STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE – CASSIAN & K-2SO ANNUAL #1
Writer: Duane Swierczynski
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colorist: Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 8/9/17
What’s a rebel without his droid? Star Wars: Rogue One – Cassian & K-2SO Annual #1 gives you the “meet-cute” of how the two characters came to team up.
Plot: Captain Cassian Andor teams up with two Rebel agents to retrieve Imperial intel. Things don’t go as planned when they arrive at a planet teeming with Imperial forces. The only thing that can help them – and also hurt them – is captured Imperial droid K-2SO.
Story: As a fan of the Rogue One film I was thrilled to learn about this issue, and Duane Swierczynski does not disappoint in giving readers more of the on-screen banter we laughed at in theatres. Even before his memory wipe, K-2’s deadpan delivery echoes that of the film character.
More than that, Swierczynski offers an interesting premise – that K-2 was never really meant to be a part of the resistance they only wanted his intel.
The transition from straightforward Rebel mission to that old familiar relationship between the two is a little odd. We see Cassian treat K-2 as just a machine for him to manipulate, which is almost uncomfortable since we already see him a part of the team and a friend. It raises a lot of questions about droids in the Star Wars universe.
There’s also a huge disconnect between the two halves because we go from very little dialogue in the first half to so much in the second half crammed into every panel that I felt fatigued reading it all. My other gripe would be that Kertas and Rismor don’t clearly have a role in the story until the end and even then could have been probably left out. It’s better to have fewer characters than underdeveloped ones laying around.
Art: Fernando Blanco does an incredible job making Wecacoe look like a planet that’s been waiting in the Star Wars universe for us to explore for forever. You could easily place this setting in any of the films without missing a beat. The same can be said for his designs of Kertas and Rismor who are just strange enough to be a different species but look right at home in the Star Wars Universe. One of the things I admire frequently in the Star Wars line is the attention to detail given to crowd scenes and this book is no different.
It’s always a challenge taking characters originated in film and translating them into comics. Blanco captures the aesthetic of Diego Luna’s Cassian, but the expressions seem off compared to what fans of the film might expect. They are a little too exaggerated for a character who usually keeps his cool.
The coloring complements the art in a very strong pairing. Much credit should also go to colorist Marcelo Maiolo who switches between an orange/brown palette for exterior shots and a blue/gray palette for the dark interiors. In another context, these palettes might seem drab, but they add to the warmth and realism of the setting. Of course, a planet like Wecacoe would be a desert planet, teeming with sand and low-stone buildings, oranges and beiges.
Verdict: Fans thirsty for more Cassian and K-2SO will enjoy this adventure. It hits all the right notes for the characters and adds to the mythology of the characters’ relationship. While the second-half of the issue is weighed down with dialogue, you can either choose to slog through or skim read without losing too much context.
I would love for this story to be taken even further in explaining K-2’s role in the rebellion, with fewer panels dedicated to Kertas and Rismor. The limitation of doing an annual is just that – it’s a one time issue that leaves us pining for more. Hopefully, Marvel will reconsider ending the story here.