Sunday, April 8, 2018

Star Wars Vol. 7: The Ashes of Jedha Review - Marvel Monday

Ashes to Ashes

Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Salvador Larocca
Colors: Guru-eFX
Letters: VC's Joe Caramanga
Publisher: Marvel
Reviewed by: Andrew McAvoy

Hmmm. Enjoy Rogue One? If so you might be interested in what happened to the desert moon of Jedha. If not, you probably won't care. Either way, under the new Disney canon Jedha is central to the opening crawl of A New Hope (I know, who knew that we needed all that back-story to a classic film we all enjoyed before the back-story?). This book details the aftermath to the major astronomical mass that was hit by the Death Star before Alderaan...and didn't disintegrate completely.

Well, for those of you wondering what a moon looks like after getting hit by a Death Star set on 'stun' rather than 'kill' it kinda looks like a globe-shaped bit of cheese with a big-ass bite taken out of it. Somehow the moon remains intact aside from this (in space no-one can hear you scream about physics) and yes...there are still Partisans and Guardians of the Whill shuffling through the dusty polluted sphere? What?? This seems implausible, but if I suspend my disbelief (and roll my eyes at that getting past the pompous Lucasfilm Story Group) then Gillen (taking over from Jason Aaron's run) actually tells a pretty good story here. (Incidentally - the book is filling a plot hole left by Rogue One, and implies the mining of the remnants of the moon for kyber crystal for the second Death Star...the one with the Bothans).

The new characters are pretty great though, two standout characters in this volume are Commander Kamchar, a really bad-ass eye-patch wearing part cyborg Imperial Commander, and Queen Trios his apparently erstwhile ally who is not all she seems. Luke meanwhile explores the religious aspects of Chulco Gi who is a trainee disciple whose training has been shattered by the attack in Rogue One. I'd actually have liked to see that angle drawn out a little more, and the religious characters are among the most visually appealing as well as holding a story interest.

Unfortunately the book is spoiled, yet again by the Editors failing to secure decent art work for the book. Instead, and this sounds harsh, we essentially get hack work that looks like the artist has traced over a catalog of photographs from the Original Trilogy. Its sad because some of the standard art looks fine, and the color work is good, but crow-barred into that work are these strange faces taken from movie stills for Han, Luke and Leia. It is bizarre, and it almost seems like the artist hasn't been given enough time to refine initial work due to time constraints.

Bits and pieces

Editorial is poor at Marvel Star Wars and Jordan D White and his associates should hang their heads in shame at what they are expecting fans to pay for. Maybe they should cut out the hundreds of variant covers they spew out to glean money off fans and actually supervise the proper, efficient completion of the inner artwork. Gillen tells a decent enough tale in the issues within this volume, but the experience is ruined by house artwork that has become a laughing stock (google "Marvel Star Wars art" and there are so many articles ridiculing the phenomenon) that's not fair on the artist's reputation, the writer or the reader. Must do better.


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