Rebellion #14 (Empire #54)
Small Victories Part 4 (of 4)
Story: Jeremy Barlow
Art: Colin Wilson
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Colin Wilson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (08/24/2008)
Thanks to a diversion created by Deena Shan when she blew up a Star Destroyer, Luke, Leia and Able join Basso and escape Bannistar Station aboard a stolen Lambda-class shuttle. Even though they risk making their escape more difficult, the Alliance crew make pass at the site of the explosion to see if Deena is still alive. They find her and bring her aboard, but the station's commander calls all TIE fighter squadrons to attack the shuttle. Fortunately for the Rebels, Dagger Squadron arrive to cover their escape with their new B-wing fighters. They all manage to make it back aboard Home One, but not without making a sworn enemy out of Commander D'vox.
This issue opens with the after-effects of the fuel tank detonation caused by Deena Shan's explosive charge, resulting in the destruction of a Star Destroyer. This event put all the other ships on alert, and as the Star Destroyers scramble to get away from Bannistar Station, two of them collide end crash on a nearby planet. Another effect of the explosion is that the Rebel prisoners used the distraction to free themselves from the stormtroopers. Now they are finishing up and capture Commander D'vox. Able wants to kill him, but Leia won't let any helpless prisoner, even an Imperial one, be shot in cold blood. Big mistake: at the first opportunity, D'vox picks up a fallen blaster and aims at the Rebels. But Luke's Jedi instincts are faster, and he slices the blaster in two, along with the commander's hand. They then leave him to his own devices as the Rebel leaders receive a message from Basso. He did not succeed in destroying the station's communications array but he secured an escape shuttle at platform 13-B where the others should meet him.
They meet no resistance on their way there, but they have to convince Basso to make one pass to see if Deena is still alive. They at least owe her that much. IT doesn't take long before they find her dangling from a cable attached to a broken walkway. As Luke brings her aboard, they receive a message from Dagger Squadron, arriving to the rescue: Lt. Pollard (Black Dagger), Vin Nothos (Scarlet Dagger), Callen Troyt (Gold Dagger) and Nera Dantels (Blue Dagger). They managed to fend off the squads of TIE fighters and escort the shuttle past the fleeing Star Destroyers to a safe point where the Rebels can enter hyperspace.
Back aboard the flagship Home One, the pilots and survivors of Rebel One are debriefed (with Admiral Ackbar, Han Solo and Chewie making cameo appearances) and Dagger Squadron volunteer for their next mission: in issue #12 Deena discovered that the Empire was planning a massive attack on a civilian planet harboring a Rebel cell, and that planet is now revealed to be Ansion (a planet introduced in The Approaching Storm). The Rebels want to at least warn the planet of the impending attack so they can mount their defenses. That story will be told someday (I hope) as the main characters move on to the "Vector" storyline next issue. The story ends with Luke visiting Deena in the infirmary, where he makes her realize that she did good and she should be proud of herself. This scene concludes Deena's character arc perfectly, as "Small Victories" was mostly about her overcoming her doubts about herself and her feelings of uselessness. She now sees that she does have something to controbute, and no longer considers leaving the Rebellion.
The story wraps up nicely, if not a bit predictably. The only speculation, discussed in the letters column, was about Deena's survival so it's a bit of a surprise to see that she survives. Even though not all went according to the Rebels' plan, which was laid out in issue #11, the mission is somewhat successful: Bannistar station is not completely destoyred but damaged enough to cripple the Empire for a while. This story arc is a pretty straightforward "mission" story, but it does bring a few cool things to the Expanded Universe table: it gives a definite date in the timeline for the introduction of the B-wing fighters, thus placing the Strikeforce: Shantipole RPG adventure firmly in the timeline. Although, I would have loved to find out the relation between the Imperial officer Bane Nothos from that story (and also in Otherspace) and Vin Nothos the B-wing pilot. And do the pilots in Dagger squadron have callsigns named after colors instead of numbers?
With the arrival of Dagger Squadron and the Star Destroyers fleeing the damaged fueling station, this issue has a lot of starship activity and explosions. And I think Wilson is up for the task, depicting dynamic dogfights with TIE fighters. And he easily switches from outside the cockpit to inside to show the pilots' reactions. Love that full-page Dagger Squadron reveal. The character depictions are a bit rough, in Wilson's own style, but they are recognizable. I mean comic books should not always depict photo-realistic characters, as long as we can distinguish characters, follow them from one panel to the next and see some of their expressions. And we have a perfect example of that here. I also like the way the artist "hides" D'vox's severed hand, with the character leaving his arms safely out-of-frame most of the time. So overall, the art is consistently good for this entire story arc.
Sadly, no Suskafoo in this issue. Otherwise a satisfying and exciting conclusion to "Small Victories".
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended