Star Wars Adventures Annual 2020 is a fantastic nostalgic treat featuring two very unlikely heroes. It also showcases how broad the canvas of Star Wars storytelling can be if creators are allowed to focus on the more peripheral characters in the Star Wars Universe.
The first story is written by the incredible Cavan Scott. Scott is as always and excellent creator and has a firm handle on the characters and conflicts that make a great Star Wars story. Here he focuses on the often forgotten character of Jaxxon, who is an ideal character for this more animated style of Star Wars story-telling. The story along with the excellent art by Francesco Gaston moves quickly and balances action and character well. Jaxxon Tumperakki is a Lepi Smuggler who over time has suffered fan ridicule. As sort of the original Jar Jar it’s easy to dismiss him.
This comic perfectly showcases how effective this character can be as long as the creators balance his more comical appearance with a solid story which truly immerses the reader. Jaxxon begins with a classic fight over a Sabaac game gone wrong. He is then attacked by a group of bounty hunters including Dengar the Demolisher. After making a quick escape Jaxxon runs into Luke, Chewie and Han who help him deduce that he’s being framed by his ex-girlfriend Amaiza Foxtrain and his cousin Reegar.
Jaxxon tracks them down and switches places with Reegar. This allows him to meet up with Amaiza in her hideout where he draws in the Empire and Dengar to keep her busy as he steals her transit chips for the alliance. He makes his escape by using his dozens of cousin look-allies to distract the Empire. Dengar in turn realized that Amaiza has an even larger bounty on her head allowing Jaxxon to complete his work with the rebellion.
The story is simple and the use of Jaxxon’s cousins way too convenient but using smaller characters from the Star Wars universe in this animated style allows for a lot of latitude. The story and art are playful but they still feel solidly rooted in the Star Wars mythos.
Cavan Scott is just so skilled as a writer that he can take what should be aggravating and silly and makes it into something sweet and enjoyable. You can almost imagine a series under this creative team using Jaxxon as a comic anti-hero character within the Star Wars universe. The depictions of Han and Luke are a bit too different than their classic looks but the overall effort is fantastic.
The second story showcases the writing and art talents of Nick Brokenshire who gives us a tale of the mystical meeting the mechanical. The art is much more detailed than what we usually see in Star Wars Adventure and this is a welcome change. Aiming to reach a broad audience should still allow for the use of more obscure characters and a broader range of artistic styles.
Here IG-88 searches for a Grand Engineer with a large bounty. This engineer turns out to be Lony Coleema who is meeting with Kallus as Fulkrum from Rebels and Dee Four from Timothy Zahn’s work. Coleema is able to transmit needed data by an emotive connection to Dee Four but once alone is attacked by IG-88.
She awakens in a Droid Foundry where the droid R0R0 leads her to a group of IG units and then activates her transponder. Coleema uses her connection with droids use these to attack IG-88. As she connects to IG-88 she reveals the powers of her group the Sight Voltaic. She channels the light of creation to ultimately make her escape where she is picked up by Fulcrum and Dee Four.
This second story is vastly different than what we normally see in the Star Wars universe. It is delightful in the way it mixes various Star Wars characters and concepts from many different places and eras, but a bit perplexing in that it sets up many elements with no clear idea of why. This story would mean more if there was some indication of what the mystical concepts it presents means to the larger Star Wars story. On its own, it simply feels too disparate to matter.
Writing: 4.0 of 5 stars
Art: 4.2 of 5 stars
Colors: 4.2 of 5 stars
Overall: 4.1 of 5 stars
Writing: Cavan Scott and Nick Brokenshire
Art: Francesco Gaston and Nick Brokenshire
Colors: Charlie Kirchhoff and Nick Brokenshire
Publisher: IDW Publishing