Dark Horse Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories makes its debut with this first of a 12-issue series. Each issue will serve as a self-contained story as an anthology series; however, there will be a connection through all the issues culminating in an overarching narrative. The first issue is written by Amanda Deibert and illustrated by Lucas Marangon.
Based on the first story, the 13th secret story might be the ultimate payoff for readers looking for a little more depth. And, because this will be a monthly released series, readers will have to wait a year for the connecting tissue to be fully realized. So it is important to start strong, but Hyperspace Stories #1 does very little to make readers eager to spend 3.99 USD monthly.
**Mild spoilers for Hyperspace Stories #1**
Issue #1 takes place during the Clone Wars (my guess is before The Clone Wars film and introduction to Ahsoka Tano). It begins with Senator Padmé Amidala on a diplomatic mission to the planet Staggec with a handful of Senators that include Yarua (assuming he is from Kashyyyk since he is a Wookiee). Also tagging along on the mission is Yarua, his daughter Viveen who brings her favorite Wookiee doll.
Senator Yarua has promised to exchange something for Staggec’s alliance against the Separatists. However, the mission turns out to be a trap, and the group is taken hostage, but not before Yarua tells Viveen to flee. Unknown to the others and, aside from being ridiculously cute, Viveen is carrying the valuable item in her doll.
Meanwhile, back on Coruscant, the Jedi Order is informed of the trap, and Obi-Wan volunteers Anakin and himself for the mission, despite concerns from Yoda because he believes it will help Anakin learn restraint in diplomacy. Of course, Obi-Wan is not entirely aware how close Anakin and Padmé are, so Anakin is anything but restrained when they arrive. The two manage to find Viveenm, but Obi-Wan and the young Wookiee get captured by the Separatists, and it is ultimately up to Anakin to save the day.
The ending does leave some questions and makes clear that the item Yarua put in Viveen’s doll is central and part of the overarching story. But I question the decision to have another Clone Wars story revolving around Padmé on a diplomatic mission and having to be rescued by the Jedi (specifically, Anakin). So many episodes of The Clone Wars covered similar stories. They made better use of the complexities of that power dynamic than an all-ages comic might be capable of exploring.
Obi-Wan, Anakin, and Padmé have all been down this road before, and no revelation brought any insight to these established characters, so let us move on to the new characters.
Given the focus of the doll, the story should have been from Viveen’s POV. Unfortunately, outside The High Republic novels, writers have struggled with Wookiees and conversations with the Basic-speaking. So, there are more “Arrrrgghhs” and “Rrrooarrgghhs” instead of much-needed dialogue (external or internal) to bring these new characters to life. Viveen’s character revolves around what she holds versus who she is. The item is likely the through-line moving forward into other points in the Star Wars timeline, but since Wookiees have a long lifespan, she could also appear in future issues. Still, there is nothing for her character to do here except act as a catalyst for Hyperspace Stories # 2.
Even less impressionable is Senator Yarua, who gets captured early on and is barely in the issue. But he is also a character that could appear in multiple issues. Neither Yarua nor his daughter’s story feels contained to this single issue, but we do not get to know either well enough to want more.
We have so many new planets created with new Star Wars content consistently coming out that it is hard to gauge what will stick long-term. Staggec and its moon could also be a key location in this series, or we might never read that name again.
More likely to have a more significant impression in Star Wars canon is whatever the mystery item is and if it has something to do with hyperspace. Speaking of hyperspace, it was missing for most of this story and only made an appearance in the last few pages. When the title of your series is Hyperspace Stories, it feels like a missed opportunity to involve it more in the plot of your first story.
I want to reiterate that this is the first issue, so there are 11 more to expand this narrative. But the first issue might be the most important when releasing a new comic series. It establishes the tone and the stakes. Hyperspace Stories #1 falters in first impressions, but we all love a good redemption story, so I await the next one. I will do another review a third of the way through (Issues #1 – 4, then #5 – #8, and #9 – #12).
Until then, happy reading!