Mara completes her mission, but has second thoughts about it upon returning to Coruscant.
Vader kills the Emperor and Mara's life changes forever...
Suppose you were to ask a character if they felt they were evil (or a bad
person). Palpatine, Vader and probably Tarkin would admit that they were. The
recent Emperor wanna-be's like Isard or Jax, maybe. What about the rest of the
servants of the Empire? Baron Fel certainly felt he was serving the best
interest of the citizens of the galaxy. I quite enjoyed an unexpected trip
into Mara's motivations and world view as the Emperor's Hand.
Mara's character has always had an element of "looking out for number one" to
her. This series is about how she deals with having her life stripped away
from her, so it definitely makes her deeper and more sympathetic that she
hasn't always been quite as "selfish". She believes, as Fel does, that she is
part of a "noble cause".
Of course, Mara's interesting because she's a paradox. I think opening the
issue with an action sequence was equally appropriate to her character. As is
using brains rather than brawn to escape. This is very nicely illustrated by
her broad range of leisure activities, another enjoyable touch.
I've mentioned on previous occasions that one of the best additions of the SW
literature has been adding layers and schemes to Emperor Palpatine and the
politics of the Imperial leadership between ANH and ROTJ. Adding in an
additional layer of activity by Isard is interesting to me and I hope and
assume this will be fleshed out in the next issue.
Unfortunately, the actual death of Palpatine -- the critical turning point in
Mara's life -- just didn't have the emotion to it that I've been anticipating.
The Emperor's take on his own death is interesting ("what I told you is
true... from a certain point of view"), I suppose. I can't put my finger on
the missing ingredient, but I wanted a feeling more like the cover of this
Ezquerra maintains the quality established in the first issue. Mara just looks
"right". Of course, the action scenes gave her the strength and competence we
expect. However, I found her body language during her leisure activities and
during her mission investigation to most effectively portray the subtleties of
Ezquerra is also establishing himself as the most prolific costume designer in
SW comic history. (You know, a comic artist takes on the job of the prop
designer, set builder, cinematographer, costumer, make-up, choreographer and
probably ten other jobs.) Leia in ROTJ was the last time a SW character
changed clothes this much. But this is no simple fashion show, Mara is a new
person every hour and needs clothes to match.
The double-page spread of Coruscant is very cool and a nice showcase of
Ezquerra's ability with biology and technology. I can't wait to see this
planet on the big screen next year!
This series is shaping up to meet my high expectations. If you're a fan of the
"better" novels, you should really give this series a try. The downside for me
was a slightly anti-climactic death of the Emperor.