As a Star Wars fan, one thing I love about the franchise is that there is always more media to find and take in. That’s doubly true if you’re willing to wade into media meant for kids, which I am, because kids media can be super charming and I love it. That’s how I found Star Wars Adventures: similar to the Marvel Action series, it’s IDW publishing an ongoing series of a Marvel property that’s targeted at younger readers. It has been ongoing since 2017 and has tied in with Forces of Destiny, a web cartoon also aimed at a younger audience that focuses on powerful women Star Wars heroes. The format for the comic is similar—each issue features one standalone story that highlights a main character and one shorter story about a side character or more obscure fan favorite.
Star Wars Adventures #30
David M. Buisan (artist), Arianna Florean (artist), Charlie Kirchoff (colorist), Michael Moreci (writer), Cavan Scott (writer), Valentina Taddeo (colorist), Jake M. Wood (letterer)
January 29, 2020
In fact, this format is exactly what sucked me into Star Wars Adventures, because #30 focuses on my favorite character dynamic in the new trilogy: that of Supreme Leader Kylo Ren and his ambitious subordinate General Hux. This was extremely on my radar because of the seedy neighborhood of the Star Wars fandom in which I live—Kylux. Kylux, if you’re lucky enough not to live in hell like I do, is the ship name for the disaster of a romantic pairing that Kylo Ren and General Hux would be. It’s a trash ship and I belong in the trash can for loving it, but I love it all the same.
And it’s not just me who has a soft spot for the “enemies to lovers” dynamic: the Kylux fandom is a large, tight-knit community and the ship is actually popular enough that I would find it hard to believe that authors choosing to write about these two characters aren’t at least aware of it. (Author Delilah S. Dawson even commented on Twitter that the reason Ren and Hux don’t make out in the Phasma novel is only because of editorial oversight.) Somehow, Star Wars Adventures #30 manages to cater to at least a half dozen of the major Kylux tropes, while simultaneously still being clearly for kids, which are two things I absolutely would have guessed were mutually exclusive.
Here’s the plot of the story: Hux gets a piece of intel suggesting the Resistance may have their base on Vendaxa, a remote jungle planet, but Ren insists on taking care of it himself rather than sending a squadron. Hux insists on accompanying him and Ren reluctantly agrees. Then they wander around a jungle planet together for a while and get attacked by jungle monsters while bickering ceaselessly about trust and loyalty. Let me tell you, I have definitely read this fanfic. But because it’s a story for children, they inevitably end up working together and learning a lesson about the value of teamwork.
Doing a story about trust and loyalty featuring the two most contemptible villains of the modern Star Wars era is already funny. Doing it a month after the release of The Rise of Skywalker is a particularly hilarious power move given the events of that movie. I loved listening to Hux blather about his lifelong loyalty to the First Order and how it should be reciprocated, knowing that he would soon betray the entire organization just to be a thorn in Ren’s side. There’s something profound about it too, though. Ren doesn’t think he owes loyalty to his “inferiors” and obviously there are consequences to that mindset.
I thought it was a great comic. It was straightforward enough to be great for kids, while still being appealing to the fandom at large, which is a hard balance to hit. The art is extremely cute—the cartoony style really works and makes the characters super-expressive, which gives them a lot of nuance beyond just the dialogue. Vendaxa is a great backdrop for it and the jungle setting lets the colors really pop too. The action in the fight scene with the monster reads well. And honestly, damn, it feels great to be pandered to. I could watch Ren and Hux argue all day. They literally can’t stop arguing even when their lives actually depend on it. Hux pulls a gun on Ren at one point. (I told you I’ve read this fanfic.) What more could I ask for?
I wasn’t quite as fond of the side story, Tales from Wild Space, which features a character who was created for this series named Emil Graf, a young adventurer who is involved in some sort of caper that involves running from the First Order and locating a legendary lost library. The art is also super cute, and it definitely seems charming enough for a middle-grade audience, but I’m not sure I agree with the choice of running a continuous side comic in a series where the main comic is a standalone story. It’s a format that encourages you to pick up issues that focus on characters you’re fond of without needing to read the whole series, which is exactly what I did. But then I had no idea what was going on in Tales from Wild Space or even who the characters were, so it was kind of meaningless to me! That said, it did also feature library droids that threaten you with a million guns if you’re not quiet in the library, which is great kid-lit stuff.
I’m really glad Star Wars Adventures exists, and not just because they made my Kylux dreams come true with this issue. Kids love Star Wars and they deserve to have good Star Wars media too. It makes me happy to know there’s an ongoing that’s cute, entertaining and thought-provoking targeted at the younger generation of Star Wars fans.