STAR WARS #36 By Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
STAR WARS #36 is a enjoyable comic and the penultimate issue for Jason Aaron. It centers on R2-D2 as he breaks into a Star Destroyer to save his friend, C3-P0. Its definitely a fun, entertaining issue but with a universe as rich as STAR WARS, it just feels a bit safe and conventional.
82 %
Fun But Uninspired

STAR WARS #36 marks the penultimate issue in Jason Aaron’s historic run. Aaron was responsible for beginning a new line of STAR WARS comics for Marvel in 2015. His departure from STAR WARS marks the beginning of new era for these comics. STAR WARS #36 already is closing off certain storylines that Aaron set up in his arc. It is very satisfying to see him conclude certain threads that he began 10, 20, or even 30 issues ago.

STAR WARS #36
STAR WARS #36 #pg. 10. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

I think that STAR WARS #36 is a solid representation of Aaron’s writing on this run overall. Aaron is really great at writing entertaining, swashbuckling adventures reminiscent of the first STAR WARS movie. However, he does not always push STAR WARS lore into new exciting places. As a single issue, STAR WARS #36 is a blast and honors the campy fun George Lucas originally envisioned. However, since almost all of his STAR WARS run follows a similar tone, it’s a perfect time to switch up the guards.

READ: Marvel just released a video honoring Jason Aaron’s run on STAR WARS. Check out our thoughts here!

The True Hero of The Rebellion

Who are the two characters who have appeared in every single STAR WARS film? Not Darth Vader or Luke or even Obi-Wan. No, the central characters that glue this franchise together are R2-D2 and C3-P0. R2 is an especially important linchpin since he remembers everything from his time with Anakin all the way to his newest adventure with Rey. He is the through-line over which these films depend, and truly he doesn’t get the credit he deserves.

STAR WARS #36
STAR WARS #36 pg. 14. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

In this comic, R2 is front and center in a rescue mission to save C3-P0. The Imperial Scar Squadron captured C3-P0 in STAR WARS #26 which was published a little under a year ago. R2 directly contradicted Luke’s orders and decided to rescue C3-P0 on his own. This mission requires for him to break into Vader’s personal Star Destroyer.

READ: Want more Vader in your comics? Read our review of the latest DARTH VADER!

This comic shows R2 is one of the bravest characters in all of STAR WARS. He will put his life on the line for his friends and will selflessly protect them. While C3-P0 is extremely irritating to most, he is R2’s oldest friend, and so the little astromech droid goes out of his way to save him. But R2 is more than just brave and compassionate: he is extremely capable. He is always ready for a dangerous mission and able to maneuver through the hardest of situations. This comic is strongest as celebration of R2’s important role in the STAR WARS saga.

Taking on The Empire

In the beginning of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, Luke’s gunner, Dak Ralter, remarks, “right now I feel I can take on the whole Empire myself.” The line shows the optimism and heroics of the Rebel Alliance in the face of such grand dangers. Jason Aaron’s STAR WARS comics have always reflected this type of optimism. Set in the NEW HOPE era of the original STAR WARS film, these comics don’t have the darkness that films like EMPIRE introduced to the franchise.

In this comic, R2 easily breaks into a heavily fortified Star Destroyer and takes out legions of Stormtroopers during his rescue mission. It makes the adventure fun as the Empire constantly underestimates the little droid. The comic really makes it feel like R2 could take on the Empire all by himself. However, that has the cost of making the Empire look less intimidating when repeatedly they fail to take down our heroes. Over time, fans may question why they should be afraid of Vader if Luke, Han, and Leia have escaped his clutches several times.

Now, Marvel and Lucasfilm are making the right decisions by changing up the tone after STAR WARS #37. They are moving towards the EMPIRE STRIKES BACK period, and that calls for a darker vibe. This is the perfect time for the Rebels to face some setbacks so they seem once again like the underdogs. It’s important to remember that Dak’s overabundant optimism was actually naivete and arrogance and led to him being (literally) crushed by the forces of the Empire.

Art in STAR WARS #36

In recent issues, I have found Salvador Larroca’s art a mixed bag. Sometimes it really works and is able to pop off the page in fabulous ways. But other times his hyper-realistic faces do not match the more cartoonish appearance of his book. It would probably be better if he committed to one style rather than try to have his cake and eat it too. However, in this issue, I found that his artistic styles mixed much better than they have previously. It still sometimes looks like Larroca captured the head of a real person and then drew around it, but that is far less abundant here. I think his faces are actually quite effective, especially when he shows the concerned officers afraid to lose their necks.

READ: Looking for other Marvel comics to read? Take a look at our list of the best Marvel comics this week!

Larroca is a best when drawing the action sequences. They have the motion and spectacle that you would expect out of anything STAR WARS. Great panels include a scene where Stormtroopers fire and are shot down in the gray, smoky confusion of battle and the awesome space dogfights towards the backside of the comic.

STAR WARS #36
STAR WARS #36 pg. 12. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Final Thoughts

STAR WARS #36 isn’t going to add any new information to this franchise. It’s not filled with lore or anything excitingly new. It is great though to see a fan favorite like R2 kick so much Stormtrooper butt. I honestly hope that Kieron Gillen can bring us into some deeper themes once he starts in STAR WARS #38 but for now enjoy this exciting journey with the best droid in the galaxy as Jason Aaron wraps up his epic run.

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