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Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader's Castle #3 Review

by Kaasen Koy on October 17, 2018

Writer: Cavan Scott

Artists: Derek Charm and Corin Howell

Colorists: Derek Charm and Valentina Pinto

Letterers: Robbie Robbins and Tom B. Long

Publisher: IDW

 

Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle #3 is the newest issue of IDW’s all-ages Halloween anthology series, this time featuring a young Han Solo and Chewbacca tangled in an evil witch’s snare.

 

The Tales from Vader’s Castle series feels like Star Wars meets Scooby-Doo (think fun and spooky, not shocking or scary); it’s a fun anthology for the Halloween season and younger kids are definitely the target audience here. Unfortunately, only the first issue of this series has truly been able to tell a quick, silly ghost story within the Star Wars universe as you know it without losing something in the process. Issue #2 went off the rails with some vampire-werewolf hybrid monsters that made Obi-Wan and Dooku feel like they were accidentally drawn into the wrong comic. Tales from Vader’s Castle #3 misses that mark too, but just barely… it's a touch more “Rapunzel” than “Dracula” and ends up feeling out of step with the other stories.

 

The entire series has suffered from a subplot used as an unnecessary framing device which leaves little more than a dozen pages for the main plot of each tale. This creates a consistent flaw across the first three issues: none of the stories have time to adequately introduce, install, and eliminate their monsters-of-the-week, so the solutions may come across as rushed (even to all but the very youngest of the comic’s target age group). Pages have often been claustrophobic messes that rush to tell a story that still feels underdeveloped in the end. Tales from Vader’s Castle #3 solves this problem by using almost exclusively three to four long panels per page, and it uses every one of them efficiently and effectively. This is by far the most polished issue yet, with great, cartoonishly expressive art from Howell and a fantastic green and purple theme to Pinto’s coloring that really drives that Scooby-Doo vibe home.

 

Han’s skeptic nature makes him one of the best characters to put into a tale of Star Wars haunting. While half the dialogue is quick, simple exposition to hurry along this fun-size Halloween story, the other half is fantastic characterization that gives Han a better voice than he’s had since Solo: A Star Wars Story hit theaters. He certainly feels more like the Han you know than he did in any of the original dialogue written for last week’s issue in the movie adaptation comics.

 

It may not quite have the “Halloween” feel you’re looking for, it may not quite have the “Star Wars” feel you’re looking for. But Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle #3 is a very well-realized, colorful venue for Han and Chewie to do what they do best - fall backwards into situations beyond their control and escape by the skin of their teeth. Does it have one too many shortcomings? Maybe. 

 

“Not if you round down, buddy.”

Our Score:

7/10

A Look Inside