Published: November 20, 2019
Rating: Rated T
Writer: Greg Pak
Penciler: Phil Noto
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
FINAL ISSUE! IT’S A TRAP! The epic REBELS AND ROGUES storyline reaches its explosive end! Can THREEPIO save the rock people of K43? Is WARBA the master or the student? Which Champion falls? And how much of LUKE’S desperate plan has DARTH VADER foreseen from the beginning? The search for a new rebel base continues!
Last issue, heck, last week, we saw an issue that was full of character, building up to the finale. And here it is! It is crazy to see the time frame of wrapping this series up. Is it too quick? Perhaps, but I’ll be honest, I’m pleased to be able to read the ending to this series so quickly. Will it deliver on the explosive ending we’re all expecting?
Explosive it was, rock monsters the size of moons included! Rushed? I can’t help but say yes, although with the space he was given, I don’t think that Pak could have done much better. There is a lot in this issue to devour and a lot of action that suits the finale of a Star Wars story arc, if not a series. The action at the start took me a moment to orientate myself. Chewie knocks Vader down rather quickly, a fact that made me frown and go, ‘no way!’ That was until I remembered about the electronic pulse. At least that’s one part explained. From then on action after action after action. Vader, once he’s been pushed down by Chewie, is his superb, evil self, being the villain that we have come to love. This is the Vader from Rogue One, who knows who he is, his power and most importantly, what he wants, and nothing is going to get in his way.
My one complaint of this issue and of Vader, was the blocking of the blaster bolts. Yes, we know this is a power that Vader has as we see it so clearly in The Empire Strikes Back. Yet us knowing it is one thing, our heroes knowing it is something else. When Han shoots Vader at Bespin, he seems genuinely surprised by the turn of events, not that this has happened a few months previously. Does it diminish the effect of that scene? I don’t know, but I was genuinely surprised to see that happening.
However, this is one misstep. Let’s get back to what did work. The two heroes for me in this issue are Luke and Chewie. We’re talking about the two characters that are the most selfless of the group (with the exception of Artoo, and he’s in a league of his own!) trying to save each other…by being selfless. It’s actually quite comical to read, as neither is willing to allow the other to save him. We also see both characters go back for the droids. Luke won’t leave Artoo, and although it’s only a small thing, I love that we get to see that emotional connection between the two. Equally, we get to see the development of the relationship between Chewie and Threepio. Chewie won’t leave Golden Rod. It helps to explain why Chewie takes so much care of Threepio in The Empire Strikes Back. So, although the Vader blocks didn’t work for me, this did. Even amongst all the action, Pak is still able to give us those really poignant character moments, which is what Star Wars is all about.
The art didn’t seem to be at its best this week, although the schedule on the last two issues must have been very intense! Some shots seemed a little rough. Yet, I can’t express my joy at Noto’s work for certain panels. When Vader powers himself up, it looked incredible. And when Chewie has taken a beating, you can’t help but feel for the Wookiee. Noto is really able to convey the emotion in that panel. However, the best panel, for both art and writing, for…well…the entire story arc is when Luke sees Dar. I could not stop laughing. It was so well timed, so well written and the expressions on the characters faces perfect.
This isn’t just a finale for a story arc, but a finale for an entire series. I wish Marvel would have given Pak and Noto more time, more space, more of everything to be able to give this series the send-off it deserves. This is not a bad issue at all, and there are some truly wonderful moments. But when the impression you get is that the writer and artist were rushed and looking at the release schedule and that is also rushed, you have to wonder why Marvel didn’t give these talents more time. To try and squeeze this arc out before The Rise of Skywalker isn’t fair to the fans, and I wish they’d have realised that. Even with these limitations, Pak still writes a piece to be proud of, particularly with the character development. Lots of people can write action for Star Wars but placing those character moments in just the right places, with just the right characters, well, “That’s something else.” Hopefully, the one-shot due for release soon will allow to fully end this series and tie up the rest of the loose ends, although looking at the release schedule, I have a sinking feeling that that will have been rushed as well…
Star Wars is an ongoing series available from Marvel. This issue is available via the Marvel App and all good comic bookstores. This issue retails at $4.99.