STAR WARS #52 / Writer: Kieron Gillen / Artist: Salvador Larroca / Colorist: Guru-eFx / Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles / Cover Artists: David Marquez & Marte Garcia / Published August 1st, 2018
In Star Wars #52, the Rebellion has been betrayed, the Empire has found their hidden base and is systematically destroying the Rebellion fleet. Darth Vader is leading the charge from his personal TIE fighter. The Rebellion’s only hope is that they can notify their ships of a hardwired safety feature that will allow their fighters to launch.
Star Wars #52 primarily focuses on Han Solo in the Millennium Falcon facing against Darth Vader in his TIE fighter. Two of the best pilots going head to head. Han quickly realizes that he’s outmatched and has to resort to his old smuggler tricks to get them even a moment away from Vader to try and help the Rebel fleet. Communications are down across the fleet, so Han comes up with an inventive idea to use Threepio as a messenger, but with Vader hot on their tail, they have to resort to some very unconventional methods of getting Threepio aboard a Rebel cruiser.
For longtime Star Wars fans, there is a big moment at the end of Star Wars #52- that being the birth of Rogue Squadron. Rogue Squadron has been a part of Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back, but it was in the Legends era canon that really became a fan favorite with a series of books about the pilots and their exploits. The reveal of Rogue Squadron is a big deal and it’s a story I’ve been waiting for them to tell. The Rogue Squadron books were among my favorites in the Legends canon, but as much of a fan as I am, the reveal felt forced.
Kieron Gillen’s script has a lot to enjoy. I probably enjoyed Threepio’s part of the story more than I should. His trip from the Falcon is not a pleasant one, but it’s fun to see poor Threepio put through the ringer. The Rogue Squadron/Rogue One connection I liked less. It pains me to say that. This story seems to be tailor-made for me, but there was no setup to it, no mention of prior missions or anything that would have Luke and the Rebels thinking about Jyn Erso or anyone else from Rogue One. Luke name drops Jyn and that leads him to the name Rogue Squadron. I would’ve liked something earlier to plant the seed. I’m happy that the connection exists, I just don’t like the way it was given to us.
With this creative team, I feel like every issue gets described the same way. The writing is good, but the whole issue is dragged down by the art. My problems with Salvador Larroca’s art continue into Star Wars #52. Once again, it’s painfully obvious that he is tracing scenes from the films. Thankfully the awkward faces and uneven styles from previous issues are minimized here, mostly because so much of Star Wars #52 is focused on the chase between Vader and Han, and the launch of the X-wings. The exterior shots with the ships are good, you can feel all the wild twists and turns. Guru-eFx’s colors keep the soft palette we’ve come to expect, playing it safe and not doing anything to expand the look or feel. The later scenes with Luke and the X-wings are probably my favorite visuals in Star Wars #52.
I’ve come to expect the Star Wars title to be consistently uneven and Star Wars #52 continues that trend. The action and ship combat is great and feels like the roller coaster ride it should be, however, the final reveal just feels forced with no setup. Feels more like fan service than service to the story.
VERDICT 3 out of 5
Opinionated geek and writer born in the desert, raised on the beach, and now living in the mountains, Paul is a lifelong nerd who loves Star Wars, costuming, comic books, and all manner of geeky things.