STAR WARS #37 Review: Revenge of The Empire

Two and half years ago, Jason Aaron had the task to bring STAR WARS back to Marvel Comics. He had the job to write stories which fill in much of the time gap between the original STAR WARS film and THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. However, his comics like THE FORCE AWAKENS and other recent STAR WARS media, had an even bigger job: return us to that sense of wonder we had when the first movie came out in 1977. For the most part, Aaron succeeded wholeheartedly with this and STAR WARS comics are now perennially among Marvel’s best sellers. Now STAR WARS #37 serves as Jason Aaron’s final issue on the STAR WARS run which he started.

So how did the comic scribe’s work measure up here? Did the tone reflect the exciting adventures from Aaron’s early issues on this run? Or was STAR WARS #37 another throwaway story treading water before EMPIRE STRIKES BACK? Turns out that STAR WARS #37 was neither. The issue is a more grave and reflective story which expertly paves the way for Kieron Gillen’s turn as writer.

Wrath of SCAR


STAR WARS #37 pg. 3. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

The journey from the first STAR WARS to EMPIRE STRIKES BACK is the story of loss of innocence. In the first movie, we are set to believe that through sheer will and virtue, our heroes, Luke, Leia, and Han, can overcome whatever odds they are faced with. By EMPIRE, we realize that these characters are involved in a bloody intergalactic war which threatens to tear the galaxy apart. We finally see the price of all this violence. We realize that good isn’t always enough to overcome evil.

As Jason Aaron’s STAR WARS series shows how our Rebels wound up in the situation they find themselves in in EMPIRE, it is his job to show how the Rebel Alliance increasingly became more and more desperate. I have criticized Aaron’s previous issues for continuing to feel like they lacked any stakes. This issue finally remedies that problem when the SCAR troopers butcher legions of Rebels in some of the most tragic panels in Aaron’s entire run. Now we understand that the Rebels like Luke and Leia are putting their lives on the line. We see them realize that they have to be smart, not just moral, if they hope to win this war.

This issue also marked the return of Sergeant Kreel, one of Aaron’s best and criminally underused inventions. He reminds us that much of the galaxy sees the Empire as heroes trying to save them from chaos — chaos which the rebels started. Kreel represents the nobility and honor that persevered inside the Empire even under the Emperor’s evil eyes. The Sergeant’s will to do anything to protect his empire and his successes in this issue suggest that the Rebels have an uphill battle in upcoming issues.

The Sand Will Provide


Star Wars 37 pg. 28. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

To round up Jason Aaron’s work on STAR WARS, he, alongside Dash Aaron, wrote a story called “The Sand Will Provide.” I adore this story. I especially think the text written in the captions on every page is very inventive and intriguing. This comic is, in some ways, mostly focused on the prospect of sand. Hayden Christensen jokes aside, the Aarons paint sand as a force the Tusken Raiders in the Jutland Wastes of Tatooine revere. It’s not exactly that they worship sand, but they believe that the sand has a will of its own. It has powers above what they can understand and influences events around it.

I love this idea because it rings true to STAR WARS mythology. George Lucas created The Force to represent a phenomenon that all religions subscribe to. It’s the belief that there is something out there, a higher power which affects and connects all of us. What the Tuskens call the Sand or what the Lasat call the Ashla are all different personifications of the Force. STAR WARS #37 honors Lucas’ original philosophy with the Force as a universal energy that unites people across the galaxy no matter their differences and beliefs.

Art in STAR WARS #37

STAR WARS #37 involves several people working on the art. For the first story, series veterans Salvador Larroca and Edgar Delgado provide the pencils and colors, respectively. Salvador Larroca has pursued a risky style when drawing STAR WARS characters. He draws them photo-realistically, trying to capture the actor’s likeness on screen and copy it into a comic book. Sometimes this can work fantastically as it did in “Yoda’s Secret War.” However, over the last few issues Larroca’s work has often been hit or miss. Luckily, STAR WARS #37 is definitely a hit for Larroca. In fact he does some of the best work he has done in this comic. Due to Larroca’s emphasis on realism, he is terrific at capturing weight and a feeling of groundedness. This works really well when he has to capture our heroes melancholia in moments like page 22. The chiaroscuro shading as well as the dimmed colors by Delgado make this a much darker, grittier story for STAR WARS.


STAR WARS #37 pg. 22. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

For “The Sand Will Provide,” two newcomers to the series, artist Andrea Sorrentino and colorist Lee Loughridge provide an abstract and elegant look to the story. The art in this section is much more like brush strokes than the straight-edged style of Larroca. This makes sense as Larroca’s art needs to feel grounded to reflect the mood of his story. Meanwhile Sorrentino’s art has to reflect the philosophical and alluring nature of the text. Loughridge also does an exquisite job depicting the orange, yellow, and red hues of Tatooine while making each frame of the desolate desert feel unique.

Final Thoughts

STAR WARS #37 is quite the achievement for Jason Aaron. Not only was he able to end his run on this title on quite a high note, but he beautifully passes on the series to Kieron Gillen as STAR WARS descends into darker territories. Looking to the future, I’m fascinated to see what else this series will explore. If Jason Aaron’s series reflected the nostalgia of THE FORCE AWAKENS, will Gillen’s reflect the new tone of THE LAST JEDI? Only time will tell, but it looks like a good time to get Marvel STAR WARS comics when their books are this fantastic.

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