I was lucky enough to pick this up on Kindle Unlimited before my trial period ran out, I was hesitant at first, really because part of me was worried it would just end up being a literary advert for the Galaxy’s Edge attraction.
What I found was that I was mostly wrong. Of course we get to see Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop and quite prominently Dok Ondar’s Den of Antiquities. All big attractions at the theme parks. But the story, once we get into the meat of it that is, is great fun.
The first couple of issues lay the groundwork for the series, the main timeline where a Bounty Hunter crew led by Kendoh (last seen in the pages of ‘Star Wars: Allegiance’) are searching for a rare object which Dok Ondar has in his collection. They notice his baby Sarlacc and he tells them the story of how Han Solo and Chewbacca procured it for him followed by Dok Ondar telling the story of how Greedo acquired the lightsaber of Ki-Adi Mundi to a group of Stormtroopers.
It’s not until Issue 3 where the plot really picks up. Starting with how Hondo and Ondar steal a Kyber Statue from the Temple of the Whills on Jedha (and encounter Chirrut Imwue) which leads to a story about Aphra working with Dok Ondar to steal a Sith artefact from the Sith home world of Moraband, a pair of swords that connect to make one big sword. Ondar manages to get one half, the other half was kept by Aphra then sold and it made its way to Kendoh who wants both halves, but Ondar also wants both halves. Of course shenanigans ensue, the First Order are around causing their own brand of mayhem.
Overall the books is good fun, it was absolutely fantastic to get Hondo in the pages of a comic, Greg Pak wrote him wonderfully and it’s so easy to hear Jim Cummings’ voice in all of the dialogue.
Seeing as I recently decided to blitz the first Aphra series but took a break to read this, it was fun to get Aphra in the fourth part along with Bee Tee and 000 getting up to their old tricks, I can only assume that this part of the story is set sometime around the first two volumes of the Aphra series as the Murder-Droids are still working for Aphra.
The connections to the films are pretty on the nose, the fact that Han and Chewie do a job for Ondar as does Greedo, who gets a serious action pose moment which doesn’t fit with the character we have seen before, but I suppose if it was Boba Fett as the main character would have just been gratuitous fan service.
However, I did find myself becoming rather bored by the Batuu plot. Kendoh and her team spend so much time spying on Dok Ondar it’s almost a surprise when they finally pull off their heist.
The addition of the First Order is also used as a set up for the events that occur in the ‘Rise of the Resistance’ ride, where we see a First Order Fleet led by Kylo Ren on The Finalizer, a nice touch for people who get to experience the ride but in the end I just wanted to see the Battle of Batuu unfold rather than what we got.
Whilst a fun read, this is definitely one of those books that I could easily put on one side and not revisit it anytime soon. Pak treads the line between welcome and gratuitous fan service with a few steps to either side. I would have liked to have seen some of the roles filled by legacy characters filled with new canon characters from books and comics and the McGuffin leaves a lot to be desired.
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