– Spoiler Review –
After managing to get readers, including myself, excited about the Star Wars mainline series again, Kieron Gillen and team are taking us on what looks to be another promising journey in the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” arc, which is part of a different type of crossover, starting with Star Wars issue #44.
“Mutiny at Mon Cala” finds our heroes at Mon Cala, of course, trying to persuade the planet to rise up, fight the Empire, and contribute their ships the Rebellion’s fleet. While we know this must eventually happen, considering the amount of Mon Cala ships in the fleet by Return of the Jedi, it doesn’t mean it was an easy process to get them to join, and we’re going to see here the tough road the Rebellion has to take to secure the Mon Cala’s assistance in the war against the Empire. It wasn’t until this issue where I came to the realization, that besides RotJ, Admiral Raddus’ ship, the Profundity, in Rogue One, and what looks to be Ackbar’s ship in Star Wars Rebels‘ “Secret Cargo,” there aren’t many other Mon Cala ships seen with the fleet, making the story of how/when they join up a question which could still be answered.
It seems Ackbar and Raddus are outliers from Mon Cala, as most of the planet stays acquiescent to the Empire because they hold the planet’s King (whose identity I have a guess on…) in their grasp, and any uprising would result in their beloved leader’s death, and destruction to rain down on the beautiful oceans of their world. Leia hopes the Regent Urtya will overcome this fear now that the Rebellion has dealt some major blows to the Empire, but he’s unwilling to take action, as while their mercantile fleet could join the Rebellion no problem, the planet would suffer the consequences, a point he makes by asking Leia if she’d still rebel knowing what would happen to Alderaan if she did (an answer we mostly know would be a sad, but resolute yes). Leia calls the mission for their recruitment off, but since she’s one to never give up hope, she formulates a surprising plan with a surprising ally: with help from Queen Trios, who revealed her Rebel leanings at the end of the previous arc, “The Ashes of Jedha,” Leia plans to spring the Mon Cala King out from the Imperials’ grasp, in the eventual hopes he’ll rally the planet to their cause.
This has all the makings for a fun adventure, while getting to explore Mon Cala again, especially with Admiral Ackbar getting in on the action, could be quite the blast. There’s already some intriguing bits in this issue, from the info that plant life on the sparse islands of Mon Cala is deadly, to peeks at Ackbar’s past and the planet’s reactions to his (and Raddus’) decision to join the Rebellion, which make this arc already worth the price of admission. And having Queen Trios kick in to help the rebels, so soon after her turn last arc, was a pleasant surprise, as I’m happy to see her again so soon, but it does make me worry for her because something tells me she won’t be an ally by the time The Empire Strikes Back rolls around.
As for this King, I’m thinking it’s actually someone we met before in canon. Back in The Clone Wars, season four premiered with a three episode arc set on Mon Cala, where the Republic helped the Mon Calamari fight against a Quarren invasion backed by the Separatists. By the end, Anakin, Ahsoka, Gail Ackbar, and Kit Fisto where instrumental in helping heir apparent to the throne, Lee-Char, survive the battle, but it was through the Mon Calamarian’s actions which got him elected King over both the Mon Cala and Quarren peoples. Lee-Char the last King we know of on Mon Cala, he was rather young so he didn’t die of old age since then, and Urtya’s titles include the fact as Regent he protects both peoples of Mon Cala, so the two sides haven’t divided since Lee-Char took over. It’s possible someone else could be King, and there would be nothing wrong with that, but it would be rather awesome to see Lee-Char’s story continue, even if it means it isn’t all sunshine and beaches.
In fact, we might get to see the story of how the Empire ended up king-napping Lee-Char, or whoever it might be, as this arc of Star Wars is a crossover with Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith‘s next arc (
first issue to be released 3/14/2018 UPDATE: It’s out now and Lee-Char is definitely the King in question!), despite it being set post-Revenge of the Sith, some 20 years earlier. In the Vader series, it’ll follow Vader’s efforts to bring Mon Cala to heel for the Empire, and what better way than to do a little king-napping, especially considering Vader’s been there before and knows the King, back when he was Anakin. Compared to the crossovers in the past, which despite liking their stories, I’ve felt the concept hasn’t been working so far (more on that in my 2017 year-in-review), this way of crossing two series over sounds more interesting to me and I’m very excited to see how it pans out.
Kieron Gillen is thinking 5 issues ahead already, so the set up and ideas running through issue #44 are an intriguing prelude to what he might have in store for the rest of this arc. Salvador Larroca (art) and Guru-eFX (colors) return once again, despite mine and many other fans’ desire to see Larroca off the series due to his over usage of tracing, but it doesn’t seem as bad this issue and it feels like a bit of return to form for my once favorite artist. While the tracing is still rampant, the coloring of their faces matches the rest of the art more, while having the character’s turned to the side so he only has to draw one half of their face helps add less tracing to the proceedings. It’s still a problem, but it’s getting better/easier to swallow, at the moment. On letters for this arc is Clayton Cowles, doing a fantastic job as usual and really giving Artoo an extra dose of personality. And a big thanks to Assistant Editor Heather Antos and Editor Jordan D. White, who have green-lit this promising arc and are trying something new, and exciting, by changing up how they approach crossovers.
Here are a few other things:
- Threepio’s excitement about listening to two royals talk, Queen Trios and Princess Leia, was the funniest part of the issue.
- What was up with those two giant monsters no one seemed to care too much about?
- Believe it or not, we’re only 6 issues away from the Star Wars series hitting issue #50 (!), and it seems the event will be marked with a big story arc, which has been teased by Jordan D. White in an interview over at Newsarama as, “…the biggest story in scope that we’ve done since the start of the flagship.” Whoa.
With Star Wars #44, “Mutiny at Mon Cala” gets off to a promising start, and continues the trend of making the series one fans will be excited to read again.
+ Plenty of exciting potential
+ Leia’s dangerous plan
Kieron Gillen — Ashes of Jedha (#38-43), Arc Review by Chris | Mutiny at Mon Cala: #45
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 (#21-25) | Yoda’s Secret War (#26-30) | Out Among the Stars (#33-37)
CURRENT SERIES COMIC REVIEWS:
Aphra (#1-6) | And the Enormous Profit (#9-13) | Remastered (#14-19) | Annual: #1
Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith
The Chosen One (#1-6) | The Dying Light (#7-10) | The Rule of Five (#11-12) | Burning Seas (#13-19)
Black Squadron (#1-3) | Lockdown (#4-6) | The Gathering Storm (#7-13) | Legend Lost (#14 – 16) | War Stories (#17-19) | Legend Found (#20-25) | Annual: #1