Hello, folks! This week the titular Star Wars returns with it’s twenty-fifth issue and the final issue in “The Last Flight of the Harbinger” arc. Our heroes have finally arrived to help the people of Tureen VII, but unfortunately for them, Darth Vader and a few Star Destroyers were there to greet them (not to mention the capable Scar Squad of troopers). SPOILERS AHEAD…
Yes, that’s Sana Solo, and yes, she is kicking some ass. In fact, Sana is pretty much the best thing in this mediocre “Harbinger” series. I apologize for starting this review off on a negative tone, but the “Harbinger” series has left me feeling pretty flat. This fifth entry in the series is my favorite, especially in terms of art, so I didn’t finish “Harbinger” discouraged, by any means. The entire series was just dull, despite this actually being a pretty good issue.
Back to Sana kicking ass. She is handling herself just well against one of the Empire’s best Stormtroopers. We fans have all come to accept that most Storm Troopers are clumsy, but the elite in Scar Squad are certainly far from the poor aim of the bucket heads we see every week on Rebels. Sana’s not the only one fighting either. The Harbinger itself is in the midst of a massive TIE onslaught, and on every deck from the bridge down, we’ve got a few duels.
If, like me, you have grown very tired of the cheesy, hostile, and flirtatious exchanges between Han and Leia, you’ll be pleased they are not in the issue very much. When the pair are, they are mostly in situations like these, fighting to keep the Harbinger in one piece as they face an assault in every way. Leia is in communication with the X-Wings doing battle outside the Star Destroyer, and the battle is not looking good for the Rebels.
Ready for some more griping? Darth Vader does not need to show up all of the time. I get it, he’s looking for Luke and now that he doesn’t have to worry about pesky cyborgs or overbearing Moff’s (see Marvel’s Darth Vader books), Vader has more time to continue his pursuit. I understand Vader is the most iconic villain in the history of film and intuition would tell a writer to use him, but I feel very strongly that when it comes to his appearances, less is more. Hope someone in the Lucasfilm Story Group sends a memo to Marvel with the heading “LESS VADER”. In case you missed the last issue, Vader showed up to lend a hand to the large squadron of TIE Fighters while Sergeant Kreel subdues Luke to deliver him to the Dark Lord.
Kreel, who previously revealed himself as skilled with a lightsaber as Grakkus the Hutt’s Gamemaster, is toying with Luke. Luke is convinced he has tapped into the Force and is capable of using it, but Kreel is having no problem keeping him at bay. Kreel doesn’t waste time before beating the crap out of a Luke Skywalker far from the capable Jedi we later see in the saga.
Chewbacca is in a brawl of his own, and holding himself much better than his buddy Luke. To be fair, Luke does best Kreel, and it’s a great moment, so I won’t spoil that here. Chewbacca ends up taking care of business and also restarting the Harbinger‘s reactor by slamming the trooper into it. As we have learned, there’s not much you can do with Chewbacca in comic form, but he’s a good at moving the plot along when the story needs a brawl. Seriously…I’ve lost count of how many times we see Chewbacca dish out a serious beatdown in the various Marvel SW books.
Back to Sana. The fight gets a little more difficult for her, as she takes on the well armored trooper. It’s a close call, but you can see Sana gets the job done. The artwork by artist Jorge Molina and colorist Matt Milla of Sana in this duel is by far the best of the “Harbinger” arc. Sana is really throwing herself in fury at this trooper. I hope we get a lot more Sana. She is my favorite of the new characters introduced in these Marvel books, with Doctor Aphra being a close second. More Sana, please.
Sana and Chewbacca make it back to the Millennium Falcon, just in time to pick up Han and Leia as they were forced to exit the bridge. The Falcon makes it’s escape, but there’s still a few left behind. Artoo has ditched the Harbinger via an escape pod, and we find out later that Threepio has been captured by the Empire. It can’t be a good thing for the Empire to have a droid that pretty much knows every place our heroes have rendezvoused with the Rebel Alliance.
Another opinion of mine is that the more Vader and Luke come into contact, the more it diminishes that incredible moment when they meet on Hoth. I know there are years separating this occurrence from that one, but it still chips away at the tension in that moment. I don’t know about you guys, but I was pretty sure Bespin was their first meeting since the Death Star. Just another fanboy gripe and I hope these encounters become a more irregular thing. I don’t think this is much of a spoiler alert, but Luke gets away.
Well, you don’t want to disappoint a Sith Lord when he asks you to capture someone. In fact, you really don’t want to let down a Sith Lord when you are onboard a doomed Star Destroyer while he is circling said Star Destroyer in his TIE Advanced with his hands on the blaster trigger. Yes, Vader is pissed, and decides to finish the job of destroying the Harbinger, along with anyone aboard. You may think that’s the end of the Scar Squad, but keep reading and you’ll find that not only did they survive, but they did not come up entirely empty handed.
Oh yeah, and the planet Tureen VII is safe.
There’s also a mini-story in the back of this book. Titled “Droid Dilema” it’s a little story that follows Artoo and is dedicated to the memory of Kenny Baker. It’s a nice little addition to the book, but nothing to do with this or any other arcs.
Jason Aaron is a great writer, that’s why I was so surprised this arc didn’t do a little more for me. Aside from this issue, I really didn’t enjoy the artwork, especially of Han and Leia. Overall, it’s certainly not the worst of the SW comics, but I’m hoping now that the titular series will shift to different characters and a different time period, it jump starts the great stories Aaron usually tells.
Enough about “Harbinger”, let’s talk about the next issue of Star Wars. You all know me well enough by now to know I’m a big Obi-Wan fan. Not only are we getting more from the Journals of Obi-Wan, we are getting an entire arc of him recounting a mission Yoda went on in his early days as a Jedi. This is huge, people! We are actually going to get to a time in the SW Universe pre-The Phantom Menace. Canonically speaking, these are uncharted waters. I cannot wait for this and I’m sure Jelena, Jordan, and I will be flipping coins or drawing straws to see who gets to review them ;).