In Greg Stones’ admittedly funny book of illustrations, ‘Star Wars: 99 Stormtroopers Join The Empire’, the Empire’s finest, the stormtroopers, are put through the wringer as a whole ninety-nine of them sign-up for duty. In a series of mishaps, rebel attacks and acts of plain old stupidity the numbers of the stormtroopers are whittled away one-by-one.
The stormtroopers are the unfortunate fall guys of the ‘Star Wars’ universe. Taking on the role of hapless guards whose aiming abilities leave much to be desired, they spend most of the original trilogy being shot at, mind-tricked and blown-up. It therefore seems perfectly reasonable to show their demise in a series of incidents while in service to the Emperor.
One asks for a promotion, only to find himself tossed into space. Another goes undercover as a taun-taun with bad results. Another underestimates a princess and one makes the mistake of not letting the wookie win. Despite Stones’ illustrative style which would easily sit at home in a children’s book, the humour here is sometimes a little dark. We are talking about these troopers dying, after all.
The book is based on an earlier title written Stones called ‘Goodbye, Penguins’ in which fifteen penguins meet similarly odd and funny ends. Being a life-long ‘Star Wars’ fan, though, has given Stones the impetus to kill off even more troopers than penguins through a variety of scenes from the ‘Star War’s saga, including ‘Rogue One’. My favourite pieces illustrated some of the absurdities of the universe, such as the two stormtroopers who ‘wear the wrong armour’.
Published by Chronicle, the book is printed on glossy paper that does justice to the illustrations and is bound in a smooth, hardback cover. The book is horizontally wider than usual, reflecting Stones’ great landscape pictures, but also the widescreen ‘Star Wars’ setting.
I would recommend ’99 Stormtroopers Join The Empire’ for the adult ‘Star Wars’ fan who enjoys a little black humour and Stones’ funny and often quite detailed artwork. Look out for the individual who’s a little short to be a stormtrooper on the cover. The fate of the last stormtrooper is particularly good.
(pub: Chronicle Books. 96 page oblong hardback. Price: £ 9.99 (UK), $14.95 (US). ISBN: 978-1-45215-924-9)
check out website: www.chroniclebooks.com