Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Madibek Musabekov
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artists: Stephen Segovia and Rachelle Rosenberg; John Tyler Christopher; Chris Sprouse; Karl Story & Neeraj Menon; Phil Jimenez & Rachelle Rosenberg; Phil Noto
Release Date: June 7, 2023
Dr. Cuata saved Luke Skywalker and his new friend Gretta from a beast that chomped their speeder. All he asks is to study Luke’s recalcitrant lightsaber. Luke’s had trouble connecting with the Force lately but dislikes handing over his prized weapon. Should he trust his instincts about the man? Let’s calm our minds, attune our spirits to Star Wars #35, and find out!
His father defended Christophsis against the Separatist droid army during The Clone Wars. Now Luke visits in search of a Kyber crystal. Just as Anakin found an ally in Ahsoka Tano, Gretta aided Luke in his quest. After saving him from capture or death, she’s led him to this Pantoran loner who understands Kyber crystals.
Dr. Cuata talks to the crystals and listens to their responses. The cavalier way the Crystal Whisperer dismantles the recalcitrant lightsaber shocks Luke, but the blue-skinned Pantoran gives the aspiring Jedi a primer in Popular Lightsaber Mechanics and crystal identification. He agrees to fix the lightsaber if Luke uses the Force to connect with a couple of his crystals. Unfortunately, one of them is red!
The dangers to Luke aren’t readily apparent in Star Wars #35. No cantina shootouts or monster attacks divert us as we learn more about a Jedi’s relationship with the Force and the Kyber crystals. Instead, Charles Soule brings us a dramatic story that enhances our understanding of the Star Wars universe and portends much for the future of this series.
Artist Madibek Musabekov brings us strong character portrayals in Star Wars #35. Characters show emotion, move realistically, strike dramatic poses, and generally look good together. While recognizable characters–such as Luke and two others in a vision–could be done better, Dr. Cuata and Gretta demand our attention. The only thing I disliked was how Musabekov experimented with aperture settings, portraying one character’s features sharply, another farther away partially blurry, and the farthest away even more so. Perhaps it’s preferable to distant blank faces, but who buys comics to see blurry ones? Nonetheless, Musabekov made me hope for more stories set on Christophsis and reunions with Dr. Cuata and Gretta.
Rachelle Rosenberg fills scenes amid the breathtaking landscape and inside Dr. Cuata’s warehouse-like workshop/home with rich coloring. Panels lacking backgrounds—such as the lightsaber components, character close-ups, and Luke communing with a hovering crystal–receive blended and textured colors. She helped me feel Luke’s horror at the Egyptian Underworld-style scene and the peace and wonder of the other crystal’s vision.
Clayton Cowles’s black uppercase words in spherical dialogue balloons are easy to read and follow in Star Wars #35. Softened voices shrink words, but not too small or too often. Sound effects—such as when Dr. Cuata grabs and dismantles Luke’s lightsaber—are understated. Sound effects accompanying the scribbly character in Luke’s red vision communicate the power and danger of the Dark Side.
Star Wars #35 focuses on three involving characters and explores the Jedi’s relationship with the Force. Rich art enhances this densely-told story as the tension builds toward a climax that tests each person’s ethics and loyalties.