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The murder of their beloved king at the hands of the evil Empire has inspired open revolt on Mon Cala!

Thanks to a timely counterattack by Admiral Ackbar as well as the heroics of Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo, the Mon Calamari’s powerful fleet now stands ready to fight for peace and justice with the Rebel Alliance.

Armed with new ships and new allies, the Rebellion is finally poised to take back the galaxy from the Empire in earnest. But the Rebels also owe their recent victory to Queen Trios of Shu-Torun and her defection to their cause. But Trios may have plans of her own….

Star Wars #50 is not only a landmark for the series but furthering some of Kieron Gillen’s best writing in the Star Wars universe. “Hope Dies” adds another chapter to what appears to be rapidly evolving into a masterwork in storytelling. The issue features two stories divided by a celebratory interlude by Assistant Editor Tom Groneman which features a cover gallery for all 50 issues.

Hope Dies, Part 1

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Inker: Salvador Larroca, Cam Smith
Colorist: Guru Efx, Javier Tartaglia
Letterer: Vc Clayton Cowles
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Penciler: Giuseppe Camuncoli, Salvador Larroca

The first story, “Hope Dies”, picks up from the foreboding conclusion of the “Mutiny on Mon Cala” story arc to find the Rebel Alliance basking in the afterglow of victory. The exhilaration is quickly extinguished by a shroud of treachery that Queen Trios of Shu-Torun unfolds. An act of cold-blooded betrayal learned under the tutelage of her puppet-master, Darth Vader. The Rebels find themselves in a position that is not only hopeless but terrifying as their fate is mercilessly dangled in front of them by a vengeful Empire.

The dreaded Death Star superweapon is no more, destroyed by Luke Skywalker and the heroic Rebel Alliance.

The Evil Galactic Empire’s most feared enforcer, Darth Vader, is charged with rooting out the Rebels and restoring order to the galaxy.

But with every victory against Vader and the Imperials, the more dangerous the Rebels become…

Shu-Torun Lives

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Penciller: Giuseppe Camuncoli
Inker: Cam Smith
Colorist: Java Tartaglia
Editor: Mark Paniccia

The second story, “Shu-Torun Lives”, provides the reader with the background for the plot against the Rebellion. Not surprisingly, we find it having been masterminded by Vader to be carried out by Trios, his villainous pupil. The reader is witness to her desire to please her master has no limits.

To describe the story Kieron Gillen has brought to the series as “epic” is not an understatement. Since taking the helm from Jason Aaron, Gillen has taken us from the groundwork lain in the “Shu-Torun War” from his 2015 “Darth Vader” series, through the “Ashes of Jedha” (SW Issues 38-43), dove into the seas of “Mutiny On Mon Cala” (Issues 44-49), and continues to unravel from the Mako-Ta Space Docks (Issue 50 and beyond). The story fits comfortably and provides a bridge from the original characters we know in the films to those that have formed in later tellings of the tale such as Hera Syndulla (Rebels). The story continues build enough intrigue and excitement for the reader to anxiously await the next issue.

Since Issue 26, Salvador Larroca’s photo-realistic style has been brilliant but seems limited in character expression. Nevertheless, he still captures a cinematic feel matched with exceptional detail that has been well favored in the series. The coloring by Guru-eFx gives a lot depth to Larroca’s art but at times brings out those awkward moments of limited expression. These traits are reflected in “Hope Dies” but certainly does not diminish the story or the quality of artwork.

For “Shu-Torun Lives”, Kieron is teamed with the pencilling of Guiseppe Camuncoli and coloring by Java Tartaglia. Camuncoli and Tartaglia are distinctly opposite the “Hope Dies” crom in that the detail is a bit diminished but greater clarity in character expression. However, both creative teams are perfectly match to the narrative of their stories.

Although ‘Hope Dies” in the story it continues to thrive in the series. It’s been an interesting ride through the first fifty issues and it will be exciting to see what the next fifty will bring.