Published: July 04, 2018
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciler: Salvador Larroca, Giuseppe Camuncoli
Cover Artist: Joe Quinones, Salvador Larroca, Travis Charest, Scott Wilson
IN THIS ISSUE…HOPE DIES. The REBEL FLEET is completed. It’s magnificent. It’s beautiful. It’s secret. But no secret is kept for long from DARTH VADER. The most epic story yet done in a STAR WARS comic begins here. Prepare to witness the Empire TRULY strike back.
A day that at first belongs to the Rebellion and the maiden launch of its revitalised fleet is hijacked by a traitor in the ranks and an all-seeing Empire that catches its enemy cold. All the while, Han and Chewie, supported by a familiar professor, look to outfox Bounty Hunters sent by Jabba the Hutt, and do a few deals of their own at the same time.
Having recently read ‘Bloodline’, #50’s cover image felt like an immediate call-back to Leia’s relatively (until recently) connection to Darth Vader; her hero pose is encroached upon and merged with what I see to be Vader’s trademark cape, enveloped with imagery of The Empire’s arsenal, that will become key as the story progresses.
Indeed, the first line uttered to Leia, by Mon Mothma, is that her father would be proud of her. While the character is clearly referring to Bail Organa, as an audience we can consider how Leia, like her brother, shows many of her biological father’s qualities. Her subsequent conversation with Queen Trios is unsettling in that we know her history, and how she might use it, as we later find out.
We find Han offering up Threepio for a 10% discount, though we quickly discover he isn’t even worth that. With Chewie on point, we’re quickly reminder that Han is still a wanted man. This is a fine example of the pair working in perfect tandem; it doesn’t take them long to neutralise the threat, make a half-hearted reassurance that Jabba will get his money, and get on their way with the next deal in sight.
Back with the Rebels, our launch party is in full swing, Luke and his fellow X-Wing pilots are putting on a display and Mon Mothma gives a speech to the gathered dignitaries, with Leia at her side giving the go ahead for the new wave of ships to make a grand entrance. One person is missing. Trios.
As the fleet prepare to launch – and we enjoy some cameos – predictably, things start to go wrong, the Empire arrives and chaos ensues, backing the Rebellion into a corner. Vader is ruthless in his slaughter, pausing his attack only to build suspense and fear among the Rebels, before striking without mercy. It’s a fantastic character moment and sews the seed of more to come as the arc continues.
Overall I enjoyed my first foray into the world of Marvel’s central Star Wars series, having only read Darth Maul previously. One of two panels were a little odd in terms of conveying the proper, or at least interpreted, sentiment though these were more than compensated for by some fabulous two-page splashes and a strong use of depth perception.
The feeling I got whilst reading it, before the Empire threw a Star Destroyer sized fly in the ointment, was that we saw our main three protagonists doing what they do best;
- Leia: A reluctant figurehead of the Rebellion, supported by Mon Mothma, the matriarch she will one day become
- Han: Trying to stay under the radar in dodgy dealings, and off those of Jabba and the Galaxy’s Bounty Hunters
- Luke: The wide-eyed womp rat bulls eyeing farm boy turned X-Wing pilot, still learning his trade and the value of a level head
The same can be said of Vader. He’s not here to take prisoners. His final line of the issue, “Hope dies.”
This is just the beginning.
This issue was released on 4th July 2018 and is available via the Marvel App and all good comic book stores. This issue retails at $5.99.