Saturday, December 16, 2017

Review: STAR WARS #38

STAR WARS No. 38 (2015)

[Visit the "Star Wars Central" review page here.]

STORY: Kieron Gillen
ART: Salvador Larroca
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
COVER: David Marquez with Matthew Wilson
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 2018)

Rated T

Part I: “The Ashes of Jedha”

In 2015, Marvel Comics restarted their publication of Star Wars comic books with a brand new Star Wars #1.  I wrote a review of it and went on to review a few more issues of the series, plus the first annual.  Jason Aaron was the series writer from the beginning and delivered a number of really good story arcs and, recently, several really good stand alone, single-issue stories.

Aaron has moved on and the new series writer is Kieron Gillen, who did stellar work on Marvel's initial Darth Vader title, which was drawn by Salvador Larroca.  In fact, I can make a good case that Gillen and Larroca's Darth Vader was and still is the best Star Wars comic book Marvel has published since it regained the license to produce such comic books.  Gillen, as writer, and Larroca, as artist, reunite as the new Star Wars creative team.  They are joined by Guru e-FX on colors and Clayton Cowles on letters.

Star Wars #38 (“The Ashes of Jedha”) finds that the forces of the Galactic Empire have returned to the desert moon Jedha, which the Empire nearly destroyed (as seen in the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story).  The Empire wants the kyber crystals, which are plentiful on Jedha and which power lightsabers, that managed to survive the destruction wrought on the moon by a test of the Death Star.

Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 have arrived on Jedha in hopes of forming an alliance with the “main” rebellion and the rebels on Jedha.  However, the partisans on Jedha are different in many ways from the Rebel Alliance, and these wild rebels of Jedha may hold the Alliance in as much disdain as they do the Empire.

As much as I was enjoying Star Wars the comic book, I know that there was a part of me that believed the series needed, if not a fresh start, some injection of freshness.  I think Kieron Gillen is that injection, and there is something about Gillen and Larroca that really works as a comic book creative team.  There is fire in the drama, and the tension is electrically charged.  Together, they produce comic books that have me hopping for the next issue every time I finish the issue at hand.

The rich colors by Guru e-FX dazzle my eyes.  It is near perfect, although the colors seem to emphasize a peculiar photo-like quality in many of the faces that Larroca draws.  I often don't mention lettering in my reviews, but here, Clayton Cowles actually super-charges the edgy mood of this story.

Once again, the creators of a Marvel Star Wars comic book title have me chomping at the bit to read the next issue.  In the case of the new Star Wars team, I am not ashamed to be a fanboy.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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