LucasFilm and Disney are expanding their Star Wars universe even wider. With “Star Wars Adventures” #1, we finally have a Star Wars title aimed for all ages. Ultimately, IDW has released a book which goes a long way in truly capturing the spirit and tone of the original film.
Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Derek Charm, Jon Sommariva, and Sean Parsons
Colored by Charlie Kirchoff and Derek Charm
Lettered by Tom B. Long
Introducing an exciting new era in all-ages Star Wars comics! Each issue in this monthly series will feature two stories, starring your favorite Star Wars characters from all the films! This debut issue will reveal Rey’s early adventures on Jakku as well as a comical tale of clone catastrophe!
It’s easy to forget Star Wars was always meant for kids. The first film was produced in a time dominated by gritty crime stories set in rough streets. It was, in part, a reaction to those types of movies, created because George Lucas saw a whole audience was almost always going ignored. “It’s aimed at kids,” Lucas has said. “The kid in everybody.” Even in 2017, when talking about the franchise, he still maintains that mentality. “It’s a film for 12-year-olds. You’re about to enter the real world . . . . You’re probably scared, you don’t know what’s going to happen. Here’s what you should pay attention to: friendships, honesty, trust, doing the right thing. Living on the light side, avoiding the dark side.” As the audience for Star Wars has grown up, they’ve also desired something far more mature, which is fine. Yet because it often comes at the expense of these the movies were made for feels like we’ve started missing what makes Star Wars so special.
From Marvel’s handling (often mishandling) of the property, it seems like they were never concerned about giving Star Wars to kids. Therefore, I think it’s great LucasFilm and Disney have reached beyond Marvel to start releasing comics aimed at an all-ages audience. Not only that, but they’ve tapped Cavan Scott, author of the popular Wild Space junior novels, Derek Charm, and Jon Sommariva to create it.
Above all else, “Star Wars Adventures” #1 is a delight. It’s bright and optimistic. Both stories offer clear characterization, brisk action, and interesting designs. The comic is split into two stories. The first, ‘Better the Devil You Know,’ follows Rey and some of her adventures on Jakku before she flew off to try to deliver a certain BB-unit droid back home. The second, ‘Tales from Wild Space: “Stop,Thief!”‘ takes place within Scott’s Wild Space portion of the universe and is a story within a story, a flashback to the days of the Clone Wars.
Rey kicks off the series. ‘Better the Devil You Know’ involves double-crosses and kidnapping, hostile takeovers and runaway space chickens. After having to fight her way out of a hairy situation, Rey returns to Niima Outpost to discover Unkar has been kidnapped by some cartel because of a droid body he obtained. In his absence, a new junkboss has decided to try taking over, someone much worse than Unkar.
‘Better the Devil You Know’ feels like a classic Star Wars story. Scott fills the script with intrigue, clear villains, and a central character who has to swallow her pride to do the right thing and save someone she generally doesn’t care about. Rey maybe talks more than I’ve ever seen her before and Scott leans on the first person narration boxes to get her inner thoughts (think of the wasted thought bubble potential here!), but her spirit remains intact. She’s still willing to help out the downtrodden, but isn’t above blowing up the only means of transportation available to her assailants. Derek Charm is especially great at delivering emotion in just a few lines, so it’s easy to process what’s happening and how everyone’s feeling without having to decipher overly elaborate artwork.
The Rey story was charming, but I think “Star Wars Adventures” #1 truly won me over with its tale from Wild Space. Maybe it’s because it features some original characters — generally, I wish we could see more original characters in these ancillary things than the endless cycling and recycling of the characters from the movies — or because I’m a sucker for stories-within-stories, or maybe it’s because I always appreciate a well-sprung trap, but I found myself grinning throughout all eight pages of ‘Stop, Thief!’Continued below
The setup in ‘Stop, Thief!’ is simple enough: a monkey-lizard on the exploration ship, The Star Herald, keeps stealing tools from one of the resident droids. This, of course, leads the captain, Emil, to reflect on a story starring Clone Era bi-Wan Kenobi. The narration works far better here and there’s a nice flow in the material. Jon Sommariva’s art is quick, the gestures somewhat over-the-top. I sort of love how he draws Obi-Wan as a jovial figure, almost with a Santa Claus grin on his face throughout the whole story. Obi-Wan rarely, if ever, has a happy moment, so to see him content is odd and sort of satisfying.
Both Derek Charm and Jon Sommariva do maintain a sort of consistent style in “Star Wars Adventures” #1. The character designs are animation-ready, like they’ve been plucked from those cartoon shorts Star Wars posts online. But, more importantly, both of them turn in work that’s energetic and lively. It’s snappy and fun, Charm with his spot-on expressions and Sommariva with his crazy perspectives. Not one page feels overwhelmed with information and every image is devoted to making sure you’re, first and foremost, enthralled with the story. Star Wars is so big there’s plenty of room for these cartoon adventures and all those X-wing cross section books.
“Star Wars Adventures” #1 is unapologetic about itself. The colors are bright and vibrant. The action is silly and explosive. Characters are clearly drawn out and relatable as they deal with more personal stakes and obstacles. This is a comic that stays true to Lucas’s ideas of friendship and honesty. Even more, it’s a title with a sense of fun baked into its spirit, which makes it for one of the most delightful Star Wars experiences.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – Bright and delightful, “Star Wars Adventures” #1 most emulates the spirit and tone and wonder of the original film.