The line between humor and heartbreak is very thin in this new Star Wars graphic novel.
Readers who’ve seen a horror movie or two know that anyone who says, “I’ll be right back!” is doomed. The second Jedi Academy book follows the same sort of logic. Roan is training to be a Jedi pilot, so the moment he says, “…I’m going to beat all of their test scores by a whole bunch,” readers will know that the starpilot simulator is about to start smoking and shooting off sparks. The whole book is a series of disasters, which is to say that it’s a classic comedy. Before the end of the story, the class pet has disappeared, and Roan’s friends have stopped talking to him. The more horrors he faces, the funnier the comedy gets. Brown’s doodles of teachers are hilarious, too. Most of them are takeoffs on Star Wars characters, like off-brand versions of the originals; the instructors include librarian Lackbar and Kitmum the Wookiee gym teacher. If you haven’t seen a Wookiee with a sweatband, you haven’t lived. Roan is a very sympathetic main character, and readers will feel his pain and laugh at his misfortune in equal measure. Roan’s hand-lettered journal entries alternate with short paneled sequences and “screenshots” of academy message boards and other ephemera.
Future installments—and further disasters—will be most welcome. (Graphic fantasy. 8-12)