Age of Rebellion: Recap 2

Spoilers abound, it’s round two of Age of Rebellion. What troopers hit the mark and which ones need to go back to target practice? Read on for the full recap of everything AFTER the Age of Rebellion: Special issue.

It’s a ride on a space rollercoaster as we recap the rest of this comic wave. There’s good, there’s bad, and there’s ugly, but even the ugly has its moments. This recap will cover the following issues, so consider this your spoiler warning, kids:

  • Boba Fett
  • Han Solo
  • Jabba the Hutt
  • Lando Calrissian
  • Luke Skywalker
  • Darth Vader

 

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Boba Fett:

Staying true to his quiet, solitary nature, Boba Fett only says four words in his entire solo issue. His methods are no-nonsense, focused solely on the hunting of bounties – he takes the job, he completes the job, and if you’ve got another job, he’ll kindly complete that job as well so long as the price is right.

On the desert world of Carjam in the Outer Rim, we meet a scoundrel named Zingo harassing a witness to one of his undoubtedly cruel deeds. We soon learn this Zingo is quite a bastard, ready to kill the woman to guarantee her silence. But his partner Zurfitch spots someone on the horizon, and once he’s in clearer view, they both recognize him immediately. Enter Boba Fett, who rides a horse-like creature with a long neck and spindly legs. The creature is reminiscent of the luggabeast from The Force Awakens, which was also covered head to toe in plates of armor to increase its strength and durability in the desert. Zingo draws a blaster and is ready to fight, knowing there’s no escaping Boba Fett. But he and his partner are relieved to see that Boba is already carrying a bounty into town, a dead rebellion fighter pilot who rests on the creature’s back.

Fett enters the local Bounty Hunter’s Guild office to cash in. He rejects an offer from the Twi’lek attendant to relax at the local spa, and instead begins an immediate search for his next payday. Coincidentally, the next name on the list is Zingo, who is wanted by the Empire for assisting rebel operations. However, and more important to the Guild, Zingo broke the bounty hunter’s code by killing off fellow hunters on the job. Another hunter nearby jumps on the offer once he hears the price, but quickly withdraws once he sees that the infamous Fett is already taking the offer.

Since his target is already on-planet, Boba Fett sets off – the story is short, so he’s essentialy in town and then turns right back around. Zingo is preparing to get off-planet, but must cross a desert and brave a storm to get to the docked ship he’s arranged. Zurfitch rightfully points out how insane this all is, crossing the desert in a storm wih limited supplies, and he’s learned Boba Fett is already at their heels. To free up water and other supplies for himself, Zingo pulls a blaster on his partner, rendering him expendable to his ultimate goal of survival.

Boba Fett finds the dying Zurfitch, and in his final moments he’s sure of one thing – Boba Fett will bring Zingo in dead. Fett gains Zingo’s last known trajectory from the dying man, and also not in range to capture him, he does take a potshot at him from some distance. Zurfitch’s last sound is a laugh cut short, knowing Boba is the right man to take down scum like Zingo.

Zingo reaches an encampment and makes his presence known, killing several innocent civilians before finding a quiet place to hide. Once Boba Fett arrives, he also announces his presence, firing warning shots into the sky to get Zingo’s attention. It’s then that Zingo elaborates on his side of the story, why there’s a bounty on his head. He’s a man in debt and he’s been cheated on bounty payments by the Empire. He poached a job taken by other hunters, another rule of the Guild he violated. He attempts to bargain with Fett, promising triple the Guild’s payment in return for allowing his escape. Otherwise, he plans to kill more civilians in the inevitable brawl.

The hunter on the run manages to trick Fett regarding his whereabouts – Boba steps into a trap, finding a comlink and an armed thermal detonator. The splash damage is no match for Fett’s Mandalorian armor, however, and he escapes unscathed using his jetpack. Fett proceeds to ignore everything ZIngo has said, as well as his pleas about how he and Fett are the same deep down.Their fight shows the difference between Boba Fett, an honorable hunter, and scummy criminals like Zingo who happen to also be bounty hunters. As a result of Fett killing Zingo, the town encampmet is spared. But Boba doesn’t stick around for thank-yous or any heroic glory. To him, it isn’t part of the job. He hunts criminals, not fame.

