The rebels are currently on Jedha, the planet from Rogue One with sizeable kyber crystal deposits and rebel extremists. The planet that the Death Star blasted a giant hole into. Why? Because the Empire is back, hoping to take all of the planet’s remaining crystals before it becomes completely uninhabitable. The rebels aim to stop them.
Written by Kieron Gillen, Star Wars 42 feels like the penultimate issue in a story arc that’s touched on multiple story points at once. And it all fits together quite ingeniously. The previous two issues expanded on Luke’s journey to become a Jedi, ending in a valuable lesson. The story as a whole begins the build-up towards The Empire Strikes Back, while also showing us what’s left of Jedha and Saw Gererra’s extremist group. And of course it brings in a character from Gillen’s Darth Vader run, the queen of a very dangerous mining planet, to take care of the mining operation.
This issue focuses mainly on building up to the battle in the next issue, and the build-up is exciting. The giant mining platform is very well armoured, making it nearly impossible to blow up with the rebel’s resources. So they need to rely on a direct invasion instead – one that the Empire is expecting. Han Solo starts to show some of his leadership potential in this issue, providing the rebels with a much better plan than what they came up with. Luke Skywalker and Leia each work on their own stealth mission, and they each find a worthy opponent to fight in the next issue. Everything moves quickly, but not so much that it feels rushed. There’s also room for a nice character moment between Han and Chewie, which helps Han realize that his leadership is needed.
The art by Salvador Larroca is mostly great. The environmental detail is always impressive, whether it’s in the rebels’ heavily damaged base, the hostile environment surrounding the large mining platform, or the falcon’s interior complete with all of its loose wires, pipes and metallic walls. Facial detail is also impressive, although sometimes they look a bit too much like characters’ movie counterparts for the general art style. And although they’re usually great, sometimes the facial expressions look a bit off, like a bizarre lip movement Han gives in the middle of a gun fight, and the queen looking slightly bored when she confronts Leia. Apart from that, the art is excellent. Guru-eFX’s colouring is also great. The colours are always shaded a bit to match the environments, like the blue glow from the hologram in the rebel base. The interior of the falcon is generally greyed out, which is appropriate. As a whole, this comic is colourful and there’s a good balance between light and dark environments.
This is a great comic with tight writing and mostly brilliant art that’s only held back by a handful of strange facial expressions. Han gets a moment to shine that feels like it’s long overdue. Both sides of the conflict show intelligence in their planning and execution. It makes for an exciting story as a whole, and it’s hard not to look forward to the next issue. If you’re a Star Wars fan who reads comics, you should check this series out.