One freighter against the Imperial Fleet. No problem. Han rides to the rescue in Star Wars #52.
This article discusses plot details for Star Wars #52.
Star Wars #52
Writer: Kieron Gillen | Artist: Salvador Larroca | Colorist: Guru e-FX | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover: David Marquez & Marte Gracia | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Kieron Gillen is in the middle of telling one of the best stories to grace the Star Wars comic. After going to great lengths to assemble a fleet, the Rebellion was finally in a place to challenge the Empire. However, it was all a trap. Queen Trios, who was instrumental in outfitting the fleet, betrayed the Rebellion. The Shu-Torun weapons and technology installed on the Mon Cala cruisers sabotaged the fleet just as the Empire arrived. Thus, the story arc carries an appropriate name with “Hope Dies.” Star Wars #52 continues the story, and hope appears reborn.
Han Solo versus Darth Vader
Han learned how the Rebel X-Wings might escape the cruiser hangars in Star Wars #51. Even though Leia tried to convince him to carry out the mission, he was already on his way. The only complication was when Darth Vader arrived in his Advanced TIE fighter and attacked. Han doesn’t realize it is Darth Vader until Chewbacca, who is firing the cannons, warns him. It doesn’t take Han long to realize that he and Chewbacca are never going to defeat Vader in a dogfight. Therefore, Han formulates another plan.
He needs to let the Rebels in the cruisers know how to escape. But, Vader never lets him get close enough. When one of the cruisers explodes, Han loses Vader just long enough by flying through the explosion. Then he ejects Threepio in an escape pod to the cruiser carrying Luke, Wedge, and other pilots. It is close, but Threepio survives even though he is torn in two. Han’s plan is a success.
The Rebirth of Rogue Squadron
Star Wars fans familiar with the Legends universe are likely familiar with Rogue Squadron. Although the origin of Rogue Squadron was born in The Empire Strikes Back, the squadron really became famous in the Legends universe based on Michael Stackpole’s Rogue Squadron novels. Since the expanded universe was relegated to the status of “Legends,” Rogue Squadron has largely been unheard from. That changes with Star Wars #52.
When Lucasfilm announced the development of Rogue One, many fans speculated this was a movie about a pilot from Rogue Squadron. Alas, that wasn’t meant to be. Of course, the movie was named after the call sign of the freighter Jyn Erso and her companions stole during their mission to retrieve the plans to the Death Star. However, Rogue One and Jyn Erso influenced Luke Skywalker in this issue.
After Luke gets Han’s message about the escape pods courtesy of C-3PO, he takes it on faith, or perhaps the Force, that flying at the hangar door with his Rebel transponder on will open the doors. He isn’t certain it will work. Luke also notes this is what Jyn Erso must have felt like. Wedge and other pilots stationed on his cruiser join him once they see his success. Finally, Wedge asks Luke what their call sign is, he notes it is a time for sentiment and orders, “Rogue Squadron, form up.” Perfect. Welcome back, Rogue Squadron.
The Art of Star Wars #52
Star Wars #52 really shines when it comes to the art. The majority of this issue focuses on starships. The beginning of the issue concentrates on Darth Vader’s pursuit of Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon. The end of the issue shifts to Luke Skywalker leading the Rebellion out of the hangar to face the Empire. All of the art depicting TIE fighters, Star Destroyers, X-Wings, and Mon Calamari cruisers is first rate. Salvador Larroca and Guru-eFX realy shine here.
Another aspect of the art that excels is space. Instead of relying on black for portraying the void, Larroca and Guru e-FX used reds and oranges that reflect the nearby star. Han Solo and Darth Vader’s dogfight stand out well against this background.
The characters of this issue are also well done. Larroca’s Darth Vader is always impressive. Han, Luke, Chewbacca, and Threepio are the other main characters of this issue. Each look good without an obvious reliance on photo referencing.
Concluding Thoughts on Star Wars #52
The “Hope Dies” story arc plays like the classic space battle act of a Star Wars movie. The heroes find themselves dispersed in multiple locations combating the Empire. The primary thing this issue is missing is Princess Leia and Queen Trios, the other major characters aside from Darth Vader, Luke, and Han. Leia and Trios received their due in the prior two issues of the story, and they will undoubtedly feature in the second half of the story. Star Wars #52 continues the march towards The Empire Strikes Back. How the heroes get there is a gripping tale.
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.