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Empire #6 Princess... Warrior Part 2 (of 2)

Story: Randy Stradley
Pencils: Davidé Fabbri
Inking: Christian Dalla Vecchia
Coloring: Digital Chameleon
Lettering: Digital Chameleon
Cover: Brian Ching, Batt
Released: 03/05/2003

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/06/2007)

SUMMARY:

Princess Leia Organa's presence on Kattada brought an Imperial patrol. Now a fight has broken out between the Imperials and the crew of the Tantive IV allied with the locals. In the middle of all this, Leai will learn a lesson in the art of warfare.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

Lady Mia Ikova is not dead after all, but she is dying. She is brought aboard the Tantive IV and dies in the medical bay holding her father's hands. Leia is filled with guilt, for having brought the Empire to this peaceful planet. She doesn't seem to have as much guilt when the Imperial Commander Karg also dies in the medical bay after being badly burned by the ship's laser cannon. But at the same time, Basso is finally out of the bacta tank and Leia asks him for military advice as he is the only one experienced enough in warfare to mount a strategy. Meanwhile, the Imperial soldiers now led by Lieutenant Splik are lying in wait, with no ship and no communications, for the inevitable attack by the locals who plan to eradicate their presence to avoid more Imperial patrols coming in. So eventually the locals win and they tell Leia they will dismantle the Imperial ship and keep the events a secret. But that is the part I don't get: even if all traces are erased, the Empire will know the last whereabouts of the patrol ship and will eventually start digging. But mostly the purpose of this story is to show a change in Leia: with lots of advice from Basso and Captain Antilles, she prepares herself for war, knowing that she can no longer run from the Empire. She has to take a stand, and the first step is to accept being responsible for some deaths.

I am a bit disappointed that Stradley didn't conclude with the second half of the radio drama episode. But the ending works perfectly where it can be continued in the drama, when Prestor Organa tells Leia "When you didn't come directly to the port, we worried." "I couldn't come straight home, father. I had some thinking to do." So to find out what happens to Leia between then and the time she is captured aboard the Tantive IV, readers have to track down that episode of the radio drama otherwise the story feels a bit incomplete. Although Stradley crafted a story that's pretty self-contained, it does leave some unanswered questions, such as what is that information encoded in Basso's brain, and what happened to Lord Tion from last issue? Nevertheless, it is a great homage to a classic piece of Star Wars entertainment and I do hope that it raises interest in new fans.


THE ART

Still more beautiful artwork and coloring. Fabbri really went all-out with Mia: even on her deathbed she looks stunning. I like the subtle touch of adding Basso watching her from inside the bacta tank in the foreground. On the other hand, Commander Karg's death seems really painful, and is final death pose is almost disturbing. The artist did create an awkward moment, when Leia and Basso are alone in the medical bay. I think he should have given Basso some clothes instead of having him half-naked! But the highlight of this issue is the ground assault. It shows what it really must be like in the middle of dozens of people on both sides shooting at each other, with stray shots and people falling down. My favorite exeample is the top of page 18: it really shows the chaos of war in just one panel. and Leia's guerilla costume design, also represented on the cover by Brian Ching, is pretty cool, as well as her formal dress she changes into soon after. Fabbri can show the beautiful and the down-and-gritty.


CONCLUSIONS

Almost as good as the first part. This one's a keeper.

Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended

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