The focus on the villains continues in the latest issue of Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories as we jump forward in time to the Rise of the First Order, to events that lead into the sequel trilogy. Last couple of issues we got to see the seedy underbelly of the galaxy, following bounty hunters and pirates; this time we’re focusing on a force for order in the galaxy, though a fascist one.
The First Order, in their mission to slowly take control over the galaxy and impose their will onto others, have come to the planet Karaxia, where they wish to force the population to serve them, supplying them with anything they want. The presence of Storm Troopers and Star Destroyers has failed to bring the population to heel, however, and as such Supreme Leader Snoke has summoned General Hux and Kylo Ren, tasking them with bringing the planet firmly under the control of the First Order.
Anyone who’s seen the films knows that these two characters do not see eye to on most things, and that difficulty and refusal to work together plays out here in this story too, showing that they’ve been long time enemies. Hux believes that his way is the best, and demands Kylo follow his lead, whilst Kylo is trying to make himself into a big scary Force user, trying to capture some of the fear and respect that his grandfather carried. Over the course of the book we’ll see how the two of them end up doing their own things, and how their plans don’t work out on their own. But this isn’t a ‘you should have learned to work together’ type story, and neither villain learns a valuable lesson come the end.
The book gives us a little insight into how the First Order became the power that it was in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and how so many worlds fell to them. Thanks to their massive fleet and their troops they’re able to force their way onto worlds and basically act like thugs to get what they want. The pretence of making the galaxy a better place through unity that the Empire had isn’t even here for the First Order, and they’re little more than bullies. This plays into the lore of them being built from the remnant of the Empire, and of wanting to punish the galaxy for having pushed them out in the first place.
The continuous plot thread that has been present in all of these issues, the Wookie doll, pops up here, just for a panel or two, but this time feels like the first time we’ve been offered any kind of insight into what it is. Kylo, still mostly untrained in the Force, senses some kind of Force presence near the doll. We knew in issue #1 that something important was placed inside it, but now we know that it has some kind of power to it too. Hopefully, this will be explained in future issues, and it being connected to the Force is certainly a good way to justify it keeping appearing in these stories, getting close to important and powerful players in the Star Wars saga.
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The art on this issue is provided by Andy Duggan, with Dan Jackson on colours, and it looks decent enough. The established characters look enough like their on screen counterparts to be easily identifiable, though Hux is the weakest of these as he has less to distinguish him. There are some moments of action in the issue, but none of them have anything truly exciting or special about them, and even the inclusion of a giant monster does little to make it really stand out.
Overall this was a perfectly serviceable entry in the series, though one that seems to be playing it safe. It doesn’t really add much to the narrative, nor does it reveal anything new or interesting about the characters features. Compared to the last issue, it feels like a big step backwards in terms of care and desire to tell an engaging story. It’s Star Wars, but it’s forgettable Star Wars.
Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #8 is out now from Dark Horse.