Well, Charles Soule is at it again folks and this time he’s shepherding us into a new era for the Star Wars comics, the time between ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Return of the Jedi’.
The story starts almost straight after the Millennium Falcon escapes ‘The Executor’. Luke is reliving the moments after Vader cut off his hand. The crew of the Falcon are trying to decide what to do next, the consensus is to find the Rebel Alliance.
Part of the Rebel fleet has been cornered and is being overwhelmed by a blockade of Star Destroyers who are close to winning the fray. The Falcon arrives and comes under attack from a whole squadron of TIE Fighters, Luke, frustrated with the loss of his hand and his inability to use the Quad Cannons as well as Vader’s revelation ends up using the Force to destroy the TIE’s the Falcon makes a gap in the big enough for the fleet to jump.
Commander Zahra is running the attack and communicates to Vader that the mission would have been a success had the Falcon not arrived. Vader tells her that the Millennium Falcon must not be destroyed but captured.
Once they have docked with the members of the fleet they just helped, Chewie is instructed to keep an eye on Lando by Leia and they figure out how the Empire found the escaped Rebels.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the ship, Luke confides in R2 the events of his duel with Vader and his frustration at not being able to communicate with Obi-Wan and Yoda and admits his fear of what the implications of that are. In his frustration he cracks a window of the ship through the Force.
What I didn’t expect was this to actually take place during the timeline of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ itself but Charles Soule really does a great job of bridging the time between the moment the Falcon escapes Vader and the final scene on the Medical Frigate.
It seems natural now that I think of it, something had to happen because the heroes go from not trusting Lando to sending him and Chewie off on a mission to find Han. I suppose the first few issues could help bridge that gap which would be interesting.
Seeing Luke in the aftermath of the Vader duel is interesting. Of course, on the Medical Frigate in the film, Luke seems ok, pretty well composed but he’s just gone through some serious trauma and of course he’d be all over the place emotionally.
I love the call-back to the end of Kieron Gillen’s first arc of the ‘Darth Vader’ series where he broke the Star Destroyer’s viewport through the Force and having Luke do it in his frustration is fantastic, as George Lucas often said, “It rhymes.” and Soule really follows that notion here to great effect.
In terms of the art, Saiz does give us really well drawn characters who look like the actors but he’s not just gone and copied images from the films, he’s just gone and done some incredible study of the characters and actors and gives us some wonderful imagery.
A great start to the new series. If the run keeps this high standard it will be a joy to read every month. Soule is really making a name for himself in the Galaxy Far, Far Away…