A couple weeks ago, we got the first of Marvel’s one-shot comic-book releases celebrating the 40th anniversary of Lucasfilm’s 1983 feature film Return of the Jedi (with Jabba’s Palace), and this week that initiative continued with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Ewoks.
But the Ewoks comic, unlike Jabba’s Palace, serves as an anthology, collecting three stories about the furry space teddy bears from the Forest Moon of Endor.
Return of the Jedi- Ewoks begins on that moon, where young members of the diminutive species gather around a campfire in their treetop village to hear stories about their own adventures. The first of these three stories, entitled “The Woklings’ Tale,” takes more of a cartoonish approach than the other two– which makes sense because it incorporates the green Duloks, the often-villainous Endorian species from the mid-1980s Ewoks cartoon series. Basically this is a tale about not prejudging others based on their race, as an wayward Ewok child befriends a Dulok youngling in a similar situation out in the wilderness. Then the second story, “Paploo’s Tale,” takes much more of a horror-style approach when an Ewok ventures out into the woods only to be confronted by a giant creature that should be familiar to anyone who’s seen concept-artist Ralph McQuarrie’s early drawings of Endor. The artwork in this middle chapter is especially eye-catching, rendered in dramatic black-and-white with just a few hints of red. But when the village elders stop Paploo from telling his bloody story, the third takes a decidedly less terrifying approach.
“Peekpa’s Tale” tells the origin story of the Ewok mechanic from author Daniel José Older’s 2018 novel Star Wars: Last Shot, as she collects a variety of leftover Imperial equipment to construct her own spaceship and eventually take flight. Taken together, this completely dialogue-free anthology comic is a testament to the power of storytelling, both in our own real world and in the Star Wars galaxy. Writer Alyssa Wong (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra) has done a wonderful job of conveying the Ewoks’ personalities and desires without the need for them to speak basic, and the artists and colorists she’s collaborated with here– namely Lee Garbett, Java Tartaglia, Paulina Ganucheau, Kyle Hotz, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Caspar Wijngaard– have expertly brought Wong’s writing to life on the page. I’m old enough to remember when Ewoks were one of the most hated things in the Star Wars mythos, but– like most examples of that– now that they’ve been largely accepted by the fanbase, it’s great to see them getting the spotlight in celebration of the movie in which they first appeared 40 years ago.
Star Wars: Return of the Jedi – Ewoks is available now wherever comic books are sold.