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‘Star Wars Adventures: Tales From Vader’s Castle #4’ (review)

Written by Cavan Scott
Illustrated by Derek Charm
and Charlie Kirchoff

Published by IDW Publishing

 

This fourth installment goes deep into the catacombs of the Star Wars franchise and draws its inspiration from the 1984 made for TV film Caravan of Courage: An Ewok Adventure. There are also some references from the Ewoks cartoon. Now, it’s easy to understand why these short furry creatures are persona non grata in certain corners of the fandom.

However, if Ewoks are your jam, prepare to learn a few things.

Unlike the previous issues, Rebel Commander Lina Graf’s crew would rather not hear a scary story meant to ease their fear.

They would rather deal with the horror of being inside of Darth Vader’s castle. The thing is, the crew doesn’t know whose house they are in, which makes their fright fun to relish.

The woklings of Bright Tree Village are missing. Chirpa and Logray (before they became Chief and Shaman) set out to rescue their young inhabitants and every monster on Endor is a suspect. Their investigation leads to a shocking discovery. Treachery is afoot, time is running out and the giant Gorax is hungry.

 Tales From Vader’s Castle has been hit or miss. Francesco Francavilla’s cover depicting entranced-looking murder Ewoks seemed promising.

Unfortunately, the narrative is dull and essentially gives away the big reveal beforehand. Also, Ewoks are popular as a whole as opposed to the sum of their parts. While any story can be great with the right creative flair, IDW is asking the book’s target demographic, young children, to care about characters who the franchise has barely used since Episode VI.

Charlie Kirchoff’s artwork checked all of the boxes but failed to provide any aesthetic engagement. The coloring didn’t help either, as muted grays mixed with smaller doses of brown and orange hues made it tough to tell the Ewoks apart in some panels. The Ewok’s facial expressions looked the same regardless if they were happy or running for their lives. These furry creatures didn’t have the most expressive faces in the movie so the frame of reference is not that good. However, changes in body language should have made up for the lack of facial expressions but did not deliver.

Plus, there was no Wicket.

I find that funny considering this series hasn’t produced the titular character.

Now, the most popular Ewok is not included in a story about EWOKS.

Darth Vader is up next in the series’ conclusion. As far as this issue is concerned, it was a miss where a hit was was needed to balance things out in the positive column.

Rating: C-

 

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