Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories is a new all-ages anthology story series from Dark Horse,set within any era of the Star Wars franchise. In a lot of ways, the series is set to be the new version of Star Wars Adventures, though there are some differences that are notable straight away.
Instead of containing two stories, or more accurately, two parts of stories, that would be split across multiple issues, this new series is instead a series of one-shots, with each issue to be its own contained tale (or at least as far as we’ve been told so far). As such, this makes the series a little more accessible to readers who can’t pick up every issue. Instead of grabbing a random issue of Star Wars Adventures and getting the first part of one story, and the second part of another, with Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories readers will get an entire story, even if they only ever read the one issue. This feels like a big improvement already.
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The first story to feature in this series is set in the prequel era, where Padme Amidala is sent to the Moon of Staggec as part of a diplomatic mission, alongside the Wookie senator Yarua and his daughter Viiveenn. Shortly after arriving on the planet a small fleet of Separatist ships arrive to capture the delegation, under the command of General Grievous. However, Senator Yarua is also transporting an important something of extreme importance, and hides it in his daughter’s doll before sending her out into the woods to hide. After receiving a call to help, the Jedi council agree to send Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his recently knighted partner, Anakin Skywalker.
This feels like something of an odd choice for the first story of this new series. I can’t help but feel that a first issue needs to start strong, to showcase what the book is going to be about, and to convince people to buy it. Sadly, this particular story never quite managed to grab me in any way that would do that.
There are a number of issues I had with the story. The first is that the mysterious item that Senator Yarua is carrying, that he hides in his daughter’s doll, that Grievous is there to find, is never named, and never shown. There’s a brief moment where he’s shoving it in the doll where you see the barest hint of something blue, but that’s all you get. Yes, you don’t have to give away every piece of information, you can have a sense of mystery, but you do also need to explain why things are happening. As it stands, the villains are after… something. That’s about the best info we have.
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Another big problem I had with this story is Anakin. This story clearly takes place during the Clone Wars, but still early on as Anakin’s hair hasn’t grown out, though he doesn’t have his padawan braid, which means he is a Jedi Knight here. Anakin was knighted in the recent novel Star Wars Brotherhood, where he also spent some time helping to teach younglings, and went on a daring rescue mission. He did a lot of maturing and growing there, but here he’s regressed. The Anakin here acts like he does at the start of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones. He’s brash, quick to anger, immature, and generally not very pleasant. This just doesn’t fit with the character as he should be at this point in time, and it doesn’t help the story at all.
There are some nice moments though, as Viiveenn is incredibly cute, and the scene where her father tells her to run and hide whilst the villains approach is a sweet and well made scene, especially as it’s all done in Shyriiwook, the Wookie language. Viiveenn is probably the best part of the story.
The artwork also feels slightly mixed at times, and whilst some of the characters like Obi-Wan, Ki-Adi Mundi, and Yoda look great others look less identifiable. Anakin and Padme don’t really look like their characters half the time and just look like average humans. A lot of the time with the two of them its their outfit that make them identifiable, as there’s nothing really about their faces that scream those characters.
Overall, the first issue of this new series felt fairly weak. There was a decent enough idea of a story there, but it wasn’t expanded upon enough. Certain things were left vague, such as the McGuffin, how Anakin found the others after they were kidnapped, and the death of Yarua (it’s set up so you know what happened, but it could easily be missed). Anakin had terrible characterisation, and it was hard to find much about him to like. Whilst these issues may only be here for the one issue, it still felt like a poor beginning for this new series.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories is out now from Dark Horse.