The last panels show a man from the encamplent pleading with Fett to hunt down more of the thugs and criminals plaguing the planet. But he’s cut off when Boba draws a blaster on him, and the hologram nearby shows the next target on the list is none other but the man speaking to the bounty hunter. This ending illustrates that Boba Fett will hunt anyone given a contract, whether they’re scumbags or otherwise innocent people (as far as we are shown of this character he’s speaking with.) He doesn’t hunt for personal reasons or for his own glory – it’s all about being the greatest hunter, continuing his father’s legacy. Even when his deeds happen to be good, he’s no hero, just a hunter.

So it goes without saying, the Boba Fett issue hits the nail on the head. Boba is efficient, capable of bringing in two bounies in as many days. Sure, the plot is a little convenient, what with all of Boba’s targets being on this one planet – but given the sheer number of sentients in the galaxy, it isn’t impossible to think that Boba would have the smarts to take multiple jobs on the same planet to make a tidy sum of credits all at once. The art is pretty good overall and the writing is better than other issues in the series. It takes on the unique challenge of creating fear and mystique around a character who does very little talking, instead showing his prowess through action contrasted with moments of quiet and stillness. This is probably my second favoite in the Age of Rebellion series (see you can’t say I’m totally biased towards the Fetts because I didn’t say absolute favorite, I put it second) It’s a great little Western tale to remind all the Fett haters that this man means business.

 

Han Solo:

I heard Stan Lee (yes that one) say once that “every comic book is someone’s first,” and that’s a good way to describe some of the less-than-essential issues in the Age of series of one-shots.This Han Solo story isn’t anything groundbreaking, just a fun little side trip that doesn’t drop too much on you if you’re familiar with just the films. It’s a familiar stye of Han Solo story if you’ve read any other Han Solo story, but at an earlier stage in his reluctance to join the Rebellion.

We open on Han and Chewie counting their 17,000 credit reward as-promised to them in A New Hope. All is well as they have the funds to pay off the bounty on Han’s head placed by Jabba the Hutt, and once Han’s name is clear, they’ll be free to roam the galaxy as they please. Their planning is interupted by Luke and his yellow jacket (I say that out of love, I love the yellow jacket costume.) As is often the case when Luke or Leia just shows up out of nowhere, Luke has a favor to ask of Han, and he’s more telling Han to do something rather than asking. Han insists he is not part of the Rebellion, and they’ve only done the handful of jobs they’ve completed as favors until they get properly paid.

Han and Chewie grudginly take on the mission and are making their way through the spaceport when they run into another group of smugglers. There’s a misunderstanding and a fight starts to break out, but one of them vouches for Han, and the situation deescalates once they know just what infamous smuggler they’re talking to. However, Han is gaining a new reputation from working with the rebels so much, and his past associates give him grief over taking rebel gigs that aren’t big paydays.

Once they’re done giving Han a hard time, the smuggler gang of course starts pressing Han for information they can use, intel on the Empire’s movements courtesy of the rebel intelligence Han must surely have. Han hates doing favors for the rebellion and doesn’t want to be one of them, but it seems he isn’t sure about working with his old associates again either. He agrees to take on the smuggling side job anwyway however, taking a paying job to cover expenses for a favor he’s already stuck doing. The new job isn’t without its own set of problems though. The gang wants to go to the remains of Alderaan to scavenge, which Han has no interest in – he’s seen firsthand what Death Star was capable of, and his position within the rebellion makes him unsure of his future.

The job goes south once one of the gang members starts launching celebratory fireworks, which gains the attention of local Imperial troops. Thinking quickly, Han and Chewie escape, but his friends are rounded up by Stormtroopers. A frantic comlink call puts Han on edge, and he has to figure out how to save his friends and the cargo he promised to deliver for the rebellion. He dumps the cargo, possibly as a nod to A New Hope where he was wanted for doing just that, and goes to ground with the Falcon’s cargo bay empty. The search by stormtroopers thus turns up nothing, and the gang is free to go.

Han again declines the offer to scavenge near Alderaan, and instead intends to make good on his mission for the rebels. He goes to retrieve the dumped cargo from a group of owl-like aliens known as Gozzos (as previously seen in Star Wars: Resistance.) The Gozzos demand payment, seeing as they’ve already claimed and started unloading the gear, and in the end Han must give up all 17,000 of his credits to buy back the cargo. Once the crates are back in the Falcon, he gets back to Luke’s request to make that delivery to rebels in need on Calumdarian. Having lost his entire windfall to make a job for the rebellion happen, he still insists he isn’t part of the very rebellion he didn’t just give up everything for.

