Looking at a new adaptation of the classic film “The Empire Strikes Back” [Alessandrio Ferrari/IDW/84pgs] in many ways in an interesting exercise in what is kept in in terms of dialogue and what parts are removed for elements of pacing and space. In this instance while some aspects work, certain others of nuance are lost. Point in fact, on Dagobah, Luke’s initial ignorance of Yoda because of his arrogance is a very specific notion as is the cave where he sees the reflective image of his father. These are small scenes but also at times the most telling and mythic although with comic adaptations, the main story points need to be adopted and compacted. Also some of the smallest character moments for Han & Leia happen in the quiet moments on the asteroid. Now granted the main point in the carbonite scene is the most telling but some scenes need to breathe. That said the fluid nature of the characters especially Leia give them a more modern edge (much like the “Solo” graphic novel adaptation) placing it somewhere between the original concept and the arena of “The Clone Wars” TV series. Either way, always great to see another conception of a cultural touchstone most people have seen or have a perspective on.
By Tim Wassberg
Seeing the textures of this series put together doesn’t diminish its tale at all but gives it a fuller conception as a cautionary tale. “Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader’s Castle” [Cavan Scott/IDW/120pgs] tells the approach of a rebel team into the planet of Mustafar which has become Anakin/Darth Vader’s home either by conscious or unconscious perception. It is fitting but also bathed in metaphor as it should be. As seen in parallel to say “The Mummy” from 1999, every character has their own flaws but also must know their limits. The lead character, a female pilot Llla, does not seem aware of Vader but the stories here correlate to the actual confidence building of a small insect-like crew member in Skritt (honestly the weakest part of the story). Different characters tell different stories like Han Solo on one of his misadventures where he is caught in the path of one of the disgraced witches who helped resurrect Darth Maul or an Ewok who was led astray in his aspect to avoid strife and appease his predators. Ultimately this reflects back on Vader’s merciless pursuit of the rebels until they leave. He takes down one of their ranks in Hudd, a gluttonous thief but does so off-screen while also dismantling one of the droids with his light saber. But ultimately there is a sadness in Vader simply because you almost understand he wants to be left alone but yet is brought out as a blunt instrument as that is his purpose.
By Tim Wassberg
The graphic novel adaptation of the movie “Solo: A Star Wars Story” [Alessandrio Ferrari/IDW/72pgs] leaves nothing out except possibly some thrills and a little bit of action. Unfortunately with this aspect of “Solo”, we are not given any more insight into the screenplay and how it might have differed from the movie. This is more or less a straight shot from what was seen on screen and while effective it doesn’t give a different permeation of who Solo is and more importantly who Qi’ra is. The best panel of he whole graphic novel is the kiss between them on the Falcon that is in many ways reminiscent of Han & Leia’s kiss in “Empire”. What continues to permeate in the mind though is what a great character Qi’ra is especially with her perspective of Crimson Dawn. Again this might be an interesting play for Disney+ especially since Emilia Clarke will be more available now that “Game Of Thrones” has ended. It is just a matter if they get to it quickly enough while Clarke still looks the same. The angular nature of the art gives Han and Qi’ra even more swagger which again gives the tone a better function and steams the story along. There is nothing truly wrong with the story…just the timing was wrong with the release and the bad press from the director switch-over. Again it would be interesting to see the original Lord/Miller take on the material. But for the time being this graphic novel continues to show the set up for what it might have been. It is just interesting that the Solo story would be the set up for another female led foray in the Star Wars universe if the cards are played right.
By Tim Wassberg