By Ben Blacker, Ben Acker, and Mike Mayhew
It’s inevitable that when a new Star Wars movie comes out, there’ll be plenty of new promotional material in multiple mediums and The Storms of Crait falls very much into that category. This one-shot explores the history of the planet Crait and its previous, brief connection with the Rebellion back in the days of the Galactic Civil War before the Resistance sought refuge on the planet from the First Order in The Last Jedi.
The blood-red sand of Crait is one of the most eye-catching moments in The Last Jedi in terms of its fantastic visual style, and Mike Mayhew’s artwork is another visual treat from at least the landscape perspective. Feeling incredibly cinematic, his pencils and coloring really help immerse you in the Star Wars universe, bringing every detail of this planet to life in a crisp and clear way. Mayhew helps make it stand out as one of the more memorable planets that fans have seen despite the fact that it is relatively new. However, for as great as the landscape is, the characters suffer from a photo-realistic approach that lets the book down, feeling particularly jarring when it comes to Luke and Han who don’t look entirely like their movie counterparts.
That said, Leia was always spot on, in both the artwork and the characterisation, and was one of the better characters in the book. The space battle sequences towards the beginning of the book are excellent when the Rebels are on the run from the Empire (the book takes in that period between A New Hope and Empire Strikes Back) and it’s kind of disappointing that they’re kept to a minimum in this book, with most of its pages focusing on Crait; though, one should suppose that is to be expected. If Marvel want to put out an X-Wing centric book in the near future focused on a group of pilots led by someone like Wedge Antilles, Mike Mayhew should be their go-to artist to hire.
The main characters all get their time to shine here. Han and Leia spend much of the book with their back and forth bickering, and Luke is still dreaming of bigger things. Wedge gets a bigger role than expected, which is a good thing, as he gets one of the standout and best scenes in the entire issue when the team are pitted against Scar Squadron, even if his artwork can make him look almost unrecognisable at times. The dialogue is on-point for the most part too, which should be no surprise as Ben Acker and Ben Blacker both have experience in this universe and know their characters well.
Ultimately, The Storms of Crait is merely okay and doesn’t stand out as a must-read. Nothing of significance happens, because you know the Rebels don’t make Crait their permanent home, and there’s barely anything new here other than the location itself. If you’re not reading anything else this week then you should consider picking it up, but it isn’t something that you should go out of your way for as inconsistencies prevent this book from becoming great.