In Review: Star Wars Adventures Annual 2018

IDW continues to show the Force is strong in them and their Star Wars Adventures.

The cover: Luke is in his X-wing pilot outfit holding a bejeweled and spiked chalice. Behind him is Leia, Threepio, and Artoo. On the far right is the Queen of Sarka, with a massive image of Lord Rooz looking threatening behind all of them. This is a great tease for the first story in this issue by Jon Sommariva, who is also the artist of that tale. Overall grade: A

The story: There are two complete stories in this massive book. John Jackson Miller is the author of “Mind Your Manners” and Cavan Scott writes “The Lost Eggs of Livorno.” Both tales are outstanding adventures. The first tale has Luke, Leia, and the droids sent to Sarka so the princess can work with them to acquire some of their gems for the Rebellion’s laser cannons. Luke underestimates a cave opening where he has to land, causing a good bump to their ship and causing Leia to sprain her ankle. She can’t meets with the Sarkans, who spend a considerable amount of time on ritual and protocol. It’s up to the farmboy from Tatoonie to fill in. With Threepio accompanying him, what could possible go wrong? Not helping is Lord Rooz, advisor to the queen, who seems to have it in for Luke. The tale is funny, full of plenty of neat twists, and when Leia gets herself involved the story’s speed and fun increases. This story has an excellent conclusion. The second story by Scott features the return, or introduction to new cannon, of Jaxxon, the green rabbit from Marvel’s eighth issue of the original run of Star Wars. The smuggler is accompanied by Amaiza Foxtrain to meet with Queen Prizzi to take six eggs, the last of her kind, to Princess Leia to preserve her race from the tyranny of the Empire. Speak of the devil, stormtroopers show up, the trio board Jaxxon’s ship under blaster fire, and take off to get to Leia. Along the way there’s subterfuge, betrayal, and a ton of fun. Cavan continues to be one of the best writers on Star Wars Adventures and he does an excellent job on this issue. I’m hopeful that Jaxxon will appear in other Adventures tales. Overall grades: Both A

The art: Jon Sommariva is the artist for the first tale and I really like his style which strongly resembles animation. Luke is fantastic, with his jaw being impressive and his hair a great unkempt mess. The emotions that Sammariva can get from Luke and Leia are outstanding. The Sarkans are wonderfully designed and they emote fantastically as well. The action of the story stems from Leia and Artoo and it’s terrific. In fact, I was enjoying seeing what they were doing so much, if their actions sequences had gone on for several more pages I would have been more than happy. When the heroes smiled in this story I smiled too. If an artist can move a reader with one panel, they have talent. The second story is illustrated by Mauricet and it is equally impressive. It looks more like a cartoon than the first story, but it is a joy to look upon. How else should a giant green bunny in a flight suit be illustrated? This isn’t just comedic illustrations, however, when the stormtroopers arrive it’s thrilling and all the action that occurs after this is very serious. I appreciate that Mauricet was able to walk the line perfectly between visual comedy and action. The design of the characters are great and the familiar faces who appear at the end are instantly recognizable. Overall grades: Both A

The colors: The first story features lizard people that live underground. This seemingly doesn’t inspire much for colorist Matt Herms to do with the tale, but it is gorgeous for colors. The interiors of the heroes’ ship are bright, making all within pop and the clothes that Luke must wear to greet the queen are very colorful, more so than he’s had to wear before. Even with limited light source, Herms does a great job on the characters, especially with Rooz, whose protruding mouth always falls within the light, making his fang filled maw a hostile image in every panel. The Queen’s chamber has some terrific violets and roses to come off as royal and vaguely ominous. The second tale is colored by Chris Fenoglio and this, too, looks great. This story is much brighter than the first, not being underground, and having a green colored protagonist certainly helps. The colors of Queen Prizzi are neat, the first reveals from the eggs are delightfully icky in pink, and it was neat to see the two characters at the end wearing their colors from The Empire Strikes Back. Both of these tales have great colors. Overall grades: Both A

The letters: As with the regular Adventures comics, Tom B. Long is the letterer on both tales and he gets to create dialogue, sounds, yells, droid speech, transmissions, and the two words that end each story. The sounds are great, with blaster fire looking as cool as it sounds. There are several different types of yells, which is a great way to show the reader the intensity of each. The droid speech really deserves some attention from the reader: I’ve never seen non-humanoid droids speak with this font and it’s really cool. Artoo speaks in capital letters, while another droid speaks in lower case letters. I liked this font and how Long uses it. I hope to see it employed in other books. Overall grade: A

The final line: This is not a cheap comic, but it’s worth the price. The stories are fun and the visuals excellent. Plus, if you’re a long time Star Wars fan, the return (or introduction) of Jaxxon is well worth the cover price. IDW continues to show the Force is strong in them and their Star Wars Adventures. Overall grade: A

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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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