Tatooine Part 1 (of 4)
Story: John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
Scripting: John Ostrander
Pencilling: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Jan Duursema
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/07/2010)
Cade Skywalker and the crew of the Mynock have resumed their pirating ways. Thanks to an informant, they have succesfully raided Imperial cargoes that Black Sun was targeting, placing the blame on the criminal organization. Now Imperial Moff Nyna Calixte sends her daughter Gunner Yage to meet with Moff Nieve Gromia on Tatooine and help get rid of the pirates, and plans to join herself in her guise as Morrigan Corde. Meanwhile, Cade lands on Tatooine with the Mynock n need of repairs, but his contact Muz the fence doesn't pay as much because the stolen cargo is sought after by Black Sun which leaves the crew of the Mynock stranded. Somewhere else in the sector, Black Sun Vigo Lun Rask learns the identity of the pirates and sends three deadly assassins to deal with them, with help from his associate Moff Gromia who also wants to get rid of Gunner Yage.
Tatooine is probably the most overused of the planets in Star Wars. It is visited in 5 of the 7 movies, if you count The Clone Wars, so it would come as no surprise that Cade Skywalker would eventually come to his ancestors' homeworld. Once again, Ostrander and Duursema weave a tale of intrigue and deception, and new characters come into play. Cade always comes in contact with major players: this time, he goes to Tatooine and already attracts the attention of the Sector's Black Sun Vigo and the Region's Imperial Moff. Of course it is because of his own actions that the guns are trained on him, and he doesn't seem to be aware or even care of who will come after him. Cade and his companions Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue only think of spending their money, although this time a replacement trivavle assembly for the Mynock (and new boots for Deliah) is a priority. Earlier, the story opened with their latest attack in the Outer Rim on an Imperial ship that was being boarded by Black Sun pirates. Cade and his friends overtake Captain Dovrin's crew, and Imperial Captain Piard is very grateful of the rescue until Cade takes Black Sun's intended booty of Thunderbolt Mark 7 blasters and erases the Imperials' memories of him with the Force.
We learn that this is their sixth hijack of Imperial shipments, and this has come to the attention of the local Moff, Nieve Gromia, who is stationed on Tatooine and reports the lastest theft directly to Grand Admiral Morlish Veed and his lover Moff Nyna Calixte. Calixte is still plotting to find a way to get to Sith-controlled Korriban (an ongoing thread since Darth Krayt's death), but in the meantime she plans on going herself to take care of the stolen cargo situation. Or rather, she is sending Intel agent "Morrigan Corde" along with her daugher Gunner Yage, Captain of Skull Squadron. Calixte wants to slowly coach her daughter into a bigger role and use her Black Ops training instead of flying TIE fighters, but Gunner is not happy about leaving her squadron and going "dirtside". But she's a good soldier and follows orders. She goes to Moff Gromia's base (in Gardulla the Hutt's old palace, no less) and finds out that the Moff was not advised of her coming, nor of Morrigan Corde's arrival.
Meanwhile Cade goes to deal with his regular fence, Muz the Muun, in Mos Eisley, only to find out that he can only pay a quarter of what he used to. The reason for that is Black Sun are now on to the pirates and the stolen goods risk being traced down to their source by an unhappy Vigo. That puts a kink in Cade's plan, so he can no longer buy a replacement part to leave the planet (or boots for Deliah or water for Jariah). So now they go to Plan B: the "missionary" scam, which involves Deliah being dressed in a costume similar to the one worn by Astraal Vao in "Broken". This is after Cade contacted his spy inside Black Sun, Naxy Screeger (who was last seen put in the brig of the Mynock in issue #23). Screeger has been Cade's informant, but when he is too closely questioned by Vigo Lun Rask he announces to Cade that he is quitting while the quitting's good. Screeger escapes from the Black Sun base, an old Tibanna gas mining platform orbiting Kaer in the Siskeen system, prompting Rask to kill the one responsible for Screeger's escape.
Now we come to the double-crossings. Rask is then contacted by Muz the fence who reveals the identity of the one who sold him the stolen Imperial goods: he only knows Cade by his alias Luke Skywalker (clever? not really). Which is pretty useless because Rask is then contacted by Moff Gromia herself who learned Cade's real identity and presence on Tatooine from Gunner Yage before she left to apprehend him (without waiting for Morrigan). Gromia is pretty unhappy with the Empire for sticking her to this backwater post, and for some unknown benefit to her she appears to have provided Black Sun with information about Imperial cargo in the first place, the ones that have been in turn pilfered by Cade and his crew. Gromia wants to kill both the pirate and Gunner, and Lun Rask is more than happy to lend the service of three best assassins: the Blood Carver Ku Vrat and the Anzati couple Sint and Nakia Yoru.
The question now is, who will get to the unsuspecting Cade first? We know that Calixte/Morrigan wants to protect Cade so she'll take his side, and of course there's the possibility of Cade meeting his half-sister Gunner for the first time, although they might not know they are related. And will Gunner recognize "Morrigan" as her mother? Ostrander and Duursema sure seem to love their characters, making sure that both first and last names are revealed for new ones, but they sure do know how to spin a complex tale. All this happens, and it's only to set the stage for events yet-to-come. Pretty impressive in my opinion. Also there's good use of previously established characters and organizations (Screeger, Imperial Missionaries, Black Sun) and a cool reference to a Prequel Era character (Gardulla the Hutt's Palace).
Duursema is back and as good as ever. Aside from all the great characters, starships and locales, this issue contains representatives of several alien species. Black Sun agents include a Cathar (Dovrin), Quarren, Nautolan, Kadas'sa'Nikto, Rybet and a Houk (Lun Rask). There is also Screeger who appears to be a Sakyian, and Muz who is a Muun. And of course the deadly Anzati and Blood Carver. Strangely, Mos Eisley's streets don't seem as busy as they were in the movies. And one nice touch is Moff Gromia's interior garden with lush vegetation and a colorful bird, an expensive luxury on Tatooine. The coloring work is simply amazing, from light reflection from blasters and lightsabers, to the environment of a gas planet, to all the colorful skintones of the aformentioned aliens, Mr. Anderson has once again surpassed himself.
See how Cade manages to tick off an Imperial Moff and a Black Sun Vigo at the same time!
Rating: 7.5 / 10