Scripting: John Ostrander
Art: Omar Francia
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Sean Cooke
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (11/27/2009)
In their first joint mission, the fleets of the Galactic Alliance and their new allies from Bastion attack the Third Imperial Fleet over Ralltiir. But after their victory, disention between the two allied commanders, Gar Stazi and Edouard Fenel, brings them close to conflict. Stazi makes his point that if this is to be an alliance, he has to be treated as Emperor Fel's equal.
This one-shot continues the overarcing story of the remnants of the Galactic Alliance that began in #9-10 ("Trust Issues") and continued in #20-22 ("Indomitable" and "The Wrath of the Dragon"). It's completely separate from the Cade Skywalker story, and stars Duros admiral Gar Stazi as he struggles his way through a galaxy controlled by the Sith. After Stazi's fleet stole the Advanced Star Destroyer Imperious from the Empire, Darth Krayt ordered genocide on the planet Dac where the ship was constructed. Horrified by the event, Stazi decided to negotiate an alliance with Roan Fel's Imperial remnant and renamed the ship Alliance in the process.
Here we find that this new alliance is still very shaky. On their first mission together, the Galactic Alliance (now including the Alliance) and Bastion Second Fleet execute a surprise attack on the third Imperial fleet out of Coruscant protecting Ralltiir, commanded by Admiral Kelsan. But Stazi's patience is put to the test when his "ally", commanded by brash Admiral Edouard Fenel, arrives late and starts ordering Stazi around. Through a series of maneuvers and bad judgment calls on Fenel's part, Stazi fights to keep a position of equality and not as vassals.
At first, the two allies have the same goal, to disable as many Imperial ships as possible and Admiral Kelsan complies by ordering his fleet to surrender. But then Fenel encourages Imperial crews to mutiny against their commanders if they refuse to comply, which Stazi does not agree with. Fenel keeps reminding Stazi that he fled at the Battle of Caamas which was also cowardice. Then the tables are turned when a bright young captain named Vaclen Tor refuses to surrender his ship the Steadfast, manned by a crew who are fiercely loyal to him. Then Kelsan refuses to attack his own, and changes his surrender order to self-destruct all Imperial ships. This is another mistake on Fenel's part in Stazi's opinion, since Fenel overplayed his hand by ordering Imperial ships to attack each other.
The turning point comes when Fenel orders everyone to destroy all lifepods ejecting from Imperial ships. Stazi objects to this and orders his own fleet to move between the two opposing Imperial fleets and protect the evacuation. Stazi also protects the Steadfast when Fenel orders his fleet to destroy it. The situation is defused when Emperor Fel himself contacts Stazi and advises him he does not agree with everything Fenel did. Stazi makes a point that as Head of State of the Galactic Alliance he is an equal to Fel, and promises to give him the only surviving ship Steadfast as a gift once its crew is safely off. Stazi then confeses to Captain Jhoram Bey that the alliance will continue, although they will never be friends with the Imperials.
This is a very nice and meaty story about internal politics, personal beliefs and space battles. It's great to see the continuing saga of the Galactic Alliance, and hopefully this will come into play with Cade's story at some point. It also continues to make Roan Fel less and less likeable, as he has become recently in the series. There's also a nice subplot with parts of the battle seen from the POV of a few pilots of Rogue Squadron, namely Anj, Monia and Andurgo (all returning from the "Indomitable" story arc). I love seeing these "fill-ins" dispersed now and then in the series, and they are well executed so far.
As expected, this issue has lots of starships. Three separate fleets, actually. And it takes a talented artist to not only illustrate every single ship but also make each fleet distinctive from one another. Not an easy task, but Francia executes it perfectly. Every type and size of ship looks amazing and seen from any angle. And when the scene switches from starships to the people inside them, Francia still delivers the severity of the situation in the character's expressions. The Galactic Alliance has a lot of alien species: Stazi is a Duro, Bey is a Weequay, there's also Mon Calamaris and a Dresselian. The Corsucant Fleet also has its fair share of alien crewmembers, some even in stormtrooper armor. And they are all depicted very well. Francia's talent is really on display here, as each page is a delight to look at. And the cover by Sean Cooke is near perfection!
The continuing saga of the Galactic Alliance fleet led by Admiral Gar Stazi.
Rating: 8 / 10 Recommended