Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 Review

comic books:
Christian Bone

Reviewed by:
On April 5, 2017
Last modified:April 4, 2017


Marvel's Rogue One comic book adaptation gets off to a strong start as it embellishes the narrative with interesting new material and is brought to life with some gorgeous artwork.

Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 Review

Ever since Rogue One: A Star Wars Story came out last December, fans have been eager to hear about the earlier versions of the film, and the various scenes that ended up on the cutting room floor during the editing process. Well, thankfully, Marvel’s comic book adaptation of the movie is here to help fill in the blanks.

This first issue of six covers roughly the first twenty to twenty five minutes of the film, as it sees the players come together in their mission to stop the Empire’s new secret weapon, the Death Star. A lot of this is familiar material, then – for instance, Jyn’s meeting with Mon Mothma and the Alliance and Cassian Andor’s entrance at the Rings of Kafrene trading post – but the events are juggled around or altered enough to prevent it from feeling like a straight retelling of the movie. In particular, the film’s lengthy opening flashback to how Galen Erso was captured by the Empire is pared down to just two dynamic pages.

The big draw of the comic, though, are those extended and deleted scenes, and issue #1 features an interesting range of both those that are important to the plot and those that focus on the characters. Firstly, the comic lets us see Galen sending Bodhi off to find Saw Gerrera, something that was only relayed to us in the film. It’s a brief moment, but it fleshes the two characters out just that bit more.

Likewise, Jyn’s introduction in the comics comes not when the Alliance bust her out of jail but when she’s incarcerated in the Wobani penal colony in the first place. It’s a less explosive entrance, yes, but her fearless back-chatting to her stormtrooper guards displays a level of wit to the character that wasn’t always on show in the film. Oddly, though, the comic still doesn’t insert Jyn’s classic “I rebel” line from the trailers.

It’s fair to say, then, that Jody Houser does an all-round terrific job of rejigging the first act of the movie into a brisk, if busy, opening issue. The only criticism I really have is the rather perfunctory place the issue ends. Rather than a tantalizing cliffhanger, it closes with simply Chirrut staring up at the sky on Jedha. Anyone who’s seen the movie – which, let’s face it, is everyone reading this comic – knows that doom is about to befall the planet, but the lead-in to the next issue still could have used more punch.

It takes a talented artist to recreate something we’ve already seen in glorious high definition on the big screen and give it a new, exciting dimension in comic book form, but thankfully, Emilio Laiso and Oscar Bazaldua both manage it in their work on this issue. The duo must have had a ball re-imagining the various locations from the movie – there’s a change of setting every couple of pages this issue. Likewise, they excel at telling the story in ways that make the most of the new medium, such as a gorgeous page that intercuts Jyn’s present with the Alliance with her time being raised by Saw.

One area that the artwork of tie-in books like this one can fall down on is the depiction of the characters – if the artist tries to hard to capture the likeness of the actors and fails it’s distracting, but then if they don’t try at all, it’s even worse. Again, Laiso and Bazaldua do some stellar work here as they clearly have an uncanny knack for nailing actor’s faces. Jyn is the spit of Felicity Jones in every panel, Cassian looks exactly like Diego Luna and so on. Occasionally, the artists decide to take a bit of creative license and slightly alter the appearance of a supporting character, but when accuracy is important the pair can be trusted to deliver.

All in all, Marvel’s Rogue One Adaptation comes recommended for any fan of the recent Star Wars spinoff. It might be a familiar story, but it has enough new and extended content and striking artwork for it to be worth your while.

Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #1 Review

Marvel's Rogue One comic book adaptation gets off to a strong start as it embellishes the narrative with interesting new material and is brought to life with some gorgeous artwork.