Advanced Review: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel from IDW Publishing

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IDW Publishing is doing a fantastic job with their Star Wars license, providing a young audience with unique stories and and more youthful take on a galaxy far, far away. Wednesday, you will have the opportunity to purchase a new version of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, when IDW releases their young audience take on the film in comic book format.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel by IDW Publishing

The book like most comic book adaptations of movies, faithfully follows the film with some of the less important scenes cut for length. My issue with all film adaptations is how quick things move from scene to scene. It doesn’t give the book time to pull you in. This book suffers from some of those same issues, but this is Star Wars so I can’t complain too much, especially when it is so beautiful to look at.

In my opinion the books strength comes in the form of its fantastic artwork. The character designs are faithful to the actors in the film, giving the art an almost caricature type feel. For instance in the image below you can look at General Rieekan and actually see actor Bruce Boa. The art takes Boa’s most prominent features (nose, brow) and exaggerates it to give it that caricature feel.

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel by IDW Publishing

The caricature look, hits well on most characters in the book, with a couple of misses. In fact I love it so much that I feel like the artwork alone will be enough to pull in reader in, but I understand that art is very subjective. Art alone is not enough to make this a successful book.

Writer Alessandro Ferrari takes the film and does a great job slicing and dicing the story up, into a tale fit for 80 pages of sequential art. Ferrari takes great care in keeping key character moments (such as Han and Leia’s emotional argument in the hallways of Echo Base) that are important to characters arcs for the entire trilogy.

One sacrifice that had to be made was the entire first meeting between Luke and Yoda. In the film, this was a humorous first look at the Jedi Master that was secretly testing Luke from the first moment they met. Yoda’s offbeat wackiness in the film, setup a nice surprise moment for Luke, that is totally missing from the book. While it wasn’t overly important for the purpose of this adaptation, it was one of my favorite memories from the film.

The book skips over this scene entirely and instead gives us Luke standing on his sinking X-Wing fighter turning to see Yoda, and then it is off to Jedi training for him. There are several instances like this throughout the graphic novel, but it is entirely understandable why sacrifices had to be made.

Ultimately, this book is about giving young readers a chance to read about Star Wars, or introduce them to a movie that holds a special place in many people’s hearts. It is easily digestible (took me about 15 minutes to read), so a younger reader should be able to get through it in about 30 minutes or so.

This would also be a great opportunity for parents to read to their kids. The story along with the images should captivate most kids and help their imaginations run wild with excitement.

While it had to sacrifice some scenes for sake of page count, this book is an awesome take on my favorite film in the sage Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Check out all the details below, and go pick up a copy for yourself and your kids this Wednesday at your local comic shop!

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back Graphic Novel:

  • Writer – Alessandro Ferrari
  • Art – Various
  • Cover – Eric Jones
  • Page Count – 80 pages
  • Cost – $9.99
  • ISBN: 978-1-68405-408-4
  • TPB

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