In Review: Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1

Worth picking up for the new scenes.

The covers: A lucky seven to covers to track down if one is a completist. The Regular cover is a beauty by Phil Noto. It features a circular image that contains the Death Star, Jyn Erso, Darth Vader, Saw Gerrera, Casian Andor, Mon Mothma, Orson Krennic, a stormtrooper, Chirrut Imwe, a pair of AT-ATs, and a Death Trooper. Underneath this image is a white space that contains the book’s title and logo. Very cool and happy to see that this wasn’t a variant cover. The Action Figure Variant cover is by John Tyler Christopher and features Jyn on a faux Kenner card, with the figure wearing the clothes she wore at the beginning of the film. The likeness of Felicity Jones is great and this is a cover I’ve got to track down for myself. There’s a Blank Sketch Variant cover for those that would like to take this to an artist and have him or her create a one of a kind cover or to have the contributors to his issue sign it. I like these for their potential, but left blank they’re not much to look at. A variant I’ve run across is listed as a Droids Variant cover, and it’s illustrated by Joe Quinones. This frontpiece has Jyn, Chirrut, Casian , Baze Malbus, and Bodhi Rook, beneath the backside of a gigantic K-2So, who is facing a fantastic schematic of the Death Star that’s illuminated like something out of Tron. This looks great, but my online source has the characters looking really darkly colored. I hope the actual cover is brighter, because going off what I can see, this is very murky. The Movie Variant cover comes from an image I’ve seen used to promote the film: a gigantic white Death Star with several silhouettes of X-wings speeding downwards, with the cast within this ebony mass. Very cool and worth picking up. The Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant cover is by Mike Mayhew and features an unseen moment from the cantina. Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes are playing in a room full of heavy smoke. Below and to the left are two jawas, while Kabe, the Chandra-Fan, is dancing in the foreground, spilling her drink. A great combination of characters, but, like Quinones’s work, my online source had this as being really dark. Terry Dodson and Rachel Dodson illustrate the final variant. In Jedha City, Jyn uses a stormtrooper’s baton to knock him unconscious. Behind her is K-2So and a tease of the holy city. Anything and everything by the Dodsons should be collected. Overall grades: Regular A+, Action Figure Variant A+, Blank Sketch Variant C, Droids Variant C-, Movie Variant A-, Star Wars 40th Anniversary Variant B, and Dodsons Variant A+

The story: Jody Houser is the writer of this issue and it’s always interesting to see what aspects of a movie adaptation are omitted for the comic and what’s been added in. Before the creation of VCRs, if you’re old enough to remember them, fans had only comic adaptions to help them remember what they’d seen on the big screen. The taking of Galen Erso on Lah’mu takes only two pages in this book before moving into a new scene: the present on Eadu, where Galen instructs Bodhi Rook to go to Saw Gerrera. The book then moves to a two page sequence of Jyn being moved into her prison cell on Wobani and speaking with her cellmate. These three pages weren’t in the film and that’s one big plus to picking up this series: the missing scenes. This will have Star Wars fans abuzz asking each other if these new scenes are cannon. Regardless, they are neat to read. Another scene not in the film is Bodhi’s capture, which covers three pages. These are followed by familiar scenes, including Casian’s introduction, Jyn’s escape from imprisonment, K-2SO, Jyn being prepped by Mon Mothma, and the first appearances of Baze and Chirrut. An interesting omission is Mothma not bringing up the Jedi when she talks with Bail Organa. Given as how the Jedi are such important characters in the Star Wars universe, I was surprised at that line’s lack of inclusion. However, this version of the film is different enough to have me looking forward to what other new details Houser includes. Overall grade: A 

The art: This was a letdown for me. Emilio Laiso and Oscar Bazaldua are the artists and they do an adequate job with the heroic cast, whose likenesses they’ve captured well enough for them to be recognized by anyone who has seen the film, but the backgrounds are really minimal. This is a shame because one of the greatest joys of the films are the settings. Based on the minimal work done on Lah’mu, one would think that it’s Arrakis. For a desert, Jedha City is so dark, no one has feet in the first three pages the location is shown, which is remarkable, given there’s absolutely nothing to obstruct the view of them. Even the back alley of the Ring of Kafrene has no details, and this was a location where the artists could have really shown the technology off, but they do not. On the final page where Baze and Chirrut appear does the setting get detailed enough to match the memories of the film. Two likenesses that are not well done are Krennic and Tarkin: both look ten years younger then their film counterparts, with Krennic looking nothing like Ben Mendelsohn. The layout of the pages is fine, with the artists moving the point of view around enough to make things interesting, and, having not purchased the movie on DVD, doesn’t seem to copy any scenes directly from a movie still. The artists are to be saluted for doing this, but to be encouraged to be more detailed in their backgrounds. Overall grade: C

The colors: Right out of the gate, Lah’mu is incorrectly colored in orange. Bright. Glaring. Orange. After these two pages things look fine. Eadu is properly dark, Wobani is full of metallic grays, while Jedha City is dusty with browns and tans. Rachelle Rosenberg matches the dark tones of the film well, and really gets some cool neon blue-greens during the briefing scene with Mon Mothma. The cool blues of Chirrut’s eyes are also really well done. I’m looking forward to what Rosenberg will be doing in future issues. Overall grade: B+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, yells, sounds, and K-2SO’s speech is created by VC’s Clayton Cowles. The scene settings on this book look much better than those in other Star Wars books, but the text that accompanies a few of them is too small: take a look at the text under the first page’s Lah’mu — can you read that without pulling in closer to it? I was happy to see several sounds in this book. Usually Marvel’s Star Wars titles are mute. Blasters still remain sadly silent, but there are more sounds than usual in this offering. Overall grade: B+ 

The final line: Worth picking up for the new scenes. The visuals could be better, but are a marked improvement over The Force Awakens adaptation. Overall grade: B+

To purchase a digital copy go to https://www.comixology.com/Star-Wars-Rogue-One-Adaptation-2017-1-of-6/digital-comic/484799?ref=c2VhcmNoL2luZGV4L2Rlc2t0b3Avc2xpZGVyTGlzdC90b3BSZXN1bHRzU2xpZGVy

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
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