In the previous issue, Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo arrived on Jedha, the rocky planet from Rogue One where the rebel spies met Saw Gerrera’s extremist group. It turns out the planet isn’t doing so well after the Death Star blasted it, with the planet slowly falling apart and there are sand storms on a regular basis. Yet not only does Saw’s rebel group still operate there, but the Empire is interested in the planet as well. They’re hoping for more kyber crystals. As such, this issue is both leading up to The Empire Strikes Back and it’s tying into the events of Rogue One.
Written by Kieron Gillen, Star Wars 39 begins with Luke’s friends being interrogated by the extremists. It’s a short yet tense negotiation scene, with a couple great Han Solo lines and Leia’s diplomatic skills on full display. The rest of the comic is balanced between more story development with the Empire, and Queen Trios of a dangerous mining planet helping them out, and the action on the ground. In the action scene, Luke gets to show off a bit of what he’s learned in the force since A New Hope, while also employing stealth and tactics. There’s a great conversation about why people still live on Jedha when it’s falling apart, and Leia’s line about how there cannot be another Alderaan or Jedha is great.
The art by Salvador Larroca is great for the most part. Due to the state of the planet, a lot of backgrounds are blurred out by dust, but it’s often replaced by detailed and varied outfits among the extremists. All three of the movie characters look very much like they did in A New Hope, although there are times when the facial expressions look a bit half-hearted. During the fight, there’s plenty of debris on the ground, and the sense of progression between panels works very well. Guru-eFX’s colouring is great. The planet is largely greyed out due to the dust in the air, not to mention the general brown look of the rocky planet anyway, but it’s balanced out with laser fire, Luke’s blue lightsaber and the blue sky viewed through the window of the star destroyer’s bridge.
There’s not too much else to say about this story without spoiling it. The general tone fits with The Empire Strikes back well, with a generally dark story balanced out with touches of humour. And it’s great to see how the events of Rogue One affected the planet of Jedha, while also seeing the tough Queen Trios from Gillen’s Darth Vader series getting involved with the story. Marvel’s been doing a great job with their Star Wars comics in general, making this an easy recommendation for Star Wars fans.