Star Wars: Dark Legends (Book)
This week sees the release of Star Wars: Dark Legends, the follow-up to last year’s Myths & Fables book with a bit of a darker bent. Bringing together more engaging fables and impressive art, there’s a lot to love. Check out our full review!
Last year’s release of Star Wars: Myths & Fables was one of my favorite pieces of new Star Wars media. Ostensibly set up as a kids book, the combination of in-universe storytelling and impressive artwork had me hooked and eager for more. Thankfully, we’ve got more with Star Wars: Dark Legends.
Coming from the same writer/artist team (George Mann and Grant Griffin), Dark Legends takes a similar approach to the previous book. It’s a series of short-stories, more along the lines of fables or fairytales, that are set within the Star Wars universe. Rather than being a passive observer, these work as tales told in a manner those living within Star Wars would tell to their kids (e.g. imagine Leia telling little Ben Solo these stories at bedtime).
Dark Legends skews away from the legend/fairytale aspect of the previous book, instead exploring spookier stories designed to scare and thrill. From stories of monsters, chilling ghost tales, and dire warnings there’s a little bit for everyone in the series of short stories.
I won’t go into each short individually, but suffice it to say they all feel varied and distinct. While they incorporate a similar tone, they range multiple eras and characters (from Nightsisters, to Ancient Sith Lords, and even Vader) so no two stories feel the same. One does feature a connection to a legend in the last book, allowing it to expand on that mythology in a significant (and fun) way.
Similar to the first book, they’re all relatively short, making them easy to breeze through in short bursts. Like say, if you were inclined to enjoy them along with your kiddos as a genuine bedtime story. Conversely, the short length makes it super easy to read story after story until you’re suddenly out of pages to turn...Which happened to me.
I couldn’t put it down. Each story delivered on engaging characters and interesting ideas, that I had to see how it ended. Then, of course, I had to see what came next. Within just a couple paragraphs I found myself hooked and had to see how THAT ended. It was a constant cycle of great storytelling until I suddenly found myself at the end of the book.
It’s a testament to George Mann’s writing ability that not only is he able to craft memorable characters in a limited amount of space, but also infuse them all with deep lore and important themes. Even though they’re short and work well for younger audiences, the deeper themes and lore offer plenty for older readers/fans to chew on long after they’ve finished.
And that’s not to mention the incredible artwork sprinkled throughout the book! Grant Griffin once again brings the goods with gorgeous painted images to accompany the start of each tale. They’re just so damn pretty to look at. Combining aesthetics that manage to feel both out of this world and classical, I’d be more than willing to throw money at someone for full-sized posters of them. Sadly, this leads me to my only real complaint about the book: its size.
Myths and Fables featured a larger than normal book binding. This allowed the artwork plenty of room to shine and take in all the tiny details. For some reason, Dark Legends is drastically smaller in scale. It’s kind of mind boggling how significant the change in size is between these books. Not only does Dark Legends look wildly out of place on the bookshelf (it’s even smaller than traditional Disney Press releases), but it shrinks those gorgeous art pieces. They’re still gorgeous, but there’s no denying some of the finer details are more difficult to see and enjoy.
It seems like a piddly thing, but truly this is about the only gripe I have with this release. Between the great art and engaging stories, there’s absolutely no reason to skip out on this release.