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Rebellion #6 (Empire #46)
The Ahakista Gambit Part 1 (of 5)

Story: Brandon Badeaux, Rob Williams
Script: Rob Williams
Art: Michel Lacombe
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Ryan Sook
Released: 05/16/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/09/2007)

SUMMARY:

Agent Wyl Tarson has double-crossed his boss, the galactic crimelord Raze, but his ploy was discovered. For Wyl's next job, Raze has taken steps to ensure it won't happen again and implanted a bomb inside Wyl's skull. Wyl has to go to Ahakista with a female agent named Laynara and meet with a contact named Sardoth. But first, Wyl has to put a group of experts in infiltration together who will help him accomplish his mission. Wyl picks up a lock breaker named Baco Par from his home, and then they all go to find the next candidate. But that one might be more trouble than they expected.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

This new storyline still takes place 9 months after the Battle of Yavin, so shortly after last issue. But in real life, it has been 5 months since #5 and another 5 months before that since #4. The long gaps can be explained by the initial plan Dark Horse had for the series: they wanted to alternate between Rebellion and Dark Times after each 5-issue story arc. But it hasn't worked so well with Dark Times consistently falling behind, so they decided not to wait for the end of the first story arc to start the second one of Rebellion. But still, two issues in a 10-month period is a long wait.

Scheduling problems aside, the storyline has some of its own. I really didn't like the "My Brother, My Enemy" story, and this one is not off to a much better start. It stars one of the minor characters from that, an informant named Wyl Tarson who works for the information crime-lord Raze. After being a lieutenant in the organization for 6 years, Wyl leaked a message that he intercepted to the Alliance without Raze's knowledge, setting off the events of the previous story. Raze is very angry, because he apparently found out that Wyl has abused his trust, and so he implanted a two-way microphone and a bomb inside Wyl so he can keep an eye on him and give him a chance to regain his confidence. Why Raze doesn't kill him is not explained yet, but it seems that Wyl still has some use for the alien gangster.

After a flashback scene at the Jedi Temple where Anakin Skywalker kills a Zabrak Jedi (which has some significance according to Randy Stradley's answers to reader letters in this issue) and another one wih young Wyl and his brother Ved sabotaging Imperial juggernauts on some unnamed planet (during which Ved is killed), Wyl wakes up in his bed and thinks the whole bomb implant was a dream. But then he notices the strange scar on his forehead, and not taking chances he prepares to leave the planet. However, he is intercepted by one of Raze's other lieutenants, a Yarkora named Drybal, who is there to make sure Wyl doesn't leave before seeing Raze. Wyl gets distracted by some young blonde woman walking among the crowd, who we find out later is named Laynara and is also working for Raze. But before Wyl can rech his ship, he is mentally zapped by Raze who communicates to him via the microphone implant (that's when Wyl finds out he has one).

Raze gives Wyl a job, in which Laynara will accompany him to some backwater planet named Ahakista where he will meet someone named Sardoth who will instruct on the rest of his mission. We know about Ahakista and Sardoth from a previous scene where Councilman Derral is assassinated by some rebel named Dunlan while walking among the city streets. The explosion is noticed by Sardoth, who is an Ikotchi, and a Kaminoan named Erla. Apparently, there have been some protests against the Empire and something they have hidden on the planet. The relevance of that scene doesn't make sense yet, especially before we find out about Wyl's mission, but will be explained in subsequent issues. Anyway, Wyl first has to assemble a team of infiltration experts for this high risk mission during which they will surely loose their lives.

So the rest of the story has Wyl taking Laynara along to pick up a couple of ex-Rebel agents, since he doesn't want to risk the lives of active ones. They stop by a desertic planet and pick up a drunk alien named Baco Par, an expert lock-breaker. Next, they land on a swampy planet to find some dangerous person who used to train Rebel spies and is rumored to have killed a Dark Jedi once. They infiltrate the guy's home and find a room full of wooden statues all representing the same woman and boy. Then a red lightsaber is ignited in the dark, and that's where the issue ends. I have some idea of who this Dark Jedi killer is, a character created previously by Williams and Badeaux, but I will keep from commenting until the next issue.

Even though this is the first installment of a multi-part series, and I don't expect to have all the answers yet, the way it is narrated was a bit confusing for me. The way the story jumps back and forth in time, and shows characters who are referred to later in a flashback... well you get the idea. And I really don't see how that opening scene with Anakin attacking the Temple could be tied-in to all this. Well, I will give the benefit of the doubt until we're further into the story arc.


THE ART

Lacombe was the artist on Rebellion #0 and worked as fill-in artist on Empire #34 and Rebellion #3. I am not a huge fan of his thick-lined style, but he is good at creating interesting angles and realistic facial expressions. But his style is almost abstract, and shows that he either uses photo references for the characters or has a very good memory. Most characters in this issue were previously established by other artists, but some of the new ones are not very memorable. Laynara has a perpetual look of distress in her face which gets annoying and wears a jumpsuit similar to what Padmé had in Attack of the Clones; and whatever species the short Baco Par belongs to, he just looks like a humanoid dog. Sardoth is the only new one who is interesting visually. Lacombe is not my favorite, but at least it's a nice change from Brandon Badeaux's exagerated, muscle-bound characters.


CONCLUSIONS

Too early too tell, but it is mildly intriguing

Rating: 6 / 10

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