Marvel’s Star Wars series got off to a good start, but the series’ original creative team moved on. Is that a bad thing? Possibly not when I considered the new creative team was writer Kieron Gillen and artist Salvador Larroca, the team responsible for a darn good Darth Vader series.
Well, their first storyarc was subtitled The Ashes of Jedha. So, could they match their previous level of work?
Sadly, no. This volume was a bit problematic.
Luke, Leia, and Han are headed off to the planet Jedha, the same place the Empire test-fired the Death Star at in the movie Rogue One in an effort to bring more groups of fighters into the greater Rebel Alliance. The local group follow the same rules as the late Saw Gerrera, and they seem to be a bit more inclined for suicide attacks and less for taking outsider help as their sole interest is avenging Jedha as the Empire continues to mine a dying planet for the crystals that go into lightsabers. Leia needs to show the two groups can work together and fast as the Empire has some massive mining ships showing up to maybe build more Death Stars…or worse.
So, why was this not working for me? Part of it was Gillen added some new, rather disposable characters. Aside from the leader of that rebel group who spoke in what amounted to subtitles, they weren’t overly memorable, and I didn’t even figure out half their names by the time the volume was over. Part of it was the plot was some sort of follow-up to Rogue One, a movie that featured only one of these characters and then only briefly, and yet they mourn these Rebels they never met, and only one of whom they knew by name? Seemed a bit much. And then we toss in that there are a large number of shadows and the characters often wear hoods, so at times I didn’t even know who was saying what. And then there as Luke still out looking for more hints on how to be a Jedi. That’s important, but the fact he was prioritizing it above keeping his friends and the Rebellion alive and kicking seemed wrong to me. Plus, the whole thing mostly sidelined Chewbacca and the droids. Heck, Chewy doesn’t even appear until around the halfway point. I like me some Wookiee. The whole thing was a muddy mess, and I really didn’t see the need for a Rogue One follow-up in the main Star Wars book. 5 out of 10 guys who worship holes.