Review – Many Familiar Faces Head to Batuu In Marvel’s Galaxy’s Edge #3
For an outlying planet on the edge of Wild Space and the Unknown Regions, Batuu sure tends to draw some big players from the Star Wars cast of characters. This week’s issue is no exception. The First Order have landed in Black Spire and a group of smugglers looking for an ancient Force-related artifact in Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, but with each issue we learn the story behind this artifact and Ondar’s collection involves many familiar faces. This issue only adds more faces and hands to the Ithorian’s cache of treasures from around the galaxy. Strap in and get ready for one heck of a ride. SPOILERS AHEAD….
The First Order is up to no good in Batuu. We’re still a bit hazy on when this takes place, but regardless, this regime seems determined to curtail lawlessness and independence on the remote planet. Clawdite/changeling Remex is still being pursued by the bucket heads who identified him from an outstanding warrant. Remex loses them easily, taking the shape of a Togruta to lose them. Not the sharpest troopers in the transport, so he loses them easily and plans to go on his way. Remex forgets that the First Order troopers aren’t the only ones keeping an eye on the dealings of off-worlders on Batuu.
Dok-Ondar is everywhere on Batuu. The more I read about Galaxy’s Edge, the more I learn he has eyes everywhere. Varg is another one of his enforcers who catches Remex as soon as he’s broken off from the First Order. What he and Dok-Ondar want with Remex isn’t exactly clear, but not long after this encounter, Remex makes his way into Oga’s Cantina. Oga is another force to be reckoned with on Batuu and there are a few other stories you’ll be hearing in the coming months that revolve around her cantina. Remex rejoins the rest of his crew, as Serenno native Kendoh approaches a psychic, or pre-cog, to discuss her intentions. It turns out the fortune teller is actually a layer of security for another big player on Batuu.
Hondo! We know from Lou Anders’ Pirate’s Price (our review here, in case you missed it) that Hondo’s set up shop on Batuu and acted as a facade for maintaining Resistance ships. I’d say that safely cements this takes place closer to the year long gap between The Last Jedi and The Rise of Skywalker. Kendoh needs a pilot to get off Batuu and we readers are now in the dark about what this group of unsavory folks are up to, other than hunting relics across the galaxy. She’s understandably uncertain about Hondo, so in typical Hondo fashion he offers to elate her concerns with a story, while we realize Hondo is letting Dok-Ondar listen in so he can figure out what exactly the crew is after. Also, this isn’t just some random story from Hondo, it’s a story taking place inside the Temple of Kyber on Jedha!!!
Okay, fellow Rogue One fans, I hope you’ve been wondering what the interior of that massive structure looked like as much as I have. Here it is. The art by Dono Sánchez-Almara is incredible. It’s just what I hoped for. I love the small details of messily stacked bricks and stalagmitic kyber crystals protruding from the surfaces. Hondo’s story revolves around searching for a statue composed of kyber, which is a first as far as I know. They are able to stun the first guard but it’s not long until others follow, but they stun them and then reach the statue they’ve been searching for.
Dok-Ondar finally explains his proclivity for Force-aritfacts, it all comes back to his parents. They had one just like it and it was taken from them at some point. Dok-Ondar tracks these down because he wants to feel closer to them. He ends up taking a lightsaber out to cut it free, because I don’t think a laser torch would do the trick. Also, take a good look at this statue. It appears to be a Jedi fighting some sort of dragon or serpent, a mythological trope I’d actually love to see in Star Wars. Looks very similar to a cover of an upcoming book…
If this duel has been immortalized in kyber, well, that’s one heck of a tease Galaxy’s Edge just threw out. Consider my already healthy interest in Myths & Fables heightened. Back to the story.
Hondo and Dok pick up their prize and prepare to make their getaway. There’s one more guardian, though.
Chirrut!!!! This guardian is not to be trifled with. They attempt to stun Chirrut but he dodges all of their attacks and quickly disarms them. Hondo is ready to take their escape plan to a new level of aggression, but Dok decides to appeal to the better nature of everyone involved.
Hondo’s oft to claim the virtuosity of pirates, but Dok dispenses with the act and comes clean with Chirrut. He mentions how he can tell Chirrut is close to the Force. His honesty reaches the guardian and Chirrut allows him to pass. This was a very brief interaction but I was thrilled to see one of my favorite characters appear in their element. Not only do we get to see Chirrut in action we get to see him doing what he loved to do – serving the Force. Dok’s connections to big players in the galaxy of heroes just keeps getting bigger. Just as quickly as he appears, Chirrut is gone, allowing Dok to pass by and take this memento of his parents.
I’m just putting this frame here because it’s gorgeous and I want it hung on my wall. I know I’ve made that declaration several times in these reviews but this would be my first pick. I can’t help but think artist Dono Sánchez-Almara approached this as a gesture of respect to an incredible Star Wars story. We know what happens to Jedha, which makes this sunset beautifully ominous. It reminds me of the Coruscant sunset in Revenge of the Sith, just before the Yoda versus Sidious duel. Anyways, thank you for indulging me.
After Hondo finishes his tale, with the conclusion of getting past a prequel-era Star Destroyer, he finally wants to know why it’s so important to get past the First Order blockade around Batuu. Kendoh lets him in on it, showing him this data pad with the image of something that certainly looks ancient. Both Hondo and Dok-Ondar are stunned. Dok-Ondar, communicating with Hondo through an earpiece and observing everything, orders Hondo not to tell Kendoh he’s familiar with it, but she’s already caught on. Dok-Ondar and Hondo have seen this sword before, in the hands of another morally ambiguous character who travels the galaxy looking for valuable artifacts.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say I started clapping at this! Aphra has arrived on Batuu and the potential of bringing her into this era of the sequel trilogy has me thrilled. Fellow Aphra fans, take a breath, because all the next issue promises is a story of her and the lettering above makes it clear this frame is from the era we already know. Still, the possibilities of getting a sequel era Aphra have me pretty damn excited and you should be too. We know Aphra has a familiarity with both Jedi and Sith antiquities so I’m ready to see how her knowledge plays into this complicated story.
Yes, this issue is rife with fan-service, but I’m not complaining. I feel that writer Ethan Sacks handled all the characters beautifully. Their appearances were true to how we’ve known them in the saga and there was nothing cheesy about it. Galaxy’s Edge is quickly becoming one of my favorite titles out there. Each issue has blended the mystique of the galaxy with a compelling story that keeps me turning the pages. I have to hand it to the Story Group and all the creators they’ve been working with – in a very short time they’ve established a great history for Batuu, from it’s first appearance in Thrawn: Alliances to these issues and the forthcoming novels (one of which I’ve read but can’t quite talk about…yet). My Galaxy’s Edge attendance is planned to be a few years out, but with stories like these, I’m ready to hop the first plane to Anaheim. Whether it’s a theme park or not, I’m excited for more stories from Batuu.