Review: ‘Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Princess Leia’
Star Wars Forces of Destiny: Princess Leia
Writers: Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet
Artist: Elsa Charretier
IDW Publishing; $3.99
While the original Star Wars trilogy has always had many female fans, little girls who looked to the space opera for characters that looked like them had Leia and…that’s about it, unless you really wanted to play Mon Mothma, Aunt Beru or…one of Jabba’s dancers, maybe…? That is something that has gradually been addressed in later films and extensions of the brand, to the extent that the current trilogy and the first of the standalone spin-off films starred female protagonists.
To help maintain and accentuate the brand’s appeal to girls, there’s the Star Wars: Forces of Destiny initiative, which has thus far centered on a “micro-series” of online animated shorts, juvenile prose books, a toy line and other merchandising and, most relevant to our interests, comic books. IDW Productions, which publishes the all-ages Star Wars Adventures comic, has produced a suite of five one-shots, each starring one or more of the galaxy’s greatest female heroes, spanning the history from the Clone Wars to the Resistance’s battles with the First Order. Each features a female writer, as well as a female artist (which is important, because kids look up to the real people who make the adventures they love, not just the fictional heroes who go on those adventures).
The first of these specials naturally stars Leia, in a 20-page adventure from writer/artist Elsa Charretier, perhaps currently best known for her work on Marvel’s The Unstoppable Wasp, and Charretier’s writing partner, Pierrick Colinet, who appears to be the only male working on the books. (The pair previously created a Leia-focused short story for an issue of Star Wars Adventures.)
It is set on the ice planet Hoth, right before the start of Empire Strikes Back—like, literally right before the start of the film, as the probe droid from the opening scene of the movie appears on the last page of the story. Leia leads a small expedition in search of a lost ship, supplies from which are needed at their base.
Han Solo has a small supporting role, as does, somewhat surprisingly, Hera, from the Star Wars: Rebels TV show and the star of her own future one-shot. And, because the setting is a familiar one, Charretier is able to use familiar elements from the film, from the cast’s costumes to Hoth creatures like their tauntaun mounts and a monstrous wampa.
While that’s the basic plot, the story focuses on the pressure Leia feels as the leader that the whole rebel alliance looks to for guidance, and, more interestingly still, the way that one of her key character traits—her stubbornness—can be both a virtue and a vice at the same time.
It is a rather simple story, but a good one, and a nice overall character sketch.
Charretier’s artwork is, as always, clean and elegant, representational without being slavishly so, and she manages to make the characters—two of whom are of course based on rather famous real people—and the familiar costumes, sets, and overall milieu look like her own. Given the specifics of the setting, there are also a lot of particularly nice uses of whites, with the snow itself sometimes becoming a compelling visual subject.
There are four more specials that will follow over the course of the next four weeks. This Wednesday will bring Rey, the hero of the current film trilogy, by writer Jody Houser and artist Arianna Florean. That will be followed by the aforementioned Hera by Devin Grayson and Eva Wedermann; Ahsoka and Padme, starring the Clone Wars Jedi and Natalie Portman’s character from the prequel trilogy, by Beth Revis and Valentina Pinto; and, finally, Rose and Paige, starring Kelly Marie Tran’s new character from The Last Jedi and her briefly seen sister, by Delilah S. Dawson and Nicoletta Baldari.
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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