– Spoiler Review –
“The Ashes of Jedha” continue to fall in Star Wars #39, the next entry in Kieron Gillen’s first arc as the newest writer for the Star Wars series.
Leia managing to reach through the twisted, single-purposed mind of Benthic was a showcase of the Princess’ diplomatic skills, but I’ll be curious to see how far she’ll go in following whatever plans Benthic has for disrupting the Empire. He even points out a rather dastardly mission by Saw Gerrera (which we saw in Rebel Rising) as the bar for how far they want to go, and while Han, Luke, and Leia deflect from committing such atrocities to stop the Empire, Benthic won’t take kindly to them revoking their help if he asks too much of them. It’s a fine line of tension for the rest of the arc, even if we know our heroes will come out alive, but considering Luke’s small dark moment here, maybe they’ll come out changed a little bit at the very least. The previous way the series was set up meant there weren’t many repercussions on the heroes for their actions, but seeing Luke strike down stormtroopers while yelling “Murderers!” and suddenly understanding the stakes of the Partisans’ cause, he’s set for some type of revelation this arc even if it feels a little off for him at the moment.
Commander Kanchar’s plan to discard the civilians to rout out the last of the Partisans highlights how similar the two sides to this battle are, willing to do whatever it takes to destroy the other, and helps paint Benthic as an even deadly friend and foe. But we have two more factors in this battle for Jedha’s final resources, the first being the Rebellion, as represented by Leia, Luke, and Han, who (probably) won’t go as far as the Partisans will plan to here. The other player is Queen Trios, who was trained by Vader in leadership skills and was already a bit cunning before that, so I’m curious to see if she has a bigger angle to all this than just helping out the Empire when it comes a knocking. How these four sides clash, combine, and resolve the conflict could be quite the show to watch.
Salvador Larroca is on art and Guru-eFX is on colors, and while it’s not terrible when the art doesn’t involve a face (though it does get a bit too dark in some panels), once you need to look at a character’s face, it’s downhill unfortunately. The facial tracings pull me out of the experience, with the drawing of Luke jumping out to attack the stormtroopers being a highlight of all that is wrong with this choice by Larroca, as Luke’s face looks like it was put in those robes as if he had been at a carnival and stood behind those cardboard cutouts, sticking his face in. I mean, Benthic looks great, at the very least, but other than that, it leaves one with shudders. For more detailed thoughts on the art, check out the art section of the review for issue #38.
Here are a few other things:
- Seeing Jyn Erso’s name in print again, being discussed by characters who have the destruction of the Death Star to thank her and Rogue One for, was really fantastic, even if it was really short. It’s interesting to consider how many of the remaining leaders are embarrassed by their inaction and that not everyone really knows of Erso, Cassian, Baze, Chirrut, and Kaytoo’s deeds quite yet. Hopefully we’ll have Luke, and the others, learning a little more about what they accomplished.
- The first time I heard of the “Cult of the Central Isotoper,” mentioned in this issue, is from Greg Rucka’s underappreciated book, Guardians of the Whills, where each chapter started with an extract of a different Force-based religion’s advice.
Set up in Star Wars #39 puts a lot of conflict in sight so let’s hope it delivers!
+ Plenty of sides with plenty of motivations in the battles ahead
+ Events might stick more with characters
– The art continues to disappoint
Kieron Gillen — Ashes of Jedha: #38 | #40 | #41 | #42 | #43 / Arc Review by Chris | Mutiny at Mon Cala (#44-49)
Jason Aaron — Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37)
CURRENT SERIES COMIC REVIEWS:
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-10) | The Rule of Five (#11-12) | Burning Seas (#13-18)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found(#20-25) | Annual: #1