Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Madibek Musabekov
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia and Rain Beredo; John Tyler Christopher; Chris Sprouse; Karl Story & Neeraj Menon; Leinil Francis Yu & Romulo Fajardo Jr.; Phil Noto
Release Date: May 3, 2023
Luke Skywalker helped his friends—and members of the Kezarat colony–escape No Space. Fixing the prosthetic hand munched by the Killdroids proved easy enough, but repairing his lightsaber has proven more difficult. His Jedi book suggests a possible solution: a new Kyber crystal. Where might he find one? And will his Rebel friends let him leave? Strap in as we launch into Star Wars #34 and find out!
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Even at its best, Luke’s new lightsaber never worked as reliably as the one he lost in The Empire Strikes Back. Nor did it help him connect with the Force like the one Obi-Wan gave him. The ancient text talks about young Jedi making pilgrimages to Ilum, where they built their lightsabers and found crystals to power them. With the planet now an Imperial stronghold, Luke needs to find another source and a Kyber crystal that will strengthen his connection to the Force.
After their grueling adventure in No Space, Princess Leia thinks he needs rest. Or, to quote C-3PO, “No more adventures,” at least for a while. She also views his piloting skills as more important to the Alliance than wielding a lightsaber and his connection to the Force. He must address both issues before she okays a personal mission.
Star Wars #34 takes Luke to Christophis, the crystal planet where his father, Obi-Wan, and Ahsoka Tano battled Count Dooku’s droid army in The Clone Wars movie. His adventure there will have ties to the development of the Death Star and how Luke later saves Leia and the Alliance in The Last Jedi. The rousing adventure features a scene reminiscent of Kirk’s time on Delta Vega in the 2009 Star Trek movie.
Perhaps most importantly, it introduces a vibrant new character to the Star Wars universe. (First appearance, peeps!) Luke gets a little too judgmental with her, and the slow pace of this issue may annoy some readers. But none of the conversations struck me as excessive. While he’d prefer to take the crystal and run, Luke’s learning things that Obi-Wan and Yoda never taught him.
Despite some large panels, artist Madibek Musabekov averages five per page in this twenty-page tale. While everything stays level aboard the Alliance ship Home One, once a very young-looking Luke heads off to Christophis, scenes often rotate a few degrees off-center. Madibek contrasts camera angles to introduce new settings and characters. I’m not wild about the diagonal two-page layouts, but they provide for wide, cinematic panels. And while I like the cantina Luke visits, I wish Madibek had filled it with all the life and energy of Mos Eisley’s. People and objects emerge from pages rich in detail in Star Wars #34, with No Space wasted.
While Christophis differs from Cybertron, my mind harkened back to writer Brian Ruckley’s recent Transformers series. Well, both boast rich histories and hold many secrets. The only thing I’m left wondering about is the belt or harness around the bartender’s head.
Colorist Rachelle Rosenberg imbues faces with warmth and vitality. Interior lighting gives interiors like Luke’s quarters on Home One and the cantina drama. I’m unsure how Gretta’s fluorescent green hair turns purple in shadow, but Christophis is a blue-and-purple world. Besides, who doesn’t love purple? Somehow, the only light on this planet emanates from the crystalline landscape and buildings. A stylish landspeeder hurtles across this brooding land, with only its headlights, a crackling lightsaber, and the crystal ground to reveal our hero’s quest. Thankfully, none of Musabekov’s art drowns amid excessive grays in Star Wars #34.
As always, Clayton Cowles’s black uppercase lettering in spherical dialogue balloons remains pleasing to the eye. He announces location changes with big upper and lowercase blue letters in rectangular black narrative boxes. His sound effects appear frequently but are not overused (except perhaps when Luke eats the fried spider). This time out, R2-D2’s blue and red sounds helped me understand him, and I liked how Clayton helped me hear Luke’s malfunctioning lightsaber. The way he shows Gretta’s shout is understated but cool.
In Star Wars #34, Luke Skywalker embarks on a supremely personal journey: to piece together all it means to be a Jedi from the scraps of information available to him. Charles Soule’s story harkens back to early Star Wars stories by novelists like Alan Dean Foster and comic luminaries Roy Thomas and Archie Goodwin while fitting squarely into today’s cinematic universe.