It used to be every movie had a comic book adaptation, but while it’s a rare thing these days, the Mandalorian has found new life in an adaptation. Retelling a visual medium is a common thing, especially with novelizations. Still, one might ponder why a film or television show needs an adaptation in comics when it’s already coming from a visual medium. That’s a question I pondered while revisiting The Mandalorian Season One in comic book form.
Collecting Star Wars: The Mandalorian #1-4, Rodney Barnes adapts the story with art by Georges Jeanty. Each issue adapts an episode, which requires some cutting due to the 20-page comic book length. For the most part, each issue is adapted well enough to capture the heart and soul of the Mandalorian and his amazing adventures. There is nothing new or added to these comics, and thus no valid reason to return to the stories for more.
First and foremost, the art captures the visuals well enough, though they aren’t hyper-realistic. It’s certainly not as hyper-detailed as comics can get, but framing is always good, delivering the biggest impact. One scene in particular that features the strengths of comics is when the Mandalorian fights to get on the Jawa vehicle, as seen in “The Child.” The layout slices across the page and heavily features the deadly drop Mando faces as he scales the moving vessel.
In general, though, faces can look bit awkward or unfinished. The entire surroundings could use more detail, which is made more evident since everything in this comic is recreating real-life scenes captured on film.
Inks by Karl Story are at times, too dark and brooding. You get the sense that this is less an open-world adventure than a darkly toned tragedy. Colors by Rachelle Rosenberg never push things too hard, keeping the feel more grounded. Skin tones remain a highlight with the colors.
So why create an adaptation of a beloved TV show most Star Wars fans have seen or even rewatched multiple times? The answer to that question might be that this adaptation is for the super fan who wants to have their cake, eat it, and then read this comic as an after dinner mint. The only other reason to read this would be for kiddos learning how to read.
Kids at that age would have watched the show, loved it, and enjoyed the comics for what they are. The comic allows your imagination to run a bit more rampant than watching a show, as you have to fill in the blanks between panels.
Given that it’s just a stripped-down retelling of the show, I can’t recommend Star Wars: The Mandalorian Vol. 1: Season One Part One to anyone over the age of 13 who has seen the show. If you’re a younger reader, especially a new reader, the benefit of a comic like this is to help you master reading while letting your imagination run wild. For anyone else, this is an unnecessary Mandalorian experience.
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