– Spoiler Review –
Leia takes steps to bring her plan for spurring the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” to life while we see our heroes through the eyes of their biggest in-universe fans in another solid part of the newest Star Wars arc, issue #45.
There’s never been doubt Princess Leia can take charge of any moment and any situation, but it’s great that the Star Wars series has decided to put her at the head of this story, leaving all the decisions and ideas up to her in a plan to renew the Mon Calamarians’ spirits for rebellion. Last issue she reached out to Queen Trios to get the ball rolling, long before discussing the idea of freeing Mon Cala’s King Lee-Char from Imperial prison with the rest of the Rebellion, and it’s awesome to see her convince the Rebel High Council it’s their best course of action this issue. The biggest hurdle she has to cross is making everyone trust her source, whom she’s not revealing to anyone to ensure Trios’ secrecy, and I hope Leia’s trust isn’t misplaced because she genuinely thinks she’s helping Trios revolt in secret and I’m still not 100% sold on Trios’ turn; Vader did promise her planet to become the next Alderaan if she betrayed him, though without any Death Star to legitimately follow through on that threat for the moment, maybe Trios’ turn is sincere.
The idea to free Mon Cala’s King is Leia’s, but I did appreciate how, much like in the Rogue One round-table discussion about going to Scarif, the Rebellion High Command members are able to bounce ideas and thoughts off of one another to help make plans like this work. Their fix to one of the problems with Leia’s plans, getting the Sector Moff’s bio-signature as the final step to bypass security for the prison, has me really excited: General Draven suggests a shape-shifter operative! Beyond Attack of the Clones, and a minor appearance in a Forces of Destiny short, shape-shifters really haven’t been seen a lot, but now we get one front and center for this latest arc and I’m intrigued by the possibilities. Tungar, the male Crawdite shape-shifter, really highlights his character’s potential by first taking the shape of the now deceased Bail Organa, which earns him a mean punch to the face from Leia. But the idea Tungar could be running around over the next few issues makes me wonder what shenanigans Kieron Gillen will pull on us, making us think we’re watching one of the main characters die or something when it’s really Tungar, and I’m ready to see if he pulls anything fun/crazy like that.
While Leia’s off being the adult and figuring the Rebellion’s next moves out, what do the boys get up to? Drinking and shooting the shit with the pilots, giving us an opportunity to see the rest of the Rebellion, catching up with those this series has pushed to the side to focus on the Big Three, and making it clear the real decision maker of the group is Leia. Hearing about Leia, Luke, and Han’s adventures through the eyes of the regular pilots of the Rebellion brings not only their actions into context, but it normalizes our views of the characters as heroes because everyone else sees them that way too. There’s connections made to other events in the recent comics, like Hera Syndulla’s efforts to train pilots, which we saw a little of in Doctor Aphra‘s 17th issue, Luke still being sour about his run-in with the Queen of the Screaming Citadel, as seen in the last crossover, and a slightly adjusted list of pilots who perished at the Death Star that includes even a face from Rogue One. Having these moments normalized in chit-chat is a smooth way to sift them into the storytelling fabric, connecting stories that might have once felt disparate from one another. Gillen’s more serialized approach to this series is paying off in dividends, both by weaving Jason Aaron’s work into the greater tapestry and furthering his own plans.
“Mutiny at Mon Cala” is part of a ‘soft’ or ‘thematic’ crossover with the Darth Vader – Dark Lord of the Sith series’ latest arc, “Burning Seas,” where we’ll see how Vader brings Mon Cala to heel by kidnapping their King. Due to certain events in that series’ #13 issue, part of me believes King Lee-Char might not be as alive as everyone believes he is in the Star Wars series’ time period. Check out my review to find out why and don’t hesitate in picking up DLoS pronto because it’s been rather spectacular since issue #1.
While the writing continues to be superb, milk jokes and all, I think I spoke too soon about the art potentially turning around last issue. It’s still Salvador Larroca (art) and Guru-eFX (colors), and the tracing/photo referencing from Larroca dives way back off the deep-end again. There’s still some attempts to turn character’s faces to the side or throw shadows on them so a full face doesn’t need to be featured, but it takes a backseat to the overdone and overused tracing. It’s hard to stomach and looks terrible throughout, especially when I can pick out who it’s referencing from other media or even what scene from the SW films Larroca ripped a face from; I’m pretty sure a commander for the Rebellion is referenced with Peter Cushing aka Tarkin instead, there might be a Michael Hogan appearance (Saul Tigh in Battlestar Galactica), and even one from John Candy. If the story wasn’t finally worth investing into again, I don’t think I’d be buying this series anymore because this art plain looks bad and it feels so cheap. It’s horribly disappointing to see Larroca continue to do this when he could totally do good work without this crutch, and Guru’s colors don’t help the faces gel with the rest of the artwork again, further exacerbating the problem.
Here are a few other things:
- You’d think all the milk jokes were made due to the green milk incident in The Last Jedi, but due to how making comics work, Gillen hadn’t seen the film before making the jokes, something he revealed in his TinyLetter account. In said post, he also links to an interview he did about the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” arc over at Comic Book Resources, where he dives into the focus on Leia, Threepio’s big role, teases a new water planet, and once again hypes up issue #50 by saying, “…(it) is everything coming together and basically exploding. That arc is the biggest thing I’ve done in Star Wars.” Check out the interview for more!
- While the Hera Syndulla cameo, beyond some characters briefly talking about her, was great, it was freaking cool to see Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios in there as well!! When will we get Zeb and Chewbacca interacting, hey???!!? I can just imagine Hera and Han, leaning back against their friendly muscle, going back and forth over which ship is better while Zeb and Chewie growl at one another. Let’s make this happen, PRONTO!
- I’m wondering if the Moff in control of the Mon Cala sector is a name people might recognize and that’s why we haven’t been told it yet.
While Star Wars issue #45 is more set-up on top of last week’s, the dynamics with Rebellion figures we don’t seen enough of and Leia’s skills at getting things done keep the slow-down engaging, though the art makes reading things difficult again.
+ Leia’s leadership
+ Checking in with the rest of the Rebellion
– Art once again mars the experience
Kieron Gillen — Ashes of Jedha (#38-43), Arc Review by Chris | Mutiny at Mon Cala: #44 | #46
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 (#13-18)
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