In Review: Star Wars: Forces of Destiny-Hera

An excellent outing for Hera and Chopper that will please young readers.

The covers: A quartet to choose among for this outing from one of the stars of Star Wars: Rebels. The A cover by Eva Widermann and Monica Kubina is terrific. Hera is shown in her flight suit, holding her blaster upright in her right hand, with her left on her hip. Behind her, seemingly peeking out in fear, is loyal droid Chopper. Behind the pair is the Ghost speeding forward with the void of space behind it. I like the art and I like the coloring. This is print, poster, and tee shirt worthy. The B cover is by Elsa Charretier and Matt Wilson and follows the pattern of the previous covers by this pair. Hera is facing the reader with her arms crossed, looking down at the reader with a slight smile. Behind her is a silhouette of her head showing X-wing fighters streaming forward firing lasers. This looks great and I love the pink silhouette on the white background. The RI cover is the Animation Art frontpiece and it’s a wraparound cover. Hera is standing in the interior of some building that’s not well constructed, given how it’s not well lit and is not too neat — probably a Rebel base. The character looks really stiff, so I’m not a fan of this. The back of the cover shows the remainder of the interior. This one is not for me. The Con Exclusive cover is the B cover from Charretier and Wilson, minus all the text. If one is a fan of Hera, this is a must-get item. Overall grades: A A, B A, RI C-, and Con Exclusive A 

The story: Above Fekunda the Ghost is trying to evade fire from a pair of TIE fighters. Chopper and Hera exchange words that reveal the Imperials were unexpected. The Ghost takes a damaging shot and speeds to the surface of the world, losing the ships, but taking more damage than expected. She leaves the droid to work on the comm so “Kanan and the rest of the team know we got here safely.” Hera is there having being contacted by a farmer worried about the Empire’s recent demands upon them. Hera helps the farmers, who are made up some very interesting characters, and runs afoul of the Imperials and their commander. The story is intended for young readers, but has enough action and laughs for older fans. A good story from Devin Grayson, showing how easy it is too ruin a tightly run machine. Overall grade: A

The art: Eva Widermann does a strong job on the visuals, beginning with a excellent shot of the Ghost fighting the TIEs. Hera and Chopper get a good introduction in a tight panel, before tilting considerably to show the evasive moves Hera has to make with the ship. This is followed by two pages of the Ghost trying to escape the TIEs and Wildermann makes them incredibly easy to follow and very exciting. The top of the third page is a beautiful location for the Ghost to land upon, which is above the seemingly desolate valley where the farmers’ buildings are located. The facility where the grain is refined and packaged is well done, but it’s the farmers that really shine: Burl, Lemnos, and Au B’ree. They look great, with Lemnos stealing every panel he’s in, making me think of The Weasel Patrol illustrated by Lela Dowling. Hera looks fantastic in every panel, with the close-up of her eyes beautiful. The action sequence at the end of the book is solid and is age appropriate. The best visual of the book is something Chopper does at the bottom of Page 7 which continues to make me laugh each time I look at it. Overall grade: A

The colors: Complimenting the visuals perfectly are the colors by Monica Kubina. I want this series intended for younger readers to have bright, bold colors and Kubina doesn’t disappoint. The light green of Hera’s face is fantastic, while Chopper’s orange head instantly becomes a focus whenever he appears. A surprising choice of colors are the tans and yellows used for the farming locale, which is completely opposite of what one expects of a farm, but it does increase the sorrows of the characters that exist under the Empire’s thumb. Lemnos’s fur is wonderful to see in several shades of brown and the violets used for the mountains in the finale are outstanding. The colors are delightful in this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Tom B. Long creates this issue’s Chopper sounds, dialogue, sounds, yells, Aurebesh computer text, and the final two words to conclude the book. Chopper’s sounds are the high point of Long’s contributions. They look exactly like they sound, with me catching myself reading them aloud trying to sound like the droid. This is simply wonderful. Everything looks good on this, but I wanted more sounds, especially on the second and third pages. Still, I’m liking what Long does. Overall grade: A-

The final line: An excellent outing for Hera and Chopper that will please young readers. Action and thrills with a good message. If you know a Star Wars fan, or want to create one, this would be a good book to get them. 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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