The 50th issue of the Marvel run on Star Wars actually lives up to the hype surrounding a landmark type issue. The issue starts a new story arc, making it a great place for first time readers to hop on. We’ll start with the reason I bought this issue: its cover.
There are a few variants out there for this issue, but I picked up the primary cover. Why? Because it’s beautiful. Travis Charest put together a cover that looks very simple at first glance. Done all in shades of blue, the cover features a very regal looking Leia, ceremonially dressed with a large cloak hanging off her, blaster in hand. Leia just looks great. Strong, confident, and regal, this is a beautiful image of the Princess. It’s when we take a closer look that if gets even more impressive. Inside Leia’s cloak are well rendered design schematics for several iconic Star Wars vehicles. Featured are an AT-AT, Vader’s Tie Fighter, an X-Wing, and a Star Destroyer. The cover gives no hint to what happens inside, but draws the eye in and rewards it for continued attention.
Salvadore Larroca handles the interior duties, and his work brings us right into that galaxy far, far away. Everything in this book looks and feels right. From the opening over a star, to the images of all the ships, to Leia and the others. The art in this book gives life to the story being told. Animate it and you’d have another hit Star Wars TV series.
Kieron Gillen has written a phenomenal story here. It meshes perfectly with the art and comes right to life. It fired up my imagination and I could almost picture it as though it were one of the films.
The issue begins with Queen Trios of Sho-Torun being lauded by the rebels for giving them the resources to finally build a fleet. We see some excellent interaction between her and Leia, only for the Queen to quietly slip away during the ceremonies. We are then taken to a quick cut scene of Chewie, Han and Threepio securing some intel for the rebellion and being both glad to not be at a formal event, and missing being there to support Luke and Leia.
At this point the story kicks into overdrive and we learn why the arc is titled ‘Hope Dies’. Just as the rebel fleet is set to disperse across the galaxy, all systems lock up. Hyperdrives fail, comms go down, and bay doors are sealed shut. Then, the Empire shows up, led by Vader in his Super-Star Destroyer. Gillen does a great job with Vader, showing why he is so feared. Vader doesn’t just smash the rebels, he waits, he lets it sink in that they are trapped and cannot escape. Then, he targets one ship and utterly obliterates it.
Thus ends the first part of Hope Dies. But the issue itself isn’t done, as we get a prelude to the whole story. I won’t spoil that here, but it makes the rest of the issue even better, and makes me love General Veers(my favourite imperial from Empire Strikes Back) even more.
This book is well worth picking up, as both a comic fan and a Star Wars fan. If your local shop still has it, go get it!