Comic Review: Star Wars Adventures Annual 2019

Published: August 14, 2019
Cover Artist: Stan Sakai

Hare-Brained Heist
Writer:
Cavan Scott
Artist: Mauricet

So Much More
Writer:
Pierrick Colinet & Elsa Charretier
Artist: Margaux Saltel

The synopsis;

A daring rescue mission leads Lando—and his new friend Jaxxon—to the seat of Imperial power, where they must recover an important artifact that will inspire a planet to drive the Empire from their home.

The review;

An annual you say? Well…. how….err… great…I think. Let’s be honest, Marvel’s run of annuals has been less than impressive and when I initially found out Star Wars Adventures was getting an annual, I was… sceptical. Then came a bit more information that changed my mind. If I had to pick two writers from the range that we’ve had in Adventures, for consistency, for enjoyable story lines, for getting Star Wars just right, then straight away two (ok, technically three, but two groups of writers) would come straight to mind without even having to think. And low and behold they are the writers for this annual. Cavan Scott is an incredibly talented writer, whose work with Star Wars has grown rapidly over the last few years and has recently written Dooku: Lost Jedi. Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier are my favourite duo in comics. Everything these two touch is a wonder to read. So, with a great ensemble of writers, my opinion of an annual from Star Wars Adventures quickly changed (and apologies to my editor Steve who I’ve kept harassing for this issue!). Surely, this would be an annual worth reading…

The first tale, ‘Hare-Brained Heist’ is by Scott. Immediately, you can’t help but be dragged (willingly) into the Star Wars universe. Scott is a pure master of the voices in Star Wars. Every time I read his work, all I can hear are the characters talking as they should, and I get transported to a galaxy far, far away. Scott knows these characters well and he cleverly uses lines that are similar to ones in the film to allow you to hear that ‘voice’ inside your head. It works wonderfully. From there, he is able to take the characters to where he wants and us, the reader, with him.

From the synopsis and cover art, it is no surprise that Jaxxon is in this issue. I have not read the original Marvel series, but I know of Jaxxon by reputation (who doesn’t). To see this character here, I’m sure for fans who remember him, must be great. I also think it’s a great introduction for younger fans who won’t have come across Jaxxon before. However, for me, there was a much bigger surprise that had me grinning from ear to ear. I first read Scott’s work when I read my son the Tales from Wildspace series. My son and I were able to bond over this and have some great father-son time. So, to find Korda in this story was incredible! I love that he is in this story, acting very much the character he did in the books. I can also imagine for younger readers who have read the books, they would equally be as excited to see the return of this character.

With old faces returning and the writing so perfect, this story works beautifully. The artwork also really flows well, going into lovely detailed shots in places, and fast-paced action for the fights. Mauricet has been doing this long enough to know how to bring the audience on the journey and his style suits the story wonderfully. Having the extra pages allows both the writer and artist to demonstrate their best work and I’d argue why some of the writers on Adventures could easily do longer stories that are just as entertaining and engaging as their shorter counterparts in the regular Adventures series.

The second tale, ‘So Much More’ struck me as very strange to begin with. I’m so used to seeing Charretier doing the artwork for her and Colinet’s stories that I was momentarily thrown when I saw it was someone different. However, what a choice! Saltel does an incredible job of drawing this story, with a lot of the pages blowing me away. There are several montages of Padme’s life that just make your jaw drop. For the type of story this is, Saltel’s art works perfectly. It’s what you’d imagine in a children’s book (and I mean that as a huge compliment) and so with the story as it is, I can’t think of a better type of style to use to tell the tale. I hope we get to see a lot more of her work soon!

And speaking of the story, I should mention that too! ‘So much more’ and it certainly is. The tale is so simple in its idea and yet it is so powerful. It is a tale of Breha talking to a child Leia about the life of Padme. This is someone who honours the woman who is Leia’s true mother, wants Leia to know where she came from and where she is going. It is full of hope, as a tale to Leia should be; It is full of energy, as Leia is and it is the tale of someone who sacrificed herself to help others. When reading this story, you feel that Colinet and Charretier have pulled the curtain back on a very quiet, intimate moment between mother and daughter and the result is so beautiful.

There is so much more I could say, but of course I don’t want to spoil it for you. What I will say is that this story shows just what a truly gifted pair of writers Colinet and Charretier are to have produced something so profound and still so Star Wars. With appearances by R2-D2 in his rightful place and references to The Clone Wars TV series, this tale is a gem of a story that is complimented perfectly by Saltel’s work.

Marvel could learn a thing or two from IDW about how to do an annual. This is IDW bringing their top writers and artists to the table and letting them do what they do best. Scott brings a tale that is engaging, funny and really benefits from the extra length given to him. The appearance of Korda was wonderful and I’d love to see a future story with him as the main character. Colinet and Charretier take their story to a whole different level, that still has me in absolute shock and wonder. With art by Saltel, you’ll feel like you’ve picked up a children’s book actually from a galaxy far, far away. I say it every time, but Star Wars Adventures should be read by anyone who calls themselves a Star Wars fan. If you have still yet to make the leap, this annual is the perfect opportunity to see what the very best writers and artists are doing with this series. The pages in this comic hold some of the very best Star Wars so far this year that I have read and (to be honest) it’s what I always thought an annual should be if it’s given the ‘annual’ title…

Availability;

Star Wars Adventures is an ongoing series available from IDW Publishing. This issue is available from all good comic bookstores in the USA and from Forbidden Planet in the UK. This issue retails at $3.99.