– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars‘ second arc, “Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon,” comes to a thrilling, exciting, action packed conclusion, including the full truth on Sana Solo, in issue #12. Oh, and R2-D2 coming to the rescue had way better results than I ever imagined!
Just as Han, Leia, Sana, and Chewie are ready to team up to rescue Luke, the Gamemaster’s Imperial pals show up, Grakkus unleashes a EMP blast while unveiling his true strength, and Kongo the Disemboweler is let loose to wreck havoc in the stadium. Things certainly aren’t looking good for Luke’s rescue and things get even worse as the Gamemaster, now revealed as Sergeant Kreel of Vader’s Fist, proves his superior fighting skill and causes Luke to be captured by the Empire. But, as was teased in #11, Artoo is biding his time on when to come to the rescue and when he does…wow. I expected him to pull off some cool stunts that no-one would conveniently see/notice, but instead Artoo grabs several lightsabers from Grakkus vault and arms Luke, Han, Leia, and Chewie with the ancient weapons. Yeah, you read that right: Han, Leia, and Chewie, who even dual-wields, battle with lightsabers! The giant panel, revealing them all holding the blades, brought one the biggest smiles to my face and I did my best not to just geek out right then and there. While we’ve seen Han roughly handle one in The Empire Strikes Back, and Chewie holding two is all sorts of awesome, the best part of this is finally seeing Leia handle the weapon that is essentially her birthright.
I’ve really enjoyed Immonen’s art in the this second arc, even more so than the artist from the first, and I’m happy he’s the one bringing us the short but glorious look at Leia wielding a lightsaber. Her action-orientated/practical outfit makes her look like a Jedi so much, especially when she rescues Sana from under some debris, it’s almost heartbreaking once one realizes there’s a real possibility this’ll be the last time she’ll be with a lightsaber/looking like a Jedi. And as unnatural as it might be to see her like one of the mystical warriors, it somehow just looks completely natural, as if it’s her destiny or something. Whether this is a tease of whats to come for her between Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens or it’s the last time we see her with a blade, the entire arc is worth reading just to see Leia as a pseudo-Jedi.
Those curious about Sana “Solo,” got a big portion of the answer in issue #11, but issue #12 settles her whole backstory once and for all: her real name is Sana Starros and after helping Han fake a wedding as a diversion while the rest of his team stole from a backstabbing crime lord, Han took off with her cut. Obviously there are still a few more details left to be uncovered about how things went so bad with the robbery, but for now the bigger questions have been answered. Overall Sana’s storyline started with an explosive entry, causing many to unnecessarily worry Han’s character was completely ruined, and it’s mostly come to decent conclusion. While this isn’t the first time we’ve seen the “Han owes someone money, they try to collect,” storyline, Sana’s has several more intriguing beats to it and finding out why she needs the money so badly makes me want her to stick around for a little bit more.
After Grakkus knocked out Luke in #8, I’ve kind of grown to like the Hutt, desperately wanting him to punch out a few more people, while hoping he gets his comeuppance. Like everything else in this issue, I wasn’t disappointed and Grakkus showed off strength and might we’re just not used to physically seeing from Hutts. Sergeant Kreel still manages to capture the Hutt, much to Vader’s pleasure, but it’s not before the Grakkus gets the better of several troopers who underestimate him (while a few members of the crowd stick around to place bets). Vader shows up at the end of the issue, inquiring Kreel about Luke and expresses how happy he is the Hutt helped the Emperor round up Jedi artifacts that they can now destroy. The Hutt gets to live, which I’m kind of excited about, but the wealth of knowledge about the Jedi stays out of Luke’s grasp. However, Artoo grabs Obi-Wan’s journal at least, which I’m assuming leads him to the planet Vrogas Vas, the setting of the “Vader Down” crossover event with the Darth Vader on-going series (who’s own twelfth issue did a little more in-depth set up for the event).
Here are a few other things:
- Now we have a better idea of why Dengar would be involved with the hunt for the Millennium Falcon in Ep.V, as he’s got quite the bone to pick with both Han and Chewie after they leave him in the dust of his own thermal detonator.
- This is how Luke got the idea for Artoo to hold his lightsaber in RotJ, I would guess.
- My only question is: how come Artoo and the lightsabers weren’t affected by the EMP blast? I could understand the lightsaber since they technically function due to the crystals, but I don’t understand how Artoo got away from it. Not complaining, but certainly curious.
- It must be a thing people like to see, as it seemed there were more than one being in the crowd hoping to see someone eat someone in the ring.
- Will Vader destroy all the artifacts in Grakkus’ vault or will Luke get a chance to visit them again and they’re mostly intact? I hope for the latter, but wouldn’t be surprised the former is what really happens (considering we see him crush a holocron in his gloved fist).
Star Wars #12 handles the second arc expertly, paying off all its storylines in fun and exciting ways, like giving everyone a lightsaber. I can’t fail to mention the creative team as well: Jason Aaron continues to have a handle on the adventurism from the films and how to write entertaining story threads, Stuart Immonen proves he needs to stay the series’ artist, while Wade Von Grawbadger and Justin Ponsor have been doing a wonderful job helping bring it all to life.
+ “But…they’ve all got lightsabers!”
+ Grakkus and the Gamemaster
+ Action/adventure at its finest
STAR WARS CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon: #8 | #9 | #10 | #11 | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger (#21-25)
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Poe Dameron (on-going)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)