Tatooine Part 2 (of 4)
Story: John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
Scripting: John Ostrander
Pencilling: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Chris Warner, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/22/2010)
Undercover Imperial agents Gunner Yage and her (unbeknownst to her) mother Morrigan Corde are on Tatooine to capture Cade Skywalker. And three bounty hunters hired by Black Sun are after the Imperial agents and Cade. Gunner is the first one to capture Cade at a Mos Eisley cantina. On the way to deliver Cade to Moff Gromia, Gunner's landspeeder is attacked by the Anzati couple Sint and Nakia Yoru and the Blood Carver Ku Vrat, but they manage to escape under the cover of a sandstorm. Back in Mos Eisley, Morrigan meets Cade's partner Jariah Syn and together they go look for him. Meanwhile, Deliah Blue is passing herself off as Astraal Vao in order to get a replacement part for the Mynock from the local Imperial Mission.
The story was setup properly in the first installment of this story arc, now the main action starts. This issue opens up with a scene that displays the powers of the Anzati (for readers who forgot about Ostrander's "Darkness" story from Republic #32-35). Then follows a nice abduction scene at a local bar where Cade is approached by a beautiful lady right after Jariah left to follow a sexy Twi'lek girl. The short-haired blonde girl buys Cade a drink and slips in a tranquilizer in order to capture him. Pretty easy so far. What Cade doesn't know is that girl is an Imperial agent, ordinarily a starfighter pilot but now on an undercover Black Ops mission and acted before waiting for her partner Morrigan Corde. What they both don't know is that Gunner is Cade's half-sister, and Morrigan is their mother who is really here to protect her son. This almost creates a Luke-and-Leia-in-the-medbay situation like in The Empire Strikes Back. Almost.
The trio of assassins hired by Vigo Lun Rask last issue, the Anzati couple Sint and Nakia Yoru and the Blood Carver Ku Vrat, come close to attack them in the cantina, but they find the location too public to attack an Imperial openly. Instead, they decide to ambush them on the road where Gunner travels to deliver Cade to Moff Gromia's base. They snipe their victims from a distance and remain unseen, just as Cade was trying to free himself from his stun cuffs (using the good ole Froce choke trick). Of course just like any good bounty hunters/assassins, the Anzati couple and Blood Carver find ways to bicker with each other, and plan to backstab each other if the other decides to act on his/her own. Fortunately, a sandstorm hits providing some cover, and Cade and Gunner decide to work together to escape their attackers. We'll have to wait until next issue to find out where they are going.
Meanwhile, Morrigan receives the report from Gunner and she's not too happy to hear of her intentions. Morrigan suspects a spy within Moff Gromia's staff that has been supplying the locations of Imperial shipments to Black Sun (but we readers know that Gromia herself is the leak). She also (correctly) suspects that Black sun may not be happy to see Imperial agents trying to capture the pirate who stole Black Sun's stolen cargoes. But Gunner has a headstart on her, so Morrigan tries to find Jariah Syn who is obviously in town since the Mynock is in Docking Area 3. She finds Jariah fleeing from his Twi'lek's angry husband and they both immediately reveal everything to each other (they last met in issue #19 and had a good rapport). Jariah reveals that they were stealing the Imperial shipments that Black Sun targetted (not that Morrigan didn't already know) and Morrigan says that the girl Cade left with is an Imperial agent. They both leave to look for Cade.
The story also switches to Deliah Blue on a mission of her own: to find a replacement part needed to repair the stranded Mynock. She uses Astraal Vao's identity and missionary garment to get herself into the local Imperial Mission. The plan works when "Astraal" is found by Missionary Ethan Adare who takes her to the Imperial Mission outside of Mos Eisley. She doesn't hesitate to ask the mission to help a moisture farmer that she met who is in need of a trivalve assembly. Adare quickly agrees to order one, but insists on coming with "Astraal" when she gives it to him. That might put a crink in her plan. The real Astraal Vao was last seen in issue #7, and so was her Imperial master Moff Konrad Rus who appears again here. First, he is credited by Adare as the one who convinced the Sith to keep the mission running. Then he is seen in the closing scene on Coruscant where he, along with Grand Admiral Morlish Veed, are called to meet with Darth Wyyrlock. Wyyrlock confirms the rumors that Darth Krayt is recovering on Korriban after suffering severe injuries (leaving out the fact that he is dead), and offers Veed the throne to replace Krayt during his absence and act as a puppet following Krayt's (in reality Wyyrlock's) commands. Veed agrees.
Once again, it's a fast-paced, easy to follow story with captivating characters and well-crafted dialogue. Of course when you look under the surface, you can find some stretches of logic, such as the coincidence of having an Imperial Mission where the Mynock is stranded, and the seemingly-useless cameo by Konrad Rus. But it's all in good fun. Of course, what will happen when Gunner meets Morrigan? Will she recognize her mother? And will Cade reveal that he is Morrigan's son? More importantly, who will get to Cade first between Dark Sun and Morrigan? Ostrander and Duursema manage to create an interesting adventure which leaves me waiting for the next issue with bathed breath.
By now, Duursema is Legacy. She of course helped to create most of the characters, and even contributes to the story with Ostrander. Of course I love aliens, and here we have very good specimens from the Anzati and Blood Carver species. But more importantly among Gusha's Luck Cantina among other aliens we can see not one, but two members of the Lepus Carnivorous species, Jaxxon's species from the old Marvel series (introduced in the "Eight for Aduba-3" storyline from #7-10). The bartender himself, referred to as Gusha (which is Huttese for "lucky" according to the glossary on the letters page) is a green rabbit, as is one of the patrons. There are other aliens in the Imperial Mission, and of course Jariah Syn's beautiful Twi'lek love interest and her husband. Other highlights include the vehicles, namely Morrigan's cool speeder bike, and Gunner's landspeeder (which looks like a more modern version of the SoroSuub X-34). Of course, I love all the facial expressions and action poses as usual. The inking and coloring are also top-notch. As always, a visual feast.
Cade got himself into trouble, but he finds an unlikely ally.
Rating: 7 / 10