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The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga

Who is Luke Skywalker? Across the galaxies many have heard his name, but few have met the legendary Jedi. There are those who call him a merciless war criminal—others say he’s not even a human, but a droid! Whether he is man or myth, those who claim they’ve encountered the elusive Luke Skywalker have an unforgettable adventure to share.

Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker pairs powerhouse Japanese manga creators with inspiring myths about the iconic Jedi Knight, adapted from the novel by best-selling author Ken Liu.

Writers: Ken Liu (Original story), Akira Fukaya (“The Starship Graveyard”), Takashi Kisaki (“The Starship Graveyard”), Haruichi (“I, Droid”), Subaru (“The Tale of Lugubrious Mote”), Akira Himekawa (“Big Inside”)
Pencillers: Akira Fukaya (“The Starship Graveyard”), Takashi Kisaki (“The Starship Graveyard”), Haruichi (“I, Droid”), Subaru (“The Tale of Lugubrious Mote”), Akira Himekawa (“Big Inside”)
Inkers: Akira Fukaya (“The Starship Graveyard”), Takashi Kisaki (“The Starship Graveyard”), Haruichi (“I, Droid”), Subaru (“The Tale of Lugubrious Mote”), Akira Himekawa (“Big Inside”)
Cover artist: Akira Himekawa
Editor: Fawn Lau
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication date: January 14, 2020
Pages: 212
ISBN: 9781974715848

“The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga” features the manga interpretation of four of the six stories found in Ken Liu’s prose novel. Those stories include “The Starship Graveyard”, “I Droid”, “The Tale of Lugubrious Mote”, and “Big Inside”. Unlike the prose version, each story is featured on it’s own, where the novel introduces each story through interludes featuring characters on board the starship Wayward Current on it’s journey to Canto Bight exchanging tales of the legendary Luke Skywalker.

“The Starship Graveyard” tells the story of a young aspiring Imperial gunner on a Star Destroyer. The young crewman is a true believer in the Empire and completely absorbed in the propaganda surrounding the Rebel Alliance and Luke Skywalker. The crewman sees his world literally crashing when his ship is attacked and destroyed by the Rebel’s unconventional tactics. He escapes and crash-lands on the planet Jakhu and meets a mysterious stranger. Believing he has been actually captured by the Rebels he feels he has no choice but follow his captor. He is astonished by his “captor’s” willingness to self-sacrifice and concludes that he is actually being rescued rather than captured by Luke Skywalker. Akira Fukaya and Takashi Kisaki illustrate the legend in a very distinctive manner. The art is a combination of rough yet smooth at the same time, which captures the harsh environment the characters find themselves in and expresses the glory as the events build to the crewman’s personal revelation at the story’s conclusion. The story was a very captivating opening for the book.

“I, Droid” illustrated by Haruichi continues the motif of these irregular tales of Luke Skywalker. The story is told from the point-of-view of a construction droid. The droid is shanghaied and reprogrammed into a violent overseer of droids mining “tear opals”. The droid attempts to quell a droid rebellion that has been inspired by another droid that he has been enslaved as a miner. The droid rabble-rouser turns out to be Luke Skywalker in disguise who has come to rescue his friend, R2-D2. The rebellion is a success and the enslaved droids are freed, including the reprogrammed overseer. Each of the stories in this book are distinct in artwork just as they are distinct from each narrator. Haruichi expresses the story with a unique approach to detail. There are no “fogged” backgrounds or characters in the frames which reflect the precise vision that one would expect from the viewpoint of a machine.

The third story “The Tale of Lugubrious Mote” illustrated by Subaru, I found to be challenging in the story itself. Subaru’s artwork is what I consider to be traditional to the magna form that I am familiar with (which is very little). Subaru captures the animated feel of…well…anime. The action is captured frame-by-frame and the reader feels like they are part of the action. What I found challenging is accepting a story told from the perspective of a female mole flea from the planet Kowak. The flea initially claims its home on the most famous of all Kowakian Monkey Lizards, Salacious Crumb, the pet of the infamous crime lord, Jabba the Hutt. The encounter between Luke Skywalker and the crime lord are retold from the perspective of the flea hich has a greater role influence on the outcome than what most would expect from a parasitic insect. I just couldn’t get behind this story’s theme. It could be the effect of middle-age but it just wasn’t enjoyable for me. I loved the art but sadly not the story.

The fourth story “Big Inside” illustrated by Akira Himekawa wraps up the book and is my favorite of the four. The story is told from the perspective of a biology student that has just completed a research project and about to depart from her assignment. She hitches a ride from who turns out to be Luke Skywalker. Their journey is waylaid as they are lured into an asteroid by mysterious lights. Inside the asteroid they find themselves lost in a strange inner world contained in the asteroid. This story is very focused on “The Force” and Luke’s journey to become a Jedi. I am a big fan of anything related to “The Force’ and the mysticism surrounding it. It comes as no surprise this would be a standout tale not only in storyline but the artwork as well. Himekawa’s art makes the reader feel they are accompanying the heroes on their enigmatic journey into the depths of the unknown and the enlightening discovery at the “end of the tunnel”. This story was a great wrap-up to the book.

I have heard of fans being dismissive of the book due the extravagant leaps the stories take. However, one has to remember they are “legends”. Legends are based on what may have been actual events but have been embellished over time that they reach the level of unbelievable. Legends often contain underlying lessons to be learned. Each character in the story walks away with a personal epiphany following their encounter with the legendary Luke Skywalker. With this in mind, I think the reader will do the same when they finish the book. This collection of stories is yet another thread in the tapestry of the Star Wars universe, making it feel even more real than fantasy. Make certain that you add it to your collection.

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Star Wars: The Legends of Luke Skywalker: The Manga
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 01/14/2020 (Publication Date) - VIZ Media LLC (Publisher)
Matt Shope
Matt Shope’s first time in a theater was for “The Empire Strikes Back” and has been infatuated with Star Wars ever since. He has seen each film at least 1,138 times and counting. His hunger for Star Wars is without limit and eagerly consumes it in all forms. Despite his wife’s vexation, he hopes to acquire a wardrobe of 365 different Star Wars T-Shirts someday.