We met Rose Tico in the midst of tremendous loss during The Last Jedi. She’d just lost her sister, Paige, and the Resistance lost nearly their entire fleet. Nevertheless, Rose put aside her grief for her family and friends to continue the fight. She never faltered throughout the film. While some of the other protagonists took winding journeys through the plot, Rose focused on keeping the Resistance alive in hopes of defeating the First Order. Rose Tico was relentless in her goal and this issue of Age of Resistance shows you that’s been true her whole life. A profile in courage, honor, love, and loyalty – this is an excellent addition to Rose Tico’s story. SPOILERS AHEAD….
This is a story of the Tico sisters – Rose and Paige. It begins on their home world of Hays Minor and is narrated by one of the sisters we don’t see. Writer Tom Taylor quickly establishes the strength of the bond between these two. The squabbling we often expect from younger siblings is absent. Paige and Rose support one another and find strength in the unquantifiable love of sisterhood. It’s a beautiful introduction – where we meet them as children, engaged in foreshadowing activities.
Right away it’s established that Paige is the pilot and Rose is the technician. There’s no competition here because their skills compliment one another so well. Here, they’re seemingly flying a small fighter, shooting targets and testing their meddle. Rose decides she wants to do more than evaluate instrumentation or make calculations, but Paige is reluctant to give her the piloting controls. Once they re-enter the atmosphere of a nearby planet, Rose takes over but finds out quickly she’s not quite the pilot her sister is. Due to a steep velocity and some tall trees, Rose ends up crashing the fighter and we’re led to believe they are dead.
Ha! But they’re not! They were only flying a simulation. We’re introduced to their parents, who encourage the sisters’ curiosity about star ships. From the few glimpses we get, this is a very close family unit. We see the Tico home, dining while watching some evening Holonet, and a sense the Tico’s always make the best of whatever the galaxy hands them. We learn Hays Minor is a planet barely habitable, with a thin atmosphere and not much to offer other than ore the local population mines. The harsh conditions don’t seem to have any effect on the Tico sisters love for their home planet. They are ambitious about reaching the stars but love their home.
We knew this was coming and we already know how it ends but it’s still so hard to watch. After a time jump, the First Order arrives to plunder the resources of Hays Minor. The First Order doesn’t even engage the population, they just start mining, using bombers to drill deep into the bedrock of the planet. Hays Minor goes from barely habitable to toxic quickly and the Tico family joins the fight to protect their planet.
Rose and Paige are now much closer to the age we met them in The Last Jedi. This fight spares no one and we know any ONE planet up against the First Order is up against daunting odds. This doesn’t dissuade the Tico sisters! They are on the frontlines of this fight, sneaking past First Order sentries, infiltrating installations, and striking a victory for Hays Minor against the First Order. I have to say, as much as I enjoyed this single issue, I think there’s a ton of potential to expand upon these events. Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein has certainly moved up in the unending queue of Star Wars books I plan to read, but I’d love to read more about what the Tico sisters did on their home planet against the First Order.
They took out all the drilling bombers! In this moment, they believe they’ve stopped the First Order from stripping their planet, but the victory is fleeting. Within days, the First Order has replaced the bombers and the mining continues at an aggressive pace. It’s chilling to think how many other planets this scenario played out on across the edges of the galaxy as Snoke built up his nightmare fleet who would destroy the New Republic. I’ll never forget how effectively Kelly Marie Tran conveyed the horror Rose saw when she described the pillaging of her planet at the hands of the First Order. We see it firsthand in these pages.
Though the Tico sisters no doubt want to keep fighting, no parent would want their child at the frontline of a doomed war. The Tico parents must know the First Order is only going to move their assault to other worlds once it’s finished on Hays Minor, so they buy their passage off-world and send them to join the Resistance. They know what their daughters are capable of and how useful they could be in a fight. There’s no doubt they believe their daughters will make a difference in the fight against the First Order. Again, the Tico sisters demonstrate unwavering bravery and selflessness. They make the terrifying choice to leave their parents behind to an uncertain fate and head right for a cause they know will champion the greater good. They could have run, but they didn’t. No wonder Rose stunned Finn when she caught him trying to escape.
Rose and Paige make it to the Resistance and we are treated to victory after victory they were a part of. Again, I really need to read Cobalt Squadron because the succession of frames following this makes me think they are showing victories of the Cobalt Hammer. It’s great to see Admirals Holdo and Ackbar welcoming the sisters to their cause. Despite the victories against the First Order, there is still tragedy and despair spreading across the galaxy.
The sisters learn the First Order has defeated their planet, leaving it lifeless in the void of space. Their parents are dead. The mourning is short, as Paige and Rose resolve to take their ship to Hays Minor and fight whatever remains of the First Order there. As they are about to take off, a visitor shows up, offering them an alternative to futile fighting.
Leia! She saw her planet annihilated simply for demonstration and I can’t imagine a better person to console and counsel the Tico sisters in this moment. Leia acknowledges what a shock it is and the reaction the sisters have. She doesn’t try to stop them, only empathizes with them. She tells them they can totally do their worst against the First Order, here and now, but they’ll only be a bump in the road for the greater evils the First Order plan. Leia reminds them she’s brought down plenty of evil herself and the Tico sisters decide to remain a part of the Resistance, fighting other battles to prevent the same fate from playing out across the galaxy. Again, they show great determination and patience in the face of trauma – Rose and Paige see the bigger picture.
We discover the narrator of this story has been Paige. I wouldn’t argue for a second. They are both heroes and Rose carries on the Tico legacy. We know how much Rose looked up to Paige, so this is a really touching choice by writer Tom Taylor. Again, I’d like to remind everyone reading at no point in The Last Jedi did Rose waiver from her determination to stop the First Order. Even when surrounded by hundreds of stormtroopers, she still tried to get at DJ when she discovered he’d betrayed them. I don’t know about you, but I’m really excited to see what she does in December!
The art in this issue by Ramon Rosanas and colorist Guru-eFX does a great job of enhancing Tom Taylor’s writing. There are some great frames in here, aside from the ones I shared in this review. This story is everything I hoped it would be and will only add to my enjoyment of the character. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll be watching The Last Jedi this evening after reading this. Rose Tico is a wonderful character who embodies everything I want in Star Wars. She is strength, courage, hope, loyalty, and love. Don’t fight what you hate. Save what you love.