A thin and unsatisfying one-shot, DJ: Most Wanted fails to explore its enigmatic title character in a meaningful way and doesn’t offer much for the Star Wars canon.
DJ: MOST WANTED IS PART OF THE CURRENT STAR WARS CANON. CHECK OUT THE TIMELINE.
DJ: Most Wanted, another of Marvel’s one-shots, chronicles a day in the title character’s ethically and legally dubious life. Introduced in Episode VIII: The Last Jedi and played there by Benicio Del Toro, DJ is a jacketed huckster caroming from one side of a conflict to another; the kind of self-interested scoundrel only interesting in two things: himself, and profit.
For what it’s worth, which is very little, I liked the character as depicted in The Last Jedi, free as he was from the binary morality of usual Star Wars fare. Here was a guy, I thought, that not only claims neutrality, but actually embraces it, harbouring no ill will towards those who slight him and promising no returns to those who help him. DJ: Most Wanted, for all its missteps, at least retains that unique perspective, even if it isn’t at all interested in exploring what made him that way.
Written, like the deeply unsatisfying Storms of Crait, by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker, and with an art team consisting of Kev Walker (pencils), Marc Deering (inks), and Java Tartaglia (colors), DJ: Most Wanted attempts to chronicle another sordid chapter in DJ’s life, but the story – a little slice of crime-noir – is merely competent, and wholly unambitious. The setting is once again confined to the glitzy party-planet Canto Bight, although we do get some welcome details about how deep the corruption there really runs, particularly in matters of jurisdiction between the police and the casinos, and the time period is fixated on the immediate run-up to The Last Jedi.
It all feels oddly hemmed in by its connection to the broader mythology, which has characterised a lot of the canon stories that have occurred post-Return of the Jedi. DJ: Most Wanted does next to nothing to characterise DJ beyond his innately selfish worldview, and pardon me if I don’t find the slim justification for it – everyone is a little bit of a dick anyway, so why not? – to be particularly compelling. And the heavy reliance on narrative captions doesn’t benefit a story that is ostensibly being told through visuals, especially one that purports to be somewhat cinematic.
Elsewhere, Walker’s art is the one saving grace of DJ: Most Wanted, capturing – a lot like his work on Doctor Aphra – the melting-pot of the Star Wars underworld in a way that continues to be characterful and compelling. Beyond that, it’s a narrow and unsatisfying story that doesn’t do much for a character who seems to have a wealth of potential. A shame, really.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.