My nitpicks for this issue are few and far between, given of course that it’s basically just more Han Solo. You get the greatest hits here – Han and Chewie bicker, they take on a job that goes wrong and they have to create plan B as they go, and in the end Han’s more caring and selfless than he’d ever let on. The single-issue format isn’t long enough for their to be any kind of tremendous arc for a character like Han, so what we get is a little more of the same – same but not bad same, per se. Really, a prolific Han Solo story was never going to be told in a single issue, so getting something filler-y that’s still entertaining enough is a best-case scenario.

 

Jabba the Hutt:

Let me tell you – I wanted to like this one. With the Age of. . . series being something of a testing ground for new series to come, it was probably a given that Jabba the Hutt was never going to get an ongoing solo series or miniseries arc. So getting this one-off issue to explore something new and interesting about this slimy crime lord was something I was really excited about. Problem is, it doesn’t do much but tell us things we already know about Jabba from previous appearances.

We open on Cantonica in the lavish halls of a Canto Bight drinking establishment. A figure clad in black and wearing a mask – to protect their identity it would seem – appears and delivers an expensive-looking bottle to a table of guests. Inside the bottle is a wine called the Tusken Wind, which appears to be served piping hot from its spherical vessel. An exchange is made between the customer and the masked figure – 10,000 credits for about three glasses worth of wine. As the customer and his guests inbibe their drinks, they can’t help but speak aloud to the crowds nearby about how good it is. Other guests start lining up at the bar, but its revealed that there was only one botle in stock, and the pricy wine comes from a single supplier on Tatooine. One of the tables overhears all this, and they set off for Tatooine to score more of the rare wine.

Cutting to Jabba’s palace, we’re witness to a concern brought to the mighy Jabba by a band of Tusken Raiders. The boundaries on their territory are being ignored by Jawas and Imperials, and the sand people demand that his trespassing on their sacred sites be stopped immediately. The threaten violence if their needs are not met, but Jabba’s is far too powerful to fear a handful of the raiders in his own home. Threats aside, Jabba knows that keeping the sand people happy helps his other endeavers, so he promises to do something about the issue. His next guests are the pair of traders we met on Cantonica, and they seek to purchase more of the rare Tusken Wind. Being Jabba, he of course has this are commodity, but drinks the entire vessel of wine rather than sharing or selling his prize.

The Hutt sends these traders away with a warning – intruding on the Tusken settlements to procure more wine could result in a war and needless death. However, Jabba’s majordomo Bib Fortuna also puts thoughts into the heads of these traders, and basically tells them exactly what to do if they would be stupid enough to go after a bottle of this wine. I did actually find that funny even though overall I didn’t like the issue very much. It was clever to put the exact bug in the traders’ ears necessary to send them on their suicide mission.

Later, on the desert outskirts of Mos Eisley, a group of Jawas are also monitoring the price of this wine for some reason. I guess Jawas will do just about anything to make some credits, but it seemed slightly out of their scope to me as they’re usually just junk and droid traders. One notices a hovering droid spying on their conversation, and he rushes further into the desert after it. The droid reports back to his Imperial officer, who is busy with money troubles back home. He’s trying to avoid something getting reposessed, which I also found funny – really, any time someone in this far off universe has to deal with normal human problems, I really get a laugh out of the juxtaposition. The droid relays the information it has gathered, again showing the price of Tusken Wind trending upward.

The pair of traders journey into the desert at night, just as Fortuna instructed them not to. They are nearing the Tusken encampment when they are set upon by the Jawas, who have a group of scavenged CIS battle droids acting as their muscle. A moment later, the two groups are flanked by the Imperial officer (the one in debt) and his squadron of stormtroopers. One of the traders talks everyone down into a cease-fire, but the quiet is soon interrupted by none other than Boba Fett, who begins picking off targets with a sniper blaster. The Tusken Raiders nearby enter the chaotic fray, and by morning, they emerge victorious.

That morning, the sand people deliver carts full of the bodies of those defeated in the night. By carefully manipulating the pair of traders into setting off a chain of events leading to that battle, Jabba emerges as the true victor. His schemes have driven off the Jawas, killed an Imperial squad poking around too close to their camp, and ended the lives of two fools looking for a big payday. And to top it all off, he’s made the Tusken Raiders happy with him, ensuring they will not be hostile or interfere with Jabba’s plans.

