Rebellion #3 (Empire #43)
My Brother, My Enemy Part 3 (of 5)
Story: Rob Williams
Art: Michel Lacombe
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brandon Badeaux, Wil Glass
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (06/25/2007)
Jorin Sol overcomes his Imperial indoctrination and breaks off his attack on Deena. After receiving a message from Imperial officer Janek "Tank" Sunber saying that he wants to meet Luke and join the Alliance, Luke and Deena leave in secret to meet up with him against orders from Princess Leia. When they get there, they fall into a trap.
The opening scene is pretty anticlimactic: after being set-up for several issues spanning two series, the Jorin Sol sub-plot finally starts to pay off. But turns out that after all this preparation, Jorin is too weak to carry out his "programing" of sending the location of the Rebel fleet to the Empire. Not only does he suddenly break off his attack and start sobbing, but there seem to be no repercusions to his actions as it jumps straight back to the main action on the bridge. And Deena doesn't even mention it when she gets aboard the freighter with Luke. But I'm sure this is not the last we'll see of poor ol' Jorin.
So back to the message from Janek "Tank" Sunber addressed to Luke. Turns out the message was intercepted by one of Tungo Li's agents, and he is not prepared to risk his agent's life to get it. But because Tank is Luke's childhood friend and the survival of the Rebel Alliance depends on the content of the message, Leia judges that it is worth the risk. As expected from last issue, the secret agent is Wyl Tarson who is undercover amongst the crimelord Raze's organization. And not only does he risk his own life by accessing Raze's computer, but if he doesn't transmit the message within four minutes he risks revealing the destination of his transmission: the Rebel fleet. So in fact, when Leia said that not receiving Tank's message puts the Rebel fleet at risk, it is actually the opposite!
On top of that, that whole sequence is completely useless as there is not explanation as to why the message addressed to Luke was intercepted by Raze other than the fact that Williams wanted to use those new characters that he set up last issue. I know that Tank wouldn't know the location of the Rebel fleet to send a message to Luke, but he must have had better ways of doing it. Or why even send a message if he is not sure it will get to Luke? He is also risking his own life to send a message that he's not even sure will get to the Alliance... Of course, this could be a very obvious trap and that's why Leia forbids him to go.
The fact that Luke leaves against orders is out of character for him, especially given the facts at hand. Aside from the reasons mentioned previously, isn't is strange that Tank all of a sudden changed his mind and decided to join the Alliance? Why didn't he just leave? Some of these issues are addressed by the information agent Tungo Li who seems to be the only character who uses some logic in this story. When Luke and Deena get to the coordinates given by Tank, they arrive at an Imperial starship junkyard. And as soon as they board the only location with life-signs, some sort of space station, they find Tank bound up and injured and an incoming Imperial shuttle. So this was a trap after all? Why isn't this surprising? The only real surprise is finding out that the Imperial in the shuttle is Deena's ex-lover, Captain Roshuir.
This issue is all about people risking their lives for the wrong reasons, just for the sake of advancing the plot. Instead, it would have been better to concentrate on the Jorin Sol plot properly. Instead of having the location of the Rebel fleet at risk from Jorin Sol, the writer decided to go with a whole convoluted plot of messages intercepted by agents and such. But this still has some potential development in the next two issues, I just hope that it is resolved satisfyingly.
I am not surprised that Badeaux could not keep up the pace. With months between issues, they had to find a temporary replacement. Lacombe did some fill-in work before, illustrating the last part of the "In the Shadows of Their Fathers" storyline in Empire #34. He also helped set up this series as he was the artist on the Rebellion/Knights of the Old Republic #0 flip-book. Lacombe's art is different but he does a good job of picking up where Badeaux left off. The facial expressions are pretty good, and the characters are faithfully depicted. When Luke gets to the junkyard, we see every starship from the movies represented. Problem is, the ships look mostly intact, which leaves me to wonder why doesn't the Empire keep them to refurbish or at least use for parts, especially those four Star Destroyers? Also, why are there some atmosphere flyers, like T-16s and a Coruscant air taxi (!?!) in this space junkyard. There are also some historically-significant ships among them, including Jedi starfighters (both models) which would make this junkyard much more important that it seems to be. The artist should have made a real junkyard with starship remains and broken hulls instead of taking the easy way.
The story here doesn't always follow logic.
Rating: 5.5 / 10 Not Recommended