The comic adaptation of The Last Jedi #2 makes just the right changes to enhance the film experience.
This review includes plot points for The Last Jedi #2.
The Last Jedi #2
Writer: Gary Whitta | Artist: Michael Walsh | Colorist: Mike Spencer | Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham | Cover Artist: Kamome Shirahama | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Heather Antos | Star Wars Group Editors: Jordan D. White (with Mark Paniccia)
The Last Jedi #2 continues the adaptation of last December’s film and resumes the story beginning with the First Order’s attack on the Resistance fleet after emerging from hyperspace. This issue concludes with Luke’s first lesson for Rey. As with The Last Jedi #1, this review presumes that readers are familiar with the film and will concentrate on the alterations, deletions, and additions to the story from the movie. The Last Jedi #2 makes several small changes that have a larger impact on the overall story. Most of those changes concentrate on the First Order’s attack on the Resistance Fleet.
A Parental Bond
In The Last Jedi #1, Whitta wrote some of the internal thoughts of Luke Skywalker. Luke’s thoughts enhanced the reader’s understanding of his view of the Force and the Jedi. In this issue, it is primarily Leia’s role that receives this treatment. The first instance occurs during Kylo Ren’s attack on the Raddus. As his TIE Silencer closes on the bridge of the ship, Leia feels his presence. This isn’t new from the movie, but Whitta added a simple acknowledgment that Leia is specifically feeling Ben’s presence. All it took was a box with her thinking the word “Ben…” Also, Kylo has a similar moment when he detects his mother’s presence. In a beautiful panel, an image of Leia is overlaid that of Ben as he thinks “Mother…” There is a hesitation on Kylo/Ben’s part and a connection between the two.
The following panel shows him removing his thumb from the trigger of his ship’s torpedoes. These panels are powerful stuff made all the more powerful following the destruction Kylo unleashed on the Raddus in previous panels. If there is one improvement to suggest it would have been the addition of a panel showing Kylo putting his thumb over the trigger in the first place. Most readers will understand what happened, but some, especially those that didn’t see the film, might not.
A Hero’s Farewell
A common criticism of The Last Jedi was the un-ceremonial death of a hero from the Galactic Civil War. More specifically, Admiral Ackbar perished in Kylo’s attack with nary a word about his loss. The Last Jedi #2 takes a small step toward fixing that. After Kylo’s wingmen fire upon the bridge, an officer reports that torpedoes are inbound. Ackbar knows it is the end. However, he retains his composure and bravely bids a farewell to the crew with a simple, “It’s been an honor serving with you all.” Some viewers of the movie suggested Ackbar should have piloted the Raddus on its hyperspace assault of the Supremacy. Indeed, that would have been a fitting ending, but this is the next best thing without drastically altering the story.
One thing is for certain, one can’t kill Leia so easily. Another common criticism of The Last Jedi is Leia’s flight back to the Raddus after her ejection into deep space. Although The Last Jedi #2 keeps that scene, it enhances Leia’s response. Like the movie, Leia wakes moments after the attack and finds herself floating in the void of space. However, in this adaptation, Whitta enhances the scene with some inner dialogue. Leia recounts how Luke once told her how the future is always in motion and frequently difficult to see. Despite that, she looks within the Force for a glimpse of her future. It never seemed clearer. She asks if this is the end of a life spent fighting and resisting. She then provides her own answer, “Like hell.”
Leia’s response does so much for this scene. It removes any sense of desperation. Her inner dialogue adds just another needed ounce of agency and grit. The mention of the Force demonstrates she knows more about it than previously thought. Her flight becomes a definitive act of determination. This is perhaps the best addition to this entire adaptation.
How the Force Works
The following panels contain a few important changes as well. First, there is no sign that Leia dropped the tracker that allowed Rey to find the fleet. In the film, Poe picked it up in the hopes that he could take it away and save Rey from wandering back into a First Order trap. It is a brief, but important moment from the film. One can only assume later issues will address this.
However, Whitta included some extra dialogue between Finn and Poe. After Leia is carted away, Poe notes it was the “damndest thing [he] ever saw.” Finn mentions the Force, but Poe responds it isn’t how the Force works in an obvious nod to the famous exchange between Poe and Han Solo from The Force Awakens. It is also a nod to a similar exchange from Poe Dameron #27.
Concluding Thoughts on The Last Jedi #2
The remainder of The Last Jedi #2 has a few additions, alterations, and deletions. For instance, the porgs have a much smaller presence in this issue. Chewbacca’s scene featuring roasting porg is completely deleted. Considering the porg are mostly comedic relief, it’s omission is acceptable. Poe and Rose’s meeting is slightly abbreviated, with some of the humor removed, but the result is largely the same. Conversely, Poe’s appeal to Maz Kanata is altered in that it is told from Maz’s perspective instead of Poe, Rose, and Finn’s. Again, the overall result is the same as the film.
The Last Jedi #2 is a very successful adaptation. Like the The Last Jedi #1, the art style is something of a throwback to the adaptations of older Star Wars movies. It works very well in this issue though. Whitta’s decision in expanding Leia’s use of the Force is the highlight of this issue. It seemingly blends a little of Carrie Fisher’s own personality into Leia and truly makes her the fighter that Leia is known as. The rest of the changes successfully freshen up this adaptation of the movie and make it truly worth the reader’s while.
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.