Review – Sacrifice and Triumph of Mon Cala Fleet in Star Wars #49 - Star Wars News Net | Star Wars News Net
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Review – Sacrifice and Triumph of Mon Cala Fleet in Star Wars #49

Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Salvador Larroca

The Rebellion of Mon Cala takes flight! With the Empire on its back foot, the Rebel Alliance is poised to rise up in defiance. Could their ultimate victory be at hand?




When we left our heroes above Mon Cala in the last issue, a recording of the dying King Lee-Char caused open mutiny aboard the Imperial controlled Mon Calamari ships and prompted them to launch their entire fleet in a rebellion led by Admiral Ackbar. They are, however, facing the Imperial blockade and Leia fears that they will be decimated.


As this issue opens, things seem equally grim. But, while Leia cannot contact the Rebellion due to the Imperial jamming of transmissions, the Mon Cala regent, Urtya, manages to do so from the surface. He has found an answer to the question he previously posed to Leia: It’s worth rebelling regardless of the consequences, if it would make a difference.



The Rebellion manages to scramble a few fighter ships and comes to help Mon Calamari in an attempt to find a way to break the blockade against the overwhelming forces of Imperial TIEs and bombers. One of the X-Wings is flown by Wedge Antilles, and the Millennium Falcon with Luke and Leia on the turrets jumps into the fray.


While the battle rages, Ackbar has a plan that he knows might or might not work. He contacts the ship Aurora Flare and its captain Lila.



Those who have seen both Rogue One and The Last Jedi, might pretty quickly get an idea about what Ackbar’s plan is, especially when the ship starts evacuating. Naturally, the arrogant Imperial officers go for the kill, ordering the attack on the escape pods which is shocking even to a scoundrel like Tunga. Thankfully, the Millennium Falcon jumps to the rescue.



In another internal tie-in, the  Aurora Flare is carrying the load of coaxium, the hyperfuel introduced in Solo – A Star Wars Story. The Imperial captain calls off the attack, but it is too late.



With on of the Star Destroyers badly damaged, the blockade is breached and the Mon Cala fleet and rebellion fighters jump to hyperspace. The mutiny and successful fleet escape provoke Imperial retribution, killing Urtya in the process.


Back in the Outer Rim, our heroes are saying good bye to the impressed Tunga. He promises to Leia that he would make up to her for impersonating her father. He is planning to write an epic that will surely be a hit: Mutiny on Mon Cala.



Months later, in Mako-Ta base, the Rebellion is preparing the launch party for their new – 12 cruisers strong – fleet. Leia is happy and proud because the fleet proves that the Empire had failed to scare the galaxy into submission with the Death Star. Instead, it united it. She is grateful to queen Trios for her help which enabled their success and is also touched by Trios’ affirmation of friendship, which is something coming from a woman who grew up without anyone to trust on Shu-Torun.


After Leia leaves, Trios opens a communication channel. The code is (quite ironically): “There was no other choice.” And the trap for the Rebellion is set.



Oh, boy! We should have seen it coming, right? While a few select Mon Calamari cruisers were always part of the Rebellion, the fleet never was. So, what happened? We are sure to find out in the next issue when the arc titled Hope Dies begins. Check out this excerpt from Kieron Gillen’s press release on April 17 this year:


“When I was asked to take over the book, having a big story for the magical issue #50 was very much in my goals,” said Gillen. “As such, I’ve spent the first twelve issues building up to this, which is basically the biggest story I’ve told in Star Wars. It’s an event-level tragedy on an epic scale, and it’s designed as the key bridging piece between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. I also haven’t written Darth Vader in ages, so now’s the time to start having my lightsaber fun again!”


However, as exciting as it is, that is for the future. Let’s talk this issue.


As the culmination of the arc, the issue is action, space-combat heavy. I often criticized Larroca’s art in these reviews, but I must give credit where credit is due. While I still have the problem with his hyper-realistic faces, drawing action scenes in space is undoubtedly his strength and Guru-eFX’s coloring only enhances them. The Falcon and X-Wings have rarely looked better in a comic book.


The theme of sacrifice/self-sacrifice continues to permeate the new canon. From the hammerhead cruiser in Rogue One, Vice-admiral Holdo in The Last Jedi to Commodore Agate in Aftermath: Empire’s End and even Val in Solo, the new Star Wars canon is full of leaders and heroes who offer the ultimate sacrifice. And whether Ackbar was inspired by Raddus or not, it’s hard not to draw the parallels. Rest in peace, Lila, we hardly knew you.


Gillen brings the arc to a satisfying close, while giving us suspense, action, pathos as well as humor and triumph – all before he immediately pulls the rug out from under us.


Queen Trios has been a fascinating character since her first appearance in Darth Vader Annual #1. She was smart enough to survive Darth Vader and gain, it seemed, a certain amount of autonomy. In retrospect, you could never really tell where she stands and it’s even harder to tell now whether any of her help to the Rebellion was genuine or always a part of Vader’s plan. What was always clear is that Trios is a survivor. Her betrayal will certainly strike a serious blow to the Rebellion and a personal blow to Leia who brought her into it.


It was really hard for me to rate this issue. While the entire payoff is satisfying, I feel that Gillen has written better issues. At the same time, after that ending, he will most certainly write even better issues in the near future.



In the end, I am giving this issue 7/10 STARS, while at the same time urging you to pick up the next issue which promises not only explosive storytelling but also a lead-in to the events of The Empire Strikes Back.





Staff member, comic and book reviewer. Cheers for the Light Side, but would drink with Grand Admirals.


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