The penultimate issue of Brian Wood’s Star Wars puts the chief characters into position for their finale. Continuing directly from the previous issue, Wood and the artistic creative team maintain their high standard in focusing on the heroes and villains of Star Wars not long after the events of A New Hope, and this time, we also get to see a cameo of Boba Fett!
On a mission leading a group of her stealth Grey Squadron, Leia and her team are detected by an Imperial fleet, including an Interdictor Star Destroyer preventing them from leaving the system via lightspeed. As they are overwhelmed by TIE Fighters, the group fights against the odds. But in these precarious maneuvers, their actions could end up resulting in disastrous consequences for them and the Rebellion.
Having detected a warning in the Force from Obi-Wan Kenobi about Leia’s predicament, Luke Skywalker – operating against orders – has decided to take off in his Grey Squadron X-Wing in search for her. Accompanying him as his wing-mate is Prithi, who is so Force sensitive that she also heard and saw Obi-Wan’s message. Though their appearance is very short in this issue, it deepens the mystery of Prithi.
Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewbacca are in the lower depths of Coruscant, in hiding and on the run from the Empire. Cognizant that bounty hunters and Imperial troops are searching for them, they need a new plan to get off planet and back to the Rebels. Entering a seedy cantina, opportunity seems to present itself, along with a slur from an alien that some may remember as a constant insult used in another successful Sci-Fi franchise…
Brian Wood’s writing continues to be solid with this series, though with this issue, we are subject to the dilemma of the chess game of the writer playing the main pieces to where they need to be for the conclusion. It’s a transitional case essentially, but is not without its excitement. The X-Wing battle is absolutely superbly written and thought out, and is a delight to read.
But the battle is especially conveyed to life by the artwork. Carlos D’anda and Gabe Eltaeb maintain their standard in this issue, and truly elevate the writing with their renderings, while allowing the transitions to take place. This creative team is a solid one, and for most readers, on the surface these transitions will be seamless. Distinctively, D’anda is heavier with his own styling this particular issue, straying further from the high likenesses of the actors from the original series – this is no criticism, in fact, it’s smart: warming the readers up to your style.
There is no earth-shattering conclusion in this issue, and the cliffhangers (if you can call them that) are mild. These are not spoilers by the way, the issue just concludes in this manner, leading on to final issue to be released next month. Despite this, this chapter does conclude with a short scene between Darth Vader (his only appearance in this issue) and the mysterious Birra Seah, who may have some suspicious connections to another Rebel we’ve been introduced to.
There are so many elements at play here that I feel that Wood, D’anda, and Eltaeb are playing the “long game” with this series. They’ve introduced several strands that I’m uncertain they will be able to tie up in the next issue; which leads me to believe they are opening up further elements and introducing them early for future story arcs. Either way, it’s intriguing, and I am willing to bet that we’re going to see more of this new continuity as time progresses.
Overall, the new issue is a fun read, with a stellar X-Wing/TIE confrontation that has much excitement and is illustrated beautifully. The Coruscant Underground is wonderfully presented, as is the new character who meets Solo and Chewie, and I am hoping to see more of her. The transitional element of the story may stand out to the hardcore fans, and those who read this one may well want to know there is very little in the way of Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader in this issue. Despite this, it’s still a fun read, it moves the story along, and the artwork is brilliant. It’s not the best chapter in Brian Wood’s Star Wars thus far, but it’s still worth the read.