Contains light spoilers.
The second issue of the new Dark Horse comic series, Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories feels like an improvement over the debut issue as we join Luke and Leia as they scout out a snowy world for signs of Imperial occupation.
This new story, written by Cecil Castellucci, definitely seems to have more of a point to it than the first issue, which ended up feeling kind of lacklustre and seemed to gloss over a lot of things. This story has a much tighter focus on the two main characters, and also introduces us to a new world and a new group of people under the thumb of the Empire. The Rebel Alliance know that the Empire sometimes stops off on the remote outpost on the planet Banas, where they refuel their ships. Believing that this could one day be used as a larger staging area, the Alliance sends Luke Skywalker and Leia Organa to investigate the area. They’re hoping to either find a local who would be willing to spy on the Empire for them, or see if it would be worth installing their own people.
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Whilst they’re expecting a light Imperial presence, they’re shocked to find a full garrison, and a mining operation that’s using the local population to dig up important resources. Forced to try and hide to avoid the new Imperial patrols, Luke and Leia have to make a dangerous trek across the cold and mountainous planet in order to get back to the Rebel Alliance.
It’s a fairly simple kind of story, one that I think those who’ve read similar Star Wars stuff, like Star Wars Adventures, will be familiar with. A couple of our heroes go to a planet, find the bad guys are already there, and have to sneak their way back to freedom, getting into a fight or two along the way. And whilst the stories in this series are canon, they’re never going to really be anything big. We’re not going to have huge moments that will reverberate through the rest of the saga happen in an anthology comic series designed for younger readers. As such, Castellucci keeps things kind of small, and focused more on the character than anything else.
There are some nice moments where we learn more about Leia and her childhood, and get some insight into her relationship with her father, and these are the kind of things these stories can do well. We also get to see a much more impatient Luke then we usually do, and it gives the impression that these events would take place not long after the fourth film, and that he’s still very much the eager farm boy, rather than the Jedi Knight he will become. Leia’s haircut also looks a lot like one of Padme’s from the prequel films, which is a nice touch.
The art on this issue is done by Megan Huang, and whilst it’s simple and neat, there are a lot of nice details thrown in that make the comic look really good. There’s the already mentioned Padme hair style, but when Luke and Leia are wandering through the town or hiding out in one of the shops there’s always stuff around them to check out, tiny details hidden away. Plus, the design of the aliens on Banas are really cool; kind of goat-like, but very different from the Gotals. Their thin, hoofed legs are cool, and their tiny horns and floppy ears are a great design choice.
Overall, this was a definite improvement on the first issue, and I think it showcases a bit better the kind of stories that this series is going to do well. Hopefully the trend will continue, and the next issue will be even better, but even if it stays at this level it’ll remain a decent, entertaining read.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #2 is out on 21st September from Dark Horse.