This review of Star Wars Adventures #1 contains minor spoilers.
When IDW Publishing chief creative officer and editor-in-chief Chris Ryall jumped up on the publishing panel at Star Wars Celebration in Orlando to announce Star Wars Adventures, I was intrigued.
Marvel’s been publishing Star Wars comics since January 2015 and has, largely, done a fine job with adding to the Saga’s canon and giving readers monthly does of stories and adventures.
But Ryall spoke of how Star Wars, as George Lucas has said, was for kids. So it made sense to have a comics series that appealed to them, too, since the Disney acquisition and Dark Horse Comics’ loss of the publishing license.
Having read the first issue of Star Wars Adventures, IDW Publishing and Lucasfilm have taken the mandate to heart, offering up a heady blend of adventure that’s not just accessible to an all-ages audience, but proffers up storytelling and visuals that are bountiful, buoyant and brimming with enthusiasm.
This anthology series features a main story, along with a back up. Both are weighted equally in terms of prime storytelling and adventure, so there’s nothing lost if one story is first and another second.
The first issue’s primary tale, “Better the Devil You Know, Part I,” is Rey-centric.
Written by Cavan Scott, illustrated by Derek Charm and lettered by Tom B. Long, with editing Peter Adrian Behravesh, Bobby Curnow and Denton J. Tipton, it’s a day in the life of Rey on Jakku before her fateful encounters with BB-8 and Finn, as detailed in The Force Awakens.
In it, she tussles with would-be thieves, scopes out the space junk littering the sandy landscape and provides readers with a deeper look into her life on such a bleak place amid such barren residents.
It’s also a character-driven portrait of the innate sense of fair play and beneficence that is at Rey’s core. Who else would drop everything to try and rescue Unkar Plutt, after he’s kidnapped by offworlders?
This is a story about standing up to bullies, be it Unkar or Krynodd who steps ups to fill the void left by his erstwhile rival. When he jostles Bobbajo and his critters, it’s Rey who jumps into action to help him collect his charges. It’s also Rey who mounts a rescue for Unkar, despite his stinginess toward her, from Zool Zendiat.
Like other Star Wars comics, this one ends on a cliffhanger. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
The second story, “Tales from Wild Space,” is a gem of a delight, given it ties in Scott’s work on the Adventures in Wild Space books.
Written by Scott, penciled by Jon Sommariva, inked by Sean Parsons, colored by Charlie Kirchoff and lettered by Long, fans of the Wild Space stories will enjoy some of the inside connections to the series of books.
That’s no surprise, given Scott wrote three Adventures in Wild Space books, along with the introductory novella. We won’t go into detail, but it’s a pleasurable read, with plenty of action and nods to the books, including protagonist Emil Graf, the grandson of Milo Graf from the books, as well as locales such as the droid Crater, not to mention Lina!
The story is a delight and is self contained. What makes it even more enjoyable is the wide array of characters and species from throughout Star Wars. The art by Sommariva, Parsons and Kirchoff is a blast of dynamic energy, giving it a mix of both animation and real life. It’s a joy to behold.
With the first issue out of the gate, IDW’s team has produced a compelling Star Wars comic that’s accessible to all, from younglings to younglings at heart.
And, on a side note, it was great to see IDW including a gallery of all the variant covers for this issue. That’s something that other publishers should do, often.
Star Wars Adventures #1 is in comic shops on Sept. 6, selling for $3.99, and on Comixology.
(For more detail and discussion, listen to Comics With Kenobi #35, due out Oct. 3.)