It’s a big, big day for Star Wars fans today. Not only did we get two all-new episodes of Star Wars television series (The Mandalorian and The Bad Batch, both on Disney+), but there were also six– count ‘em, six– total new Star Wars comics put out into shops.
I think the first one I want to get to today, since it coincides with the season three premiere of the live-action series of the same name, is Star Wars: The Mandalorian #8, which adapts the first season finale, entitled “Redemption.”
This was the Taika Waititi-directed episode that began with two wise-cracking Imperial scout troopers beating up poor Baby Yoda (still a number of months before we knew him as Grogu), and then that no-nonsense former assassin droid IG-11 swooping in to the rescue. Meanwhile, our heroes Din Djarin, Cara Dune, and Greef Karga are trapped in Nevarro City’s cantina as Moff Gideon and his battalion of troopers wait patiently outside for them to surrender. In the comic version, writer Rodney Barnes does a good job of compressing things slightly without sacrificing too many of my favorite moments from the episode, such as Grogu pushing back against a flametrooper’s barrage and IG-11 convincing Djarin it’s okay for him to remove his helmet in front of him without breaking the Mandalorian code, as he’s not technically a living thing. The pacing is pretty consistent throughout, though there are a couple of transitions between action scenes and smaller, quieter character moments that felt a little forced in this format.
But what I mostly want to talk about in this review is how much I’ve truly enjoyed revisiting season one of The Mandalorian via this eight-month comic adaptation, even as I rewatched the Disney+ version to prepare for season three over the past couple of weeks. The sequential-art form puts a different spin on these characters and situations, to the point where I read certain interactions a bit differently than they came across in the show. The art by Georges Jeanty and his talented inkers and colorist also helped give this take on The Mandalorian a decidedly different feel– I loved the mood, atmosphere, tone, and the almost-but-not-quite true-to-life character likenesses on display in these pages. I do get the feeling that Barnes would have like more panels to work with in adapting certain episodes, or maybe fewer for a couple of them, but by and large I think the spirit of the series carried over in translation, and I bet there are young kids or teens out there who will discover The Mandalorian for the first time through this medium. That’s why I’m super psyched that Marvel Comics has already announced an adaptation of season two from the same creative team. I believe that will be hitting comic-shop shelves sometime later this year, and we’ve certainly got plenty of new Star Wars content– including seven more episodes of The Mandalorian mothership coming our way to tide us over until then.
Star Wars: The Mandalorian #8 is available now wherever comics are sold. The Mandalorian season 3 premiere is now streaming exclusively via Disney+.