Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Andrés Genolet
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: February 15, 2023
Reviewer: David Dunham
WARNING! Amilyn Holdo’s Nihil Path engine has trapped Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, Chewbacca, and Lobot in No-Space. DANGER, STAR WARS READER! While our heroes escaped the dreaded Killdroids, their Kezarat rescuers forced them to throw away their weapons. Can they protect themselves and return to the Rebel Alliance, or are they forever LOST IN NO-SPACE? Engage your hyperspace engines, fly with me into Star Wars #31, and let’s find out!
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Captain Blythe transports our heroes to the Kazarat colony and tells them his people’s history. Forvan–the boy who caught Luke’s lightsaber when he flung it from the rescue ship in the last issue—arrives. Our heroes request their weapons’ return. Captain Blythe—who also runs the colony—isn’t keen to do so. While he seems caring and sympathetic, he’s wary of newcomers who might pull a Fletcher Christian.
The stakes have never been higher for Luke and his friends. There seems to be no escape from No-Space. Even if they could find a way to return, they’ll need help, and it will take months or even years until Captain Blythe trusts them with anything important, let alone dangerous. Can the Rebel Alliance keep fighting the good fight without some of its most vital leaders?
Star Wars #31 focuses on our heroes. We learn about the Kezarat and their unending war with the Nihil. I like how Charles Soule drew inspiration from the recent Han Solo movie for his portrait of Lando. I also like how Soule treats Lobot more sympathetically than in Marvel’s 1970s and ‘80s series. Additionally, I like how Soule is bringing Amilyn and the sacred Jedi texts from The Last Jedi into the original trilogy timeline. I don’t understand why Luke places such importance upon these ancient writings when he should be back on Dagobah finishing his training with Yoda. But as I’ve only followed this series for a few issues, I’ve likely missed that explanation.
Andrés Genolet portrays our characters with a light-hearted touch. While less detailed than some of Marvel’s other Star Wars titles, it’s more realistic than Groo. Characters are always recognizable. Their bodies and faces reveal their thoughts and feelings.
Genolet illustrates the Kezarat’s history from the fuel convoy’s arrival in No-Space to the present. The continual Nihil attacks recall how the Kazon plagued Captain Janeway and her crew in the Delta Quadrant, but the Kazarat and the Nihil have been fighting for centuries. Meanwhile, Captain Blythe’s relationship with young Forvan suggests he’s tough but fair. I suspect he’s a tender-hearted Cyclops, despite his spiky armor.
Overhead lighting tinges Captain Blythe’s green skin yellow and casts highlights and shadows upon our heroes’ faces. Young Forvan’s awe of Luke certainly shines through. Characters not beneath interior lighting take on a purple hue. It’s an unexpected touch from Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg, but it’s not unappealing. Glimpses of star-filled No-Space, the favela-like homes and buildings, and the lightening and darkening of every corridor and room: all this helps us feel like we’re there, with our heroes, in the Kezarat colony.
Clayton Cowles’ long history as a letterer shows in Star Wars #31. His upper-case letters, with slight increases and decreases in size, make this All Ages title easy-reading. Occasional bold words stress what’s important to the speaker. Chewbacca’s large and bold letters remind us of the big furry oaf’s passion and zest for life. And then there are the sound effects that help us hear and feel the Killdroids’ destructive fury.
Star Wars #31 lets you accompany Luke, Leia, Lando, Chewie, Lobot, and their friend Amilyn Holdo as they meet their Kezarat rescuers and learn the dilemmas they face. Poor in rapid-fire action, this slow-paced story is rich in world-building and character development. There’s an undeniable appeal to a series about people who genuinely care about each other, want to see the best in themselves and others, and work together to achieve a common goal. Charles Soule’s Star Wars series has quickly become one of my favorites. Perhaps it could become one of yours as well?