REVIEW: ‘Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down.’

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down is a trade paperback that reprints a Loot Crate exclusive from 2017.  This not the first time that IDW Publishing has reprinted this story as the publisher released it as a three-part miniseries in 2018.  Now in trade paperback form, readers can enjoy the two stories, “Destroyer Down” and “The Ghost Ship,” all in one beautifully done book once again without hoping to find the Loot Crate version from a third-party.

Many issues in the Star Wars Adventures series feature two short, unrelated stories. Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down detracts from that trend and offers readers a 76-page book comprised of two connected stories. Both stories take place prior to the events of The Force Awakens and are written by Scott Beatty. While Beatty helms the writing for the book, the workload for the art is split as Derek Charm provides the art and colors for “Destroyer Down” while “The Ghost Ship” features colors from Matt Herms, ink by Sean Parsons, and is penciled by Jon Sommarvia. Tom B. Long takes his place as the letter as he typically does for the Star Wars Adventures series.

“Destroyer Down”

The main story in this book is focused on Rey as she lives her life on Jakku. The reader is able to see some of the blights that come with living on such a barren wasteland which ultimately revolves around the sand. It appears to be coarse, rough, irritating, and gets everywhere. More frustrating for Rey is having to ingest sand ridden food rations. But this par for the course when dealing with the junk boss, Unkar Plutt.

In Nima Outpost readers are reintroduced to the familiar faces that we see during the events on Jakku in The Force Awakens. Rey, Bobbajo, Crusher Roodown, Constable Zuvio, Teedo, and a ragtag bunch of Jakku residents gather around the boisterous Crolute to hear his latest announcements.  As fans of the Sequel Trilogy know, by the time we see Jakku on the big screen it is a graveyard of fallen starships from a battle long ago. Scavengers, like Rey, have made a living out of plundering these fallen metal beasts for salvage until they are traded to Unkar Plutt. Unkar Plutt laments that there is one ship in the Jakku wastes that has yet to be touched, an Imperial dreadnought called the Spectral.

The mere mention of the ships names puts in the gathered crowd into a whirlwind of whispers. Many believe that the ship is haunted by the ghost of Emperor Palpatine or vengeful Ewoks. Other believe that the ship is merely a myth and too dangerous to seek out. Regardless of the rumors surrounding the Spectral, Unkar Platt tasks the scavengers to find the ship and bring him back its riches. Rey has obvious objections to doing his work for him but as the junk boss runs the outpost, she has little choice in the matter.

Always eager, Rey rushes off to find ship unphased by the alleged perils but not before Unkar Platt sends his thugs after her to steal what she finds. The rest of the story follows Rey on her mission to salvage what she can from the fallen dreadnought. But the Spectral is abounded with secrets from the past that gives readers insight into the Battle of Jakku and the final days of the Empire.

Overall, I believe that Beatty succeeds in providing an interesting story that is easily accessible for any reader. He captures Rey’s ingenuity very well. Throughout the story, she is put in situations that she is able to overcome with her quick wit while others are not so lucky.  Further, it is evident to the reader that Rey is used to being alone at this point in her life. She regularly narrates her journey which shows that she was building her legend long before we see her in The Force Awakens.  The art adds to these moments as much as the writing does. I was a big fan of Derek Charm’s work on Star Wars Adventures: Tales from Vader’s Castle where he put a spooky spin on Star Wars creatures. His work in that series lends well here as Rey’s time on the ship is filled with possibilities of ghosts looming about.

“The Ghost Ship”

The second story, albeit shorter, provides background for how the Spectral dreadnought landed on Jakku to be buried beneath the sands. The story begins just before the Battle of Jakku, which would be just about 30 years before Rey would scavenge the ship in “Destroyer Down.”  The last of Interdictor-Class Star Destroyers, the Spectral is a prime target for the New Republic as it protects Imperial shipyards in the last days of the Empire. Star Destroyer, like the Spectral, have the ability to pull ships out of hyperspace. This kind of weapon would be crucial to crumbling the Empire’s rebuilding efforts. In an attempt to stop the vessels retreating to Jakku by the orders of Rae Sloane, Shepard Squadron is tasked to bring down the dreadnought as it covers the Empire’s retreat.

Readers are thrown immediately into the fray as Shepard Squadron start their attack run on the flagship which is accompanied by beautiful art. Feeling the desperation of the Imperial forces, the Shepards push their attack to end the war once and for all. Admiral Traz, the commanding officer on the Spectral, is unphased and deploys TIE-fighters to deal with the New Republic nuisance. During the heat of the battle, Shepard Squadron loses its captain prompting Lt. Bak Ryuck to fly close to the haul of the dreadnought hoping the TIE’s would not fire on their own ship. His tactic is successful but as the Spectral makes its final jump to hyperspace, Bak along with his Y-wing and astromech droid Zeetoo are pulled to Jakku.

Despite the dire circumstances, Bak is determined to bring down the Spectral even if it is the last thing he does. The rest of the story follows Bak and Zeetoo as they attempt to accomplish this monumental task. Given the events of “Destroyer Down,” it is safe to say he succeeds. However, the highlights of this story stem from connections to the first story. Many of the things that Rey finds during her expedition are things that have been left on the shop for almost 30 years. As such, it gives light to why so many of the residents of Jakku believed the ship was haunted in the first place.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book. Since Beatty is the writer of both stories, the events in “The Ghost Ship” are cohesive and easy enough to follow as a retrospective to “Destroyer Down.” An added layer from his storytelling stems from the timeline in which the stories are placed. As a fandom, we really don’t have an excess of information surround following the events of Return of Jedi and leading up to The Force Awakens. 

The stories put into perspective how desperate the Empire was following the Battle of Yavin. Further, we gain more understanding of how much of the Empire begins to fade into myths and legends on the outer reaches of space. While it may be easy to find this kind of information in the longer novels of the Star Wars canon, Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down gives it readers in a much more accessible fashion.

With a compelling story and distinct artwork in both stories, this is certainly a must read for all Star Wars fans.

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down releases June 11, 2019.

Star Wars Adventures: Destroyer Down


With a compelling story and distinct artwork in both stories, this is certainly a must read for all Star Wars fans.