Story: Kieron Gillen
Art: Angel Unzueta
Colors: Guru e-FX
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
What They Say:
“THE SCOURGING OF SHU-TORUN” PART 6 The fate of an entire world is in the hands of the REBELS! And even then, can anyone manage to escape the Scourging of SHU-TORUN? The cataclysmic end of KIERON GILLEN’s run on STAR WARS!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The Star Wars comics from Marvel hits a bit of a crossroads here as we get the second time the main writer has now finished his run. Jason Aaron got things rolling nicely a few years back and then Kieron Gillen came on after working on Darth Vader and launching Doctor Aphra. Coming onto this title, as he says in the postscript, wasn’t his original plan but we got a good run of books from him that helped to mature-up the series a bit more while also tying into Rogue One and other events. Gillen finishes out this run with Angel Unzueta handling the art duties who has really grown well into the property and delivers some great pages of action and character material that gives it a great cohesive feeling throughout.
The finale to the Shu-torun arc is one that does feel like it brings to a close a lot of what Gillen has tackled since he first introduced all of this back in the Vader run. Events built up well over the course of what Leia has put into motion to try and destabilize the Empire’s plans for the planet but we also saw it go pretty nuts with the whole world being threatened. While that mostly got dealt with, the real threat has now come from Bethnic as he’s intent on destroying the world. While you can’t get behind his plan you can understand his anger over Jedha and sees the death of Alderaan as a call to arms to show that the Empire won’t be the only one to get away with doing this. Bethnic has moved to the fanaticism side and that means it’s really hard to get through to him. Even with the array of people that are here trying to do just that while the Empire closes in on shutting everything down.
The finale has a lot of action and a lot of things going on as it moves through the smaller moments, including an amusing moment that’s played serious as Tunga figures out a way to buy everyone time but ends up looking like he gets destroyed, but only to potentially seed another story to pick up later. Tunga’s been an odd character but I like his closure here and the way everyone realizes how critical he really was. The escape aspects of the book plays out well with some of it reminding me of the Kessel Run material from the Solo film in a way as well. Unzueta keeps all of this moving wonderfully and with some great color design to give it a really strong sense of pop, it has all the right cinematic elements. As do the little wrapup moments, such as Kanchar getting his due through Vader, Bethnic’s new journey, and the fun of what may be in store for Tunga.
Gillen ends his run with a good bit of closure for a lot of story points here and he places the characters just before the lead-up to the Empire Strikes Back, which really has me hopeful for some forward progress in the stories soon as we’ve spent several years in this post-ANH era so far. Gillen put in a strong run and worked with some great artists and should definitely feel like he had a great run. That said, I’m very wary of what’s to come next. I’ve enjoyed what Greg Pak has been doing in the standalone books so I have no fears in terms of story, but I’ve dropped books repeatedly because of Phil Noto’s artwork as it just does not fit at all for me with this kind of property, enough s that it made the Poe Dameron series unreadable and left me struggling with the Chewbacca miniseries. I’m in that rare place since 2015 when Marvel started up their run where I’m now actively wary of upcoming issues.
Age Rating: All Ages
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 19th, 2019