Review - Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia (@IDWPublishing)

"Some days, it feels like my destiny is not of my own choosing."

There's an ever-present balance between light and dark in the Star Wars universe and one of the lightest of the light is Princess Leia. The woman has fought her way through all manner of hardships due to sheer persistence--everything from daring escapes to an absentee father. In Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia from IDW Publishing, her role as a leader gets bolstered even more. The issue is written by Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet, illustrated by Charretier, colored by Sarah Stern and lettered by Tom B. Long.

The Star Wars Forces of Destiny initiative celebrates the inspiring stories of iconic heroes from a galaxy far, far away. Star Wars Adventures has joined the festivities with an exciting weekly series of comic books that explores all corners of the Star Wars universe, showing how choices both big and small ultimately shape the destinies of beloved characters, such as Princess Leia, Rey, Padme, Ahsoka and Hera.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia seems to take place immediately before the events in Empire Strikes Back and the writers know that's really the first opportunity Leia gets to showcase her leadership chops. To that end, both Charretier and Colinet have crafted a script that infuses her character with an abundance of determination and grit. The issue is funneled through the concept of Leia being the leader of the Rebel Alliance who has difficulty mastering riding a tauntaun which is a great way to convey that no matter how big the challenge Leia's up to the task. That storyline is intercut with the more overarching storyline of the Empire bearing down on their location as Charretier and Colinet add some context to Leia's struggles with the seemingly mundane. That tie-in also furthers the connection to the Star Wars universe at large, providing readers with something familiar to grab onto as they further explore Leia's leadership qualities.

The art style by Charretier is very slick and a fantastic match for the content of the book. Her style is a bit cartoonish at first glance, but it's also very stylish and modern in many ways. Charretier emphasizes the characters with a blend of sharp angles and soft curves, all of which work in concert to make Echo Base feel lived in and bustling. There's also a great mix of panel layouts throughout the issue that seem to mimic the ebb and flow of the action is the issue unfolds; Charretier realizes that life on a nearly desolate ice planet can't be easy. Stern's colors are very bright and vivid which would seemingly work against the dour atmosphere, but instead it feels appropriate for the art style.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia is a very solid one-shot, first look at Leia as a Tauntaun handler/rider--among other things. Leia is the leader of the Rebel Alliance and it's a mantel she wears proudly despite all the hardships that come with that crown. The script by Charretier and Colinet is well-paced and moves along at a great clip, providing readers with a new perspective on a familiar character. Charretier's artwork is thoroughly enjoyable and somewhat lightens the mood in a way that allows Leia's abilities to be the focal point. Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia is definitely worth reading; it's not really going to add anything new to the existing Star Wars canon, but it does reinforce Leia's personality as a badass leader of a bunch of rebels.

Star Wars: Forces of Destiny Leia is available now.