Synopsis: Luke, Wedge, and Leia rejoin the Rebel Fleet just as the Empire launches an all out assault. Elsewhere, Han and Chewie's luck finally begins to change. Meanwhile, Darth Vader finally decides to take matters into his own hands.
Wow! This amazing issue brings the storylines we've been following for nearly a year to their culmination in a breathtaking battle recalling the best of the original Star Wars trilogy.
Carlos D'Anda truly sets the standard for Star Wars battles done for comics here. The artistry involved in constructing the attack on the Rebel Fleet is breathtaking, and reminiscent of the military battles that inspired A New Hope's attack sequences. With panels employing unconventional POV and art capturing the three dimensionality of a true space battle, D'Anda breathes new life into a Star Wars comics staple. His gorgeous upward perspective from inside Luke's X-Wing as the battle rages around him on page 16 is worth the price of the issue alone.
As immersive and impressive as the battle was, however, it was merely the backdrop upon which the characters faced moments of truth certain to resonate throughout the series.
For Wedge, that moment meant finally confronting his grief over Red Squadron's loss. We've seen how the Battle of Yavin affected Luke and Leia, but Wedge thus far has been closed off and focused on his work, preferring to deal with his emotions in private. Our first glimpse into Wedge's mental state came during his conversation last issue with Luke as they waited to launch from the Devastator, and it heavily informed this issue's scene in which Wedge nearly becomes as much of a murderer as the evil he opposes.
How fitting was it that Leia, fresh from her encounter with Tag Rogaren, was the one to talk Wedge out of making that irrevocable mistake? I've praised this series' prominent focus on character development since day one, and this is a perfect example of why. Leia, who mercilessly executed a downed TIE pilot in the first issue, has overcome her need for vengeance and is now in a position to help Wedge do the same. Between this and Wedge's aforementioned conversation with Luke in the last issue, I'm looking forward to Wedge becoming more of a friend than a colleague to these two.
I'm also looking forward to further exploring the connection that's developed between Luke and Prithi. Though I found it contrived that Prithi would choose to slice in to Luke's comm during a battle and express her feelings (seriously, NOT the best time), I did appreciate that they were shown to genuinely care for each other. This makes their dalliance in Issue #2 more than a fling, and I like the idea of the series giving Luke a love interest. Prithi is an intriguing character and a real relationship with Luke offers great story opportunities for both of them.
While I'm looking forward to future issues exploring Luke and Prithi's relationship, I NEED an explanation for Mon Mothma's relationship with "Imperial Colonel Bircher". I was just as surprised as Home One's deck crew to learn that the enemy pursuing our heroes for the past eleven issues is actually a Rebel spy? and the nephew of the Alliance's leader. This raises a number of questions and concerns for me.
My foremost question is how was he able to get away with this right under the noses of two of the most powerful Force practitioners in the galaxy? The second question being that he's a relative of Imperial public enemy #1 and the Empire was unable to ascertain this? While I'm happy to see my sense that something was different about Bircher proved to be true (see my review for Issue #2), I'm on the fence where this new development is concerned.
Especially because it reveals a spy for the Rebellion we knew nothing about when we're nowhere closer to discovering who the Imperial spy in the Rebellion's ranks is. This was the series' most prominent plotline, but is rarely featured now. It's not a deal breaker for me, but abandoning this storyline without resolving it will show a severe lack of followthrough. We'll see how, or if, they address this in next month's issue.
Another plotline desperate for resolution continues to be the Han Solo arc, if you can call it that. His mission with Chewie to secure arms for the Alliance seems to finally be nearing completion with this issue. I truly hope Brian Wood can find a better story for these two characters in the next phase of the story. They deserve it.
As Han and Chewie's mission comes to an end, the final pages of this issue emphatically state that Darth Vader's is just beginning. The Dark Lord of the Sith FINALLY reasserts some control over his own destiny and resolves to eliminate the Rebellion himself. Anakin has always taken failure personally, and the Death Star's loss at Yavin caused him to feel sorry for himself. Now that he's been vindicated I think we're going to see him regain that capricious confidence that so characterized him in The Empire Strikes Back, and it's about time.
Unfortunately this newfound determination came at the cost of his recent ally, Birra Seah, who fled the battle rather than face the Dark Lord's disappointment in the face of her failure to capture Luke. Carlos D'Anda's art shines again in the four panels detailing Birra's decision to desert. From the panic in Birra's face to the fear in her eyes, you understood exactly what she was thinking. Remember, they first met during a conference in which Vader violently silenced an Admiral who dared to disagree with him. Had I been in Birra's position, I'd have run, too.
Overall, Star Wars Issue #11 delivered an awesome introduction to a two part conclusion that will move us out of the shadow of Yavin and onto a path that leads eventually leads to the events of The Empire Strikes Back. It was a riveting read that deserves more than one look, and ignites an excitement for December's issue. Brian Wood, Carlos D'Anda, and Gabe Eltaeb have created a great Star Wars experience and I can't wait for Issue #12.
See you next month!
Rating: 4.5 Out Of 5