Star Wars: Tales from the Death Star | Review
Star Wars: Tales from the Death Star
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artists: Soo Lee, Vincenzo Riccardi, Fico Ossio, Ingo Romling and Juan Samu
Dark Horse Books; $24.99
It’s become a comic book tradition. If it’s nearing Halloween, then writer Cavan Scott will have a series of all-ages spooky Star Wars stories-within-a-story to tell, set at one of the scarier locales in the sprawling Star Wars universe.
Originally it was Vader’s Castle, where the first several series were set, back when IDW still held the Star Wars Adventures license. Last year, for Dark Horse’s first outing, it was the Rancor Pit in Jabba’s Palace. This time? The ruins of the Death Star, for Star Wars: Tales from the Death Star.
On Kef Bir, the ocean moon of Endor (seen in The Rise of Skywalker), the young human Fry is about to attempt a dangerous visit to the ruins of the second Death Star (the one from Return of the Jedi). He is interrupted by a mysterious figure in a black cloak and hood, who wants him to reconsider his trip: “The Death Star is a terrible place. It’s not for you,” the figure stays, “I could tell you so many stories about that place. Stories that would make you think again…maybe even save your life…”
And this is the framing story that gives structure to the rest of the book, as the mysterious figure tells scary stories about the Death Stars to Fry, each tale illustrated by a different artist, until the inevitable twist ending.
There’s a story of a pair of monsters, one familiar to fans of the movies and one unique, on the decks of the original Death Star. There’s a story about an old Life Day legend involving the Wild Squadron, a group of ghost ships that haunts the galaxy. There’s a story of an engineer who steals a Sith magic ring capable of raising the dead in order to secure a new, inexhaustible workforce. And there’s a story of the last moments of Grand Moff Tarkin aboard the original Death Star, just before it’s destroyed by Rebel fighters.
As ever, Scott proves adept at marrying the storytelling tricks of old horror comics with the Star Wars universe, telling scary stories that aren’t too scary, and he remains inventive in his use of Star Wars lore to serve his purposes.
The art is, as ever with anthologies, a mixed bag of styles, some of which will appeal to various readers more than others. My favorites were Vincenzo Riccardi’s more-colorful-than-usual for Star Wars work on “The Creature from the Trash Compactor” and Juan Samu’s cartoonier work on “We Shall Double Our Efforts,” but there’s no bad work in the book.
As with last year’s Tales from the Rancor Pit, this set-up seems like more of a one-off than the Vader’s Castle books, which makes me wonder where Scott will think to set next year’s. I suspect he’ll think of something, and that he’ll end up writing a winning, all-ages Star Wars comic. He always does.
Filed under: Reviews
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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