I’m excited to read through the five-volume arc Gillen has done, especially after a lackluster few volumes by Jason Aaron. Kieron’s Darth Vader run remains the unquestionable height to which all Star Wars titles aspire, or should. That’s how good it is, yes, and if you haven’t read it yet…you should. Meanwhile, I’ve decided to review these two volumes in one post–goodness, is that what they call a double whammy?!–because while both offer interesting enough self-contained adventures, they’re also build-up to the absolute legend that is Hope Dies, the ninth volume of this imprint.
Let’s examine first Ashes of Jedha, a graphic novel that sees a great deal many minor characters from Rogue One either referenced or appear in the pages of the trade paperback. Judging by the publication date, these issues weren’t quite a tie-in to that movie but they could’ve been. Make of this what you will. Some elements were of interest, such as the reappearance of Queen Trios, the rather excellent character from the aforementioned Vader run. I also enjoyed the Imperial commander, a rather bad egg with the nastiest robotic arm an imperial salary can buy. Luke reckoned he’d go on a Force quest at the worst of times but of course it all worked out, and he only had to kill one new friend corrupted by the Dark Side.
Han and Leia flirted, probably, and I have the firm suspicion that I might’ve even laughed at one time or another at the antics of the . Excellent characterizations of our heroic triad, but not an altogether memorable adventure, and the side-characters are best left forgotten.
If you’ve got a local library that purchases comics and are itching for another unimpressive Star Wars read – knock yourselves out. If you’d rather read something good…maybe do with a summary of this and the next one, and jump to Hope Dies.
But I’m not done just yet – what of Mutiny at Mon Cala?
I am vibing with some elements of this volume, but the Clawdite shapeshifter Tunga Arpagion’s trite portrayal of an Imperial Grand Moff was not one. It’s generic–and I know for a fact Gillen can be strikingly original when he wants to be. An actor incapable of showing off…we’re all familiar with that story beat, aren’t we? It’s a trope and a half, it gets cheap laughs but Mutiny at Mon Cala might’ve been better off with–no, you know what, it’s fine, I expect too much. Come on, Filip, why the high expectations? This isn’t John Allison’s Giant Days we’re talking about.
Now, for the elements I did enjoy – and there were several. C3P0 navigates the line between amusing and cringy in just the right way, and that’s where old goldbucket works best. Seeing Lee-Char, a character so hopeful and lively in The Clone Wars series reduced to this:
This, my friends, is the stuff of nightmares, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Mutiny has its moments – memorable, excellent moments, far better than . Its beginning is a little slow, but I appreciated Gillen taking a moment to allow Hand Lonely and Lukas Spacetalker to socialize with some Rebellion pals, while Leia is out and about making plans with the big wigs, trying to attract the Mon Cala trading fleet to the cause.
Larocca’s art once again does bizarre photorealistic things here, and I wish it didn’t. He’s so good when he’s drawing properly; there really is no need to be this faithful to the source material.