– Spoiler Review –
After the Star Wars series took an issue to introduce a new, deadly squad of stormtroopers, issue #22 begins “The Last Flight of the Harbinger” arc proper with the Rebellion attempting to steal a Star Destroyer. While not the best this series has ever offered, it does at least end on some tantalizing promises for where this arc can go.
As is usually the case, we join Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie in the middle of whatever mission they’re on next, but this one is a full scale assault on the Imperial Star Destroyer Harbinger. For all intents and purposes, to both the Imperials and readers who haven’t read the solicitation for this issue, this looks like a Rebellion attack meant to ultimately destroy the Harbinger, but really they are actually attempting to steal the damn thing. This is why they take such an unusual but interesting attack route, blowing a hole to get access to the main reactor and force the Imperials to evacuate the ship. In a stroke of both insanity and genius, which even Sana Starros quips is crazy even for Han’s standards, they jettison the overloading main reactor just as they jump to hyperspace, making it appear as if the whole things blows up and can be considered lost. It seems no one told poor Wedge (making his first appearance in the mainline Star Wars series, though he did show up in Princess Leia #1), who is left floating in the abyss, wondering about the fates of his dear friends. Seriously, no one trusted Wedge with this information? Was it all part of the ruse in case Imperials were listening in? Or did their jettisoning of the main reactor cut it too close and now everyone, including the Rebellion, thinks the Harbinger is lost with all those aboard?
While this issue was really all action, in a mostly entertaining but somewhat confusing way, once the issue slows down and comes to an end do we start to see the potential for the “Last Flight” arc. On top of the possibility that the 200+ rebel crew trying to fly the SD are going to be without support since the Rebellion might think they are lost, the group’s ultimate goal with the SD is unclear. They appear to be waiting for an Admiral Verette, whether he’s Rebellion or Imperial is unclear, but other than that they certainly plan on destroying something with their captured prize. Add in the fact that the Harbinger is in need of repair, the Empire possibly getting wise to the disappearances of shuttles it sends in the path of the ghost ship, and Han and Leia threatening to tear each other apart, there’s plenty of drama and mystery for the remainder of the arc to exploit.
Jason Aaron continues his run as the series writer, but the way everyone’s personalities somewhat reset here is a little disappointing. I get that this makes it easier for new readers to jump in at any time, but for those who’ve been reading since issue #1 it does feel odd that it feels like nothing’s changed with some of these characters despite all they’ve been through already. As for Jorge Molina’s work, I’m unfortunately not a big fan of the Saturday morning cartoon look for all characters not in helmets, something I noticed in #21 and hoped I’d maybe enjoy a little more in #22. Don’t get me wrong, in no way does the art ruin the issue for me, it’s just not really visually appealing to me. I certainly enjoyed the opening splash page introducing us to the battle around the Harbinger and other action shots throughout, highlighted by Matt Milna’s great color work, but my issues stem from the character faces. Normally I don’t have an issue if the artist takes some liberties with established character’s faces, but Molina takes it a bit too much out of my comfort zone. Check out a couple preview pages at the official site to see if this style is more your bag (and I’ve added one of the images here).
Here are a few other things:
- While the Scar Squad, introduced in issue #21, hasn’t shown up quite yet, I can only imagine they’ll be arriving to give our heroes another obstacle to hurdle come issue #23.
- I’m not entirely sure why, but I assumed Sana wasn’t going to be in this arc, but I’m very happy to have been proven wrong and that she’s sticking around for a bit (even if she doesn’t get to do much here other than make a few jokes).
- To be 100% honest, I liked how Han, Sinjir Rath Velus, Jom Barell, Jas Emari, and Chewbacca attempt to take over a Star Destroyer with spiders in Aftermath: Life Debt way better than the rebels’ plans here.
- One of the most curious and funny Easter eggs ever hides within the pages of issue #22: Willrow Hood, seen carrying his signature ice cream maker (which is Aaron’s doing, supposedly). For those unaware, Mr. Hood was just many of the background characters trying to abandoned Cloud City in The Empire Strikes Back when Lando advises everyone to leave, but he soon took on a whole life of his own once fans realized the thing he found most precious to take with him when fleeing the city was an ice cream maker. Eventually, Legends gave him a whole backstory, revealing he was smuggling sensitive data with details about Rebellion agents in the ice cream maker, with his efforts helping save vital parts of the Rebellion. And in our universe, there’s always a “Running of the Hoods,” at Star Wars Celebration (something I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing at both Anaheim 2015 and Europe 2016). But what exactly does Mr. Hood’s appearance on the Harbinger mean for his character in canon? Are they going to not only legitimize his story in canon, but make it even more epic and say he and his innocuous ice cream maker/smuggling device have saved Rebellion assets once again? Or is this just simply an Easter egg? I believe the answer will fall to your opinion, but personally I’m going to assume this means he’s been a hero for a lot longer than anyone ever realized, which means I’ll probably bow the next time the “Running of the Hoods” passes me by.
“The Last Flight of Harbinger” arc proper starts off a little rocky in Star Wars #22, but it makes up for it with non-stop action and how it leaves readers with a promise of more interesting things to come.
+ The promise of more
+ Willrow Hood Easter egg!
– Art doesn’t ruin the issue, but it’s not my taste
Jason Aaron – Skywalker Strikes (#1-6) | Old Ben’s Journals | Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon (#8-12) | Rebel Jail (#16-19) | The Last Flight of the Harbinger: #21 | #23 | #24 | #25 | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37) | Retrospective on Jason Aaron’s Run (#1-37)
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
The Screaming Citadel (crossover of Doctor Aphra and Star Wars on-goings)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found(#20-25)
Darth Vader: Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-12)
Vader (#1-6) | Shadows and Secrets (#7-12) | The Shu-Torun War (#16-19) | End of Games (#20-25) | Annual: #1
Vader Down (crossover of Star Wars and Darth Vader on-goings)
The Last Padawan (#1-6) | First Blood (#7-12)
Jedi of the Republic – Mace Windu (miniseries)
Captain Phasma (miniseries)
Darth Maul (miniseries)
Han Solo (miniseries)
Rogue One (adaptation)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (miniseries)
Shattered Empire (miniseries)
Princess Leia (miniseries)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (miniseries)