– Spoiler Review –
Star Wars #23 provides some welcomed context to the rebel’s mission of stealing a Star Destroyer, Han and Leia’s flirting annoys everyone on the massive ship, and the SCAR troopers finally join the fray.
Issue #22’s action packed captured of the Imperial Star Destroyer (ISD) Harbinger by Leia, Luke, Han, Chewie, and Sana certainly was a lot of fun, but it was sorely missing some context. In its first several pages, issue #23 provides the vital information, introducing whose idea it was to steal such a massive warship and why they’d even want to do such a thing in the first place thanks to some flashbacks. When Admiral Ackbar, Mon Mothma, and General Dodonna bring the plight of Tureen VII to Luke and Leia’s attention, a planet which has been secretly helping the Alliance but somehow has been found out and put under Imperial blockade, both of them settle on the craziest idea around: steal a Star Destroyer. But their unique plan to steal the ISD, which relies on them overloading a reactor to force the Imperials to evacuate and then they’d swoop in and stabilize it, isn’t going so well. The backup reactor just isn’t cutting it, leaving them to either limp the ship to the planet as originally planned or find a nearby system to lay low and make repairs before heading to Tureen VII. Well, at least those are the two options as Han and Leia see it, and they decide to settle which plan to take with a little race. Meanwhile, SCAR squad makes an entry that only just teases the potential mayhem and misery they can bring against our heroes.
Jason Aaron was firing on all cylinders this issue, bringing me back to some of this series’ best Han and Leia fights (mostly in the earliest of issues), while capturing the tone of the films for the first time in a while (mainly because we’re back to the Big Three spending time with one another, not separated by light-years/Imperials/Hutts/nerfs). One of my favorite moments this issue had to be when Luke and Leia have a twin moment, arriving on the stealing a Star Destroyer conclusion to the Tureen VII blockade problem at the same time. Props to Dodonna and Mothma for calling them crazy, and rightfully so, but it was fun to see Ackbar support them exactly because it was crazy, while Mothma figured it had to be worth a shot if Luke and Leia wanted to do it. That’s an interesting contrast to how Mothma turns out to be towards Leia post-Battle of Endor, once they aren’t in a war anymore (seen in Aftermath: Life Debt). The Han and Leia flirting argument was definitely one of this series’ best and it was very easy to hear Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher yelling the lines at one another with faux-hate. However, the seriousness and grimness of Tureen VII’s situation is Leia’s biggest sticking point to continuing the mission, but she seems to suddenly forget her own argument when she starts the race Han suggests. The whole race left Leia feeling a little out of character and contradicted her point-of-view just moments earlier, but overall it was still a good bit of lightheartedness that just (for me) happened at the wrong time. If the scene had taken place during the flashbacks, where Han and Leia could’ve came to a similar argument discussing what to do if anything went wrong with the mission to come, then it wouldn’t have clashed with the seriousness of the planet’s plight and #23’s tone as much.
Between both the beginning of this issue and #22, keeping Sana Starros around seemed at best to give readers someone who has a funny and unfiltered opinion about the Big Three’s doings during this arc, i.e. like audience surrogate. Her annoyance with Han and Leia’s flirting was not only hilarious, it was also fun to have a not so ignorant character (unlike Luke) reacting to them since she’d call them out for their behavior. Also, her telling C-3PO her deduction and him totally dismissing it is one my other highlights from this issue; someone needs to get their human-cyborg relations unit worked on, methinks. But the true potential of keeping Sana around comes once she and Luke fly out in TIE fighters to investigate an incoming ship. There’s tons we don’t know about Sana and we get just a smidgen of a new detail, that she was on Coruscant at one point and stole a TIE fighter (!), but it gives me even more desire to learn about her past because it sounds like she’s lived a wild and unique life. Remember, this was the gal we first met using a voice activated gun to shoot off kneecaps in the search for Han Solo, and now we know she’s stolen a TIE from the Imperial capital, been in a relationship with Dr. Aphra, and got caught up in a job with Han as his fake wife which means the sky seems to be the limit with her backstory. On top of that, she’s quick on the uptake, immediately understanding what the derelict shuttle with the Alliance general strapped to the front means: a distraction.
The SCAR troops, introduced in a rather compelling tale in issue #21, have finally arrived and boy have they arrived in style. If their designs and attitudes didn’t already make you realize how unique and unpredictable these special batch of troops could be, strapping a person to the front a starship should certainly bring it home. I’m itching to see them finally go up against our heroes, who we all know can’t die besides Sana…which suddenly makes me fear for her life, though the creative doesn’t need to have these troopers kill off a character to be seen as “effective.” Despite not getting into any action quite yet, I found their arrival to be very interesting: one of the troopers asks Sarge a.k.a. Kreel if they should report the stolen Harbinger, which begs the question why he doesn’t seem to care to do so. Does he just think they’re that good they won’t need backup? And even more puzzling is how Kreel and SCAR squad found out about the Harbinger, as last issue we found out the Imperials think it lost though are questioning why investigative patrols keep going missing when coming across a certain area of space. Did he just connect the dots or did they found out inadvertently when they hijacked the Alliance general’s ship? I suspect we’ll get another flashback sequence to explain that a little more next issue.
As has been the case in the past, while I might not like an art style initially, I end up either tolerating it or liking it outright after an issue or two. I still dislike Jorge Molina’s work on character faces, but everything else actually is quite good. Two things I really like from him are: the way he has each character posed in a panel, as it really adds a whole extra dimension to a scene, giving emphasis either to the dialogue or what’s being left unsaid; the panel layouts and how space or lack thereof is used. Likewise, Matt Milla’s colors provide some really cool effects, especially in the opening pages’ reactor meltdown and later the TIE cockpit interiors with Sana and Luke. But as much as I’ve come to enjoy most of the art, the final panel of just the SCAR troopers when they enter the Harbinger actually makes them look out of place compared to the more Saturday morning cartoonish look the other characters have, even despite having such unique designs and proportions. I’m curious to see if it’ll be even more of a contrast once the SCAR troops are in the same panels as our heroes.
Here are a few other things:
- On my initial read through, I was totally confused why Leia and Han were racing out towards the hanger when they had both been basically below the bridge at the start. On my second read through I caught the all important part where Han says they have to race from one end to another. I was tearing through schematics the following night trying to understand their path but now I understand I just need to read a little better next time.
- It’s slightly disappointing to think we’ll only spend two real issues with SCAR squad against our heroes, as “The Last Flight of Harbinger” ends with issue #25 and then dives into an arc-long tale about Yoda!
- Did the Monsua Nebula sound familiar when Han mentioned it as a place to lay low and make repairs? It should, as that’s where Han and Leia hid out back in issue #5, before Sana joined them for the dizzying reveal that she was supposedly Han’s wife.
The context of the Star Destroyer stealing was welcomed, but the tone of that mission clashed a little with the lightheartedness of some of the events within Star Wars #23, while the wait for SCAR squad to join the arc is finally over!
+ Humor on point
+ SCAR squad’s distraction
– The timing of the race
CANON COMIC REVIEWS:
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 | #22 | #24 | #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)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-10)
Han Solo (mini-series)
Obi-Wan & Anakin (mini-series)
Shattered Empire (mini-series)
Princess Leia (mini-series)
Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir (mini-series)