The continuing adventures of Leia, Luke, and Han keep on going in this week's issue of Star Wars by Brian Wood. At least we get a sense of some plot development, and some interesting insight into Wedge. Also, Mon Mothma gets hands-on!
The ongoing Star Wars series is starting to feel a bit... ongoing with Star Wars #10 (DarkHorse.com profile). We have three separate storylines happening, and at least we are starting to see the end of the line for two of the character stories, while the third is blowing up big as the Empire catches the Rebel fleet. Spoilers ahead!
Summary: Aboard the Devastator, Wedge tells Luke his own regrets for not fraternizing the way fellow fighter pilots Luke and Prithi have. A X-Wing arrives back at the fleet, signalling for Mon Mothma. It's Prithi, barely surviving the loss of life support from her mission backing up Luke and Wedge, but Mon Mothma realizes that she's led the Empire to the fleet's location. Over Coruscant, the Falcon finally ditches Boba Fett by going out of atmosphere, and Perla guides Han to a hideout spot. Aboard the Resolute at Alderaan, Leia declines to kill Tag, the Alderaanian who helped design the Death Star's superlaser, despite his own wishes to pay for his crimes. Upon learning Luke's upbringing, Vader orders Birra Seah to devote all resources capture him alive as Skywalker is way more valuable than the known Rebel Wedge Antilles. The Devastator arrives at the Rebel fleet, and Col. Bircher launches all fighter wings, and hops in a TIE himself, hoping to win the day through superior piloting. But two of his TIEs are being piloted by none other than Luke and Wedge, using this as their escape plan.
Review: Finally, the Han Solo / Boba Fett clash has come to an end, after starting several issues ago. While pitting these two against each other is cool, it got dragged out a bit longer than it needed to be, especially with the timing of the actions of the other stories. Leia's arc wraps up unexpectedly - she just leaves, and will have someone else deal with both the Resolute's collection of Alderaanian relics, and the war criminal / countryman Tag Rogaren. While we've seen Leia gun down an Imperial pilot in cold blood, killing an unarmed war criminal who gives her tea is a step beyond. Hopefully this isn't the last we'll see of Tag Rogaren. He does have a large ship, after all.
But the real meat here take place on the Devastator: Wedge moves from feeling a little envious of Luke and Prithi to being reminded of all the loss that he's endured, an opportunity with a lady friend regretfully not taken, and the loss of the entire squadron of friends at Yavin. And he thinks of the name Rogue Squadron to rename Leia's stealth squadron and allowing the Red Squadron name to be retired in honor of those lost at Yavin. Meanwhile, they also discuss Prithi's professionalism - and she pulls through, sort of - she makes it back to the fleet, nearly unconscious, but her presence gives Mon Mothma the warning that the Empire is closing in, and it's time for battle stations. Is this part of the plan to extract Luke and Wedge? Or have things gone horribly wrong?
And then the revelation to Vader of the identity of the lesser Rebel, Luke Skywalker, raised by Owen and Beru. This definitely puts Skywalker on Vader's map.. as the only thing on the map, at least from Birra Seah's point of view. Will she have to sabotage Bircher's command just to keep Luke alive?
I really enjoyed the Wedge - Luke dialogue, both in the beginning, and in the end, as they prepare to fly TIE Interceptors - something Luke has never done before. There's references to Biggs, and Wedge drops a name of the one that got away. Also cool to see Mon Mothma taking action - not one to just lead from on top, she's tries to resucitate Prithi after she is pulled out of the cockpit, and gives military orders as she quickly pieces it together. Good stuff here from Brian Wood.The comic does pull a little bit of a tease with an unknown X-Wing approaching the fleet, calling for Mon Mothma - is it Leia? is it Prithi? is it someone else?
Carlos D'Anda returns to handle the art, with Gabe Eltaeb on colors and Michael Heisler on letters. There's some great expressions on Wedge as he goes from vengeful to mournful, set against a two-page giant launch bay of TIEs. While Mon Mothma doesn't quite seem right in some shots, she gets a dramatic pose in her last scene - her gown makes her seem like an queen of ancient Greece. Then there's that final page of TIEs launching. Nice!
Hugh Fleming's cover art - Great stuff, I'm always a fan of his style.
Overall, things heat up with the Empire about to strike back against the Rebels. I'm glad the Han and Chewie storyline is finally moving onto new things, and we'll see if the Leia mission is done.. or not.