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Rebellion #5 (Empire #45)
My Brother, My Enemy Part 5 (of 5)

Story: Rob Williams
Art: Brandon Badeaux
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brandon Badeaux, Michael Atiyeh
Released: 12/06/2006

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (07/22/2007)

SUMMARY:

The Imperial fleet has ambushed the Rebels and a starship battle has ensued. But inside the frigate Rebel One, a conflict of a different nature is taking place. Janek "Tank" Sunber, having tricked the Rebels into thinking that he defected from the Empire, finally finds himself in a position to kill Luke Skywalker. But more important to Luke than his own life is to get Princess Leia to a med-bay to treat her serious injuries. After some failed attempts to convince his former friend to help her, Luke then puts up the fight of his life to save the unconscious Princess. Meanwhile, the ship is badly damaged, falling apart around them and no one else aboard is in a position to make the jump to hyperspace except for Jorin Sol. Sol has been brainwashed and is responsible for the Imperial attacks, but he redeems himself by alerting the rest of the fleet not to jump to the next rendezvous point for they will fly into a trap. He is also the one who sends the ship into hyperspace with his final breath, while Luke and Tank's struggle comes to an end somewhere else on the ship. Tank apparently fell to his death but not before he saved Leia from suffering the same fate. But as the Rebel fleet reassemble and Leia sleeps inside a bacta tank, Luke asks himself if his former friend is really gone.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

It took almost five months, but we finally have conclusion of the first story arc. I guess the orignal plan to alternate between the Rebellion and Dark Times story arcs was too ambitious, as the first issue of Dark Times was already published a month earlier.

This one was a quick read, mostly because the bulk of the story has gone by and all that is left is to resolve the conflict between Luke and Tank. Tank doesn't seem to know what he wants: at first he is adamant is his desire to kill Luke and doesn't care for Leia's fate; then he lets Luke carry her along as he brings them to an Imperial Star Destroyer as prisoners; then he decides to save Leia as he holds her by the hand while hanging from a broken catwalk. Not only that, but even though he has Luke at blaster point the whole time, somehow they end up in a hand-to-hand fight. Of course, an escape pod picked up by the Empire hints that Tank might have survived.

The writer also tries to resolve the Jorin Sol plot that was left off when the Rebel mathematician had been brainwashed by Imperial ISB agents. His actions are also inconsistent. After contacting the Empire with the location of the Rebel fleet, which brought about the whole situation they were in now, he then convinces Tungo Li to order the fleet to scatter in order to avoid another Imperial fleet awaiting them at the next rendezvous point. After Sol saves Tungo Li from falling debris, page 6 is the last we see of the cyborg informant as he is then forgotten by the writer. And finally, poor old Jorin Sol punches the hyperspace coordinates as he is burning alive, saving Luke, Leia and the other passengers of the Rebel frigate.

I don't quite think that's the path writer Welles Hartley had in mind when he created those two characters in the Empire series. I would have liked better if Jorin survived and Tank died which would have made for a better resolution of their character arcs. Their behavior is not really consistent or logical, and the same can be said of Luke who acts like a furstrated farmboy and not the Rebel hero he's supposed to be. Vader puts in an appearance overseeing the attack aboard his Star Destroyer, as does Wedge as he staves off the attacks against the Rebel frigate in order to buy it some time to escape. But these appearances feel forced and don't really fit with the rest of the story. Their dialogue only reinforces that feeling as it almost sounds like comic relief. It goes without saying that I am not a big fan of this story arc, nor do I like...


THE ART

Badeaux's style gets to me after a while, in an unfavorable way. I think it becomes very annoying after a while and I like it less and less with every issue. Characters are overly muscled and always wear the same expressions, locked in perpetual frowns or angry faces. The whole sequence with Luke, Tank and an unconscious Leia is very reminescent of Palpatine's rescue aboard the Invisible Hand in Revenge of the Sith. And the frigate Rebel One even looks like General Grievous' Trade Federation cruiser and not at all like the Mon Calamari and Nebulon-B frigates the Rebel fleet had at the time. The coloring work is a valiant effort, but not enough to make the art appealing to me.


CONCLUSIONS

I really hope the next arc will be handled by a different creative team.

Rating: 4.5 / 10 Not Recommended

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