The Rebel fleet arrives at planet of Arrochar, site of their new base. As the Alliance begins to construct its new headquarters Princess Leia prepares for her impending wedding to Arrochar's prince, a marriage intended to unite the Rebellion with the population of its new home. Meanwhile, Luke Skywalker and Han Solo deal with their emotions surrounding this event.
It's awkwardly and laughably bad. From the idea that the only way for the Alliance to find a world (out of millions) to sustain their supposedly secret base was to have Leia marry that world's prince (surely the galactic tabloids would pick this story up) to the uncomfortable (to say the least) plot point of Luke Skywalker having a horribly over the top jealous reaction to his sister's (unbeknownst to him but known to us and the writer) pending nuptials.
That so much of the issue focuses on Luke's reaction is honestly just weird. He stalks Leia in the garden, eavesdropping on her conversation with Arrochar's prince. He throws a tantrum while piloting an X-Wing that selfishly endangers a fellow squad mate and reflects poorly upon her. He even attempts to run away from the Rebellion by accepting the offer Han made to him in A New Hope to sign on as a smuggler.
Every action Luke takes here is a radical departure from any characterization that's come before. It presents the hero of the original trilogy as a selfish, mentally unstable person who looks ready to do harm to Leia's intended by issue's end. He's Luke Skywalker in name only. Brian Wood can, and should do better.
Stéphane Créty's art for the issue is hit or miss. He seems to have a good handle on landscapes and ships (there are some beautiful establishing shots of the Rebel fleet here) but his interpretation of the issue's human characters is too stylized, bordering almost on caricature in many places (see the lawyers meeting with Mon Mothma). I appreciate that different artists see these figures differently, but here they're drawn (ironically enough) like Disney characters. Their mouths are perpetually open for no reason (many times they aren't saying anything) and their features are drawn distortedly. These artistic choices demand your attention, and not for good reasons.
Thank the Force for colorist Gabe Eltaeb, whose exemplary work has been the artistic lifeblood of the series from the beginning. The vibrancy with which he's filled in the pencils of each artist who's contributed to Star Wars has enhanced this story many times over.
At his point though, I have to ask: Where's Carlos D'Anda? Though Facundo Percio came close in the "Five Days Of Sith" two parter, no one has done this series and these characters more justice than D'Anda. I miss his art terribly. The title suffers more every month he's not bringing it alive. Here's hoping he returns soon.
It hurts to say it, because I've loved this series from the beginning, but this issue was horrible. It made a series that has been a paragon of Star Wars storytelling a parody of it instead. Several times while reading I actually flipped back to the cover to verify that Brian Wood actually wrote this because it was such a drastic departure from what has come before. Worse still, I don't see how things can get any better because we're just beginning the Arrochar story arc and there are (presumably because of the imminent Marvel takeover) at most only 9 more issues left.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope Wood takes the lame plot threads, cartoonish mustache twirling villains, and weird sibling/love interest jealousy thing and turns them into something better. Something more like what this series was when it debuted.
But I don't know. I've got a bad feeling about this.
SKIP IT. This issue is the DARK center of the universe. Find the planet that it's farthest from.
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