The new run of the Star Wars comic, written by Charles Soule and drawn by Jesús Saiz, started with an excellent first issue. The story tells the events post The Empire Strikes Back, possibly the least explored period in both legends and the canon materials.
The second issue continues exploring new challenges for our heroes and promises an exciting future.
The second issue opens in the Rebellion fleet where Lando Calrissian is trying to convince Leia to let him find out if Boba Fett has already brought Han to Jabba the Hutt and, if he hasn’t, Fett’s whereabouts. Needless to say, following the events of Empire, Leia’s confidence in Lando is non-existent. The former Baron plans to reach out to his contacts on Tatooine to get the information he needs. He refuses Luke’s offer for help because he lost his hand. Another thing is clear from their exchange. Luke wasn’t exactly able to hide that the events on Cloud City have shaken him up and the others have noticed.
Leia sends Chewbacca to keep an eye on Lando and allows him to leave. She tries to console Luke by telling him that no matter what happens he will always be himself. She doesn’t know how close she is to Luke’s doubts: Vader’s words continue to haunt him.
Above Tatooine, the Millenium Falcon is intercepted by the Imperial forces and then pirates. The first group was looking for the ship, the other for Han Solo. Lando uses a stick and carrot strategy to convince the pirates (Hondo Ohnaka’s cousins, I presume) to stop attacking them and escort them to Jabba’s palace unmolested.
Back in the fleet, Commander Grek is giving the Rebels a rundown of their situation: the Empire has broken their transmission codes. The different cells cannot coordinate with each other or warn one another. Every time two cells communicate, the Empire shows up and destroys them. Leia’s group cannot rely on anyone else. The Princess gives the Rebels a choice: to either lie low and hope that the leaders find a solution or do it by themselves.
I must say I was glad when we got Kes Dameron and Shara Bey in the previous issue, and I am glad that their story continues. I also like that new writers keep introducing new characters that further grow the world of Star Wars, even around known events. I am always bothered when it seems that the Big Three are the only ones involved with anything important in the Rebellion.
On Tatooine, Lando learns that Boba Fett was not recently seen on Tatooine, which means Han isn’t in Jabba’s hands yet. He is then brought in front of Jabba who already knows what happened on Bespin. Lando has to improvise and proposes Jabba a deal, but the Hutt already has a deal with the Empire and declares that the Rebellion is over.
The Rebellion would beg to differ, however, as all the members of Leia’s group vote to take matters into their own hands and see to the fall of the Empire.
Grek introduces the Rebels to Operation Starlight, named after a space station which was built during the High Republic to act as a beacon in the dangerous areas like Outer Rim to help travelers. They can use it to find the rest of the fleet and reunite it safely again.
In Jabba’s palace, Lando is forced to disclose what happened to Han and offer information from the Rebellion which might be interesting to Jabba to save his life. Back on the Millennium Falcon, he tries to talk Chewie into letting him go which Chewbacca, naturally, rejects. But, Lando wouldn’t be Lando if he would easily give up. He finds Luke practicing blaster shooting with his new hand which isn’t going particularly well. He wants Luke to ask Rebel leaders to let him return to the Cloud City and use Lando as his guide. He tells Luke that he knows where his lightsaber ended up. Luke has a vision of his severed hand and lightsaber falling down the shaft. A gloved hand catches the lightsaber. A hooded man tells him to follow his destiny echoing Vader’s words.
As I have already said, this period in the Galactic Civil War is the least explored in the history of the franchise and so the major takeaway after the first two issues is – possibilities. Most of the fans know what they have always wanted to know after watching the original trilogy for the first time. How did Luke make a new lightsaber and how did he become the badass we saw in the last film are just two of them. We know what has to happen with both Luke and the Rebellion, but the possibilities of what could happen are infinite.
Charles Soule already gave us a hook with that mysterious figure communing with Luke through the Force. Another thing I noticed in the first two issues is pacing: the story moves, but also lingers when it is necessary for a moment to breathe and Jesús Saiz plays a big role in that. I like his art a lot, the characters resemble themselves but don’t look like plastic dolls while the new characters, Commander Zahra in the previous issue and Commander Grek in this one, look like real people and not models.
One thing is certain, we won’t be lacking for Star Wars adventures in the near future as it appears that we will be going back to the Cloud City in the next issue. But, that is for the future. As it mainly sets up the future story lines,
THIS ISSUE GETS 7.5/10 STARS