Story: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
LADY QI’RA’S ultimate plan to reshape the galaxy continues as we focus on one of her most key operatives – the mysterious SAVA MADELIN SUN, former expert in the DARK SIDE OF THE FORCE, now known only as THE ARCHIVIST. Qi’ra has given this woman a crucial task and put all the resources of CRIMSON DAWN at her disposal. The Archivist’s search will find answers to mysteries at the very heart of the EMPIRE’S formation…and the ultimate fall of THE JEDI ORDER.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having enjoyed the Solo movie and liking how the Marvel side has been bringing in Qi’ra to the Age of Rebellion era so that we got to see what happened long term for the character, The first couple of issues of this series did a nice job of getting things underway even if it felt a little too much like mainline Marvel and not quite so much Star Wars, something this installment corrects a bit, Charles Soule definitely has a plan here with this though with it taking place in-between other events has me trying to work out the timeline more than anything else sometimes. Steven Cummings is a solid choice on the artwork here to give us something to handle all the variety and action and the end result is a solid start to this five-issue series while not giving away all of its cards just yet.
The character of the Archivist hasn’t exactly thrilled me so far with their appearances but this issue helps to change that. Here, Soule takes us back to the pre-Order 66 days where she was a researcher named Madelin Sun on a world that studied Force objects, light and dark. She was sensitive herself but not a user. Unfortunately, with Order 66, her career was dead and she was lucky to just become a junk seller, though she still kept some artifacts which is what gets her in trouble. It’s only because Qi’ra shows up that she lives and it’s interesting to watch it play out here as Qi’ra wants her to find Yoda. Qi’ra’s able to put together why the galaxy has forgotten the Jedi – fear being the key here but it’s more layered than that – and she wants to bring on the Madelin to help find him because he’s key to her plans. Madelin’s unsure to some degree but the reality is that Qi’ra has vast resources and a lot of old Jedi material at her disposal. Things she acquired through taking over things from Maul.
It’s fun to see how Madelin backtracks things with the research skills she has to figure out the sightings of Yoda, discover him on Coruscant, and connect him to Bail Organa, all to figure out where he ended up himself. It takes her down some interesting paths, including one of the pilots of the Tantive IV that was helping Leia escape with the Death Star plans. He’s been rotting in an Imperial cell for a few years now and Madelin is so in research mode that she’ll even use the Ascendant technology, the thought dowser, to get the information she needs. But the most fascinating piece is how she ends up on Dagobah itself eventually with Yoda largely out of sight and she has an experience in the tree similar to what Luke went through. Because of her being Force-sensitive, it was a transformative moment for her literally and figuratively. That she keeps Yoda’s secret, knowing he must be there, is definitely interesting and has you wondering if that will have greater resonance later.
I was somewhat dreading this issue with what character it was focusing on but Soule managed to make me like the Archivist. I don’t think he’s going to have as much luck with the Knights of Ren next time around as past experience with them has been really weak in general, both in the Kylo series and their other appearances. But here, The Archivist leans into some neat stuff, focuses on the research side of things, and shows the collective approach across the galaxy of just not thinking about or remembering the Jedi. It’s done in an interesting way that won’t really contradict any other explanations and kind of fits in general, especially under the rule of Palpatine and the way he was able to cement his position. Surprisingly good stuff.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 9th, 2022