Review – The Rebels And Partisans Meet A Divide In Marvel’s Star Wars #65
Things are heating up on Shu-Torun…literally. Bad puns aside, Leia Organa leads a mission to bring down Queen Trios for her double cross that cost the Rebel Alliance a promising fleet. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so our heroes enlisted the help of the late Saw Gerrara’s Partisans. The Partisans have played along with the conventions of war the Rebel Alliance adheres to but it was only a matter of time before they would do what they thought necessary to strike a devastating blow to the Imperial military industrial complex Shu-Torun feeds. SPOILERS AHEAD….
When we left Queen Trios in her decadent gala in the Abyssal Rooms, she and the Ore-barons of Shu-Torun realized they’d become captives in their own opulence. There is no way out without a ship because they are so deep under the surface they couldn’t survive the extreme heat. Trios tries to consider extreme methods of escape, realizing if Leia was able to lock her away she could potentially gain control of the whole Shu-Torun infrastructure. Trios is a fighter and a survivor when it comes to her planet. While that determination is a shared virtue with Leia, the Alderaanian monarch would stop short of selling her people out to the Empire. Of course, we do remember Trios made that decision under severe distress after being presented with a charred stone by Darth Vader as a warning – the stone being of a remnant of Alderaan. My sympathy for Trios is gone after her double cross at Mako-Ta but she was thrown into quite a terrible dilemma with her introduction to the Empire. Leia offered her a way out but Trios slapped the hand. So here we are.
Leia’s team is working on getting access to Trios’ controls to bring down the Spike – a massive forcefield array which prevents the volcanic activity from destroying the valuable ore of Shu-Torun. Once that’s done and the ore is destroyed, the planet is useless, but Leia and the others can’t reach Luke, so they have to assume there could be trouble. Leia warns them they need to be ready so Luke and the Partisans can focus on bringing down the Spike.
Luke, the Partisans, and Artoo have been tasked with taking out the power generators of the Spike. They’ve encountered a firefight against the local security, so Luke is drafted by Benthic to get Artoo past the crossfire. It’s a pretty cool sequence, where Luke dashes through the blaze of bolts, a blaster in one hand and a lightsaber in the other, taking out the guards and the generator. As Luke and Artoo start to move toward the next generator, Benthic and his fellow Partisans discuss a much more extreme plan to detonate the core of the Spike by overloading it, which would destroy the whole planet.
The Partisans have played nice so far but are ready to do things their way. We know their members come from some of the most brutalized planets and cultures in the galaxy – so they meet the inflicters of that barbarism with a brand of their own. Though they fight to overthrow the Empire, their fight is dealt in absolutes. Leia wants to bring down the corrupt aristocracy that enables the Empire by providing the resources of Shu-Torun. Benthic and the Partisans hold the entire planet accountable for Trios’ corruption. Star Wars and life teach us nothing good ever came of looking at conflict in such a narrow scope. I have a bad feeling Leia, Han, and Luke won’t only be dealing with the Shu-Torun security by the time ‘The Scourging of Shu-Torun’ arc is finished.
Trios is not sitting around. She’s ready to take action and shuns the Ore-barons who would stay behind. The queen reminds them her father anointed her as protector of Shu-Torun. She also brings up the time Darth Vader paid them all a visit and terrorized them into submission. It’s a reminder that Trios views her betrayal of the Rebel Alliance and forfeiture of her planet as a sacrifice to save lives. The morality is very convoluted at this point and the most dangerous part of Trios’ perspective is she’s emboldened by virtue. Whether there is any part of her that realizes how deeply she’s allied with evil is pointless. Trios is ready to fight for her home planet and her enemies are sadly the only ones who could save Shu-Torun from the clutches she’s put it in. Trios and a security officers manage to break out of the Abyssal with a drill-ship, but that leaves the rest of the Ore-barons exposed, so the clock will be ticking for whatever the queen has planned.
Meanwhile, in the Mid Rim, the irrepressibly gruff Kanchar receives a distress call from the planet Hubin. Remember who our heroes left stranded on Hubin? SCAR Squad, that’s who! Not only have they transmitted a full copy of Leia’s plans (remember, she planned this mission while Han drank beer and Luke practiced his lightsaber technique during their interlude on the isolationist world) to Kanchar, he’s sending rescue ships to get them and heading to Shu-Torun to ensure the Rebels don’t succeed. Now I’m glad the Partisans are with our heroes because they’re going to need all the help they can get.
As Partisans have contained the Shu-Torun security forces, Luke discovers their plot to detonate the core and destroy the planet. Benthic tells Luke the Rebels should have know what they were getting themselves into by working with them. They don’t only want to hurt the Empire, they want revenge for Jedha by destroying Shu-Torun and leaving it in the same state. Just as the Partisans are about to complete their plan, Artoo executes his classic subterfuge and fills the room with smoke (similar to his Cloud City move in The Empire Strikes Back). The last we see of Luke, he has blaster and lightsaber in hand, ready to stop them.
Leia, Han, Meorti, and Tunga have spotted the incoming drill-ship with Trios and her crew. The ship isn’t on approach for a firefight – it’s on a collision course! Hey canon junkies, does that blaster Leia’s holding look familiar?
Trios crashes into the Imperial Retreat! Our heroes barely dodge and the battle for Shu-Torun is underway. Unfortunately for all involved, someone has just arrived in orbit and is only interested in doing the Empire’s bidding.
Kanchar strikes me as a trigger-happy Imperial who doesn’t often get to play with weapons. That’s a dangerous combination. I’m worried about Shu-Torun.
I really enjoyed this issue. As I’ve mentioned in past reviews, the Mission: Impossible vibe has really been a fun dynamic to add in this arc but watching it come completely undone is equally entertaining. Writer Kieron Gillen is setting the stage to unload Imperial terror on everyone involved, so it will be interesting to see what potential new alliances form or break when the shooting starts. SCAR Squad is also on their way to Shu-Torun, so the Rebels and Partisans better start working things out fast. As usual, the artwork by Angel Unzueta and colorist Guru-eFX is dynamic, lively, and keeps the action moving in what could be a very claustrophobic setting – the subterranean Shu-Torun. Hope you all get a chance to check out this issue and this arc!