Review: Starlight Squadron Vs. Star Destroyer in Marvel’s Star Wars #15
Luke Skywalker returns to the forefront of the Star Wars title in a simple, but fun, adventure against the Empire. Jumping in to help Starlight Squadron, one fighter down due to Shara Bey’s continued hiding on a Star Destroyer (amazingly the only major loose/paused plot thread of the War of the Bounty Hunters crossover) Luke Skywalker joins the team as they go on a mission to check out a potential Rebel rendezvous point. Spoilers ahead…..
Starlight squadron really is The Avengers of B-tier starfighter pilot characters from all over Star Wars media: Not including the absent Shara Bey (Poe Dameron’s mother) the squad includes: Commander Wedge Antilles (from the films), Captain L’ulo L’ampar (Poe Dameron comic), Evaan Verlaine (Princess Leia comic book and Aftermath: Life Debt novel) and Mart Mattin (Star Wars: Rebels). Freyta Smyth is the only member of the squad we haven’t seen before.
The team arrive at the misson on the planet Ab Dalis. It’s a cool little easter egg from writer Charles Soule as this is a planet briefly featured in The High Republic novel Light of the Jedi as it was damaged in the great disaster, something it still hasn’t recovered from.
Arriving planetside the squadron find a group of Rebels there being pinned down by a Star Destroyer. All hope seems lost until Starlight appear, although they are still only seven ships.
It’s great to see Wedge Antilles getting the respect he deserves, the man is a Rebel hero!
Heroes or not though, the Star Destroyer has them outgunned and they won’t be able to stop it in time before it destroys all the Rebels on the ground. Luckily, one of those troopers has a plan….
Communications are thin since the Imperials cracked the Rebel codes so once the targeting data is sent, no other info is given. The team are confused by the targeting information, it’s simply to fire at a certain point on the ground. With no extra information the squadron decide to take the risk, even though it puts them directly in the Star Destroyer’s line of fire.
Shooting a precise shot like that calls for Luke Skywalker and a bit of that Jedi force. ‘Knocking down Loth-Cats in a T-13’ as a knock off of ‘bullseye womp rats in my T-16’ is hilarious and it wouldn’t surprise me if Wedge messed it on purpose!
Luke makes his run, looking to shoot the small tunnel while being chased by TIE’s, and notices the parallels between it and that big moment in the trench run at the Death Star. This memory turns into a vision though with a bad omen for what Darth Vader is planning.
Luke’s lack of focus takes him out of the moment and he misses the shot! Lucky for him the rest of the squadron are on an the same attack vector and begin taking their own shots at the target. Luckily one hits and sets off a chain reaction with the volcano underneath….
With the Star Destroyer melted, the worst of the battle is over. Luke has to leave in a rush and join up with Leia and the team on Jekara. He knows they need his help after seeing that vision.
This detour was worth it though as we find out that it was none other than Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar trapped down there; Starlight Squadron just saved the leader of the Rebellion!
Finally, we see the communication Luke was trying to make at the end of War of the Bounty Hunters #2. His vision has given him clarity that not only are the gangsters and the Hutts after Solo, so is Vader.
This title probably would have worked better being released before War of the Bounty Hunters #2 as we already know Vader crashes the party, ruining the cliffhanger that Vader is coming after Han. Despite that, this was a nice little cut away from the main events with a tight storyline, with Rebels doing what Rebels do best.
Both the art and writing came together nicely for this issue, capturing the tense gritty feeling of both the ground and air combat in a way that felt appropriately claustrophobic and desperate. Having Luke miss the shot was a great misdirect that tied together the themes of camaraderie and squadron teamwork featured in the issue while also having Luke’s vision serve a greater purpose for the crossover narrative. Soule really understands both the characters and the world as the issue is littered with references, easter eggs, and even the odd joke.
Alex Newman is huge Star Wars fan and loves to keep up to date with the canon. He’s also loved movies for as long as he can remember. He’s a massive Disney and superhero fan but will watch anything. He’s worked at a cinema, a comic book store and at Disney World but is currently working in radio in London!