Writer Charles Soule planted the seed of a possible alliance between Qi’ra and Leia during the War of the Bounty Hunters conclusion. This week, Soule brings the two of them back together as the Rebel Alliance enters one of their more desperate hours. Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn may be able to help, but Leia remains cautious when it comes to the syndicate. Shara Bey is now in the hands of the ruthless Commander Zhara. Utilizing every sinister method she can, Zhara may have found Shara’s last vulnerability.
Call me skeptical, but I don’t see this ending well. Qi’ra and Leia unexpectedly reunite to discuss the state of the galaxy and the war the Rebel Alliance is losing at the moment. Little does Leia know, Qi’ra is engaged in her own secret war against the Emperor himself. Instead of Qi’ra bringing Leia into the folds of her own plans, she offers her assistance on this front in the struggle against the Empire.
Qi’ra offers up the location of the last Rebel fleet, something even Leia doesn’t know. We learn the alliance still operates in cells, and the last fleet remains mobile and on the move. Qi’ra has agents everywhere, so she knows where they are. Leia questions her motives, but has little choice other than to accept the help while still waiting to find out what Qi’ra wants in return. For the moment, the leader of Crimson Dawn only wants to say hi to an old friend.
Chewbacca is not happy to see Qi’ra. In the midst of preparations to singlehandedly storm Jabba’s Palace, the Wookiee pilot stops to give Qi’ra a glare and nothing more. At this point, it doesn’t sound like they’ve worked out a full rescue plan for Han, assuming Jabba would rather display him as a trophy than thaw him out and feed him to the rancor. Chewbacca doesn’t seem like he wants to wait around, but Qi’ra suggests he could be more useful to the rebels instead of shooting targets in an empty hangar.
Meanwhile, aboard Tarkin’s Will, Zhara is in the midst of relentlessly torturing Shara Bey. Shara was discovered in the previous issue, after an extended amount of time hiding in the underbelly of the damaged Star Destroyer. Now, Zhara wants everything, but Shara holds out. Finally, Zhara finds her vulnerability, sharing the Empire knows where she and Kes have hidden Poe to keep him safe from the war. The threat is implied when Zhara shares what she knows so Shara gives in to protect her son. I really don’t think Shara is that naive, as Zhara would likely seek to harm Poe regardless, so I’m guessing she’s going to feed her some misleading intelligence. At the same time, I could be completely wrong, and this could very well be Shara’s breaking point. We’ll see.
We learn the business motivations behind Qi’ra’s olive branch of aid. The Rebel Alliance has been forced to use smuggling channels controlled by different criminal syndicates to move their resources around while evading the Empire. Qi’ra suggests Leia allow Crimson Dawn to consolidate those efforts. Seems like a winning proposal for both sides, but I’m still as skeptical as a reluctant Leia, who accepts the proposal. She sees an opportunity, though. It will allow Amilyn Holdo to keep a closer eye on Qi’ra and Crimson Dawn, since she’ll be the Rebel Alliance point-of-contact to Crimson Dawn. As we know, Holdo is no one’s fool. This should be interesting.
Just as Leia’s concluding her business with Qi’ra, she learns Kes Dameron and Starlight Squadron are in the midst of a daring rescue. Their strategy is a bold one. The fighters will lead a brazen attack on Tarkin’s Will while Kes and others slip aboard via U-wing. There’s only one problem, the Tarkin’s Will has bigger targets to deal with, and they’re not sticking around to engage a few fighters.
Now Kes and few others are trapped in the same area Shara was. This is precarious, but at least Shara has allies aboard. And considering where Tarkin’s Will goes, those in Zhara’s sights will need all the help they can get.
Commander Zhara is done playing around. She’s going big, as she launches an assault on the Rebel Fleet. Luckily, for Shara and the Rebel Alliance, Kes and the others may do some damage if they can remain hidden on Tarkin’s Will. Zhara’s boldness is not without a heavy dose of arrogance, and that’s never ended well for aspirational Imperial officers.
Overall, a nice issue from writer Charles Soule and artists Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg. I’ve been looking forward to seeing Qi’ra and Leia continue their shaky alliance, and I’m even more excited Amilyn Holdo’s in the mix. Soule does a great job of making the stakes feel much higher with this upcoming battle between Zhara and the Rebel Fleet. It’s easy to get space battle fatigue with these comics, and I’m glad Soule took to the time with this issue to establish the peril the Rebel Alliance is facing. Also, please keep Shara Bey safe. Little Poe, too.