“THE SCOURGING OF SHU-TORUN” PART 3. LEIA leads her covert team deep into the heart of the royal palace of SHU-TORUN. BENTHIC leads the PARTISANS deep inside the horrific edifice of THE SPIKE. A rebel victory could cripple the Empire for good. A little scourging is one thing…but the death of a planet?
Written by Kieron Gillen
Art by Angel Unzueta
When we left Leia and the rest of the Rebels at the end of the last issue they had successfully initiated her daring, three-pronged plan to cripple Shu-Torun. Shape-shifter Tunga and C-3PO managed to obtain the scan of Trios’ eye which will help them lock down the planet and Leia couldn’t help herself by leaving a calling card: the queen’s own words to her.
As this issue opens, Luke, Benthic and his partisans are preparing to storm the Spike and set the explosives. But, before that happens, Tunga has another role to play, this time of Trios herself. Playing a monarch worthy of HoloNet, he infiltrates the Imperial retreat, captures the staff and enables the Rebels to infiltrate the system and take over the planet. I quite enjoyed humor in this part: from Leia being annoyed that Tunga looks great in a dress to Han commenting that the planet is the biggest thing he stole.
Once Trios is informed of a system-wide crash, she quickly puts two and two together. Needless to say, she is not too happy about the prospect of getting a dose of her own medicine.
Luke, Chewie, Benthic and partisans storm the Spire, which isn’t difficult with the advantage they have. However, the first cracks between the Rebels start to show when Benthic starts killing the prisoners. He insists they cannot leave anyone behind their backs, while Luke tries to reason with him.
Behind Rebels’ back, Benthic’s men have been looking into the system and have found a way to use the attack on Spire to tear apart the planet the way Jedha was. Everyone serving the Empire was complicit in that crime and the Shu-Torun have forgotten their guilt. Benthic intends to remind them of it in fire and make sure that they never forget it.
Well, it was too good to be true, everything going as smoothly as it did for the Rebels since they arrived on the planet. As it stands, the internal conflict will endanger Leia’s plan. And we should never forget that SCAR Squadron knows about her plan and that Trios herself is a capable player.
This arc has a distinct espionage vibe with a bit of Indiana Jones sprinkled in and, while exciting, I am much more enjoying the insight into the characters, Leia especially. Since we were introduced to her, she was presented to us as a capable and brave leader, so much so that it’s easy to forget how young she really is in this time period. Gillen shows Leia with a bit of an edge, keen to get back at Trios and reveling in every success. She interacts with the other characters with enthusiasm and humor of youth and it’s a good side of our Princess to see. It will be interesting to see how she will deal with imminent conflict with the Partisans and possible genocide they want to cause. Leia is all for teaching Trios a lesson, but she is not a murderer. I suspect that she will have to make some hard decisions in the process.
Additionally, I quite enjoy new, comic-exclusive characters that Gillen introduced, whether it’s scoundrel actor Tunga or mechanic Meorti. They provide much-needed texture to the Rebellion, after all, our three original heroes are not the entirety of it.
Among the art styles that veer on the side of photo-realistic, Unzueta’s is my favorite. He has a way of portraying micro-expressions that convey perfectly both Gillen’s intentions and characters’ moods. Coupled with Guru-eFX’s vibrant colors, his art is a perfect companion to Gillen’s words. The molten planet looks spectacular.
It’s great when things are going well for our heroes, but it’s more interesting when they don’t. The troubles await in the next issue, but until then…
THIS ISSUE GETS 7/10 STARS.