When it was first announced the younger marketed Star Wars Adventures comics from IDW would have a Forces of Destiny tie-in miniseries, a show itself great for the same audience the comic reached, it felt like a match made in Cloud City. Now that all five issues of the female-centric miniseries have released, all written by female creatives, I can honestly say it belongs among the clouds, despite a few minor missteps that won’t really matter to core readers of the event series.
Forces of Destiny is an animated series of micro short episodes focusing on the female characters of the Star Wars galaxy, from everyone like Rey, Ahsoka, Leia, to Padmé, and more. I found the first sixteen episodes to be good fun overall, even if the animation has some minor hiccups and episodes get a little cheesy, but was happy to see the women brought into focus and targeting the younger era of fans who could use great role models like the ones in the GFFA. Star Wars Adventures has told similar tales for young readers, covering a larger variety of characters, but this Forces of Destiny 5-issue miniseries brings the focus back on the female characters, specifically: Rey, Hera, Leia, Ahsoka, Padmé, and Rose & Paige Trico (from The Last Jedi). To bring their stories to life, IDW went the extra mile and decided to have an (nearly) all-female creative team for each issue, bringing in different writers and artists, so that these female tales were told by female voices, an excellent and welcomed move which lends even more heft behind and in front of the scenes for readers of all ages to admire. Let’s jump into each issue briefly before I discuss overall reactions to the miniseries.
#1 – LEIA (Writers: Elsa Charretier & Pierrick Colinet; Artist: Elsa Charretier; Colors: Sarah Stern): Writer and artist Elsa Charretier (with some help on writing by Pierrick Colinet) really grasps the characters of Leia, Han, and Hera (!) as they adventure through the snowy dunes of Hoth to retrieve a vital part to repair the energy shield for the base. The interplay between the three characters is great, almost like a prequel to their interactions in the FoD episode “An Imperial Feast” (found in this article), and her Leia is the best of the bunch. As artist, her style is sharp and simple, with complex emotions, and Sarah Stern’s colors help keep things from looking like a whiteout when dealing with the snowy Hoth. This was an excellent start, showcasing that this miniseries could grow beyond the show and still hit the same moral outcome.
#2 – REY (Writer: Jody Hauser; Artist: Arianna Florean; Colors: Adele Matera): It’s hard telling tales about Rey because her story has yet to unfold, and since The Force Awakens and The Last Jedi are only moments apart, there’s not a lot of room to fit stories. The FoD show fit all of her episodes into little pockets within TFA, and while Star Wars Adventures and Before the Awakening provided some new stories for her pre-TFA, her comic instead focused on retelling two of the episodes from the show: “BB-8 Bandits” and “Sands of Jakku.” Writer Jody Hauser, whose only comics so far have been adaptations ironically enough, not only brings these little tales to life, but she manages to add some connective tissue before, between, and after which adds depth the show isn’t able to touch on. The art is relatively close to the show’s animation style, making for a seamless experience when seeing the episodes on paper.
#3 – HERA (Writer: Devin Grayson; Artist: Eva Widermann; Colorist: Monica Kubina): This one is easily my favorite of the bunch, as seeing Hera recruit and start rebel cells, even in this more kid-friendly way, is something I wish Star Wars Rebels would’ve been able to spend some time on. She’s such an empathetic character, whip-smart, and calm under pressure, it’s awesome to see those attributes help others find the same chutzpah inside of them to start resisting. It’s all thanks to writer Devin Grayson, who manages to bring everything we love about Hera to life. The art from Eva Widermann and colors from Monica Kubina offer a great version of Hera for comic pages, and even though they bring to life what is basically an otter wearing human clothes, this might be my favorite art out of the whole miniseries.
#4 – AHSOKA and PADMÉ (Writer: Beth Revis; Artist/Colors: Valentina Pinto): While this is another issue which adapts an episode of the show (“The Imposter Inside“), it adds tons of context to the episode, setting up a personal conflict for Ahsoka to overcome and more of the dynamic between Padmé and Ahsoka. Ahsoka’s internal conflict comes from Bariss Offee’s critique of Ahsoka’s style after a sparring match, and while this is another friendship of Ahsoka’s that is nice to see more of, this conversation is pretty similar to the one these two had in an early episode of The Clone Wars. Unfortunately, Padmé is sidelined here, but her motherly/sister vibe with Ahsoka is always a pleasure to see. Valentina Pinto’s art is the closest this miniseries gets to the style of the FoD show, which was surprising but welcomed.
#5 – ROSE AND PAIGE (Writer: Delilah S. Dawson; Art/Colors: Nicoletta Baldari): Out of all the stories, this one felt a little too on the nose with its educational leanings, both from the writing and the Disney cartoon art. Despite that, I really enjoyed Delilah S. Dawson’s (who is still one of my favorite writers of the new canon) takes on Leia, as well as the sibling relationship between Rose and Paige, and just Rose in general. While the Disney cartoon-like art didn’t help this from feeling it was meant to be inspirational, I really dug how Nicoletta Baldari managed to ape the Disney look and make it fit for Star Wars, which until 6 years ago or so, might have been funny but now it’s all in the family.
Overall, the FoD miniseries retains the basic feeling of the show, expanding upon the simplicity of the episodes with a little more nuance, but not much more. These are made with a younger demographic in mind, and while older fans will still find things to enjoy, it might feel like it comes up short. But the messages each issue teaches, through the world of Star Wars, sounds like a great way to let younger fans into the GFFA a bit more while still being educational. It’s disappointing a few issues featured adaptations of the show, as the original stories shined much brighter in this miniseries. Hera got the most attention, but it’s unfortunate Padmé, in both her issue and the show, seemingly always has to be paired with Ahsoka. There was never instance that I didn’t enjoy any of the art, which is a huge plus, as some of Marvel’s recent works and crossovers suffered in this area, but IDW picked a great crop for these. That includes letterer Tom B. Long, whose work keep things simple to read and the effects fun to sound aloud. And a big thanks is due to Assistant Editor Peter Adrian Behravesh and Editors Bobby Curnow & Denton J. Tipton for allowing such an idea to percolate and come to life, marrying two like properties for excellent results.
Here are a few other things:
- Over on the official site’s blog, they interviewed the creatives behind each issue, so here are the links: Leia; Rey; Hera; Ashoka and Padmé; Rose and Paige.
- In my 2017’s comics year in review, I noticed that IDW was already on pace to beat Marvel in the numbers game for female creatives, where Marvel has been lacking despite being out for 3 solid years. After the Forces of Destiny miniseries, and issue #6 of the SW Adventures proper, they have: 15 females creatives to 18 males (writers, artists, editors). Marvel has 10 female creatives and just over 70 males after 3 years and IDW hasn’t even been around a full year, surpassing Marvel’s numbers rather easily. Whether this translates into better parity (of female to male characters) remains to be seen, as IDW, in it’s first 5 issues, had the same diversity and parity numbers as Marvel did for 2017.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny is a miniseries fans of the show and the comic will both enjoy, as it hits their target demographics right where it counts.
+ Great focus on the female characters
+ Original stories shined brighter
+ Creative teams all delivered
IDW’S STAR WARS ADVENTURES:
Vol. 1: Heroes of the Galaxy (#1-2)
CURRENT MARVEL COMIC REVIEWS:
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-12)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #3
One-Shots: The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait | The Last Jedi – DJ: Most Wanted