It’s the ending of this issue that kind of kills it for me, though. The sand people deliver an item to Jabba, and I had to look up what in the world it was because as faras I can tell, there’s only one clue as to what this item is. They bring him more wine, but this is now the third time this wine has been drawn in a different vessel – first the elaborate sphere, secondly a glass pitcher in the shape of two spheres on top of one another, and now this thing that looks like something a spider wrapped in webbing to have for dinner later. The only clue that it’s more wine is the steam (or the white whisps of air indicating a smell of some kind.) Jabba is informed that a rival cartel has learned to synthesie the wine overnight apparently, making even true samples of the rare wine worthless. It’s a too-convenient ending even for a one-shot comic, and Jabba stating that the wine is still priceless because of the entertaining chain of events is fine I guess – the issue just left me wanting a more satisfying conclusion.

Overall, the issue had some good laughs but felt like it should have been relegated to a detour from another series. The story didn’t add to the overall story or legend of Jabba and instead just showed what we already know – he manipulates people for personal gain or just because he can, and he finds either option entertaining. The issue’s art was done well overall, though I did find some of the panels of Jabba’s palace not quite matching what I remembered from the movies. Can’t quite put my finger on it, it just seems like things are out of place or not in the right scale. I disliked the issue after my first read-through, but now just really dislike the ending. It’s fine, just not an interesting addition to the lore of the character. It doesn’t stack up against other issues surrounding the underworld characters, like the issues about the Fetts or IG-88’s appearance in the special issue.

 

Lando Calrissian:

Lando’s solo issue is another example of Star Wars characters dealing with smaller, more human problems. In his previous miniseries, we see Lando get caught up in a scheme involving a ship-load of Sith artifacts. This time the scale is much smaller, and he’s only concerned with making payroll and loan payments to keep his people on Cloud City employed and comfortable. That’s part of the fun of Lando’s character – he tries really hard to stay ‘legit,’ but he can’t seem to help that he’s a scoundrel too, and it often gets him into debt and other troubles.

To get the credits he needs, Lando takes a job on Burnin Konn. If that name sounds familiar, you probably played Star Wars: Uprising on your phone a few years back. He takes the opportunity to try and earn some credits gambling, which – as is often the case – does not pan out. But it isn’t long before he’s approached by the alien with the longest name/title ever – Magnate Imperium Roz Fantanine, of the Ben Diffle Fantanines. His species are very long-lived, and many have become exceedingly wealthy over their long lifetimes. Roz has sought out Lando based on his reputation for cutting deals and, when necessary, using force. Lando is offered an outrageous sum of money to essentially fire someone from their job, escorting (or evicting) Roz’s nephew from his office.

Lando completes the job without a problem, getting the “stunningly incompetent” officer removed from his position and escorting him to his uncle’s ship. For his services, Lando is given his money, a title, and a new cape, which all immediately elate Lando. But his celebration is cut short once he realizes that Roz had more in store for this mission. A security detail shows several natives gathered and ready to be carted off to a mining facility to be used as slave labor. Lando refuses to do business with slavers, and starts a scuffle freeing these people from their captors. In an instant, Lando throws away a lifetime supply of money because despite being a scoundrel, he still has principals and won’t sell out innocent people to better his own life.

On the way back to Cloud City, Lobot comments that all of Lando’s bank accounts have been frozen. Lando reaches into his personal stash of credits, which he saves as a last resort to escape and start over somewhere new. But instead of cashing out and abandoning Cloud City, he makes payroll with it, ensuring his people get what they need at least one more time. Underneath the swagger and attitude, he’s a genuinely good guy. He’d give you the cape off his back (maybe.)

The Lando issue gets a lot right, showing things that would be familiar to many avid Star Wars readers while having a compelling short story for newer readers. Theres’s a callback to the Lando miniseries as well, with Lando still somewhat preoccupied with removing the biocomputer from Lobot’s head, and I appreciated that little bit of connective tissue. The issue’s art is very colorful and the dialog exchanges are well-written – I heard Billy Dee Williams’ voice reading the lines in my head the whole time. All-in-all, a good one-shot.
Luke Skywalker:

You would think when a series about the Galactic Civil War era (or the Age of Rebellion) gets announced, the main character of that time period would have their issue come out first. But then Leia’s solo issue was much better than this one, so it’s less odd in perspective that Luke’s issue comes almost last. The problem with this one is that Luke Skwalker is the least interesting part of his own comic book.

