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Empire #34 In the Shadows of Their Fathers, Part 5 (of 5)

Story: Thomas Andrews
Art: Michel Lacombe
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Tomás Giorello
Released: 09/14/2005

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/22/2005)

SUMMARY:

As the empire is loading up Jabimi workers aboard their slave ships and lining up the Loyalist leaders and Luke Skywalker to be shot, an unexpected distraction helps them to escape their bonds. Leia, Dantels, Wedge and Hobbie also help to get Luke off-planet, even though he wants to stay behind to rectify what his father did 21 years earlier. But he changes his mind when Nolan convinces him that he already redeemed his father, and now Nolan also has to stay and continue what his own father had started and fight for his home planet. Meanwhile, Darth Vader is not too happy to see the Rebel ships escape into hyperspace...


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

This issue came out two weeks after the last one, probably to make up for the delays that plagued the last 5 or 6 issues. Here is a reason why I like individual issues over collected trade paperbacks: sometimes it's for the reader letters, sometimes it's for the little summaries on the inside front cover. These summaries sometimes reveal some information that is not in the actual story; this issue is an example of that as the summary reveals Governor Thorne's name to be Thorme Kraym (although it's weird that they call him by his first name).

As any good conclusions to multi-part stories, this issue wraps up the arc quite nicely, leaving no loose ends (except maybe that Vader is under-utilized, but he does have his own wrap-up coming up in #35). There are some little details that I like in this issue. At one point, Luke suggests to Nolan that he wants to try to use a mind trick on the gyards to escape, but this plan is quickly abandoned when the Governor takes him aside to talk to him. Then, even though the odds are against them, the way that the two prisoners break out during a bombardment feels very plausible and realistic. No heroic stuff here; Luke gets down and dirty kicking people in the face, dodging knife thrusts, and skewering opponents with his lightsaber. The dialogue between Nolan and Luke, and then Luke in Leia, is convincing and well-written, which is also the case with the whole story arc in general. There is also a moment when Luke muses that if Obi-Wan never told him that he had been on Jabiim, what else could he have hidden from him? And this is intercut with scenes of Vader aboard his Star Destroyer. If only Luke knew...

On the downside, I didn't really see a satisfying explanation of how 2 X-Wings and the Starduster managed to get past two Star Destroyers and squadrons of TIEs. And the fate of the Loyalist traitor is not too impactful. Otherwise, Andrews really has talent with creating rich dialogue and telling a solid story. It is not a story about galaxy-spanning wars or capital ship battles; it is a story about people fighting for their homes and to preserve the legacy of their predecessors.


THE ART

It had to happen. A five-parter with only one artist is a rare thing these day. But Lacombe is up to the task, being more or less faithful to what Melo established over the last four issues. Like Melo, Lacombe has some strengths and weaknesses, like his Vader is not on par with the other likenesses, and Nolan and Dantels look different from what we're accustomed to. I liked the flashback of Obi-Wan and ARC Trooper Alpha during the Clone Wars. That and the AT-TE and Acclamator-class ships create a nice tie-in to the original "Battle of Jabiim" from the Republic series a couple of years ago. Another tie-in to that series is the cover by Giorello (who illustrated three of the four Republic Jabiim issues, as well as all five covers for this arc). I like the cover a lot more than the previous issue's, although it looks more like a poster for A New Hope with Luke in pilot gear and the Death Star hovering above Vader.


CONCLUSIONS

A good, satisfying conclusion to a good, satisfying arc.

Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended

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