– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – The Storms of Crait #1 reads like an Annual issue of the mainline series, offering a fast-paced adventure that doesn’t linger too long on anything worthwhile beyond more action.
For those curious right from the start, beyond sharing the title of the new film and a planet, the connections between this issue and TLJ are tangential at best, as Storms of Crait adds details to the planet’s history, but it does nothing to set up anything in the film. Because of this, it makes sense not to have included this in the “Journey to The Last Jedi” initiative, while throwing The Last Jedi into this one-shot’s title feels guided by a desire to rope readers in. The “Journey to…” book Leia: Princess of Alderaan paints a better picture of the planet’s significance in galactic history and teasing its potential in the film. In fact, the biggest grievance I have against SoC is how it doesn’t acknowledge PoA‘s time on Crait, though it doesn’t contradict it in any way I could tell, but not even spending a single panel/moment where Leia gets wistful about the memory of her first arrival, which lead to her learning her parents were part of the Rebellion, is a terrible slight and huge missed opportunity.
Introduced in the issue is a new character named Trusk Berinato, someone Bail Organa took the chance in trusting years ago, and Leia decides to make a similar gambit with when he claims Crait is hospitable world for a Rebellion base (though from PoA Leia really should already know this). His time in the issue is swift and he doesn’t do anything interesting, as he plays right into what you’d expect a dubious character like him to do, with his most memorable moment being a cringe-worthy line about not being touched in a while. Potential hides somewhere with the character, maybe in his past with Bail, but you won’t get much more than just another villain out of him here.
I’m curious to know how Leia knew basically everything Trusk had planned for them, like selling them out to not only the Empire, but SCAR Squad specifically, and why she deemed it a necessary risk of Alliance personnel and supplies (including fuel, which Rebels and The Last Jedi have highlighted is a real concern) to even entertain Trusk. I get the potential for a new ally and base was worth the risk, but why not fill in her friends, given that she assigned Luke as head of the mission but left him in the dark anyways. That she wants to keep looking for the good in people, give them a chance like her father did, is noble and Leia-like, to be sure, but this whole exercise feels forced just to get our heroes to Crait.
Luke spends a lot of this issue whining about hauling around farming equipment instead of being in an exciting adventure, and while the whining is certainly classic Luke, it doesn’t quite gel with how he’s been in the current issues of Star Wars (though where this takes place in regards to that has not been answered, as far as I’m aware). He gets what he wants though when the Empire attacks, including SCAR Squad and its lightsaber wielding, non-Force using leader Sergeant Kreel; These two have history and you can feel it to some extent here. How their lightsaber battle pans out is a little unexpected: Luke explains farming to Kreel, who becomes so bored he is distracted long enough for the Crait worms to take him down (he doesn’t get bored, but hey, it’s not impossible form Luke’s conversation). Han might be the only one who feels on-point in this one-shot beyond Leia, and regardless of how you feel about Wedge Antilles’ portrayal here, his blood-rage rant did make me laugh.
The inclusion of SCAR Squad and their failure here only compounds their history of incompetence and hindered reputation, which issue #37 of the Star Wars series tried to fix but couldn’t. While they all looked pretty dead by the issue’s end, a single line of dialogue reveals they live to threaten our heroes another day, and I’d say them surviving Wedge’s rage is a miracle. Until SCAR squad has an actual victory over our main heroes, every time they enter a panel they’ll add zero tension to a comic for me, as I know they’ll bother everyone enough to cause trouble but never do any lasting damage. This is a shame, as they have great potential but it’s been wasted so far.
Writers Ben Acker & Ben Blacker keep the pace of the issue on high-octane, but there’s so much focus on the plot the characters take a backseat and the adventure is over before anything really interesting happens. On art duties is Mike Mayhew, who hasn’t been seen since Star Wars #20, and his return has more ups than it does downs. He has a very picturesque, almost film screenshot quality to every scene, as each panel looks like something a director would capture on camera. There are a few tracings evident here and there, nothing as wide-spread and noticeable as Salvador Larroca’s recent works, but it’s annoying when he so obviously can do without them. I really liked his usage of color, as even though things are primarily grey/white, when the red soil beneath Crait’s surface appears or Luke and Kreel battle with lightsabers, the colors are pronounced and brilliant. Clayton Cowles not only delivers his always solid work as letterer, he looks to be having a lot of fun with the sound effects.
Here are a few other things:
- Perhaps it was necessary for Luke to have been to Crait so he was able to assist during The Last Jedi‘s finale? (You’ll know what I mean if you’ve seen the film.)
- That Han and Leia near-kiss might be the closet we’ve seen them get to their first one.
The Last Jedi – Storms of Crait #1 provides readers a way to visit the titular planet while they wait for The Last Jedi home release.
+ Fun, quick adventure…
– …which doesn’t dig very deep
2017’s CANON 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)
The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Ashes of Jedha (#38-43) | Annual: #3
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
Darth Maul (miniseries)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Rogue One (comic adaptation)
Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Special (one-shot)
Check out all the Canon Comic Reviews here!