Review – A Mission Interrupted In Marvel’s Star Wars #73
“Rebels and Rogues” continues this week with Han caught up by the local crime boss, which puts Leia and Dar Champion in a difficult position. Threepio and Chewbacca are on a mission that’s become much more complicated now they realize they can’t just blow up the planet due to the discovery of an indigenous species of rock creatures. Also, Darth Vader has shown up and has intentions of his own for the newly discovered rock people. And, Luke Skywalker just wants his lightsaber back. It’s the same as always but not quite that bad. Could be better, though. SPOILERS AHEAD….
Han finds himself in the custody of Boss Carpo who wants to know what one of the galaxy’s most notorious smugglers is doing in his territory. The boss also seems to have a contingent of local law enforcement working for him, so that’s going to make things a little tricky for everyone. Our favorite smuggler pledges to tell the truth but Boss Carpo isn’t interested in getting that information voluntarily. Carports has his own plan on how to extract the truth from Han and it’s not a pleasant one.
As Dar and Leia search for Han, the champion makes hints to his once romantic partner that she has feelings for Han. If there’s one thing this series has done really well and on a consistent basis it’s highlighting the romantic tension between Han and Leia while allowing their friendship to grow. Of course, Leia dismisses this and reminds him Han is an integral part of this mission and that’s where her concerns lay. Whether she feels the suggestion is valid or not, Leia’s primary concern remains the Rebel Alliance, so she doesn’t spend any time addressing it. Their conversation and search are interrupted when Boss Carpo makes contact with Dar. At this point – and in what looks like an especially nasty interrogation – Han has told Boss Carpo fourteen different stories about what their mission is. The boss has had it, so he figures he’ll threaten to kill Han and get the truth from Dar. Leia snatches the comm link from Dar and tells him the truth. Carpo reveals their plan is already underway, only they didn’t have to trick the Imperial governor into thinking Carpo was helping the Rebellion. The boss discovered the governor already planned to take him out.
Now that they know, Boss Carpo pulls Leia and Dar into working for him. Since the governor is coming for Carpo he’s going to turn the tables and go after him first. He forces Leia, Han, and Dar to undertake this mission, simply because they seem to have no choice since Carpo will reveal their plan if they don’t do as he wishes. The crime boss has nothing to lose since he was already marked and assures the three of them if they complete this mission it will be beneficial for everyone and he’ll let them go. Now, they have to figure out how to infiltrate a Star Destroyer.
Han doesn’t know that Leia and Dar actually loaded a fake message to make it look like an attack from the governor was imminent. Only this wasn’t exactly the way they hoped it would go down. They are piloting a pretty ineffective ship but Han suddenly thinks of a way to have the Millennium Falcon assist them, even though it’s in Wild Space. When he contacts Chewbacca to make arrangements we rejoin him and Threepio – as well as the Dark Lord of the Sith.
Okay, I’m going to restrain myself from going on a “Vader Fatigue” rant here but I’ll let you readers know I am feeling it. If there’s a silver lining to this series ending it’s that we’re basically guaranteed there will be no interactions between Vader and our heroes in the period of time between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. I remember Dave Filoni making a point about the fine line creators have to walk when using the iconic character, because if a primary character survives an encounter with Vader that basically means the Dark Lord lost. I think this series came very close to defanging Vader with the constant close calls. I understand people jump when he shows up, but we’ve definitely seen enough of these interactions. Here, Vader has conscripted Threepio as a translator and is using the Force to subdue the rock beings. The Dark Lord has a plan to make them his own soldiers, but Threepio tricks him into believing they are docile and then they turn and attack. Chewbacca snatches Threepio back and they try to make a break for it but end up getting trapped by Vader. When Vader hears Luke’s voice over the comm link, his plans change and he decides to try and lure Luke to save his friends.
Luke is still trying to get his lightsaber back from Warba as the Imperials have picked up the Rebel contingent he leads. Warba makes a break for it, fearing Luke will use a Jedi mind trick on her. Luke commandeers a speeder bike and runs distraction to draw the Imperials away from the Rebels while pursuing Warba at the same time. He leads the Imperials in a chase and at suddenly leaps off his speeder while setting it on a collision course with the Imperial patrol ship in pursuit. It manages to knock the ship out of the sky but the surviving troopers are not giving up and continue to pursue Luke. Now everyone is on foot and as the troopers close in, someone has been watching Luke’s struggle and decides to do the right thing.
Warba chooses to help Luke. While this isn’t surprising, I’m glad writer Greg Pak stopped dancing around whether she would be an ally or adversary. Now Luke has a lightsaber and the Stormtroopers have no idea what they’re headed toward. This is going to get interesting.
Aside from the Vader silliness, I enjoyed this issue. It’s a little lopsided in terms of how much time is spent on Han and Leia but that didn’t bother me. I feel those characters have had the most interesting growth and interactions so far in this series overall. The art by Phil Noto continues to deliver in this issue. I’m really not too thrilled “Rebels and Rogues” is the arc ending this series’ first run, but we still have a few issues left and Pak has setup some interesting thing. We’ll see where it leads but honestly I’m ready to move on to a different period in these characters lives. I’m just trying to enjoy what’s left of this ride while excitedly looking toward what’s next.