In Review: Star Wars: Forces of Destiny-Rey

Mildly disappointing that not much can be done with Rey because of the films.

The covers: Four different frontpieces for the star of the latest of trilogy of Star Wars films. The A cover is by Arianna Florean and features Rey bundled up and speeding forward on her speeder. I would have preferred to have seen more of the character, as there’s too much of her speeder. The impact of the visual is also deadened by colors used to create the heat of Jakku. Better is the B cover by Elsa Charretier with colors by Matt Wilson. This is a fantastic illustration of Rey, facing the reader and looking into the future. She has her staff in her hands, while behind her is her profile in silhouette that contains the desert setting. She looks incredible and the coloring is spot on. RI-A is the Animation Art cover that has Rey, with BB-8 beside her, standing in the sand before her fallen Imperial walker home. The cover is a wrapsaround, with the back cover showing one of the walker’s feet up close. This is really nice, too. The final cover is the Con Exclusive by Charretier and Wilson that features the same art as the B, though without any text. This is just as beautiful. Overall grades: A C, B A, RI-A A, and Con Exclusive A

The story: Opening on Jakku, before the events of The Force Awakens, the reader follows Rey on her typical, monotonous days: waking, scavenging, selling, and eating. She thinks to herself, ‘I’m just waiting for my ride to come back.’ Writer Jody Houser then interrupts her meal with the sounds of distress from BB-8 who’s been netted by a Teedo. Events quickly mirror those in the film, but take a drastic change when something briefly seen in the film, when the little droid is making his way at night, reveals its full size to the characters and the reader. This is a neat surprise and ends with the BB unit reenacting something Artoo-Detoo did in The Empire Strikes Back. Rey takes BB-8 to her home and the two have an adventure before the conclusion, which has the pair travelling to Niima Outpost to meet their destinies. It’s neat to see Rey’s life on Jakku before her film exploits, but this story can’t really do too much. I enjoyed the creature battle, but the humanoids that seek to do her and her companion harm were just average. Rey is a character who’s really locked into continuity, because her backstory can’t be explored, without spoiling things from Episode IX, and nothing can be done with her after the films, because, again, spoilers. She’s not an easy character to create new adventures and that’s a handicap. There’s not much humor in this story, either. Mildly disappointing. Overall grade: C 

The art: Arianna Florean is the artist of this book. Her work is fantastic. I love her interpretations of the characters. Her Rey covers the emotional spectrum, with her generating considerable sympathy with the first panel on Page 11. The character’s smile is contagious and makes the reader feel warm inside. When she grits her teeth to get down to business, she’s unquestionably strong. Teedo looks good, who has a great visual dilemma at the book’s conclusion. Better, though, is the character who’s fully revealed in this book, after only providing a taste of his presence in Episode VII. The action sequences involving this character are terrific; they pack a lot of punch. I like the design of the creature that she’s forced to battle more than once. It’s cartoony, but it also pretty creepy looking in its design. The final page is a full-paged splash that shows the individuals that she’s going to encounter in The Force Awakens and they all look great. I would love to see Florean do another Star Wars comic. Overall grade: A

The colors: Knowing that this book is going to be set on Jakku, I knew Adele Matera is going to be using a lot of sandy colors: brown, tan, and yellow. The color scheme can’t differentiate too much from that, but darned if Matera doesn’t vary up the visuals as much as she can, using the colors for sounds or creatures. The final five pages have an action sequence that really pops off the page because Matera gets to work in a darker setting. Matera does a strong job on this book. Overall grade: A

The letters: Tom B. Long creates the book’s narration and dialogue (the same font), sounds, yells, and the closing two words. It would have better to have the narration and dialogue be different fonts, rather than differentiated by the shape of their dialogue balloons and colors, but what’s done is done. The sounds are incredibly fun and look exactly as one would expect them to. Overall grade: B+

The final line: An average story with strong visuals. Mildly disappointing that not much can be done with Rey because of the films’ lock on her. The visuals make up for the story, but not enough to warrant this being “Must-Read” reading. Overall grade: B

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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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