01/03/2010. Contributed by Neale Monks
pub: Titan Books. 76 page small softcover graphic novel. Price: £ 4.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84576-905-5).
check out website: www.titanbooks.com
'Star Wars: Adventures' is a new series of short, full colour graphic novels aimed at younger readers. The first in the series is 'Han Solo And The Hollow Moon of Khorya', a story about Han Solo and Chewbacca and set a few years before they joined the Rebellion.
The story is a relatively straightforward one about friendship and loyalty. Han Solo is forced by a gangster into stealing back a valuable droid from the Empire. To insure his co-operation, the gangster keeps Chewbacca behind and pairs Solo off with an old acquaintance, Billal Batross while Chewbacca finds himself as a gladiator fighting for his life.
As you'd expect given its target audience, the story isn't a complex one and works primarily by combining bloodless action scenes, tight dialogue and a little humour. But that doesn't meant the book is entirely devoid of depth.
In particular, the book reveals some of the Han Solo/Chewbacca back story and shows that initially, at least, their relationship was a bit strained. Chewbacca is with Solo because of a Wookiee 'life debt' and while the reason for that debt isn't stated, it's clear that Chewbacca doesn't entirely agree with the way Solo lives his life. While Solo may be brave and resourceful, it's Chewbacca who brings the morality and heroism to the partnership, something that's also hinted at quite strongly in first of the original 'Star Wars' movies.
The artwork is workmanlike rather than exceptional and tips more towards the cartoony than the photorealistic. The small, digest-size format used does place a limit on how complex artwork can be, so it's hard to be too critical of the artwork given that constraint. But that said, this isn't an heirloom-quality graphic novel that readers are going to enjoy as much for the art as the story.
The plot moves briskly, and apart from a visual gag involving Imperial rank badges, fits believably well into the overall 'Star Wars' universe. A couple of fun twists tie up the ends, ensuring an amusing and satisfying read. In short, a worthwhile book for readers of all ages.
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