War Gets Gritty in Star Wars 37

by Taylor Anderson

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

One of the things that sets Rogue One apart from the other Star Wars movies is just how gritty it is. This isn’t a movie with whirling Jedis and fuzzy Ewoks. Most people who see it comment on just how much of a “war movie” it is — which is to say it forgoes the more family-friendly entertainment in favor of action that is grueling and violent. Star Wars 37 follows much in this same and while it might not be as compelling as Rogue One, it’s still a welcomely fresh take on the Star Wars universe.

Sergeant Kreel is the leader of SCAR Squadron, a group of stormtroopers handpicked by Darth Vader to crush the rebellion. Having failed in their first mission to capture Luke, Vader sends them out again with the ultimatum that if they fail they die. The troopers are lethally effective, killing rebels with ease and taking no prisoners in their fight. The way in which they accomplish their goals is a far cry from what Star Wars fans have seen on the screen. Jason Aaron and Salvador Larocca clearly are trying to show that these ain’t your mother’s stormtroopers.

The result is a squad of stormtroopers that feel both scary and competent. The fact that they are able to actually win a battle against a rebel force helps with this cause, but by far what most accomplishes this is how they win. They don’t take prisoners, they just kill them and have the blood splattered on their armor to prove it. Afterward, they scrawl boastful graffiti on walls in a display of bravado more reminiscent of terrorist groups than a state-sanctioned fighting unit.

This helps to make issue 37 feel gritty in much the same way Rogue One feels gritty. It shows that the war between the Rebellion and the Empire is not simply a war between good and evil. The war is a beast unto itself that dehumanizes and kills in equal measure. Not even the goofy imagery of a stormtrooper swinging a lightsaber can undo that.

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