Written by: Kieron Gillen
Art by: Salvador Larroca
Official Description from Marvel:
THE REBELLION NEEDS YOU! The Empire takes from all of us — our freedom, our dignity, our hopes and for some, even our lives. The Rebel Alliance fights to take back our galaxy from the forces of oppression…but we need your help! Be a part of the solution — JOIN THE REBELLION TODAY!
Star Wars #44 is part one of a new story arc called, “Mutiny at Mon Cala.” Writer Kieron Gillen’s best work in this issue is his writing of Han Solo. Here Han uses all his skill as a con-man, criminal and smuggler to suit the rebel objective and try to weasel their way out of trouble from the Empire. In Han’s case it generally just stirs up more trouble. It’s also a nice touch that this issue mainly takes place on Mon Cala which is bright, sunny and full of tropical color. With all the grief I have given to the photo-realistic faces from artist Salvador Larroca in the past on Star Wars this is a great opportunity to have him shine. The race of the on Calamari have always been weird it is a better vehicle for Larroca’s art. He’s fantastic with aliens, creatures, ships and battle scenes and this issue lends itself to plenty of that and it makes for a fun read.
The heart of this issue kicks off events of Leia and the Rebellion to recruit more alliances to the rebel cause and try and strike first at the Empire as they try to rebuild. Now that Jedha is left far behind it’s time to take stock and prepare for battle. Gillen’s use of Leia in this issue is spot on. Even during a raging, chaotic battle against a random Stormtrooper patrol, Leia is pleading her case to Grand Admiral Urtya to aline themselves with the Rebellion, so much so, it seems laughable during such a dangerous situation if that wasn’t in Leia’s nature. That’s the tone that Gillen strikes with Leia and it comes off brilliantly.
What is also striking about this issue is that as Star Wars fans we’ve always been conditioned that the Rebellion will get what they need but even with the help of Admiral Ackbar even the most worthy of causes has its detractors. It’s not so much that Urtya is against the rebels cause but more hurt by what he see’s as abandonment by Ackbar and others to fight against the Empire and he also has the hindsight of Alderaan’s destruction to guide his response. I think most recruits might hesitate after knowing the true power of the Empire. The most touching moment comes when Leia says, “Don’t you ever want something you just can’t have?” At that moment you feel the hopelessness hidden behind the recent Rebel victories. Nothing’s ever easy and some things you just can’t have and it’s reflected in such a subtle and sad sequence of panels.
This wasn’t a barnburner issue but it is a nice start to a new story arc. There is plenty of fun art this time around, from the lighter colorful planet of Mon Cala, space boats, and a giant shrimp/crab creature that comes out of nowhere. Gillen wraps up part one with a new plan for Leia and sets up all the pieces for what looks to be a tension-filled, action-packed next few issues.