Comic Review: Star Wars Adventures – Tales from Vader’s Castle #3

Published: 17th October 2018
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artists: Derek Charm (Pages 1-3, 19-20), Corin Howell (Pages 4-18)
Colourists: Derek Charm (Pages 1-3, 19-20), Valentina Pinto (Pages 4-18)
Letterer: Robbie Robbins & Tom B. Long
Cover Artists: Derek Charm, Corin Howell, Francesco Francavilla

The synopsis;

While on a secret mission for the Rebel Alliance, Commander Lina Graf’s ship came under attack by TIE fighters and crash-landed on the planet Mustafar, where her crew looks for a way to escape the inhospitable lava planet…

The story;

Lina Graf and her crew have crashed on the planet landed into a lava lake on Mustafar. Pursued by stormtroopers the team flee towards Vader’s Castle. Gee-Three holds his ground and fends off their would-be attackers. Safe within the castle Line tells a story to keep their mind off the situation they’re in.

Han and Chewbacca are on a mission to deliver a rare work of art to the planet Rendel in the Kiva system. The fee one million credits! They land on the planet and discover the abandoned ship of their old friend Karamu. His droid SV3 is in the wreckage who sparks to life. He warns the of the Emerald Witch of Rendel and his power cells die. Chewie doesn’t like the sound of this, but Han ventures on alone to deliver the piece of art. He is soon caught up in the thorny vines and stumbles across his friend Kamaru. He has aged considerably since they last met, and Han tries to release him. A flower sprays a gas in to Han’s face, he starts to age immediately. The vines envelope him and now they are both caught up. The Emerald Witch appears to them, it was her sister that sent them to her.

She and her sister were close, but this changed when she became queen, outcast as a danger. That’s when she planted a seed that the vines grew from. The Emerald Witch believes the stone Tooka artwork to be an insult, she tells them they will die alone as her plants nourish themselves on their bodies. A defiant Han exclaims he is not alone as blaster fire rings out. Han is free, but Chewbacca is affected by the gas of the flowers. Han throws the Tooka at the Witch and it strikes, exploding on impact releasing a gas of its own. The vines start to die, and Witch is left to lament her downfall.

Han, Chewie and Kamaru leave the planet and they return to normal as the spell is lifted, but is that a flower from the vine in the Falcon cockpit?

Gee-Three re-joins the crew and is in bad shape, he’s missing an arm and has taken considerable damage. Hudd has been distracted and has left the group before Lina realises. Hudd is in search of weapons but finds a strange looking green ornament that he can loot. Little does he know he’s being watched.

The review;

This week is no different to any other, so I’ll start with the covers. Again, we are along the similar themes and layouts as before, but this week the cover stars are Han Solo and his co-pilot Chewbacca. The ‘A’ cover by Derek Charm has got the same eerie feel to it, but the ‘B’ cover by Corin Howell is fun. Showing a worried Chewie, but Han dismissing his fears. I do like that unlike other comics, the IDW publications carry call outs for dialogue on the covers. This is something that reminds me of the original Marvel comics of the 70’ and 80’s and has become a thing of the past with most cover artists.

With the title of this issue being ‘Beware – The Briar Witch’ I assume it to be a play on the ‘Blair Witch’ movie title, and I could be correct. When I realised that the word briar means ‘a number of prickly scrambling shrubs, especially a wild rose’ it did bring a smile to my face.

The story for Lina and her crew continues with their mission to escape from Mustafar. I’m really enjoying their story although there’s not quite enough for me in each issue. I’m hoping we get to see a bit more of their adventure in the final issue. Plus, I just love the artwork for this part of the story.

As for the main story, it’s a typical Han Solo on a trying to get rich quick mission. Who thought that delivering a stone Tooka piece of art on a planet would lead to this? The Emerald Witch has a ‘Poison Ivy’ vibe to me by capturing her prey with the blooms of the plants she controls. Kamaru and Han both age visibly when under the influence of the gas produced from the blooms, but Chewie doesn’t, although he feels he has.

Chewbacca is announced to Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi as ‘The Mighty Chewbacca’, but in A New Hope (after his encounter with trash compactor Dianoga on the Death Star) and here we see that he has a sensitive side and can be quite easily spooked. That is a good addition to the plot, but Han being in danger soon quells his fears and he comes to the rescue of his friend.

This series is more like what I would call a traditional or an old-fashioned comic. It’s fun and light to read and I don’t mean that in a disparaging way, but I do believe that some modern-day comics can be heavy going with their plots, sub-plots and twists. Its simplicity accompanied with a good story and great artwork makes for a great read.

Next up in issue 4 are the Ewoks of Endor and I’m looking forward to seeing what is in store for them!

Availability;

Star Wars Adventures – Tales from Vader’s Castle #3 is the second issue in a weekly series of 5 issues available from IDW Publishing. This issue is available from all good comic book stores in the USA and from Forbidden Planet in the UK. This issue retails at $3.99.