– Spoiler Review –
With Star Wars issue #25, “The Last Flight of the Harbinger” comes to an end, and even if it’s a snappy, action-packed issue, it’s not enough to save this arc from being one of the series’ first disappointing ones. However I did find something else to enjoy about this issue: there’s a bonus one-shot story made in honor of Kenny Baker, the actor who brought R2-D2 to life for so many years.
Just when all looks lost for our heroes and their mission to deliver supplies to Tureen VII, due to SCAR squadron ruthlessly taking over the Harbinger and putting everything in jeopardy, our heroes end up winning anyways. The supplies are delivered and (mostly) everyone manages to get away live, while the SCAR squad faces the wrath of Darth Vader for failing him in numerous ways. However, in an attempt to redeem themselves, they reveal they’ve captured….C-3PO.
There was not a lot of meat to this final issue, as action and resolution ruled the roost, bringing the arc to a rip-roaring conclusion. But how quickly this all ends came to the detriment of SCAR squad, as I couldn’t help but join in Vader’s disappointment of his highly skilled and trained stormtroopers. Things started off good for the SCARs in their introduction issue, #21, as it revealed a complex backstory for Kreel and the potential to learn more about each specific member of this new team too. In what was essentially a 4 issue arc afterwards, SCAR squad appears in the final two issues: one to show their might and skills and the other to have them quickly defeated by Luke, Leia, Han, Sana, Chewie, and Artoo. I’m happy Vader’s presence didn’t diminish their threat to the heroes, and even happier he didn’t step in besides flying his TIE, but to have a big introduction to these supposedly smarter, better, quicker, stronger stormtrooper and for them to miss the mark as easily as normal stormtroopers did more than enough to diminish their ability to be presented as a threat to our heroes to the reader. Had this arc ended with the rebels’ mission unsuccessful, the new SCAR squad would’ve lived up to the reputation they were supposed to have, both to the heroes in-universe and those reading this series. Don’t get me wrong, I still like their various personalities and designs, as they are far more interesting than more stormtrooper grunts, and that they can be used as reoccurring villains for the heroes to fight against (to help avoid doing to Vader what happened to General Grievous early on in The Clone Wars), but now I feel like their potential has been wasted at the moment.
Stealing Threepio is at least a slightly interesting outcome, as I’m already wondering how they’ll use the droid to lure out their targets and harass the rebels in the future, but I don’t have a real desire for this series to start telling that story. We know Threepio will come out alive (and eventually in one piece) and all the heroes won’t suffer, so beyond some more fun action sequences and Han and Leia bickering with one another, what else can this series do that its readers haven’t already seen for the past 25 issues? The upcoming Yoda arc is a great change of pace, for starters (more on that below), but that’s delaying a return to the problem, not fixing it. I’m unsure of how many more arcs I can read before “our heroes are in trouble but we know they’ll come out on top anyways” gets a little old hat, no matter how many interesting villains you throw the heroes’ way or fun, foreshadowing filled tease moments you pack into a panel. But if you can’t ever really give any real threat to the plight of the heroes, because we know each one of them (minus Sana) will live, then at least try to keep the series fun and engaging, something “Harbinger” failed to do.
It wasn’t all bad though, as there were a couple bright spots here and there. Sana’s parts, from her realization she might be warming to the rebels to her brief battle with Mic (I believe that’s who she faces), her sections did not disappoint in building her character up a bit while giving her a chance to shine. Luke’s first real Force push, or at least giant telekinetic event, helps make the wide-eyed youngster in A New Hope take a step to the more impatient and brash warrior wannabe in Empire Strikes Back as his outburst comes from an emotional place (aka the dark side). Artoo getting to save the day, as usual, and doesn’t even take any credit for it. And lastly Sana’s interruption of what was the best Han and Leia moment this arc has delivered.
Bonus One-shot Review: “Droid Dilemma” by Chris Eliopoulos and Jordie Bellaire – In Memory of Kenny Baker. In a surprising, but welcomed move, Marvel has included a remembrance to Kenny Baker, Artoo himself, who passed away earlier this year. “Droid Dilemma” is lighthearted and goofy to the eyes, much like Eliopoulos and Bellaire’s BB-8 one-shot in Poe Dameron #1 was, and it shows how it’s not always easy for the droid hero to get around when we typically aren’t following him on-screen. Delightful and simple, there’s not much else to say about this short besides it’s a welcomed addition to the issue.
Here are a few other things:
- The Yoda arc starts with issue #26 and, as Jason Aaron revealed in the original announcement, “we’ve got a lot of stuff going on that’s really setting up stories that will be playing out for the next couple of years in the book.” I’m not only excited to see a tale revolving around Yoda, as Yoda: Dark Rendezvous is still one of my favorite Star Wars novels to date even though it’s Legends now, but it’ll be interesting to see if myself and other readers are able to pick out the hints Aaron’s teasing are within. But before we dive into that, the Star Wars series’ second Annual issue drops November 30. The last Annual felt like a standalone tale until it tied into a following arc, leaving me to wonder if the same will happen with the second or they’ll let it stay a standalone tale this time around, especially if the Yoda arc is supposed to be setting things up for the stories ahead.
- It’s no secret I’ve not been a fan of the art this arc and nothing in the final issue managed to change my mind. It’s not been bad, not by a longshot, but its cartoonish style clashed too much with the story’s tone to ignore.
In Star War #25, the SCAR squadron comes away a disappointment as the series hits its first real hiccup of an arc. There are brighter things to look forward to in this series, but the questions about how much longer this can go on simply can’t be ignored anymore.
+ Some fun, little moments
– SCAR squadron falls flat in first arc appearance
– Questions begin to rise about how much longer this series will go
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 | #22 | #23 | #24 | 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)