Monday, 5 September 2016

Star Wars, Volume 3: Rebel Jail Review (Jason Aaron, Kieron Gillen)


Following Vader Down the Rebel Alliance has captured Darth Vader’s accomplice Dr Aphra and Leia and Han’s ex-wife Sana are transporting her to Sunspot Prison - except a blast from Leia’s past is waiting for her there for a surprise reunion! 

Jason Aaron’s third Star Wars book is his weakest one yet. As talented as he is, even he can’t make Leia an interesting character - that’s why her solo series was the worst one in the Marvel relaunch - and Sana and Dr Aphra are even less so. Watching them survive in the prison was so boring and predictable. You know nothing’s going to happen to Leia as this is set between A New Hope and Empire and I couldn’t care less what happened to the other two. Leinil Yu’s art is pretty though. 

Han and Luke’s storyline was even stupider. Remember Leia’s line in Empire when she calls Han a “scruffy-looking Nerf herder”? This is the story behind that line. WHAT!? I know, it’s ridiculous! 

Kieron Gillen unexpectedly writes the best issue in the collection with the opening one-shot annual (his Darth Vader series is very poor). It’s about a Rebel spy called Eneb Ray who infiltrates Imperial-controlled Coruscant and attempts to assassinate the Emperor. Despite my loathing Coruscant for its prequel association, it’s an exciting swashbuckling adventure to read and I loved seeing the Emperor get more involved in the action! 

The volume closes out with another addition to Obi-Wan’s story from when Luke was a kid on Tatooine. It’s still dull and the only good thing about it was Mike Mayhew’s beautiful art - please hire him to draw more of your comics, Marvel! 

It’s a minor positive too but I loved how Vader Down was self-contained - it crossed over with Aaron’s Star Wars but none of those issues are reprinted here, they only appear in the Vader Down book. I wish Marvel did that with all of their events instead of double-dipping issues for both the collected event book and the titles it crossed over with (DC’s guilty of this greedy behaviour too). 

There isn’t much great story here but the artwork is first-rate throughout. Aaron’s Star Wars is still worth reading if you’re a fan but don’t expect much going into Rebel Jail.

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