STAR WARS: ROGUE ONE ADAPTATION #4
Writers: Jody Houser
Penciller: Emilio Laiso
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 7/5/17
Jyn accompanied Cassian Andor and their newly-assembled team to Eadu in what she believed was a mission to retrieve her father, but instead Cassian had orders to kill Galen Erso. His feelings for Jyn prevent him from completing his task, however, and instead he watches as Galen’s fellow researchers are executed by Krennic. Now his superiors have ordered an attack on the base, and Jyn herself is in grave danger after having snuck in to save her dad.
Plot: Jyn is too late to save Galen, but Cassian gets her out the base and the team departs Eadu amidst the explosions of Alliance bombs. Even though Jyn now knows that Cassian’s original mission was to kill her father, he maintains that he didn’t pull the trigger and she doesn’t understand what it means to be part of something greater than oneself.
While Darth Vader orders Krennic to ensure the Death Star isn’t compromised, Jyn interrupts a Rebel meeting on Yavin 4 to plead for support in destroying the Empire’s weapon. If Mon Mothma can’t get the senate to agree, can Jyn and her new friends pick up the slack?
Story: Star Wars: Rogue One is working with the story provided by the movie, so the major arcs must remain the same by default. One of the issues I personally had with the film was that forward movement felt undercut by the constant switching back and forth of various plots, not to mention what felt like unnecessary pit stops at various locations. That being said, Jody Houser has thus far done a remarkable job of deepening the emotional resonance of certain scenes – whether that’s because she has access to cut scenes which she is choosing to include, or because she’s been given the freedom to add her flourishes.
The scene which stood out most to me in this issue was between Bodhi Rook and the droid K-2S0. Bodhi was captured by Saw when we first met him, nearly swimming in delusions because of the torture he underwent, while Kaytoo was a sarcastic droid whose only reluctant loyalty was to Cassian. But on Eadu, Bodhi manages to convince Kaytoo to follow his lead by drawing a parallel between them that was as effective as it was surprising. It’s light touches like these which make Houser’s Rogue One Adaptation worth reader as a Star Wars fan, regardless of how you felt about the film.
There is also a touching moment between Jyn and Mon Mothma that somewhat quells the sting of her father’s death and the Rebelion’s apparent unwillingness to push forward, but it was also frustrating for those very reasons. There is a clear conflict raging within Mon Montha in these pages, already making her a more fully-fleshed out character than she was onscreen, but it’s hard to fathom as a reader why the faceless and nameless members of the crowd can’t see what she and Jyn already understand.
Art: Emilio Laiso and Rachelle Rosenberg skillfully manage to convey the same bleak tone from Rogue One while incorporating the softer lines and warmer colors of their style, both of which make for a more visually appealing comic. I mentioned Mon Monthma’s sense of conflict above, and that is as much do to these two artists’ abilities to humanize their characters as it is to Houser’s writing. Their work is so visceral that even Vader’s mask feels almost transparent.
If there is any scene that suffers, perhaps it is the Rebellion meeting on Yavin 4, because there are simply too many characters with no discernible name or background whose dissent needs to fit into just a few panels. The scene feels static, as the art shines much more clearly when there is a specific focus on the emotions of a few characters or else an overview of either an action sequence or a beautiful landscape.
Verdict: Star Wars: Rogue One Adaptation #4 contains a few more nuggets that were missing from the film, and remains an important read for any fan of the universe who wishes to have a greater understanding of the figures who laid the foundation for A New Hope.
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5