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Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #1 Review

by Kaasen Koy on November 07, 2018

Destroyer Down #1 Cover

Writer: Scott Beatty

Artists: Derek Charm, Jon Sommariva, Sean Parsons & Matt Herms

Letterer: Tom B. Long

Publisher: IDW

 

 

IDW’s Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down #1 shows Rey’s life before the events of The Force Awakens, as a scavenger attempting to locate a legendary ship long lost to the sands of Jakku. The secondary story is a prequel detailing the history of the “Ghost Ship” that she seeks.

 

Destroyer Down #1 begins with an elegiac introduction told through captions from an unknown speaker, and draws us into life on the harsh deserts of Jakku. The planet’s fascinating history (which was a bit glossed-over in The Force Awakens) becomes as much of a star as Rey is here. Jakku isn’t really nowhere; it might have been once - but this is the planet where the Empire made its last stand. The wreckage of the battle that ended the Galactic Civil War should stand as a monument to the Rebellion and New Republic. Instead, it’s looted for parts.

 

The Force Awakens showed us the socioeconomic hardships presented to a scavenger on a derelict desert scrapheap, but Destroyer Down #1 reveals an everyday struggle with the harsh conditions of a desolate and unpredictable landscape. Rey isn’t just a street-smart desert rat, she’s a survivalist who comes from a place where the elements pose as much danger as the inhabitants.

 

A treasure hunting story at its core, the plot of this first issue has fairly low stakes, although they’ve been elevated (maybe unnecessarily) by death threats for reasons unclear (and from people she still works with and for during the later events of The Force Awakens). A casualty of a twelve page runtime, I have hopes that motivations will become clearer as the series continues.

 

Derek Charm’s art is as vivid and expressive as ever, and while his after-school cartoon style is dialed back compared to recent works like Tales from Vader’s Castle, it can still sometimes feel like a Cinestory Comic, losing some “comic book” quality in the process.

 

The Ghost Ship - the secondary story - is a prequel to the first, and takes place upon the titular ship whose wreckage Rey is seeking. This is the format all of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures should follow: a pair of stories where each informs the other instead of providing two short, disparate episodes. The secondary tale doesn’t offer much of its own content yet (besides some colorful action), but I’m excited to learn more about the ship’s past and future, side-by-side, in upcoming issues.

 

The secondary art is a little muted compared to Charm’s work in the first act, but it strikes a better balance of realism and cartoonish accessibility. Failing to match that style and vibrancy has created some discordance in recent IDW comics featuring Charm, but I’m happy to say that Destroyer Down and The Ghost Ship manage to work together to create a harmonious visual theme.

 

Each story had too small a page count to properly introduce itself and capture us, but neither end on a big cliffhanger or significant enough event to really establish their stories. And the stakes of the main storyline remain muddled and a little artificial. Despite this, the quality of the world building, writing, and artwork leaves me curious to see what else may be revealed by the shifting sands of Jakku.

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside