This review of Star Wars #41 contains minor spoilers.
For Luke, the light side dimmed toward darkness.
The religious overtones that underline Star Wars #41 aren’t subtle, but unsettling. Kieron Gillen’s words fold the time and space of the Saga that we, as readers, already know.
In doing so, Gillen’s examination of the vagueries and expectations of faith — that which one believes isn’t necessarily truth — presents Luke Skywalker with a challenge to his malleable optimism about the Force and what he needs.
It’s a literal turning point in this issue, dynamic in its scope and discomforting in its execution, literally. That’s evident from the cover, by David Marquez and Matthew Wilson, as well as the crisp lettering from VC’s Clayton Cowles.
Luke gets his first significant — palpable even — exposure to the dark side and its effects won’t long be forgotten or easily dismissed.
Artist Salvador Larroca goes to great lengths to capture the tenuous moments between Luke and Chulco Gi — having arrived at the temple of the death-inspired Cult of the Central Isopter — as they stare into what arguably could be called a Sith-laden abyss.
How each is affected is startling in its realization and the consequences yielded, and part of that is the result of the coloring by GURU-eFX. Luke isn’t the wide-eyed farm boy from Tatooine. He’s taken the next step forward.
The parallel story of the Partisans’ ongoing struggle against the Empire and Shu-Torun’s Queen Trios is brutal and uncompromising, much like Saw Gerrera was. There’s a brisk pacing to this story as they, with help from Leia and Han, try and fail, to stem a continent-class extractor with little effect but maximum impact on the collective resolve to preserve what’s left of Jedha by any means necessary.
Nothing is off the table and that’s a startling revelation for Leia to confront, given it contravenes her personal philosophies and own experience in devising strategy and winning hearts and minds while trying to stem any errant loss of life.
There’s a moving testimony in this issue which, perhaps, is the darkest of Marvel’s flagship Star Wars titles. If anything, part IV of “The Ashes of Jedha” is building to a conclusion that has the potential to be groundbreaking, provided the pace is maintained.
Star Wars #41 is in comic shops now, selling for $3.99, and on Comixology.
(For more detail and discussion, tune into the next episode of Comics With Kenobi.)