Published: September 29, 2021
Cover Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Separation Anxiety, Part Two
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Michael Avon Oeming
Colourist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer: Johanna Nattalie
Writer: David Scheidt
Artist: Stefano Simeone
Letterer: Johanna Nattalie
Mace Windu and his Lightning Squadron land on the planet Ridlay, which has gone mysteriously dark, expecting a Separatist attack. But what they find instead is a surprise to them all. Then, Zak and Tash Arranda sneak off to investigate a creepy cave, where they find a strange artifact—and a mysterious cult waiting for them!
Back for more Star Wars Adventures! This issue sees the conclusion to the incredibly dark and atmospheric Mace Windu tale, Separation Anxiety. This tale by fan favourite Michael Moreci really drew me in with the horror theme and the incredibly well drawn work by Michael Avon Oeming. I can’t wait to see where the duo takes this story. The second tale, Grave Digger sees Star Wars newcomer, David Scheidt, bring the main characters from the (now) Legends books, Galaxy of Fear. As someone who owns all of this series, I’m extremely excited to see these characters brought to new life and it says a lot about Scheidt and his fandom that he is doing so. He is joined by Stefano Simeone, who has done several variant covers for Star Wars Adventures but is his first foray into illustrating an entire tale. This sounds like a very promising issue, particularly with Halloween just around the corner…
The issue beings with us returning back to Ridlay. The previous part of this tale really impressed me, and this conclusion continues this incredible story. As soon as you see the art, done beautifully by Michael Avon Oeming, I couldn’t get past the feeling that this whole thing felt like an episode from Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars. Oeming is the one here who is really setting the style, the tone and the pace for this issue, and it feels like it could have been lifted straight from the television show. There is such an elegance to it, from the transitions between what is happening to the clones and the Jedi, to the fast movement of Windu with his lightsaber. It all flows wonderfully that you can’t help but let your mind fill in the blanks between panels, to visualise these as an incredibly atmospheric piece. I should also mention Chris O’Halloran, who does a fantastic job with the colour work and really helps Oeming’s work to shine. This is the sort of work I would expect to see in Batman, lots of shadows, and it really works well for this tale.
To the actual story itself, this is filled with lots and lots of action, yet Moreci is able to bring in some deeper meaning as well. As with everything Moreci does, it’s the voices that work so well here. You can hear the tone of the characters as they are battling and struggling, hear the voices from the Clone Wars. Moreci goes even further, using certain phrases to key into other characters. Dooku mentioning a ‘lack of imagination’, instantly brings to mind the Emperor in Return of the Jedi. It allows Moreci to demonstrate the influence that Palpatine is having on his new apprentice, how he is able to manipulate him, as he does everyone else. Moreci is confident in his skill as a writer and uses that skill perfectly.
There is a lot of straight up Star Wars here. The action, the loss, the desperation that prevails for the troopers. Yet for me, it is still Mace that really holds my interest. Dooku mentions that Mace has ‘no imagination’ and Mace seems offended by this. Moreci continues with this examination of the character until the final moment, when it almost feels like Mace proves Dooku’s point. It is quite a dark way to end the story but makes me love the story even more because of it. It is always too easy to portray the Jedi as the heroes and glance over the fact that the Jedi are blinded to the Sith because of their arrogance. Mace is no different, no matter how cool he is. Moreci walks the more difficult path, of showing Windu’s limitations. Although he can sense the force, that he can believe in something that doesn’t have physical form, he still can’ bring himself to believe in something paranormal. Moreci has surfaced a very interesting limitation to the character and its one that I hope can be further explored in the future.
The second tale, Grave Digger, brings Galaxy of Fear back to Star Wars in true Goosebumps style. Like Separation Anxiety, the art is the first thing that really struck me. Simeone does an incredible job of illustrating the story. The style is so graceful and really lends itself to this type of story. It is more gothic in feeling rather than animated. When the hooded figures showed up, I could feel a shiver coming down my spine. Simeone really understands the feel of the original books and really sets a fantastic tone.
The story itself is thoroughly enjoyable. Scheidt really rises to the challenge of bringing these classic characters back for a new generation. The eerie atmosphere, the quick pace, it’s all here. And the moral, well for younger readers, I think it’s an important one. The only thing that was really lacking was space. Although it was a very fast paced story, I can’t help but think that this was due to Scheidt having to work with such a small space. This story is over incredibly quickly, and I would have happily read a whole issue just of Grave Digger. How much these characters will appeal to a new, younger audience, particularly when the original books are so hard to find? I’m not sure, but I know for us fans who were around for those original releases, this is such a wonderful thing to read, and I want more, a lot more. I’m so pleased Scheidt has brought these characters back, but IDW, please let him do it again!
This is a different side to Star Wars, the horror side. This has been done incredibly well in the past, with IDW’s Vader’s Castle series and books like Death Troopers. I really appreciate that Adventures can have themed issue like this that fit in with the time of year. And what an issue. Moreci is a master of his craft, someone who really gets Star Wars, who can do the basics, like fighting and lightsaber battles, but also probe far more beyond the obvious. With the artwork of Oeming, that artwork, and you have a fantastically creepy tale. Bringing back old, obscure favourites for fans like me will always be a winner and Scheidt does his job too well, when all I want is far more than we were given. With a wonderfully gothic feel from Simeone, it’s a worthy tale of Adventures and very different to the first tale. As always, this is a series of quality and variety, something no fan should be without.
Star Wars Adventures (2020) is an ongoing series published by IDW. This issue was released on September 29, 2021, it retails at $3.99 and is available from your local comic book store and online retailers. In the UK, it is available to order from Forbidden Planet.