Kieron Gillen takes over writing duties with this volume and reunites with his “Darth Vader” collaborator Salvador Larroca. Does this mean the main title finally has a chance at approaching the greatness of the now-concluded series that launched alongside it? Despite picking up from where “Rogue One” left off, it’s not quite there yet. Though the planet Jedha is slowly crumbling away into space it still possesses a hoard of mineral resources waiting to be strip-mined from its remains. That’s the plan Imperial Commander Kanchar is looking to execute along with Queen Trios from the mining planet of Shu-Torun. At the same time, Luke, Leia, and Han have arrived on Jedha looking to ally with the remnants of the partisans led by the deceased Saw Gerrera. The problem is that the remaining partisans are very loyal to their former leader’s ideals, particularly when it comes to working with the Alliance.
It should surprise no one that Gillen has a good handle on all of the established characters featured here, or that he can deliver dialogue that’s witty and fun when it comes from the good guys and witty and sinister when coming from the villains. Furthermore, he ably picks up from the status quo “Rogue One” left Jedha in, and even fits in some nice additions to the “Star Wars” canon -- like Bail and Leia’s last conversation together. Where he lets us down is in a narrative that becomes more familiar as it comes along. It starts out as one involving two forces learning to work together despite their differences before turning into your usual “Rebels have to take down a big piece of Imperial tech” kind of deal. Luke’s “I wanna be a Jedi” subplot also feels kind of half-baked here as well. The end result is still fine for what it is, but I expect better from Gillen.
The same goes for Larroca as well, though I’m still not sure if the photo-realistic faces that all of his characters have now are his doing or the work of the colorist crew at GURU-eFX. While the overall art is solid, the photo-realism of the characters’ faces is incredibly distracting at this point. Most of the time the faces look fine, but there are those moments where the coloring just makes them look “off” and their realistic look clashes with the simplicity of the art in the rest of the volume. Larroca does capture the current hellish look of Jedha quite well, which is about the best I can say of his art in this volume. Until this issue with the faces gets fixed then the art will just be weighing down this otherwise enjoyable series.