Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba and GURU-eFX
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 9th, 2022
Madelin Sun, Qi’ra’s Archivist and mystical assistant, gets the focus in Star Wars: Crimson Reign #3, as we trace her early years, to her encounter with Qi’ra and the years that followed, all told by her. It’s a fascinating tale of Jedi and Madelin’s relentless pursuit of knowledge. She doesn’t believe all the Jedi were killed during Order 66, and she’s willing to go to the ends of the galaxy to prove it.
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Star Wars: Crimson Reign #3 reveals how closely Madelin Sun’s past is interwoven with the Jedi. She’s spent her whole life trying to be a “Grey Jedi”, balancing between the light and dark sides of the force, but ultimately finding the dark side far more interesting.
Throughout the issue, we see her appearance degrade from that of a beautiful young woman and scholar to an old woman who has withered away.
The story gets even more interesting when Qi’ra enters her life. Qi’ra, obsessed with taking out Emperor Palpatine, reveals that Palpatine is Darth Sidious, which startles Madelin. I thought it was strange that that would surprise Madelin because she seems to have everything and everyone else figured out.
I love the relationship between Qi’ra and Madelin, even though I feel Qi’ra is just using Madelin to get to Palpatine. We get to see the early days of the pair here, as Qi’ra offers Madelin practically anything she wants to get Madelin to join her quest to eliminate Palpatine and the Sith. It all seems too sweet and artificial, though, and I feel if Qi’ra succeeded in her plan, she’d toss Madelin off the nearest cliff.
Still, it’s fun seeing the two’s relationship grow over time and the pages of the issue.
We even get a surprise trip to a certain swamp planet, where Madelin seeks out the greatest Jedi master of all.
I love that Madelin seems more like a witch than a Jedi, with her scraggly purple hair, twisted features, and the bag she always carries, full of ancient devices that she uses to cause havoc and strike fear into enemies.
Yet another layer is added to the Jedi history here, via Madelin’s story. Even though this issue puts the main story on hold for a bit, it’s worth it and a journey I was glad to take.
Steven Cummings once again seems to summon classic George Perez on Star Wars: Crimson Reign #3. His art looks so much like George Perez’s work from the late ’70s and 80s, and I loved every panel of it. One page, where Qi’ra first introduces herself to Madelin, has a full-page spread of Qi’ra, rocking a cape and sporting a smoking pistol, and it’s beautiful. Can I get a poster of that right now, please?
Though there’s not much action this issue, we get a lot of different locations, and Cummings perfectly captures Madelin’s withering away, as the dark side of the force eats away at her over time. Great work!
Star Wars: Crimson Reign #3 diverts from the main storyline to give us Madelin’s story. It’s a fun tale with a few surprises, and we get to see Qi’ra and Madelin in their prime.
It sets up a new direction for Madelin, and it’ll be interesting to see where the story goes from here.