– Spoiler Review –
Luke’s walkabout has a surprising, but necessary outcome, while the plot thickens for the Rebellion’s plans on the devastated Jedha in the latest “Ashes of Jedha” issue, Star Wars #41.
In an interview before Kieron Gillen took over the Star Wars series, he stated he was planning on moving away from Luke’s Jedi training because, thanks to the extent of what he’s already learned in the series and other works, like Heir to the Jedi, there’s not much more training he can receive until he meets Yoda (which, if there’s one thing the Yoda arc did right, was point that out at the very least). As Luke decided to go on this journey with Chulco (a would-be Guardian of the Whills) to the Cult of the Central Isopter, I was worried maybe Gillen wouldn’t uphold that promise. Thankfully he did, as Luke and Chulco’s journey goes about as bad as one would think when dealing with a cult and the abyss of a broken planet/moon, teaching the burgeoning Jedi a valuable lesson. I’m not quite sure I understand the Cult of the Central Isopter any better than I did last issue, despite learning a bit about their views for the first time here, but they are a strange and curious group. Regardless, due to Chulco succumbing to the madness leaking from the desecration of the Force, which I chalk up to the Force binding the galaxy together and this being like a giant, gaping wound, Luke realizes his inexperience and reckless pursuit of Jedi knowledge could lead him down the same dark path. And, in a nice bit of (planned or unplanned) parallelism to The Last Jedi, the lesson he learns is that being away from his friends to learn about the Jedi ways won’t be helpful to them because they need him and his imperfections now, where in TLJ he learns being away from his friends to throw away his Jedi ways is less helpful to them because they need him and all his imperfections now anyways. Because Luke ends up killing Chulco after the latter attacks him, he comes to understand he shouldn’t force learning about the Jedi ways and let the Force guide him to the next step of his journey. And if you need another prime example of Luke making impulsive decisions and making mistakes, that he does not go on to be some perfect being because he’s a Jedi Master all of a sudden, his story arc through “Ashes of Jedha” is a good place to look.
This was the first issue of the arc that really felt like it had momentum to me, as it seemed odd the Rebellion’s lead heroes were just chilling around Jedha and helping the Partisans over the past few issues. Beyond trying to get the Partisans’ help in the bigger war or take out the mining platform Queen Trios/the Empire drops, they had to have some other type of plan, right? It would seem they were aware of Queen Trios’ involvement long before they blew up her first attempt at mining the ruins for kyber, as the absent Chewbacca shows up after completing a mission of his own. The Wookiee was sent to Shu-Torun, Trios’ homeworld, to secure an unknown package that Leia believes will help them turn the turn the tide for control of Jedha and safety for its remaining civilians. While not the most thrilling of cliffhangers, it’s intriguing to say the least, as what exactly would Trios and Shu-Torun not want exposed? I’m betting it’s evidence that proves Trios hasn’t been as loyal to the Empire as they’ve been letting on, but I’m afraid it’s schematics to the giant mantle-ripper she dropped on the planet to maximize kyber mining and this arc just leads to them blowing up another mega-weapon. Here’s hoping for the former!
While the arc is picking up a bit finally, with only two issues left it had to, the art is still such a distraction I don’t know if the story here can ever overshadow the blight Salvador Larroca’s tracing has become (Guru-eFx continues on colors). One partisan is given two different faces, one an original drawing and the other a tracing, and how is this okay? It’s not as bad as the same person getting three different face traces in the last issue, but it’s up there alright. Even if there are some great visuals with the Cult of the Central Isopter and the abyss, it’s hard to enjoy it anymore due to the ugliness of the tracing. I had originally hoped he’d be taken off the next arc, but he’s back for issue #44 and beyond, as revealed by the March 2018 solicitations, so this won’t be ending anytime soon and that’s a problem.
While “Ashes of Jedha” finally picks up steam with Star Wars issue #41, and Luke learns a lesson that thankfully moves him away from Force training for awhile, the art continues to be detrimental to the series.
+ Luke learns a valuable lesson
+ What do the rebels have up their sleeves?
– Why does this tracing persist?!!?
Kieron Gillen — Ashes of Jedha: #38 | #39 | #40 | #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 (#13-19)
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