This review of Star Wars #38 contains minor spoilers.
There’s more to Jedha than we thought we knew.
It’s clear that the planet featured in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is far more than just a checkmark on planets the Empire has reduced to rubble.
Writer Kieron Gillen, who takes over Marvel’s flagship monthly, marks his debut with a wildly engaging romp that bridges not just Rogue One and Star Wars Rebels, but the endpoint of the original trilogy, too.
In short, Luke, Leia, Han and Sana — but not Chewbacca — find themselves seeking out the remnants of Saw Gerrera’s partisans, whom we last saw furiously fleeing the rolling devastation of earth, concussive force and and dust of the Empire’s “statement.”
From there it’s a fulsome nod to the action of not just the films, but the comics, too, capably illustrated by artist Salvador Larroca, whose battle scenes crackle with intensity and vibrancy.
The only drawback? His use of photo-realistic faces on certain characters. It’s jarring, as I’ve written before, and is out of place amid his otherwise lushly illustrated back and foregrounds.
This title also pops with furious color by GURU e-FX. A notable example is found on page 10, where we find the Falcon having alighted on a crystal outcropping on NaJedha, itself surrounded by a frothy magenta see.
The lettering by VC’s Clayton Cowles is crisp, adding to the overall effect and pace of the story. It goes without saying that the covers for this issue — there are at least six, for now — are a delight, with David Marquez and Matthew Wilson (not Mathew) providing poster-quality visage of Luke.
Gillen dove into this story arc and it shows. New characters, notably Ubin Des and Imperial Commander Kanchar, and old ones, notably Queen Trios from the Gillen-penned issues Annual #1 and #16-19 of Star Wars: Darth Vader (Vol. 1), abound, and their layers are complex.
The fact that he’s casting forward to the second Death Star speaks volumes of how this arc will progress.
It’s a great debut to a series that deserves to have new visions as it continues forward. This one looks promising.
Star Wars #38 is in comic shops now, selling for $3.99, and on Comixology.
(For more detail and discussion, listen to Comics With Kenobi #37, in December.)