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
Lessons of choice and morality usually paint a picture within comics although with certain one like “From Hell”, it is about the lack thereof. The collection of comics below shows the division of story structure in the approach of different franchises. The Marvel elements tend to bathe more in textures of large spectacles where it is the smaller moments that are plyed best if allowed to breathe. Star Wars works in the reverse allow the small moments to bring more impact to the larger battles being played.
Star Wars Adventures Vol. 5 The essence of small stories is to give perspective in an otherwise large structure mileau. The first essence in this collection comes down to C3PO who mentioned Captain Antilles once in “A New Hope” thereby opening the door to the Antilles story. Why he ended up working with him is not quite explained but it shows how 3PO learned to deal with Han Solo. One of the more interesting little stories in the volume involves Anakin and Padme going off world to see an opera singer who happens to have a hidden agenda for the separatists and a hate for Padme. There is a little too much similarity at times to the plot within “The Fifth Element” in reverse. Other stories reflected include one with Max Rebo from Jabba’s Band and his thieving brother and Mace Windu saving a lost girl on a planet because she is meant for bigger things. The one aspect of these small Star Wars stories is that they always speak of hope.
Star Wars Adventures #19 Again with this treme set against the Clone Wars, Obi Wan Kenobi comes to the help of Rex, the clone trooper who sets him aside in his actions. A Separatist droid has a malfunction or perhaps simply finally understands the light of the Republic per se. It creates an interesting dynamic and sets up the play for a larger story which is not yet explored. The 2nd story in the issue tells a paradoxical story against that as one of the lessons told to Emil within the context of “Tales Of Wild Space”. In this tome, a Separatist droid (which is not malfunctioning) is lost from his unit and survives numerous pratfalls on a wayward planet before he is picked up again without anyone really caring he is gone. Again this story offers life lessons presented through a prism.
Marvel Action: Avengers #3 Like sometimes with the Transformers comics, Avengers tries to have too much going on with too many people at once but it fares better since it stays with the textures most of the time of the mythic mixed with a bit of humor. In this story, AIM, which seems to be a sentient artificial life form, apparently takes over Tony Stark and his suit for his own agenda. Black Widow, as always, despite really not having superpowers per se, saves the day always seemingly having to work twice as hard. Captain Marvel is there but her influence is non-impactful as is Thor who only seems to want people to call him a God (of course in sarcasm). What is interesting is that despite most of the characters having their own visual style, Stark is the only one that really looks like Downey Jr’s portrayal. The interplay is fun but ultimately doesn’t define or separate the story from any others.
Marvel Action: Spider-Man #2 Taking a key from the Spiderverse incarnation with the multiple web slingers, this story continues the pursuit of Miles to find out that he is not alone. The same thing applies to Peter Parker but his progression to enlightenment has more to do with confidence. Again the aspect of evolution is key, especially when a third webslinger comes into play. This construct has of course opened up the ideal for different permutations of motivation. Though the aspect of the multiverse however seems to be established as a given which might be of confusion to first time readers.
From Hell: Master Edition #3 The angle of this world is one that is always somewhere between the macabre and the generally weird. Despite the ideal of John Merrick (i.e. The Elephant Man being benevolent), these tales take it in a slightly different different mostly in the gauge of Jack The Ripper and also the psychotropic tendencies of the ritualistic elements that are portrayed within. The essence of language and action as diametric parallels seem to give a good sense of imbalance which propels the story. This aspect of perception is made even more defined when some of the original script is included as a reflection of the comic book process. In it the eventual discovery of the multilateral body in question told from a distance is particular telling in terms of story structure.
By Tim Wassberg
The aspect of adventures within the Star Wars Universe most of the time would begin or end with Han Solo since his idea of fun always gets him into trouble but his misguided (at times) ingenuity always gets him out of said situations. The idea in this adventure goes under the texture of “Star Wars Adventures: Smuggler’s Blues – Vol. 4” [Cavan Scott & Elsa Charretier/IDW/80pgs]. This ideal involves double crossing two bounty hunters to get to an actual mark to make some money. As usual, Solo barely gets the job done a little too late and falls into a bigger situation. The tone that always makes the Solo adventures work is that balance of humor and “I told you so” mechanics similarly helped along by Chewbacca in a bigger context. Landing on an alien planet that basically has its own doomsday defense mechanism which works against Solo’s obvious prejudice against droids shows its true backbone. The second story involves Lando Calrissian in a story seemingly set after he took control of Cloud City trying to show a balance from his former underworld associates and the growing heart that he seems to find by the time “Empire” rolls around. Here, the lesson shown is the aspect pf issues with running with the wrong crowd.even though the gangster Lando gets the favor from reminds him that you are never out no matter how many times you shine a medal. The final story of the volume keys into a character that one has always heard rumblings about but perhaps is too extreme visually to be in the live action universe. Jaxxon is a green bunny with a passing resemblance to Bugs who is both egotistical and weirdly identifiable. Jaxxon always seems to be a foil to Han Solo’s exploits even as he is trying to make a name for himself. This character trusts people willingly and then gets the back end of the stick (in a way not dissimilar to Solo) but always seems to come out without loss…but also without gain. The stories in this volume are stories of temperance but caution in the Star Wars realm while still remembering that people are the same no matter what species or race they are
By Tim Wassberg