The rebels are working on getting their new Hoth base up and running despite difficulties in Star Wars: Forces of Destiny: Leia.
Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny: Leia
Cover Price: $3.99
Collected in: Star Wars: Forces of Destiny
The Star Wars Forces of Destiny initiative celebrates the inspiring stories of iconic heroes from a galaxy far, far away….
Star Wars Adventures has joined the festivities with an exciting weekly series of comic books that explores all corners of the Star Wars universe, showing how choices both big and small ultimately shape the destinies of beloved characters, such as Princess Leia, Rey, Padme, Ahsoka, and Hera along with your soon-to-be favorites from The Last Jedi, Rose and Paige!
Fans will be excited to discover these stories told by talent from across Star Wars novels, comics and animation, including Delilah S. Dawson, Elsa Charretier, Beth Revis, Jody Houser, and Devin Grayson!
- Each issue has a variant cover by Elsa Charretier! Collect all five!
- Featuring your favorite classic Star Wars characters and a couple of brand new favorites!
- Ask your retailer about the animation cell variant covers!
- Variant cover by Annie Wu
The Forces of Destiny imprint started up last year as a series of short youtube videos, and has since expanded into several other forms of media. These are aimed primarily at a young girl audience and showcase some of the leading ladies of Star Wars in heroic roles. Generally speaking they’re pretty much fluff stories since the format is too short to do anything with nuance, but they are often fun little diversions. Despite being short and fairly inconsequential the format has picked up some steam, and the quality tends to be about as good as you can expect given the restrictions.
These tales work well to fill in small gaps in the story, and give our heroes a chance to shine without needlessly taking up space in bigger stories. It also gives some characters, like Leia and Hera, a chance to interact with each other in the margins of the movies. It helps to explain why characters like Hera — who had a huge role in the early days of the rebellion — aren’t in the original trilogy by giving them tasks that put them elsewhere. On the flipside it does contribute to that growing sense that Disney is shrinking the galaxy and having all the important characters interact with each other fairly frequently. It’s not as problematic with Leia since you could reasonably assume she would be very well traveled, but for someone like Jyn Erso it can be hard to find space to work her in. That is probably why she is not getting her own issue this time around (which disappoints me).
Before now the primary outlet for Forces of Destiny has been on Disney’s Youtube channel. A short novel has also come out, although it’s basically a written version of what you can see on the channel. Because of this the Forces of Destiny comic series, starting with this week’s Star Wars Adventures: Forces of Destiny: Leia, is actually the first time where a slightly longer stories can be told in this imprint. You can’t get much done in a two or three minute short, but in a comic book, where twenty-two page stories is the established norm, it’s just another writing project. We are still not talking about sweeping epics here, but for a one-off comic Forces of Destiny: Leia adds a bit more than you’d expect from the imprint.
It is appropriate that the original Star Wars heroine, Princess Leia, kicks off the start of this little project at IDW Publishing. This is the only issue in the series that she will headline, but as the most iconic of the Star Wars women it’s good to make sure she gets put out in front. Hopefully it will help draw some attention not just to the comics, but to the imprint as a whole. It’s been continuously putting out some solid material and deserves to be noticed. Leia is joined by her fellow force of destiny, Hera Syndulla, so it’s not strictly speaking a Leia solo story, but she is definitely the focus of it. Some guy named Han Solo is also kicking around in this issue, but he doesn’t do much of use except act as a foil for Leia.
The main plot of the book is that the power supply for the shield generators at the Hoth base has blown out, and Leia needs to get it fixed in case the Empire shows up to destroy them. There’s the usual unasked question of why exactly they’re sending out two key figures of the Rebel leadership (Leia and Hera) to do what should be a technician’s job. In theory this story would actually be better served by a character like Sabine Wren, but Lucasfilms is trying to keep the fate of the Star Wars: Rebels cast under wraps, with the exception of Hera since we already know she survives the series. So we’ll just accept this wouldn’t be Star Wars if our heroes weren’t capable of doing just about everything on their own, even if it doesn’t really make sense.
Ignoring that, however, we can get to the meat of the story, which is a fairly typical story about our hero finding her way towards being a leader. One of the strengths of the new canon has been showing Leia transition from princess of Alderaan to a leader of the rebellion, but even with that there are gaps. While she knew how to command prior to Rogue One, she was still primarily doing so under her father’s guiding hand. He died on Alderaan and she had to make the leap from a mid-level field commander to a commanding officer between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, and this issue deals with part of that. This is not her taking up the mantle of leadership as you might expect, but is rather about her reaffirming her choice to lead, and building confidence in her. It thus makes a little sense that her choice here is to lead by example and show her troops that she is willing to risk herself (even if it makes more sense to send better qualified people). This is contrasted nicely with her complete inability to ride her tauntaun safely, which results in some nice comedy moments.
As far as the actual story goes it is a fairly well handled affair of jumping between the quest to find replacement parts and the events that led to them needing the parts. Writers Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet do a good job of pulling this off, and work some fun moments into it along the way. There is nothing groundbreaking going on here, but it is a good example of how to execute a one-off story. They even manage to work in some good Han and Leia verbal jousting, although they do not seem quite as frustrated with each other as they do in Empire Strikes Back. Hera does not have much to do in this story, but she does get to play the experienced mentor role to Leia in a few scenes. Otherwise she is just here to remind people she exists, or to give a brief introduction to her before her own one-shot comes out later this month.
Thoughts on the Art
Elsa Charretier pulls double duty on Forces of Destiny: Leia by providing the linework in addition to the writing. I last saw her on the sadly-cancelled Unstoppable Wasp series, which was one of my favorite books of 2017. She appears to have added a bit more of a cartoonish bent to her characters than in the former series, but nothing over-the-top. She continues to have a strong sense of motion and action to her panels, which fits in with Star Wars well. Given that the target audience skews younger her clean linework makes for a good choice, and I sincerely hope that Marvel or IDW continue to let her work in this universe.
Sarah Stern joins Elsa as the colorist, and as you would expect she keeps things simple. There’s enough color variance to keep things distinct, but the color palette is kept to only a few simple sets. There is an odd choice made in here — I am not sure if it was by Elsa or Sarah — to make one of Hera’s lekku black rather than the usual green, and it can be distracting for fans of the character. No explanation is given, which suggests to me there was a miscommunication somewhere in the art department. Aside from that oddity, though, this is a good looking book. Like the story it does not do anything fancy, but it does what it set out to do, and it does it well.
Forces of Destiny: Leia is targeted at young readers, so it not going to be a must read story for the majority of Star Wars fans. Although the Forces of Destiny imprint is aimed at girls I see no reason why young boys would not also enjoy this story as well. And should an adult reader happen to read the book I think they will find it entertaining, too. Despite being for younger readers I thoroughly enjoyed this, and will keep it alongside all my Marvel Star Wars comics.
This is first and foremost a story about sticking with a path even if it is difficult, and getting up when you have been knocked down. It is a simple moral, and a staple of young reader stories, and there is nothing wrong with that. Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet are both at the top of their game here, and I would happily pick up a monthly Forces of Destiny book with either of them attached to it. There are four more books coming this month spotlighting different characters, and I have to say that Elsa, Pierrick and Sarah have set a high bar for them to try to match. Hopefully those upcoming books can reach it.