Rebellion #2 (Empire #42)
My Brother, My Enemy Part2 (of 5)
Story: Rob Williams
Art: Brandon Badeaux
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brandon Badeaux, Wil Glass
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (04/15/2007)
During a raid on an Imperial convoy, Luke Skywalker's X-wing goes totally dead. He is saved by Wedge Antilles, and they take the much needed supplies back to the Rebel fleet where Luke is introduced to Tungo Li the head of the Alliance's spy network who provided the location of the Imperial ships. Luke is informed that he is receiving a message from Tank. Meanwhile in the Per Lupelo system, the crim lord Raze is not happy that one of his lieutenants fed the information to the Rebels and he is determined to find out who betrayed him. On the medical frigate, Deena is given the task of keeping an eye on Jorin Sol who is resting in a bacta tank since his rescue from Kalist IV. But Deena finds out that Sol's stay with the Empire may have made him a changed man.
I noticed in the indicia for this issue that this is indeed a continuation of the Empire series as it reads "Star Wars: Rebellion #2 (Star Wars Empire #42)". So much like the ongoing Star Wars series became Republic, the same thing happened here.
Last issue was bout Janek Sunber's vow to kill his childhood friend. In this one we switch over to Luke's story. The Rebel fleet is on the move, having left their last base on Thila. They think that they rescued the mathematician Jorin Sol in time (see Empire #40) but now his Imperial brainwashing which was previously hinted at kicks in. After breaking out of the tank and dismantling a 2-1B droid, he garrotes poor Deena who is very much drunk and still reeling from the betrayal of her lover Captain Roshuir. This issue also has cameos by Able and Basso who, like Deena, are returning from the Empire series.
Along with these returning characters, there are a few new ones. We find out who that strange alien who appeared in one panel (and the cover) of issue #0 is. He's the one who sold the location of the Jabiimi slaves to Tal Hesz. In this issue we find out his name is Raze and he is a gangster who sells information across the galaxy. He seems to have four lieutenants, a Human named Wyl Tarson, a Yarkora named Drybal, an Ubese and a Zabrak, one of whom Raze highly suspects of sending the information about the Imperial convoy to the Rebellion. On the receiving end is another new character, a weird alien with wires connected to his skull named Tungo Li. Apparently, Tungo is in charge of the Alliance's small spy network and is much like a Bothan. While I understand the creative urge to introduce new characters into the vast EU, this is a case where I would have preferred the writer used some that existed already and filled those roles.
Amidst all this, the writer doesn't forget the main character and takes some time to explore a bit of Luke's state of mind. As LEia tells him, he is not the same since he returned from Kalist IV where he met Tank and found out he joined the Empire. But he doesn't confide in her; even though they have a strong friendship, Luke feels that Leia was raised too differently than he was and maybe she won't understand. Luke keeps thinking of his home on Tatooine, and has a dream where he drowns in the sand and Tank shoots him. It seems that he is haunted by a feeling of regret at loosing his friend, the only connection he has left to his home planet (well there is still Fixer and Camie, and Windy).
There a few things that keep me from loving this story. Things like Raze mentioning his "almost superhuman" ability to sort data when he is very obviously not human, and a mention in the inside cover recap of Jorin Sol recovering in the Rebel command ship when he obviously is aboard the medical frigate. But mostly, there is an overall feeling of the writer trying too much to tie up loose ends from Welles Hartley's previous story and not having the freedom to create his own (like he did with "Nomad"). Maybe Williams is not as inspired when continuing a story that was started by someone else.
I like Badeaux's art much more than I did in the previous issue. aside from his penchant for Imperial officers showing their pectorals through their uniforms, he does a much better job here with characters and especially starships. The opening sequence of the X-wing raid on the Imperial supply ships (who look like Providence-class carrier/destroyers) is very well depicted. And although the story hinges on the Rebels being very low on supplies, the sofisticated black suits the Rebel boarders wear are very cool. But the coolest design must be Raze. The reveal itself is great, just showing his upper body, then shots of his mechanical legs before the full panel shot. But the alien's cybernetic lower-half, with segments that have legs like a centipede, and all wired directly into his spinal cord is just too cool for words. Badeaux is very good with human muscles, and when he illustrates them in the appropriate places (as in, not through an officer's uniform) the anamtomy looks very realistic. Good examples of this are the tight-top wearing Deena and the half-naked Jorin Sol. But I'm not just talking about body muscles, but also facial muscles. The amount of details in the facial expressions, even the aliens, is impressive. (And yes, there are topless Human women in this issue, floating in bacta tanks on page 20.)
Those details are very much embelished by the amazing coloring work by Wil Glass. There are also some beautiful shots of a Tatooine skyline and a pink nebula that can be seen though the Rebel ship's viewports. Overall, this is a case of the coloring greatly enhancing and completing the art.
Although it's not bad, I can't wait for the Jorin Sol/Janek Sunber saga to end so the writer can move on to other projects. This story would have been handled better by Welles Hartley.
Rating: 7.5 / 10