Of all the first run of Star Wars Rebels books hitting this week, I have to say that Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero is easily my favorite. The artistry by conceptual artists of Star Wars Rebels, coupled with Pablo Hidalgo’s straightforward storytelling, hits at the heart of Star Wars Rebels’ core. If you want a book that shows you the true essence and spirit of Star Wars Rebels, there is no purer example than A New Hero. The book manages to be a great children’s storybook with art is that is way above the norm for a kid’s book. In all honesty, the book is timeless in the sense the simplicity of the story works for all ages and the artwork is something Star Wars fans, especially those that enjoy Ralph McQuarrie inspired art will not tire of easily.
The book is multidimensional. First it pretty much operates as the concept art book for Star Wars Rebels: Season I. There are a lot of interesting pieces in the book and the larger size format of the book allows one to gaze at the art and admire its beauty. Thankfully, the story book text is never a hindrance to enjoy the book for its art. The artists involved are essentially, like the show, writing a love letter to Ralph McQuarrie. There are beautiful pages of Stormtroopers and if you look closely, you’ll see Ralph McQuarrie’s originator Millennium Falcon in the background (the one that was axed because it was too close to Space 1999’s ship before the Hamburger shape of the Falcon was experimented with leading to the classic design). Within the pages of art, you will see classic McQuarrie reborn sitting alongside fresh new takes on classic design elements.
The second dimension is the storybook quality which is where Pablo Hidalgo brings Star Wars Rebels to life in this iteration. The story is true to the Star Wars Rebels television series but it focuses on Ezra Bridger and takes a hardline approach at showing us the story through his eyes even more than the first episodes of the series do. I will also say that Pablo has a way of writing prose that is easy to read aloud, but in no way is detrimental to the storytelling. I have read the book to my son many times already and while he’s way too young to really understand any of it, the book is nice to read aloud and the art ties the book together well. It feels as if there is a solid balance between the visual language, the way in which the art tells the story, and the text which elaborates upon the tale.
Another nice touch is that the book comes with a free E-Book download. I like that I was able to purchase the book, enjoy it, but use the digital version to keep the hardcover edition pristine and clean. It also means if I ever need to reference a piece in a conversation about Star Wars, I can easily pull it up and illustrate my point. The added value of the free E-Book goes a long way for a fan like myself.
Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero will not replace the fact we aren’t getting an “Art of Star Wars Rebels” book, but it is the next best thing. It offers concept art for the parents and a smart way of telling the earlier stories from Star Wars Rebels for the children. I think Star Wars fans with children will particularly enjoy this offering. But I cannot lie, if I were not a parent myself, I would still pick Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero as my favorite of the Star Wars Rebels books to hit this season.
Purchase Star Wars Rebels: A New Hero at Amazon.com