In the previous issue, the Pathfinders successfully pulled off a heist on Coruscant, but not before sacrificing one of their own. Back with the rebel fleet, they are finding out that the ancient droid is a handful.
After C-3PO determined the droids memory banks and cognitive functions are corrupted, he and R2-D2 attempt to recover them. Awakened suddenly, the confused droid turns violent until–to Lando’s horror–Lobot steps in and his implants help the droid regain his consciousness.
To C-3PO’s indignation, the droid has some street smarts which ‘goldenrod’ lacks and he is not cooperative at all. Lando steps in and offers a deal: the droid will work for the Rebellion and Lobot will keep his mind straight. As he recounts his friend’s story, we are reminded that Lobot had sacrificed his mind to save Lando in Charles Soule’s Lando (2015). If you haven’t read this miniseries yet, I’d say run, not walk to get it – it is one of the best comics of the new canon. The droid agrees and Leia’s plan to find the remains of rebel fleet continues.
We are also reminded that this is not General Lando Calrissian in Return of the Jedi, when he is contacted by Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo Bib Fortuna to remind him that he owes the Hutt information about rebel operations. The crime lord is getting impatient.
Apparently, Jabba has spared Lando’s life in exchange for the information. I do not recall if we’ve seen this in any of the comics post-The Empire Strikes Back, so it’s hard to say if this is something that happened before his stint as Cloud City’s Baron Administrator or after. Or, even, if this is some kind of ploy to approach Jabba since Lando knows Han Solo was delivered to him. There’s a good chance the future comics will tell.
Leia tasks Starlight Squadron led by Shara Bey, Poe Dameron’s mother, to find scattered rebel cells, warn them that their codes are compromised and share the new ones. She gives Shara and her husband Kes a moment to say goodbye, knowing that in war it could always be the last. They share a tender moment.
In deep space, near Felucia, Shara’s squadron discovers the remains of fleet’s Sixth Division. The Empire got to them first and there are no survivors. It’s also the imperial trap for potential rescuers; the squadron is attacked by probe droids. One of them attaches itself to Evan Verlaine’s astromech, endangering other rebel rendezvous points. While Leia and the fleet command lose contact with the squadron, Shara orders her team to tell their droids to self destruct after they eject them from the ships. That will save the Rebellion, but leave them lost in space as astromechs have all their navigational data. They do it nonetheless. And it seems their ordeal is not over yet judging by the fire coming from the supposedly destroyed ship.
Back on the rebel command ship, Talky informs the rebels that Lobot has only a few hours to live since he has been running both their circuits. Leia needs emergency protocols transmitted immediately, but Lando objects to further translation before they can figure out how they can save Lobot’s life. Distressed Kes pulls a blaster on Lando.
While this issue sets up quite a few interesting threads for future comics, I have to start with this: the position of the droids in the galaxy far, far away. L3, WE REMEMBER! There are two instances in this issue that made it clear the droids aren’t really considered sentient, they are disposable even when sentient lives actually depend on them. And that is not a situation the Galactic Empire created. Talky, the ancient droid, knows without a doubt that once he discloses the information he has, he would lose all value and very likely be shot down again. That is clearly a situation he encountered or experienced before. Only by taking the valuable information hostage, so to speak, he can guarantee his safety.
We will likely be inclined to cut Shara Bey and her pilots some slack for destroying six astromech droids without a thought considering possible consequences. But, would you destroy six R2-D2s? Six friends? Six lives for the lives of many? Where is the line? Finally, while he is driven by emotions at the end of this issue, it was clear from the beginning that Kes Dameron doesn’t really consider Lobot human any more. Like droids, he becomes expendable if that can save Dameron’s wife. We are deciding what is life from our anthropocentric standpoint. I am not sure I am comfortable leaving that decision in our hands in both fictional and real worlds.
The events of this issue put Lando Calrissian in an unenviable position. We have seen in the previous issues that not all the rebels trust the former baron and this issue proves that they are not wrong. While the situation with Jabba is still unclear, it is most likely that Lando’s past misdeeds have come back to haunt him. His loyalties are still divided, yet it is not the first time Lando risked his own life against the underworld to help the Rebellion, so you can see him making the right decision. However, it seems the reckoning is coming sooner than later. It’s not his life, but that of his dearest friend that is in danger. Lando has to be the one to weigh Lobot’s life against the Rebellion in its entirety. Kes Dameron’s rash decision doesn’t help leaving Leia with potentially catastrophic situation at the end of this issue.
While the impact of the issue is lessened by the fact that we know the fate of almost all the players, Soule’s writing interpreted by Jan Bazaldua’s dynamic art and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors offers enough excitement and action as well as more intimate moments and interpersonal conflicts for Star Wars #10 to be a satisfying read.
We’ll see how the galactic macaron crumbles next time when, it seems, we will see Leia’s nemesis Zahra again, but until then…
THIS ISSUE GETS 7.5/10 STARS.