Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Madibek Musabekov
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia and Rain Beredo; John Tyler Christopher; Peach Momoko; Luke Ross and Nolan Woodard; and Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, and Neeraj Menon
Release Date: March 1, 2023
Reviewer: David Dunham
Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia Organa, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian, Lobot, and Amilyn Holdo are captives! Captain Blythe insists that they make their home among the Kezarat. Luke believes an ancient Jedi text—left aboard a ship ravaged by the Nihil Kill-droids—is necessary to rebuild the order. Can Luke reclaim the sacred Jedi writings? Can our heroes persuade Captain Blythe to help them try to return to the Rebel Alliance? Now climb aboard your ships, and may the force be with you as we launch into Star Wars #32 and find out!
The Kezarat Colony is no Assyrian Empire, but this ragtag fugitive fleet has survived by capturing newcomers and dispersing them among their population. According to Blythe, all News waste time trying to escape No-Space. Yet Chewbacca, aided by suave, debonair Lando, convinces him to let them try. Blythe even lends them a wreck—assuming they can repair it—to attempt their scheme. Still, he takes a hostage while the rest make their desperate attempt.
After navigating road closures and traffic during a seventeen-hour drive, thanks to the storms that recently hit California, I can understand our heroes’ determination to return home. Amid my exhaustion, Soule’s dialogue in Star Wars #32 tripped me up at times. I had to stop and concentrate on those sentences to understand the characters’ intent. Still, I liked Lando’s assertion that Chewbacca’s modifications are why Han Solo’s “piece of junk” can make point five past lightspeed. Lando’s growing relationship with Amilyn Holdo also appealed. But the selling point is the adventure in the second half, which reminded me of the Archie Goodwin’s Star Wars comics I found on convenience store spinner racks a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away from today’s storm-wracked California.
Musabekov’s character depictions seem farther from their big-screen counterparts in Star Wars #32. Lando better resembles Donald Glover than Billy Dee Williams, and an even younger Luke brought to mind wonder-boy Doctor Zee sans the glasses he sported in Galactica 1980. On the other hand, our lovable cyborg Lobot seems closer to his appearance in The Empire Strikes Back, and the shadows that obscure Captain Blythe’s features give the cyclops a sinister appeal. Distressed walls, open crates, scattered tools, and snaking cables give rooms, corridors, and busy hanger bays incredible realism. Silhouettes lend small panels an extra punch, and the Kill-droids resemble Tony Stark’s desperate efforts to escape his captors in Afghanistan.
Star-filled space better resembles the Guardians of the Galaxy movies due to the coloring of Rachelle Rosenberg. Shadows fall on characters more naturally than in the previous issue. She keeps us focused on foreground conversation without obscuring Lando, Lobot, and Chewie’s eye-catching antics far, far away. Perhaps a few panels suffer from overexposure, but the way she brightens our heroes amid their spacewalks (and space fights) is a wonder to behold. Luke’s lightsaber also cuts a brilliant swath through fight scenes that will leave readers on the edge of their seats.
Star Wars #32 is no five-minute read, but Clayton Cowles’ appealing font and large, uppercase letters consign eyestrain to Detention Block AA-23. Sound effects prove exuberant without distracting, and Chewbacca’s Shyriiwook grows large and bold, sometimes even breaking free of his white dialogue balloons. It seems Cowles has learned the wisdom of letting our enthusiastic Wookie win.
Can a Marvel comic ever capture the magic of George Lucas’ original trilogy? As always, readers must make up their minds. Having joined their ranks with Star Wars #26, I find my interest growing with each issue. While our heroes don’t have an easy time of it in Star Wars #32, their easily-relatable dilemma and their struggles to return home make this issue as much a triumph as finishing the Kessel Run in less than twelve parsecs.