REVIEW: Star Wars #37 –  “Imperial Pride” and “The Sand Will Provide”

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Writer: Jason Aaron; (Backup Story) Jason Aaron and Dash Aaron
Penciller: Salvador Larroca; (Backup Story) Andrea Sorrentino
Colorist: Edgar Delgado; (Backup Story) Lee Loughridge
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles 

Release Date: 10/4/17
Price: $3.99

The SCAR Squadron must take down the Rebels or pay with their own lives. Sergeant Kreel won’t let Darth Vader down again.

Star Wars #37

Plot: Vader commands Sergeant Kreel and his SCAR Squadron to take down the rebel base in Horox, hoping that they might find Luke Skywalker. We also get glimpses of Sergeant Kreel’s motivations which run much deeper than his desire for self-preservation. Later in the book, Luke, Leia and Han must deal with the aftermath of SCAR Squadron’s attack.

In the backup story, Ben Kenobi tells of the Sand People and their way of life.

Story: Aaron does a great job in this issue showing the duality of the war by focusing on Sergeant Kreel. I love when Kreel liberates the people of Horox from the tyrant and they are excited. Why? Because it encapsulates what governments like the Empire do. They offer the promise of safety in exchange for giving up your rights and full cooperation. And to people who live under a violent dictator or in a stagnant economy or some other climate ripe for fearmongering, it seems like a pretty good bargain. This story serves as a nice reminder that even though readers might side with the Rebels, the reason the Empire exists is because of the support it has won from individuals more willing to compromise.

Star Wars #37

On the other side, we get the very emotional scene where Leia is begging them to stay to bury the bodies of the fallen Rebels even though staying puts them at risk. Kreel believes in the Empire but is blinded from their destruction. This is Aaron’s last issue, so it makes sense to do a smaller, more contained main story. But don’t let that fool you. While the repercussions of this book might not be obvious, the message will be.

The backup story is even more philosophical than plot driven, with Ben Kenobi talking about the Sand People’s way of life. While there is no plot reason for it, it’s a beautiful piece of narrative that feels poetic.

Art: Salvador Larroca does a great job with the intense emotion of this book, starting with Kreels’ encounter with Vader. Even with the helmets on, the characters manage to express their feelings. There is an emphasis on realism that makes the tension of the scenes pop off the page. In the destruction, the coloring adds such depth to the lighting balancing the flames and the smoke.

Star Wars #37

The last full page spread is also especially stunning, showing all of our heroes looking on in half shadows with  “May the Force be with us all” in text bubbles.

For the backup, you have Andrea Sorrentino. Readers familiar with his work will know his style is much more gritty and dark than realistic, but the style works well with the arid, harsh environment of the Sand People. The free-flowing art also lends well to this free-flowing tale of life.

Verdict: While the characters aren’t new here, it feels almost like a one-shot meant for showing the POV of the Empire. More than that, it looks at a Stormtrooper specifically so it’s interesting to look at Sergeant Kreel’s undying loyalty compared to his men or his superiors. He genuinely believes in his very wrong cause.  While most of the plot is centered around less important characters, it has a nice emotional weight to it that makes the story worth reading. Jason Aaron ends his run on a strong note, keeping his legacy in place.

Rating: 4/5


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