It’s faint praise to say that Star Wars: Beckett is the best of Marvel’s canonical one-shots, but it is, and offers a strong old-school adventure tale in its own right.
Inexplicably released months after Solo: A Star Wars Story, Marvel’s latest (and best) character-focused one-shot comic, Star Wars: Beckett, concerns the titular gunslinging grifter and his crew of indebted ruffians as they embark on an adventure some time before the events of the feature-film.
Styled like an old-fashioned serial dime novel, opening with a wanted poster and divided into “Chapters”, each illustrated by a different artist, Star Wars: Beckett might focus on a character that is several months removed from relevancy, but it’s nonetheless a solid, pacey adventure story with plenty of flair.
Beckett, Val and Rio Durant are mid-con in an attempt to pay off their Crimson Dawn overlord, Dryden Vos, and the comic is a series of lucky breaks and unlucky mishaps strung together with well-written interplay between the characters. Beyond Beckett, the others were underused in Solo, and writer Gerry Duggan is able to flesh out their characters here. Beckett’s team feel more deserving of a miniseries than a one-shot, and they’d probably be better served by that format, but I can’t complain about the tone in this issue.
I can complain, though, about the release date, as the brief appearance of Enfys Nest and her Marauders would have added something to her few scenes in Solo. Star Wars: Beckett would have worked much better as an introduction to the criminal corner of the galaxy that these characters inhabit, rather than a months-later tie-in which is enjoyable but admittedly does very little for the broader continuity.
Still, the one-shot’s presentation is consistently excellent, and Edgar Salazar, Marc Laming, and Will Sliney all produce art that is similar enough in style to not be discordant but distinct enough to separate the chapters. It’s one story through three different lenses rather than three tiny ones, which is preferable over a single issue, and Jordan Boyd’s colours bring it all together with a lot of pop and personality.
Again, it’s faint praise to say that Star Wars: Beckett is the best of these one-shots, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The slick presentation and light tone gives the issue some personality, and if the point of these things is to make you want more of a particular character, then mission firmly accomplished.
Star Wars: Beckett is part of the current Star Wars canon. Check out the full timeline.
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.