The Plundering Of Jedha Continues In Marvel's Star Wars #40 - Star Wars News Net | Star Wars News Net
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The Plundering Of Jedha Continues In Marvel’s Star Wars #40

marvelsw40- cover

Obviously, it’s a big week for Star Wars fans, and anything else other than The Last Jedi might have gone unnoticed. Don’t worry, we here at SWNN have got your back, and we weren’t about to miss out on the fortieth issue of Marvel’s titular Star Wars. If you haven’t been reading, things are only getting worse on Jedha, and there’s not a lot of upside for the planet or its inhabitants who survived the attack of the Death Star. Luke, Leia, and Han are fighting back against the Empire, who are still determined to ravage Jedha for whatever kyber remains. SPOILERS AHEAD…

 

 

marvelsw40- blast 'em

 

The Rebel Alliance and the Partisans have made an uneasy agreement to protect Jedha from the Empire. The two defiant entities have realized they need each other and have staged an attack against the drill ship the Empire shot into Jedha’s surface at the close of the last issue. As you can see, Benthic goes in shooting, with Luke right behind him. Luke is very unhappy with Benthic’s violent methods, but the two of them manage to get the shield protecting the drill rig lowered so that the rest of the Rebellion/Partisan forces can attack.

 

marvelsw40- storm on the horizon

 

On the ground, Ubin (former Rebel Special Forces turned Partisan) and Chulco (Brotherhood of the Beatific Countenance and near Disciple of the Whills) are leading the attack. The chief complaint I have about this issue is Salvador Larroca’s art. It is very claustrophobic in moments like these, and I had a hard time following the action. It’s a shame, because I feel like this attack could have looked pretty cool, but it’s a lot of silhouettes and distortions. Sure, I don’t expect every frame of an issue to look like a Ralph McQuarrie piece, but the art in this issue drove me to distraction. That aside, Ubin is nearly taken out by the drill’s defenses, and they are riding some horse-like creatures that are very similar to the ones from Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal. I’ll assume that’s an homage.

 

marvelsw40- sweet talking your ship

 

Leading the air assault, we have Han and Leia awaiting their chance to strike. For some reason, Han is sweet-talking the Millennium Falcon, as if this flight to take out the drill is especially risky. It’s a pretty bad storm, I get that, but it seems very odd that Han isn’t relishing the challenge of flying in dangerous conditions. Look, I’m all for humor in Star Wars, but I feel like this ridiculous moment was another distraction from a very dire and serious threat to Jedha. Leia ridicules Han and their typical antagonistic dynamic follows. This moment didn’t serve the story at all.

 

marvelsw40- leviathan wakes

 

If you were hoping the stakes would be raised from the Rebels and Partisans taking on a drill, Queen Trios is about to go all in on Jedha. Meet the Leviathan, a drill so massive it can strip continents of their mantles and can only be used once because it can’t be launched back into orbit (no technical explanation given). Trios is sacrificing this ship to essentially show the Empire she’ll do whatever it takes to help them. As I’ve mentioned in a previous review of this “Ashes of Jedha”-arc, I think Trios has something up her sleeve for the Empire. I could be wrong, but I’m expecting her to turn on them, especially due to the complicated history she and her people have.

 

marvelsw40- force calls

 

Back in the Partisans cave, Chulco feels the Force. He says the Force no longer aids his vision of the universe, as it’s covered in shadow. As we know, Chulco never completed his pilgrimage and therefore could not become a Disciple of the Whills. Now, he feels compelled to bring Luke with him as he departs to visit the Cult of the Central Isopter – another group that had a shrine overlooking Jedha’s temple – to look for answers. The Central Isopter are a cult that worships death itself, so I’m intrigued to see how they fit into Chulco’s pilgrimage. Whatever the Central Isopter may hold in store, Chulco thinks they may have the answers he and Luke are looking for.

 

marvelsw40- Jedi business go back to your drinks

 

Leia is NOT cool with Luke going off to start looking for more information about the Jedi and the Force. She agrees that Luke becoming a Jedi may someday be important, but she reminds him of his current obligations. Sounds familiar, kind of like how someone will later point out Luke’s problematic tendency to never focus on the present. Leia is so pissed that Luke would do this, she decides to tell him about the last time she spoke with her father, who entrusted her with a certain special mission.

