REBELS AND ROGUES Part II – TRICKS AND TRAPS! The REBELS AND ROGUES epic continues as our heroes deploy their plans to trick their Imperial pursuers… and everything falls apart! CHEWIE and THREEPIO face moral quandaries — and mortal danger — when they learn the uninhabited planet they’re supposed to destroy isn’t quite so uninhabited. Will the FORCE be with LUKE in a bar fight? And who is DAR CHAMPION… and what does he have to do with Leia’s past?
Written by Greg Pak
Art and Cover Art by Phil Noto
When we left our rebellious heroes in the last issue, Luke was forced to abandon a plan that didn’t work, Chewbacca and C-3PO were faced with a moral dilemma and Han had a dubious pleasure of meeting Leia’s ex-boyfriend, Dar Champion.
When this issues starts, we see that Dar has arrested the criminals who attacked Han and Leia which he so expertly beat in the previous issue. The reader instantly knows this is something that regularly occurs with similar results. Only minutes before the criminals are booked and charged, the droid-lawyer arrives to bail them out. Dar invites Leia and Han for drinks and we, together with Han, learn about his history with Leia. Dar was Leia’s boyfriend during Regents’ Training, but she was suddenly summoned home and her communication cut off. That was a somewhat clumsy way of protecting Leia, because Dar’s father was indicted for embezzlement and all his family members charged as co-conspirators.
The entire part of the comic on Lanz Carpo was skillfully done: the necessary exposition was peppered with subtle humor. From Han’s reaction to Dar’s name (“Is your last name really Solo?”) and his, at least, verbal idealism to the fact that the District Attorney has picked up the vibes that Han and Leia are trying to ignore. Plus, I still can’t get over the fabulous outfits Noto gave to the princess and the scoundrel. Pak clearly knows the voices of Han and Liea well. I have but one fear about this storyline that might or might not come to fruition. It is a very known trope: whenever the hero faces competition for heroine’s heart, the other guy turns out to be scumbag or eeeeevil. I hope that’s not the case here, though the signs are there: Dar’s potentially shady background and the way Noto is drawing him.
Hopefully, my expectations are successfully subverted (ha!) and we get a more nuanced story. Especially now when our two rebels have decided that they cannot rely on Dar and plan to implement the plan by themselves. Plus, they are being followed.
In the Executor above planet Sergia, the Imperials are trying to monitor the signal from the launched probes. It seems the probes keep picking up animal movement instead of finding the rebel base. That is the case this time as well; the probe caught a herd of plain hundas and got trampled in the process. With the Imperial team acting on the tip and already on the ground, the Imperials are not concerned. We, however, know that they should be.
Luke warns the rebels to hide and stay out of sight, until he finds the way to help them escape. However, in spite of his best efforts, Luke is unable to find the probes. He decides to trust in the Force, which shows him the nearby settlement.
In the local cantina, he witnesses a conflict between a young woman called Warba and an alien: apparently Warba won ten games in a row and the alien is suspicious. Luke gets involved and defends the woman. They escape in alien’s speeder. Luke asks to be dropped somewhere because he has other things to do, but Warba hints that she is Force sensitive.
On K43, because he doesn’t really speak their language, C-3PO tries and fails to explain the rock people why they should let him and Chewbacca defuse the detonators before they destroy their planet. He only manages to anger them and he and Chewie are forced to run. Back on the Falcon, C-3PO argues that they cannot leave the rock people to their destiny.
I like the things the new canon does for droids, but perhaps C-3PO in particular. We always knew that R2-D2 was a brave little droid who protected his humans (and aliens). The new canon gave Threepio not just more to do, but I like that he was also given his own brand of courage and, in this case, compassion. What could be the better argument for sentience than empathy?
In addition to hostile aliens, this duo has another problem to deal with. When he set the detonators, Chewie also triggered the homing beacon intended to attract the Imperial forces. So, now, they have company.
I have always liked Noto’s art and I would say it is currently one of the comic’s strongest points together with Chewbacca/C-3PO dynamic, though it is hard to tell after only two issues. I found that while I generally enjoyed where the stories are going, we weren’t with any of them long enough for me to really get invested. I know that three separate stories dictate the structure, but it is all right to linger on one of them more for an issue or two. Two issues are enough though to see that Pak can do justice to the voices of known characters, but he still hasn’t given us enough to say if he can expand on them.
So, currently I am mostly curious about the new characters: Dar and Warba. If Leia was with him, even as a teenager, there has to be something appealing about him. And if Warba is telling the truth, it would be interesting to see Luke interact with another Force user who is clearly too young to be a Jedi.
So far, the Rebels are only facing complications or outright disasters in their individual missions. I hope they start resolving those sooner, rather than later. That might happen next week, but for now…
THIS ISSUE GETS 6/10 STARS.