The tradition of comic adaptation of the Star Wars movies continues as Dennis reviews The Last Jedi #1.
This review includes plot points for The Last Jedi #1.
The Last Jedi #1
Writer: Gary Whitta | Artist: Michael Walsh | Colorist: Mike Spencer | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo | Assistant Editors: Tom Groneman & Emily Newcomen| Editor: Heather Antos | Star Wars Group Editors: Jordan D. White (with Mark Paniccia)
Like The Force Awakens and Rogue One, The Last Jedi received a comic adaptation by Marvel. The adaptation largely captures the events of the film with a few additional scenes. The key events include the First Order’s attack on D’Qar, Leia demoting Poe for disobeying orders, Rey’s attempt to recruit Luke Skywalker on Ahch-To, and Kylo Ren’s arrival in Snoke’s throne room. The issue concludes with the First Order tracking the Resistance Fleet through hyperspace. What may come as a surprise for some readers is the art decisions made in this adaptation. In total, Gary Whitta wrote and Michael Walsh illustrated an interesting take on last December’s entry into the Star Wars saga. The Last Jedi #1 continues an uneven legacy of comic adaptations of the Star Wars franchise films.
Narrative Changes – The Additions
Gary Whitta is no stranger in writing Star Wars. He is most famous for writing the script to Rogue One. He also developed his Star Wars writing chops by penning the scripts for a few episodes of Rebels (“The Antilles Extraction,” “The Wynkahthu Job,” “Warhead,” and “In the Name of the Rebellion”). Whitta also has prior experience writing comics such Death, Jr. Therefore, he brings plenty of experience in both Star Wars and comics to this assignment.
Like Jason Fry’s novel adaptation, Whitta elected to include additional and alternate material in this adaptation. There are alternative lines in a few places in the comic. For the most, none of them change the story in any meaningful way. However, The Last Jedi #1 begins with a few additional scenes. The issue opens by breaking the tradition of the movies focusing on a starship. Instead, the panels close in on Ahch-To as Luke contemplates his uneven experience in learning how to shut out the Force. Occasionally, the Force demands his attention, and now is one such moment. Someone has found him. Readers familiar with the film immediately know this is Rey. The next additional scene focuses on the bridge of the Raddus as Leia and Poe supervise the evacuation of the Resistance Base on D’Qar as the First Order fleet arrives. Luke’s response to the news of Han’s death is also included later in this issue.
Narrative Changes – The Deletions
Whitta also chose to delete a few things. One must suspect that many of these changes were for flow and space. The first notable change is the absence of Poe Dameron’s attempt to stall for time by contacting General Hux. This scene isn’t particularly missed in the adaptation. Instead, The Last Jedi #1 devotes that time to the strategy session between Leia and Poe. The inclusion of that scene here might have replicated the laughs from the film, but it wasn’t strictly necessary, and it risked stalling the plot for a scene that might have worked better on the silver screen than on the page.
Another notable deletion is the absence of Rey following Luke on his daily chores. Again, while it might have been insightful as to Luke’s largely Force-free existence on Ahch-To, it wasn’t crucial to the story. Furthermore, Luke’s inner turmoil and opinions are adequately portrayed by Whitta’s decision to share Luke’s thoughts. In fact, Luke is the only character whose thoughts are shared with the reader. It is an interesting and effective development. First, it helps convey the depth of his depression. Also, Luke opens this issue alone. His inner thoughts were crucial to understanding what exactly he was doing on Ahch-To.
The Artistic Style of The Last Jedi #1
Where some readers might have an issue with this adaptation is the art style. Michael Walsh provides the art. This isn’t his first contribution to Marvel’s Star Wars titles as he has provided variant covers to some prior Star Wars books and he was the artist on Star Wars Annual #3. Walsh’s art certainly isn’t bad, but it is different from what many readers of Marvel’s other Star Wars titles have come to expect. Angel Unzueata’s style in Poe Dameron, Salvador Larroca’s style in Star Wars, and Giuseppe Camuncoli’s art in Darth Vader all provide either a more cinematic take or one that is akin to what audiences might expect from an episode of Rebels or The Clone Wars.
Walsh’s art, on the contrary, is much more similar to the art in the classic Marvel series. In some ways, the art is a throw back to those early comics from the late 70s and early 80s. Simpler isn’t a fair term, but it certainly has a retro look to it, and the color palette is a little more muted in comparison to many of the other Star Wars titles. Some panels look similar to a style often seen in the Sunday comics of the local newspaper.
Final Thoughts on The Last Jedi #1
The Last Jedi #1 is certainly well written, and Gary Whitta made several interesting choices when putting this story together. Overall, the story successfully weaves new elements in while omitting other details from the film to provide readers with a fresh take on Rian Johnson’s film. The art provides a retro callback to the adaptations of the films of the original trilogy, but it might leave some readers wanting for something a little more like the art present in Marvel’s other Star Wars titles. In all, this is a fun, new way to explore The Last Jedi.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.