Rebellion #11 (Empire #51)
Small Victories Part 1 (of 4)
Story: Jeremy Barlow
Art: Colin Wilson
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Colin Wilson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/21/2008)
The Rebels' damaged ship Rebel One exits hyperspace near an Imperial fueling station. Willing to sacrifice themselves for this opportunity to win a major victory for the Alliance, Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker and others volunteer to infiltrate and destroy the station. Tungo Li stays behind on the ship and blows it up when the Imperials come close, creating a diversion. But unknown to the commando team, the Imperials are fully aware of their presence on the station.
The story starts a few weeks after the Rebel fleet's narrow escape from last issue. The ship Rebel One has been jumping randomly to evade pursuit from the Empire. Some important characters are still aboard, namely Princess Leia, Luke Skywalker, Tungo Li (who first appeared in Rebellion #2), Sergeant Basso and clone trooper Able (both appearing in various issues of Empire/Rebellion since their first appearances in Empire #5 and #26 respectively.) But the main character seems to be the ever-lovable Deena Shan who is suffering from an inferiority complex. After an opening scene summarizing her appearances so far (from Empire #22 onward), she confides in Luke that she is not cut out for the heroic stuff and she wants to leave the Rebellion. She feels she got in way over her head, but unfortunately fate would not let her abandon that easily.
At this exact moment, Rebel One lurches out of hyperspace in close proximity to Bannistar Station, an important Imperial fueling depot located on a strategic route through the Mid Rim (reminding me a lot of Kwenn Space Station from the West End Games modules Tatooine Manhunt and Starfall). After hearing Basso's and Leia's speeches, they all recognize this turn of events as an incredible chance: destroying it would greatly cripple the Empire in this entire sector and give an advantage to the Alliance. The command personel are prepared to risk their lives for this mission, and Deena decides to tag along thinking that maybe this is a last opportunity to make herself useful. They quickly come up with a plan, while their ship is still undetected. Tungo Li volunteers to stay aboard the ship and blow it up to cover the team's transfer to the space station. Unfortunately, his sacrifice is in vain as the last page shows the station's commander D'Vox fully aware of the Rebels' presence. Meanwhile, Leia assigns different teams to different tasks: she and Able will destroy the fuel pumps, Basso and his crew will destroy the communication array, and Luke and Deena will disable the coolant and fire-retardant systems (so the exploding fuel doesn't get put out, get it?) Somehow, I have a feeling that the story will follow Luke and Deena more than the others.
Barlow may have left his job of editor for this series and Knights of the Old Republic, but leaves us one parting gift with this story. Maybe it's a coincidence, but he happens to have written two of my favorite Dark Horse Star Wars comics ever (namely Empire #23 and Jedi: Yoda) so I expect not to be disappointed with this series. I think he's off to a good start: he got rid of the character of Tungo Li created for the first two story arcs of Rebellion of which I am not a big fan of. I hope he goes through all the other annoying characters as well, from Wyl Tarson to Raze, so the series can go on without reminding us of those horrors. On the other hand, he seems to make good use of Deena, adding a lot more texture to her character and building on what has been established. I hope he doesn't sacrifice her. Of course we all know that Luke and Leia won't die, but there's also Basso and Able. It's a bit early to tell, but this series promises to be very high on tension.
Colin Wilson's art is adequate: not great and not awful, but acceptable. As with a lot of artists, he has a bit of trouble with likenesses of movie characters. But all the "invented" EU characters look fine. From different angles, character alternate between being cartoony and realistic. Also, I think using Interdictor-class cruisers would have created a more logical reason for the Rebel One to drop out of hyperspace.
This first part doesn't waste time and goes right into the action. An exciting story so far.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended