Review: STAR WARS #38

This issue of the mainline Star Wars comic starts a new arc which ties into the events of Rogue One, it’s set on Jedha, as the Empire has returned to salvage the last of the kyber crystals, and Han, Luke and Leia have arrived to aid what remains of Saw Gerrera’s partisans in protecting it.

Honestly, Rogue One isn’t my favorite part of the canon, and the mainline Star Wars comics aren’t my favorite thing either. I enjoy Leia a lot, but I guess none of the arc have ever really managed to grab or hold my interest like say Doctor Aphra, Kanan, Poe Dameron or the current Darth Vader.

That being said, I think this will actually answer some important questions about Gerrera’s group and the potential of integrating them into the rebellion. And honestly, I think this is a great idea from the point of appealing to a wider audience for the mainline Star Wars comics. Before, they tended to get involved in plotlines that were really complicated, and sometimes barely resembled traditional Star Wars (such as The Screaming Citadel). So, I think having the main comic be more accessible to new readers who might just be looking for something that continues what they know from the films is a really great call, and I’m glad they decided to go that direction with it.

I think this is one of the better introductions to the Star Wars comics line I’ve seen so far. If you’ve never read Star Wars comics but enjoy the original trilogy and/or Rogue One, you should give this arc a try. It not only comes right off of the movies, it also includes characters from some of the older Darth Vader comics, so not only does it help you get into the comics a bit with stuff you know, it also gives you a good connection point to read some of the other comics as well.

I’ll be honest, the art isn’t my favorite. Most of the time it’s fine, but some of the faces (particularly the new Imperial leader) are a bit too photorealistic and not stylized enough for my liking. It’s almost as if the art was drawn and then photos of faces were sort of put in because the faces have so much more detail than the rest of the figures or backgrounds.

Now onto the real Star Wars nerd stuff. As usual, full spoilers for the entire canon until this point. I love that we’re seeing Queen Trios again. The Sho-Torun Wars arc was one of my favorite parts of the Vader comic until this most recent arc, so I’m happy to see a follow-up of that.

I also am interested in the ongoing relationship between the partisans and the Rebel Alliance. We’re really doing a lot with Saw Gerrera and his people, between this and his involvement in Rebels (though, obviously, I’d rather save time on Rebels for Pryce and Thrawn’s arc, because their story is my favorite part of the entire canon so far). And I’m glad Luke is going to interact with someone connected to the Disciples of the Whills, I think there’s a lot of good potential for development of the nature of the Force in that situation.

The only thing I really don’t like is Commander Kanchar. I don’t like that he’s a giant generic white guy with a robot arm and that’s his entire personality. I also don’t like that he just murders people on the bridge of a Star Destroyer that’s not even his. I know, I know. But Vader does it. That’s sort of my point though. There are a lot of things that Vader is allowed to do that other people aren’t. That’s the whole point of being Darth Vader. I’ve never seen anyone else execute an officer on a bridge before. Thrawn and Tarkin have both executed traitors and spies summarily, but never officers. Even Thrawn basically had to get Yularen’s permission to use Kallus, a known traitor, as bait in a plan, rather than handing him over for a trial. Thrawn and Tarkin have the word “Grand” in their titles, and even they don’t pull this shit.

Normal officers can’t just do this sort of thing, and commanders certainly can’t. Rae Sloane does shoot an ISB officer dead at the Battle of Endor, but he’s trying to stop her retreat and she’s the ranking Admiral in the battle. I know that Trios seems to think this is a thing Imperials do, but it really isn’t.  After watching Thrawn trip over an endless string of Court Martials for every minor offense he ever commits until Pryce starts making them disappear with political magic, the idea that this guy could kill someone of his own rank in cold blood in front of dozens of witness and not face any repercussions with no explanation really bothers me.

I also don’t like how the officer like hits on Trois immediately, like he’s never seen a woman before. That must violate some sort of conduct code. I know that Rogue One tried to convince us all otherwise but there are plenty of women working for the Empire, many of them beautiful some exceptionally so (such as Governor Pryce). We don’t just allow this sort of thing. The whole Imperial structure out here is an absolute disaster and disgrace. I expect this sort of thing after the Battle of Endor, but not before.

Furthermore, I am upset that the people here aren’t more directly connected to Special Weapons, which I think could really use more development, as far aspects of the Empire go, using them would also let us use Deathtroopers, which would provide a combat challenge for say, Leia and Han, more than Stormtroopers could.

Anyway, I think this comic is exploring some interesting ideas and concepts, and I think there are a lot of questions worth answering about Jedha and Gerrera’s partisans, even if the Imperial side of the plot seems a bit lacking. And, certainly, for first time readers of the Star Wars comics, you couldn’t ask for a better or more understandable introduction.

Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Plot/Relevance: 4.5 Stars
Art: 3.5 Stars
Dialogue: 4 Stars

(W) Kieron Gillen (A) Salvador Larroca (CA) David Marquez

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