Story: Michael A. Stackpole
Art: Robert Teranishi
Digital Inking: Christopher Chuckry
Color Rendering: Christopher Chuckry
Lettering: Vickie Williams
Cover: Duncan Fegredo
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (06/07/2007)
Mara has a bad dream. Then spends a day at the spa with her bridesmaid friends. Meanwhile, Luke and the boys are getting fitted for their suits. After a game of slingball, Mara goes to try her dress at designer Jari'kyn's place, but is attacked by an Imperial Guardsman named Chik Apla. But Chik is not successful, but the Imperials' plan to kill Luke and Mara is unchanged. They make final preparations for the upcoming event.
In this issue, we find out more about Mara's feelings about the marriage. First, she has a nightmare similar to Luke's vision he had last issue. In her dream, she wears a stormtrooper armor at her wedding, passing through past enemies including Grand Moff Tarkin, Admiral Dala, Ysanne Isard and Kueller, and current friends who have blood on their faces which include Han, Chewie, Wedge, and even Yoda and Ben (?!). And when she meets the groom, she sees a sinister Luke dressed up as the Emperor's tool who is claiming his prize: herself. Then she gets marriage tips from her friends at the spa, where they have a relaxing time of saunas and mud baths. Later at her dress fitting, we see that Mara still is a fighter when she easily defeats that Guardsman's assassination attempt and doesn't even think it's a big deal. Then she has a scene with Luke where she tells him about her dream, and they say how much they trust each other and quell any doubts that their marriage could fail.
Amidst all this girly stuff, which Stackpole handles really well by the way, we see Moff Takkar and his wife Anlys (seen for the first time this series, although she was mentioned last issue) putting the final touches to their plan. She was the one who came up with the idea of finding out who and where was Mara's dressmaker is and sending Chik there to kill Mara (by the way, they have a scene together which suggests that Chik might be more than Anlys' husband's associate). After a brief fight which Chik looses and is apprehended, Moff Takkar sends his remaining underlings to do various tasks: Chala Venan is to hire members of the underworld to create a diversion at the wedding; Banner Sumptor is to seduce the wedding planner to get information from her; Iry Danta is to go scout escape routes under the location; and the Moff himself would take care of purchasing weapons and vehicles for the attack from various underworld sources.
This issue has more of an Earth feel; seeing Star Wars characters going to a spa, getting fitted for clothes and play slingball is not something we're used to see in a galaxy-spanning space opera. But it's a nice change and fits well with the subject of a marriage. Not that the wedding will be anything usual, with what the Imperials are planning.
As you well know, Teranishi uses a lot of photo references in his artwork. Most of the main characters ressemble real-life actors: Kam Solusar looks like Bruce Willis, Chik looks a lot like a young Jack Nicholson with a scar (his Guardsman armor is like the one worn by Carnor Jax in Crimson Empire), and one of the other Imperials looks like Bruce Campbell. Which is not a bad thing: it means that the characters that we know from the movies actually look a lot like the actors, with some aging for effect. And for the ones that are from the Expanded Universe, it helps imagine which actor could have portrayed them in a movie. Why not? I'm sure he based Mara on some actress' likeness, but I just don't know which one. He also gets to draw some aliens this issue: the slingball team that play against Mara's team is composed of an Ithorian, a Twi'lek and a Quarren. And on the last page we see a Sullustan arms dealer, a Jawa swoop merchant, a Toydarian knife seller and a Hutt. By the way, the Moff's wife is seen looking up a holo of an Ithorian, which brings up the question: is it the same Ithorian who played slingball, and what does he have to do with their plans to attack during the wedding?
About the cover: I think it's a weird choice to show a scene from the first issue for the cover of issue #3. But it looks cool nevertheless. I don't think the covers are a big highlight of this series. Fegredo's style is a bit too abstract for my taste.
The final preparations on both sides have started. It's all set for an explosive finale next issue.
Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended