SWNN Review: Marvel’s Star Wars #19

CoverThis week marks the conclusion of the “Rebel Jail” story arc in Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars series by writer Jason Aaron and artist Leinil Francis Yu.  Read on for the full review. Spoilers ahead…


In the aftermath of “Vader Down”, Darth Vader’s associate Dr. Aphra was captured by Princess Leia, and in “Rebel Jail”, Aphra is delivered by Leia and Sana the mercenary to a hidden rebel prison that houses Imperial war criminals.  The institution gets its name, Sunspot Prison, from its proximity to a nearby star that masks its location from the Empire.


Suspot Prison Vista


Shortly after their arrival, a mysterious masked warrior breaks into the prison.  Aaron leads readers to believe that the new character has arrived for Dr. Aphra, but in a surprise reveal of his true motivations, he is actually a disgruntled rebel who has every intention of killing all of the Imperial prisoners on board and teaching Leia the error of her ways.  The newcomer has grown weary of the way that Leia continues to lead the Rebellion, believing the rebels to be fighting a war they cannot win unless their ruthlessness is equal to that of their enemy.


Eneb Ray Masked


The story finds Leia, Sana, and Aphra working together to survive the assault and to stop their new enemy from accomplishing his deadly goal, and in the final pages of the last issue (#18), Han Solo and Luke Skywalker came to the rescue, which is where we find our heroes in issue #19.  However, in a twist of reader expectations, we discover at the beginning of this issue that Luke and Han have been apprehended by the mercenary and once again prove that rescue attempts are not their strong suit.  But just like back at the Death Star, somebody had to save their skins, and the princess proves equal to the task.


Leia v Ray


This whole issue takes place in the prison’s hanger bay as things begin to come to a head in the conflict with the masked mercenary.  Han and Luke are bound to the Falcon while the trio of ladies are forced to confront the villain, who promises to let them go free if Leia executes Aphra.  Although Leia refuses to give any moral high ground, Sana is more than ready to comply and pulls her blaster on the doctor.


Sana Pulls Blaster on Aphra


Now, Leia finds herself having to reason with Sana as well, who despite her claims of it being “nothing personal”, is definitely harboring some ill will toward Aphra.  If there was any question before, it becomes more obvious in this issue that the two women previously had a romantic relationship, although Aaron is rather vague on the specifics.


We also discover in this issue the identity of the mysterious attacker.  For the typical Star Wars fan, the reveal of the masked man’s identity won’t mean a whole lot, but for those who read Star Wars Annual #1 last December, they may remember this former Rebel spy who posed as an Imperial on Coruscant.


Eneb Ray - SW Annual
Panel from Star Wars Annual #1


Eneb Ray is a completely different character than when we last saw him, both physically and mentally.  He has somehow become disfigured and disillusioned in his secret fight against the Empire, which no doubt has led to his more openly violent approach today.  He still hates the Empire and now will stop at nothing to bring it down, even if it means some collateral damage along the way.


Disfigured Eneb Ray


“Rebel Jail” has been one of my favorite arcs in Marvel’s Star Wars run to date and Yu’s art has been fantastic (even though I’m a little perplexed at the amount of thigh gap with Leia).  However, although I enjoyed it overall, I did feel that this issue was lacking a little in terms of bringing a wholly satisfying conclusion.  I liked the reveal of Eneb Ray, and Leia was appropriately awesome as usual, but there were many elements that fell flat for me.  It’s not that it was a bad issue – I guess I just had higher hopes for the conclusion of the story.


Hand and Luke Captured


In short, here is the plot of the entire issue: Leia fights Ray, Aphra fights Sana, Luke and Han are useless, and R2-D2 saves the day as always, giving our heroines the edge they need to succeed  and once again proving that Naboo did contribute something to the galaxy other than Jar Jar Binks, creepy lovesick Anakin, and ridiculous hair extensions. That is one extremely well put together little droid.  I was a little disappointed with the lack of Han and Luke in the issue though.  I mean, I get the whole girl power thing with this story line, but it was a little forced in the end.


R2 Saves the Day


This issue was okay, and is still a must read for fans following the series and especially the current storyline.  Otherwise though, I recommend just checking out the next story arc on the horizon, “The Last Flight of the Harbinger” which gets a nice little tease in the final pages of this issue.  The next story arc will feature an elite special forces unit of stormtroopers led by Kreel, the undercover stormtrooper that Luke encountered in the “Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon” story arc.  In the end stinger, the elite troopers arrive days later at an abandoned Sunspot Prison looking for one of their own, Kolar Ludd a.k.a. “The Depopulator”, who was subdued by Leia in issue #17.


Elite Special Forces


But before checking out the next arc in July, be sure to read the Journals of Obi-Wan interlude in Star Wars #20 next month.  For the other two Obi-Wan side stories, check out Star Wars #7 and #15.  Until next time, may the Force be with you.  Be sure to support your local comic shops and stay tuned to Star Wars News Net for more Star Wars comic reviews!


Next Issue-#20

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Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he's not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

Jordan Pate (Hard Case)

Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he's not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

3 thoughts on “SWNN Review: Marvel’s Star Wars #19

  • May 27, 2016 at 7:10 am

    Cant wait for see Obi-Wan give a lesson to the black wookie, i think the poor one will make it just cause Kenobi is not a murder.

    • May 27, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      Of course he will make it! We see him after ANH with a big fat juicy scar (forgot him already, didn’t you?) that I am going to bet is given to him by Obi Wan…

    • May 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Here’s a refresher:

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