Writers: Simon Spurrier, Marc Guggenheim, Jon Adams
Artists: Caspar Wjingaard, Andrew Broccardo, Jon Adams
Color Artists: Lee Loughridge, Dono Sanchez-Almara, Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Cover Price: $4.99
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy
This Age of Rebellion Special from Marvel Star Wars is a one shot issue with three stories set within the timeline of the original Trilogy. The stories in question give us a rather unique blend of characters, with the three stories based around IG-88 (the bounty hunting droid), Yoda, and the duo of Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins. For the most popular era of the saga, it is bold that the selections have decided to go off the beaten path instead of simply giving us a story each for the obvious choices of Han, Luke and Leia.
The opening story is the IG-88 story and it hints at the fact that out of all the famous Bounty Hunters that we come across in the saga, perhaps we have focused a little too much on Boba Fett and Bossk and have underestimated this lethal droid. The IG-88 we get in this issue is deadly, almost on a par with James Cameron’s Terminator, retaining an ability to self-assemble and “heal” even when he looks completely at the end of his droid life. This tale outlines that in terms of his task he has reshaped himself “with the obsession of an artist’ with strong suggestions that this droid isn’t in this for the Imperial credits, but rather the perfection of the bounty hunting artistry. Brace yourself for a tale of betrayal, violence and deadly droid wizardry, along with perhaps the best art to accompany this trio of stories.
Next up is Yoda’s tale which is clever in a number of ways. Firstly, it shows how Yoda’s mindset on Dagobah was remarkably similar to Luke’s on Ahch-To in The Last Jedi. Defeated, despondent and shamed by his former hubris, both as an individual and as a member of the Jedi collective. Gradually as this short story continues though it is clear that he realizes some important lessons about trusting in the Force almost immediately before Luke’s arrival on his swampy residence. There is a little shade of retcon in this short tale, but it is done in a way to insert some foreshadowing into the wider saga (both Luke’s later journey and Rey’s levitation of the rocks at the end of The Last Jedi are paralleled here) that is quite nicely done. I was also – for some reason – quite surprised to find out that Yoda was a meat eater – I don’t know why this surprised me but there you go. Again with this story the art work is solid, but this art is rendered more in the Marvel Star Wars house style – somewhat reminiscent of Noto’s work on the recent Poe Dameron run.
The last tale is the wild card (or should that be Wild Karrde…) in the pack. A tale of Biggs and Porkins that I think I can safely say no original fan of Star Wars from back in the day ever envisaged. It begins as something of a morality tale with Porkins suffering from battle fatigue and a sense of guilt over those whom he has killed in the line of duty. That seems unlikely in comparison to the image I have built up of Porkins in my head over the years, but I accept that this is a personal assumption based on a handful of short appearances in A New Hope. The tale goes on to truly surreal heights however, and if you have ever wished as a fan to see Biggs Darklighter and Jek Porkins frolicking about in a colorful landscape with just their underwear on, then boy this is the tale for you. A very colorful final installment to this book with art rendered by the writer of the story Jon Adams.
All in all this is a mixed bag. What it gained in variety it lacked in cohesion, and for me I think it would be hard to recommend this book as essential reading. That said, two out of the three tales entertained me, and one made me laugh so if you do get your hands on a copy it is still worth a read. The tales are very much take it or leave it, light storytelling with some solid – if not stellar – artwork.