like the pilots are having to think on their feet and react quickly, coming up with desperate plans and manoeuvres as they try to survive against overwhelming odds.
Meanwhile, Ibti has to find a way to help her teammates: something easier said than done. This is only the second issue that we’ve had Ibti, and as far as I’m aware its the only time she’s been used in a story, but thanks to how well written this is we get a really good sense of the kind of person that she is, and the lengths that she’s willing to go to to help her team, even if they’ve lost their faith in her. My one criticism would be that for a story that includes Admiral Ackbar and features a trap, it doesn’t include the phrase ‘It’s a trap!’ being yelled.
Manuel Bracchi and Bracardi Curry provide the art for this story, and it’s lovely work. The art is wonderfully detailed, and everything feels like it’s jumped straight out of the movies into the comic. The ships are packed with small details, like where the panels on the metal comes together, and the characters all look unique and dynamic, meaning that you’re never left confused about who you’re seeing. It’s still one of the best looking and best written stories in the series so far.
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The second story, ‘Give and Take’, written and drawn by Andrew Lee Griffith, takes place in a much earlier time period during the early days of the Clone Wars. We follow Jedi Knight Aayla Secura as she and her droid, QT-KT, infiltrate a secret Separatist base where Geonosian scientists have been working on some kind of highly classified plans. Tasked with getting the information and bringing it back to the Jedi, Aayla and QT get to Mission Impossible their way through the facility. Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned as their escape is blocked by Asajj Ventress.
As a big fan of Star Wars: The Clone Wars it’s always good to get a story in the era, especially one that features Ventress, as she’s a firm favourite of mine. What makes this appearance of the character quite interesting too is that its one of the few times that she wields her twin sabers together as one, creating a double ended light saber with an odd curve in the middle of the handle. It’s a unique look, and one that makes for some interesting combat in this issue.
Perhaps the thing that I loved most in this story, however, was the inclusion of QT-KT, Aayla’s droid. For those who might not be aware, QT-KT appeared in a four episode arc in the animated series as part of D-Squad, an all droid team that included R2-D2. However, the team wasn’t going to include the pink astromech droid, but was supposed to include a pink R2 unit called R2-KT. To avoid confusion the name was changed slightly before the episode, and QT-KT was made. The thing about QT, and the original droid she’s based upon, R2-K2, that makes her so special though, is her origin.
Albin Johnson is one of the founders of the charity costume group The 501st Legion. This group have done a lot of good work over the years, helped children, attended conventions, and were even used on screen in The Mandalorian. Albin’s daughter, Katie, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer when she was six-years-old. A fan of Star Wars, Katie wanted an R2 droid to watch over her when she was sick. With the help of some amazingly kind people Albin created a droid for her, painted her favourite colour, pink, called R2-KT.
Whilst Katie passed away at the age of seven, she got to spend time with her own little droid before she did. Since then the real life R2-KT has been used to visit children’s hospitals and raise both awareness of child illness, and money to help good causes. R2-KT eventually became part of canon, but QT-KT is still connected to her, and to Katie, so her inclusion always makes me think of that wonderful little girl and her love for Star Wars. Which means that this story will instantly get a place in my heart.
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #12 is my favourite issue of the series to date. It has some great stories in it, some fantastic artwork, and for those in the know, a nod to a wonderful kid. What more can you ask for?
Star Wars Adventures: Tales of Villainy #12 is out now from IDW Publishing.