In Review: Star Wars: The Last Jedi Adaptation #2

This adaptation has some fun additions to the film, but the visuals hinder any joy in reading it.

The covers: A twosome to find for this second issue. The Regular cover is by Kamome Shirahama and features a moment that fans either loved or hated. General Leia Organa is against a background broken into three vertical panels. The outer panels are white, while the one in the middle shows two Star Destroyers sending blasts of crimson at an unseen foe. Leia is striking her pose from her space flight scene from the film. She looks at the reader with empty eyes as she holds one hand forward and her cape billows out behind her. She looks great and having this partially against a white background makes her really stand out to the reader. This is good. The Variant cover by Michael Walsh & Dave McCaig is also an outstanding frontpiece. This has Rey holding her blue lightsaber in the foreground. Immediately behind her is Kylo considering his helmet. Behind him is a larger image of Leia looking at the reader dramatically. In the background is the outline of a world that has four TIE Fighters speeding over it, with one being Kylo’s fighter. This is colored with a lot of reds, making it extremely powerful. This is by interior artist Walsh, which has me wondering why the interiors don’t look as sensational as this cover. Overall grades. Regular A and Variant A+

The story: Gary Whitta’s adaptation opens at a crucial moment as several TIE Fighters are attacking the Raddus. Kylo Ren leads one group and is responsible for blasting the bay holding all the Resistance’s fighters. As the battle rages, Leia and Kylo feel each other’s presence through the Force. However, this does nothing to slow the First Order’s attack and his two wing men attack the ship, killing Ackbar and blasting Leia into space. Aboard the Supremacy, General Hux complains of their inability to destroy the three remaining ships. He orders his vessel to follow them, forcing the Resistance to burn their fuel. Meanwhile, Leia has survived and Whitta gets to give her some sensational thoughts that might have placated complainers of this sequence in cinemas. I really enjoyed this quick moment. With Leia safely back aboard the Raddus, the story moves to Ahch-To where Luke sees Artoo and his faithful droid makes a wonderful “cheap move.” Admiral Amilyn Holdo is now in charge of the Resistance, leaving Poe upset. The other major new figure in the Star Wars saga gets introduced in this issue: Rose Tico. She finds Flynn doing something unbecoming his reputation. The remainder of the book focuses on Luke and Rey, which were the better parts of the film. Whitta follows what was on the screen faithfully. This comic edition is worth reading for the additions to the story that Whitta creates… Overall grade: A

The art: …but the visuals by Michael Walsh continue to be a strong reason not to pick this up. Looking at the work done on the ships on the first page, it’s extremely difficult to approve of this book’s look, especially if one were to compare it to the monthly Star Wars titles: Star Wars, Darth Vader, and Doctor Aphra. The book is very sketchy, as if it were done in a rush. Kylo Ren’s close-ups give this assumption credence. Not helping is Leia’s introduction to the book on Page 3: lines don’t conenct on her face and she lacks details. Does she resemble Carrie Fisher? Somewhat. Look at the ships at the bottom of the same page. Ouch. The gutters also need be cleaned up: they show a lot of line work that’s gone beyond the panels, reinforcing that this was rushed. Luke doesn’t look any better, with his first page, 7, having him look possessed in the fifth panel. The hologram that Luke sees is also really sketchy. The fourth panel on 8 is an interesting way to show the passage of time, but I don’t know if most readers would catch it. The faces on 9 and 10 are very simple. And I have a question about the top of 10: Is Holdo’s eyes open? If so, where are the pupils? And if not, why would she be drawn with them shut? Yes, these things do stick out. Rose’s first two pages have her also very simplistically illustrated. Maz’s seven panels have her a mess with random lines on her face for age. There’s a sound on Page 16 that Walsh inserted and I can’t believe that sound was used. Since when do these weapons shoot projectiles? The art is killing this book for me. Overall grade: D-

The colors: Due to the opening fight sequence, colorist Mike Spicer gets to uses some varied bright colors that the opening installment of this series didn’t allow. I like the oranges and greens for the space scenes, with the explosions looking smart in orange and yellow. Leia’s thoughts get a light blue to show the reader that the text they are reading isn’t spoken. The coloring on the Mon Calamari also looks good. I appreciated that the dark settings in this issue weren’t obscured by the colors, with Spicer wisely darkening these environments, but allowing all aspects of the art to be seen. I was glad to see this done. However, on Ahch-To he follows the bland gray colors of this world. There’s not much he can do to brighten that environment up. Overall grade: C+

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, BB-8’s utterance, sounds, narration and transmissions (the same font), and yells are credited to VC’s Travis Lanham. There are several sounds in this book that don’t look as though Lanham did them, with Walsh seeming to be the source, such as on Page 16. The scene settings, dialogue, narration, transmissions, and BB’s line look similar to those in other Star Wars books. The sounds on Pages 4, 11, 13, and 16 are just awful. The ones on 4 don’t look anything like the sounds these vessels would omit, nor do the words for these sounds ring true. I’ve never been a fan of this dialogue or scene setting font, but this is the standard that all of SW comics have been using. This element of the book is not great. Overall grade: C-

The final line: This adaptation has some fun additions to the film, but the visuals hinder any joy in reading it. The colors are much improved this issue, but the sounds keep the letters from receiving a higher score. It’s hard to believe that this book is part of the same franchise of books that have such superior visuals. A really mixed bag. Only for hard core Star Wars fans. Overall grade: C-

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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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