Claudia Gray : Original Story
Yusaku Komiyama : Art and Adaptation
In this new era of Star Wars there are few things that fans can universally agree on. The novel Lost Stars by Claudia Gray however isn’t one of them. The book is beloved by fans old and new. Lost Stars is a retelling of events from the original trilogy through to the Battle of Jakku, the last epic battle between the Empire and the Rebellion.
The Manga Touch
There are going to be three volumes in total to adapt the novel and this review is for the second. The adaption is in traditional manga format which means it’s in black and white and read in a right to left format. If you haven’t read manga before there may be some facial expressions you encounter here for the first time as well as some creative use of word balloons that are different from traditional comics. It’s also a little tricky reading in the opposite direction, but after a few chapters you fall easily into a rhythm.
Love and Rebellion
In this second volume we see the continuing stories of Thane and Ciena. As Thane becomes disillusioned with the Empire’s actions, Ciena is rising through the Imperial ranks. Ciena is consistently being handed important missions, like rescuing a certain Sith Lord who has been adrift in space since the destruction of the Death Star.
Thane however is having an entirely different experience in the Empire. He sees the cracks in the system and the brutalities committed on alien worlds. Thane goes AWOL, but because he is so highly valued, Ciena gets a chance to bring him back. It doesn’t go as expected and Thane’s path leads him to the Rebellion.
What I love most about this series is getting to see Ciena rendered on the pages. The artist does a tremendous job of illustrating Ciena. It fills my heart so much to see her come alive from the pages of Claudia Gray’s novel. The skin tones and hair really matched the descriptions in the novel. Manga artists excel at using various tone pallets and we see the results of this in Ciena and other characters of color.
My one complaint is that the adaptation fails to highlight how important giving of one’s word is in Ciena’s culture. Ciena and her people’s oath to the Empire is the foundation of her struggles between her love for Thane and her duty to serve.
In the manga she comes across as misguided and possibly unwilling to see the truth about the Empire, but it is very much tied to her cultural beliefs. Thane’s culture is different. His family supported his entrance in the Imperial academy because it gave their family a bit of prestige. Thane just wanted to fly. Because he had less pressure on himself he is able to make more changes. Still a wonderful adaptation overall, and I look forward to the third volume in the series.