Jason Aaron’s Star Wars launched in January 2015 to record sales, and ever since then the series has been going from strength to strength. Set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, the books usually star Luke Skywalker; but right now, it’s going through a very different, very distinctive arc. Earlier in Aaron’s run, Luke found Old Ben Kenobi’s journal, and on trips through hyperspace he’s reading through it. Now, though, it seems Obi-Wan is telling a tale he heard himself – one from Yoda.
Now, let’s be clear; Aaron has committed himself to a very dangerous course here. He has to ensure that he doesn’t give Luke any hints as to what to expect from Yoda – otherwise he damages the continuity of his comic, since Luke got a real surprise when he crossed paths with the Jedi Master in The Empire Strikes Back. This is a high-risk proposition, and in truth, I’m afraid that I’m already not convinced that it’s going to pay off.
Leaving aside this risky decision, though, this latest Star Wars arc is proving to be an absolutely fascinating one. Aaron is a tremendous world-builder, and in this case he’s taken Yoda to a whole new world, one gripped by a mysterious power. All the adults seem to have disappeared, leaving only a race of warrior children. Given that Yoda’s interaction with the Younglings was one of the highlights of Attack of the Clones, it’s a smart decision, and I like the ‘mystery’ concept – plunging the Jedi Master into a riddle that will tax even his wits and wisdom.
Of course, this wouldn’t be Star Wars without the Force, and Aaron’s riddle is as much about the Force as it is about these children. He sets up a Light-versus-Dark dichotomy that is both eerily familiar and strange dissonant, and uses this to demonstrate Yoda’s wisdom; there’s a moment when you can’t help but smile, as Yoda uses all the classic Star Wars concepts, but translates them into the language of the children he’s dealing with.
As always, Salvador Larroca’s art is tremendous; he’s clearly having a blast here, developing this sparse and arid world. Aaron has given him a real challenge, as not all comic book artists have proved able to render children particularly well – and this book is chock-full of them. But Larroca pulls it off, and – while the children all have a deliberately malnourished frame – he truly makes each child stand out as an individual. It’s not perfect; there are a few panels that don’t quite work, but in general it’s effective.
Where Larroca is clearly enjoying himself, though, is in the chance to draw Yoda. His Yoda is perfectly on-model, a diminutive figure who you could so easily underestimate – but whose use of the Force is absolutely awe-inspiring. There’s one beautiful panel as Yoda lifts boulders around his head; everything about the panel is on-point, while the scene demonstrates Yoda’s power so effectively.
Ultimately, Star Wars #27 is a tremendously enjoyable book – but, as much as I’m enjoying it, I can’t help the niggling fear that Aaron’s script doesn’t sit well with the continuity. The (equally canon) novel Heir to the Jedi featured Luke realizing the Force can be used for levitation, while Star Wars #27 shows Luke learning that from the journal. What’s more, I’m not really won over by the idea of Luke having prior knowledge of Yoda before The Empire Strikes Back, either. Although the story is a brilliant one, I’m not sure about the central conceit, and that does undermine the book’s effectiveness.
Jason Aaron takes the chance to once again demonstrate his tremendous world-building skills, and Salvador Larroca is perfectly on-point as an artist. Unfortunately, the book's core conceit - Obi-Wan Kenobi's journal - is increasingly at risk of creating major continuity problems.