In Review: Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #1

This belongs in every Star Wars fan's collection.

The covers: A pair to collect as you fly into the past on Jakku. Derek Charm is the artist of the Regular cover. Rey is in the foreground, holding her staff and looking nervously to her right. Behind her the wind whips about and she’s looked upon by three ghostly presences: a KX-series security droid, the captain of the Imperial Star Destroyer Spectral, and a stormtrooper. Just seeing these characters in the same panel is enough to get me excited. I love the blues on this cover. The Retailer Incentive cover is by Jon Sommariva and features Rey on her speeder leaving her Walker home. In the foreground is Babbajo winking at the reader. The sky is where the reader should be looking for it features the cast of this issue’s second tale, the pilots of Shepherd Squadron. Behind them are several TIE Fighters and X-wings as well as the Death Star. Great tease of what’s to be found within this issue. Unfortunately, having the squadron colored in oranges make them difficult to see and has them blending in too much with the sands of Jakku. Overall grades: Regular A- and Retailer Incentive B-

The story: Both stories in this issue are by Scott Beatty. “Destroyer Down” is a fourteen paged story that opens with narration stating that Jakku was the rallying point for the Imperial fleet that was being pursued by Rebel forces. When the wind blows on the planet “…the wrecks and the tombs and the bones are revealed.” Rey is then shown inside her fallen AT-AT cooking her dinner, until a blast of wind coats it with sand. The next day Unkar Plutt reveals to those in Nima Outpost that the Spectral has been revealed by the previous evening’s sandstorm. Those in the crowd share the supernatural legends they’ve heard of the ghost ship, but that doesn’t stop Rey from trying to be the first to scavenge from it. Unfortunately, she’s not alone. This is a solid setup with lots of neat backstory. “The Ghost Ship” Part 1 is a six pager that focus on the events that led up to the Spectral‘s fall onto Jakku. It opens with the Star Destroyer being swarmed by Shepherd Squardron, five fighters. One brave Rebel pays the ultimate cost to take down the vessel and then something happens to the remaining members. This is short, exciting, and leaves me wanting more. Overall grades: Both A 

The art: Derek Charm is one of my favorite artists and he’s the illustrator of the first tale. The first page opens with five horizontal panels that move in to Jakku, ending on an object sticking out of the sand that’s slowly being revealed by the powerful winds. Page two is a full-paged splash revealing part of Star Destroyer sticking up out of the sand. The story then moves to Rey and her plight to make dinner. The look on her face as she eats her meal at the end of Page 4 is funny. It’s at Nima Outpost where Charm really shines by showing familiar faces from The Force Awakens and new characters. They are a fantastic collection of scum and villainy. I love the two panels on 8 that show two specific horrors that some believe haunt the ship. Rey’s entry at the top of 14 is fantastic. Jon Sommariva on pencils and Sean Parsons on inks open their tale in stellar form by showing a sky full of fighters and destroyers battling above a planet. If you thought the opening to Revenge of the Sith was epic, you’re in for another visual treat. The introduction of Shepherd Squadron on Page 2 is outstanding, with each getting their own panel. The introduction of the captain of the Spectral has him looking absolutely the epitome of Imperial arrogance. As the TIE Fighter pilots race to their ships a familiar face is seen aboard the Destroyer. The action is great on Page 5 and 6, with the faces in the third and fifth panel of the final page outstanding. More, please! Overall grades: A

The colors: Charm colors his own work and has quite the chore in trying to give Jakku different shades of tan and brown for the swirling sands. The shading on Rey’s face on Page 4 ups the visual humor considerably as it reflects the mood she’s in. Nima Outpost has several bright colors due to the clear blue sky and the variety of aliens present. The work done on Rey’s speeder to give it some distress is neat. Her entrance to a location at the top of 14 is cinematic for the backlighting. Matt Herms is the colorist on “The Ghost Ship” and he also does an excellent job. I love seeing all the metallic colors of the ships fighting on the first page, as well as the distant orange and yellow highlights of laser blasts and explosions. When the members of Shepherd Squadron are introduced they are placed atop a vibrant red panel to have them pop off the page. And those yellow visors on the pilots’ helmets just look so darned cool. The shading down on the fighter pilots is impressive, with their pilot togs outstanding. I love how the captain of the Spectral is never shown in clear light, showing that he and his decisions are in the dark. Overall grades: Both A

The letters: Tomb B. Long is the sole letterer for this issue, creating narration, dialogue, and transmissions (all three being the same text), story titles, sounds, scene settings, whispers, and yells. I was disappointed to see that a trio of texts are in the same font, when they should be visually different as they are three different forms of communication. They are differentiated in the book by the shape of their balloons, boxes, and colors. It works, but I prefer a different font. The story titles look as though they belong in the Star Wars Universe. The scene settings are fantastic and I hope that this is the font that is used all the time for Star Wars Adventures. The whispers are smaller than regular dialogue and pull the reader in closer to the book. Overall grade: B

The final line: A fantastic first issue, intended for younger readers, that addresses how that Star Destroyer got on Jakku. The stories are exciting and the visuals are top notch. This belongs in every Star Wars fan’s collection. 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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