Comic Review – Rey and Chewbacca Celebrate Life Day On Kashyyyk in “Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories” #4

Because the Star Wars Holiday Special aired in November of 1978, we real-world humans also celebrate the fictional Wookiee holiday of Life Day in the fall each year. That’s why it’s a little odd that Dark Horse Comics released a Life Day-focused comic book last week at the beginning of March.

Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #4, out last Wednesday, sees Rey bringing Chewbacca home to the Wookiee planet Kashyyyk for Life Day– much like Han Solo did with Chewie in the aforementioned Holiday Special– during the period set between the events of Star Wars Episodes VIII and IX.

The other really odd thing is that if Hyperspace Stories had been released monthly from Dark Horse after debuting last August, this issue would have hit comic shop shelves in November. Instead the title took a month off in October and then three months off from December through February, so I have to wonder what’s going on behind the scenes over there. Regardless, Hyperspace Stories #4 begins with Rey and Chewbacca arriving on Kashyyyk, though unbeknownst to them they are pursued by a newly introduced Twi’lek bounty hunter named Mwarr Ja’Randa. And here’s where things get even more hinky– writer Amanda Deibert has chosen to tell this story not only through the usual narrative of action and dialogue, but also through poetry inspired by– and directly referencing holiday works like How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Night Before Christmas. Now that’s all well and good in concept, and there’s a way to execute this concept that works for a Star Wars comic aimed at families and younger audiences, as this one is. But the only thing is that the writer doesn’t seem to have any sense of metre, or even know that poetry is supposed to have a rhythm to it outside of just having rhyming words at the ends of each line.

Now, I do not consider myself a poet myself, but I did grow up on the above-listed classics– not to mention other kid-targeted poetry like the beloved work of Shel Silverstein and the examples that pop up every so often in Bill Watterson’s Calvin and Hobbes. And even with my extremely limited knowledge of the subject, I could tell something was off by the very first lines. “Toward Kashyyyk, the Millennium Falcon did roam… To celebrate Life Day, Chewbacca brings his friend Rey to his childhood home.” These two lines don’t have anywhere near the same amount of syllables as each other, nor do they even attempt to approach the Anapestic Tetrameter (yes, I had to look that up) rhythm that Dr. Seuss and Clement Clarke Moore used in How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and The Night Before Christmas, respectively. To me, this seems like something that could have easily been achievable by lengthening or shortening each line to match those around them, and at the very least by making sure the cadence sounded right just by reading the lines aloud. I’m starting to feel like I’m harping on this, so I’m going to move on by saying that the story continues with the Wookiees and Rey evading, then eventually capturing the bounty hunter. Ultimately they all have a nice Life Day together, with Mwarr Ja’Randa even getting to carve the Roast Beast (yes, that term from The Grinch is used) with her blaster. It’s a fine, nice little story that would have worked for me as a warm holiday tale if (A) it had been released around the holidays as I’m theorizing it was intended to be and (B) the bizarrely formless poetry didn’t throw me for a loop as much as it did. Looking back over previous reviews, in my opinion Hyperspace Stories has only had a 50% success rate so far since its launch, which is not a great track record, especially considering the fairly consistent quality level of the other ongoing Star Wars comics. Hopefully Dark Horse and the creative talent onboard here are able to get things back on track soon, both schedule-wise and in regards to aesthetics.

Star Wars: Hyperspace Stories #4 is available now wherever comic books are sold.