 

marvelsw40- bye bye bail

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love Bail Organa, especially after concluding the Prequel Trilogy and Rogue One this weekend in my marathon to prepare for The Last Jedi. Pretty much every time he’s popped up, whether in live-action or books, Bail has proven to be a dynamic and bold character whose brief appearances moved worlds in the Star Wars Universe. That being said, this anecdote of Leia’s seems very out of place. It’s cool to see, but it almost seemed like…dare I say…fan service. Perhaps it is just how underwhelmed I was with this issue in general. I feel like this memory could have been saved for a bigger teaching moment. Sure, Leia wants Luke to finish what he started, but I don’t see how the dots are connected to her last moment with Bail. The moment was very well done and was certainly the highpoint of the issue, but it seemed very misplaced. Luke’s response is that he is obligated to become a Jedi so he can stop Darth Vader. He actually uses the word “avenge”, which I’m hoping we will see revisited, since that’s a lesson he’ll need to learn about the Dark Side.

 

marvelsw40- the heat is on

 

As they get closer to the chasm where the Cult of the Central Isopter dwell, the Force is definitely prevalent. Chulco notes the Force’s desecration is what is drawing them there, but the Force feels very different to them both. They mention the temperature feeling much warmer to them, which makes me think they are not exactly approaching Dark Side territory. It’s very strange, but once again, the artwork of Salvador Larroca makes this scene difficult to follow. Since all we have to work with are shadows – and often times shadows at a distance – it’s hard to tell who is saying what.

 

marvelsw40- dune

 

It looks like this strange disturbance in the Force both Luke and Chulco have sensed is affecting Jedha’s sandworm population. Chulco notes these sandworms are typically plant-based eaters, but this one seems to have developed a taste for humans. Another sci-fi homage, to Frank Herbert’s Dune, but once again, this scene is pretty useless. Judging from the confusing montage of art, Luke quickly kills or disables the beast, and they are fine. There was no reason, AT ALL, for a giant sandworm to show up and nearly eat Luke. Also, as Mark Hamill recently commented his most hated scene in the Star Wars Saga is Luke dismembering the wampa on Hoth, I’ll go so far as to say this is very uncharacteristic of Luke since the sandworm was in some sort of Force-trance.

 

marvelsw40- cult

 

Just as Luke and Chulco shake the worm encounter off, the Cult of Central Isopter shows up. Central Isopter are not here to talk. They are here to recruit or force Luke and Chulco into joining them. Looks like Luke won’t be rejoining Leia and the others anytime soon.

 

All arcs have their bumps, and I’m hoping this is the big bump in the road for “The Ashes of Jedha”. I enjoyed the first two issues and feel like the story is generally moving in a good direction. This issue did not do it any favors, but there are three more left, and I think we should give Kieron Gillen’s writing the benefit of the doubt. He’s given us some of the better Star Wars comic moments in the previous Darth Vader series, but I remember some of those arcs hitting bumpy issues as well. Despite not caring for this issue, I do think this will be a good arc.

 

I usually try to find the silver lining in these comics, but there was little to be found in Salvador Larroca’s art. This issue was a big miss for him. Between the jarring tracing/hyper-realism of characters faces (look for the Joaquin Phoenix cameo on page 6) and the claustrophobic frames that should be epic, the art of this issue is not good. It really took away from the story and there are many artists out there that could have brought more soul to it than Larroca did. It’s very disappointing, and I hope Marvel takes note for future issues. Star Wars fans deserve better than the substandard frames they were dished out in this issue.

 

I was really hoping to tell you all this would be a great issue to read while you were standing in line, waiting for that midnight showing of The Last Jedi. It’s not. I do, however, wish all of you Star Wars fans out there a great weekend and hope you enjoy The Last Jedi. Oh, and if you haven’t already heard this enough, keep those spoilers to yourself.

 

RATING: 3/10

 

 

marvelsw40- next issue

 

 

Kyle Larson lives in Portland, Oregon. Rey don’t need no Lo.

 

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