Salvador Larroca -artist
Kieron Gillen is no stranger to Star Wars. After a successful 25-issue run on Darth Vader, and creating the stand out character Doctor Aphra, he has left his mark in carbonite. Now, he has turned his hand to the ongoing Star Wars series, taking over writing from Jason Aaron. Issues 38 & 39 “The Ashes of Jedha, parts I and II” sees Luke, Leia and Han return to Jedha, the planet marred by the Death Star in the film Rogue One. The trio of heroes is looking for what is left of Saw Gerrera’s partisans, in hopes that they will join with the Rebel Alliance in it’s fight against the Empire.
The Empire has its eye on Jedha, looking to mine the planets kyber crystals for weapons use. We are introduced to Imperial Commander Kanchar, a towering officer with a robotic arm and eye patch. His demeanor is menacing, as he dispatches imperial officers who do not fulfill their duty. Kanchar has enlisted the aid of Queen Trios of Shu-Torun (introduced in Darth Vader Annual #1), who comes from a planet known for mining rare minerals. Together, they plan to “bleed Jedha’s wheezing body dry of kyber.”
Meanwhile, Leia, Luke and Han are introduced to Benthic “Two Tubes”, who fought along side Saw Gerrera. He is leery of the Rebel Alliance, as they are of him. But, both sides need what the other has, so the enemy of my enemy makes for an alliance. The use of Rogue One characters is a great way to fold the world of Star Wars all together. Some fans have said that Rogue One doesn’t feel like a Star Wars movie to them, because of the lack of Jedi/Skywalkers. This should help in convincing them that it is indeed part of the overall world.
These issues are great. Gillen has a firm gasp on the world of Star Wars, yet seems to add his own spin on things. The large Imperial machine depicted towards the end of issue #39 seems very much his style. We saw this in Darth Vader and Aphra, with the introduction of characters and technology we hadn’t seen before, but felt very familiar, albeit at times bizarre. Salvador Larroca’s art fits this universe, but the photo-realism of some characters gets distracting. There are quite a few panels where it looks like he cut and pasted Mark Hamill’s face from a publicity photo. The David Marquez and Mathew Wilson cover of issue #38 shows how you can draw Luke Skywalker with less Mark Hamill. And kudos to Clayton Cowles’ lettering. The dialogue from Two Tubes is written out in his illegible tongue, but translated in an adjacent box in such a way that isn’t distracting.
If these issues are any indication of what is to come in Star Wars, than this will be the beginning of a great run. Let’s just hope the team can stay on target.