Dark Horse Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories continues its self-contained stories while building toward a larger story with Hyperspace Stories #2 written by Cecil Castellucci and illustrated by Megan Huang. The second issue is a vast improvement for the anthology story focusing on Luke and Leia. Huang’s landscape art, in particular, is stunning and makes this a worthy issue for fans of the Skywalker twins. This art style is not for everyone, but I get slightly irritated with the criticism as it is usually rooted in a lack of a likeness to their favorite characters.
A reminder that this comic line is for younger readers who are likely used to stylized animation and art from television and streaming shows.
**Mild spoilers for Hyperspace Stories #2**
Issue #2 brings us into the Reign of the Empire era between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. Some dialogue suggests that the Rebellion has not settled on Hoth as Luke and Leia find themselves on the icy, remote planet Banas. Because of its remote location and sparse population compared to the other planets in the system, the Rebellion wants to set up an outpost on Banas.
Luke immediately compares the town they land near to Tatooine (there are references to homeworlds throughout this issue) and is uneasy with how they stick out in the crowd of goat-like species. They look like humanoid fathiers (those creatures on Canto Bight in The Last Jedi).
Leia has hope that someone there will be sympathetic to their cause. However, Luke’s fears are realized when they find a fleet of Imperial ships, and one of the Banas natives points the two out to an Imperial officer.
The two hide in a store where Leia comes across a familiar Wookiee stuffed animal that reminds her of her childhood and growing up on Alderaan. But that doesn’t hold off the Imperials for long, and the store owner sends the two into the mountains to his cousin, who can help them…if they survive the trip.
The story is a standard Star Wars Adventure similar to the IDW series. Rebels stumble across Imperial activity on a remote planet, Imperials catch on and chase rebels, then lose them.
But the reappearing Wookiee doll does provide a sense of comfort to more than just one person in this issue. A mother with her child also wanders into the store looking to hide from the Imperials who want scan-docs. Leia pays the shop owner for silence and the doll and gives it to the child. So off goes the doll to show up in the next issue (which will take place during The Rise of the First Order). Curious, though, how that doll left the Wookiee child’s possession as she would still be alive during this time unless something tragic happened. The latter might be more likely if the secret item is still in that doll.
While the doll is not a character, it does bring out some character development. Leia instantly connects with the inanimate object as a reminder of her childhood when things were a little more stable. Bail Organa gave his daughter the doll, reminding her of a Wookiee who attended her father’s state dinner. We might find out that it is the same doll. There are ten more stories to go, so we could see one take place on Alderaan during Leia’s childhood, referencing the state dinner.
Luke is mostly a spectator of this issue, reacting to Leia’s actions and taking her lead which makes sense for the time this takes place. If it is closer to A New Hope, Luke probably lacks leadership confidence like Leia.
The shop owner, Halorum, takes Leia’s credits but promises to use the money to ensure the child (and the doll, by proxy) is safe. She insists that she doesn’t choose sides, but, as Commodore Kurtruk tells him, “not taking a side is taking a side.” In the end, Halorum does. She chooses to misdirect the Imperials and send Leia and Luke to the other side of the mountain to a launchpad where his cousin lives. Halorum also tells Leia she knows who she really is and, if they survive, get rid of the Empire. And she does this understanding there will be some consequences for misleading the Imperials. Her cousin, Moular, is more of a Rebellion sympathizer and gives them a ship to get off-world. Other than that, we learn very little of him.
The only other main character in this issue is Commodore Kurtruk. At least, that is what we are to assume, but she has the badge of a higher-ranking officer. She does not serve a purpose other than someone to chase the two Rebellion leaders off-world.
Like most new canon stories, we have another new planet with Banas with a similar climate to Hoth. The species native to the planet is still a mystery as they are not named. Also not identified are the minerals that have brought the Empire to Banas. Sometimes these resources and the technology the Empire mines them for show up in other canon materials. It is also possible that Banas, along with Staggec from Hyperspace Stories #1, will only play a role in this series. But we have a new planet, species, and potential resource. Not bad for a single issue.
And improvement overall from the first issue mainly due to the art, and I look forward to getting some more Poe and Finn adventures next month.
Until then, happy reading!