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Queen Trios of Shu-Torun, instrumental in outfitting a powerful new fleet of Mon  Calamari ships for the Rebel Alliance, has betrayed her new allies by sabotaging their cruisers’ vital systems and selling the rebels out to the evil Galactic Empire.

Although Trios has evaded capture by Princess Leia, the rebels have discovered that the devious queen’s sabotage did not disable the fail-safes of their hangar bay doors, which will unseal should any fighter broadcast a rebel signal.

With comm systems down across the fleet, the Rebellion’s only hope for survival rests with Han Solo’s ability to fly his way through the battle and deliver that information to Luke Skywalker and the other pilots. But first, Han’s got to shake Darth Vader off his tail….

Writer:  Kieron Gillen
Artist:  Salvador Larroca
Colorist:  GURU-eFX
Letterer:  VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist:  David Marquez  & Marta Gracia
Cover Artist (Action Figure Variant):  John Tyler Christopher
Cover Artist (Galactic Icon Variant):  Rod Reis
Editors:  Tom Groneman; Mark Paniccia; EIC:  C.B. Cebulski
Publisher:  Marvel Comics
Retail Price:  $3.99
Release Date:  August 1, 2018

We immediately plunge into Vader’s pursuit for the Falcon at the opening of Issue 52.  The issue is nothing short of a scene from the films. All that is needed is some John Williams scoring and the reader will feel like they were in the theater. Interplayed with the Sith Lord’s chase  are the goings-on among the immobilized Rebel fleet as they continue their desperate search for escape.  Solutions are starting to appear, however, they require time and that is certainly not a luxury they have inherited.  It’s up to Captain Solo to improvise a message delivery system that is certainly his style but I doubt L3-37 would have approved.

There is no question we are in the Star Wars universe as Kieron Gillen continues incorporating dialogue, personalities, and action that are consistent with the films.  The brilliant passing of the torch from character-to-character as the story proceeds is brilliant.  The chapters in the “Hope Dies” arc flow smoothly in continuity. He leaves the reader anxious for the next chapter by maintaining the tension of the narrative at just the right torque.  This precise tuning has the reader with a vision of hope on the horizon as we march into the next month’s issue.

Salvador Larocca and GURU-eFX is once again overwhelming the senses with their artistry and coloring.  The frame-by-frame pursuit and countermeasure between Vader and Solo are brilliantly portrayed with a balance of pace and visual stimulation.  The images carry the action without words. The dyad continues producing high quality artwork to match high quality storytelling.

I finished the issue and reminisced on how fantastic this series has been. If you are looking to introduce a Star Wars fan to the comic medium or change the opinion of a naysayer of the contribution of comics have to the Star Wars universe, the “Hope Dies” arc is a perfect starting point.