On a mission in the Outer Rim, Luke Skywalker and a team of rebel soldiers are tasked with disabling an Imperial refinery station. Luke dispatches several enforcer droids, taking it upon himself to fight them off rather than risk the lives of the soldiers with him. Elsewhere, Emperor Palpatine is chiding his apprentice, Darth Vader, for being too weak to capture Skywalker himself. What follows is something super-interesting, or something that could have been super-interesting given a little more room to breath.

The Emperor begins pondering, focusing on young Skywalker through the Force. It’s quickly established that he cannot affect Luke directly, but he can poke and prod, feed on doubts and anger and amplify these feelings of dread. Luke cannot pin down what’s making him feel uneasy and he can’t hear the Emperor, but he can feel the weight of the evil man’s power pressing on his mind. At the apex of Luke’s dread, Imperial reinforcements arrive to retake the station.

Luke warned the team about his feelings but did not heed his warning and leave the system. The Emperor takes this moment to amplify Luke’s negative emotions – grief, anger, and most interesting of all, the option to just leave the rebellion and walk away from it all. Through these subtle manipulations, Luke experiences a vision of leaving the war behind, returning to a simple life as a farmer on a distant world. The vision is brief but interesting – it’s presented almost as a reward where Luke gets to rest and return to a life like his old one, but going through with such a plan would give the Empire the upper hand and ultimately cause greater pain troughout the galaxy.

Snapping out of the vision, Luke helps fend off the Imperial fighters and get his team to safety. For the time, the rejected influence of the Emperor appears to have been cut off. Luke gets his people out of harm’s way and is hailed as a hero once again, but Luke is insistent that it’s really the common soldiers that deserve the credit for getting through the battle.

So, my take on this issue is that it really needed to be a miniseries or arc of some kind. It moves very quickly from the Emperor trying to touch Luke’s mind and just as quickly moves away from it ever happening. I thnk this would have been awesome if it had been an ongoing back-and-forth over time, showing Luke fending off the Emperor’s mind games while coping with the dangers of a vital mission. Instead, we get a short story about taking over a vaguely-defined Imperial facility and the Emperor quickly giving up after getting frustrated by Luke’s unexpected mental fortitude. So while this issue doesn’t do anything badly, I think it could have done a lot of things better if it had more time to explore them more thoroughly. It started giving me Dark Empire vibes in a good way, but it was unfortunately cut short.

 

Darth Vader:

Remember in The Empire Strikes Back how Darth Vader killed several officers who didn’t carry out their duties well enough? Congratulations, you’ve seen a better version of this story. Not to be harsh, but I didn’t like this issue. I’m not one of the people who rolls their eyes when yet another Darth Vader story is announced, but this one-shot issue isn’t doing anything to prove people wrong who think that way. It’s a standard Vader story without any of the interesting fluff, or any of the new things that made the multiple ongoing Vader comics series exciting.

We open on a battle with rebel forces, and they’ve dug in deep at a bunker that houses a store of coaxium. The Empire can’t open fire with heavy weapons as they’ll destroy the precious resource they came for in the process. A new character, Governor Ahr, orders all fighters to pull back. But suddenly the bunker erupts in flames. Vader, flying a fighter never shown before, opened fire on the bunker and destroyed the rebel soldiers and coaxium storage in one fell swoop.

This Governor Ahr is stupid enough to run tattling to the Emperor regarding Vader disobeying direct orders. The conversation does take an interesting turn, however. Palpatine insists that officers such as the governor are instruments of his will, and Vader is to obey them when in the field. Vader has a flashback to other moments where he’s had to obey people he can’t stand submitting to – the Watto, the Jedi Council, Obi-Wan, and ultimatley a previous confrontation with the Emperor himself. In that moment Vader is reminded of how broken he is, and he submits to his master’s wishes.

The governor, of course, takes this as an opportunity to send Vader on a half dozen suicide missions. Every time, Vader returns victorious and ready to strike down the governor. But using his better judgement, and biding his time, Vader submits and moves on. The last mission seen is the governor sending Vader – once again in the weird TIE-fighter-ike ship – into an asteroid field. He’s given the instructions to destroy the greatest threat in the area. Vader finds a gigantic space lobster monster, as you do, and lures it back to the star destroyer. In a twist I saw coming a parsec away, Vader tricks the monster into attacking the destroyer and taking the governor away in its giant claws.

Vader reports back to the Emperor, who is elated to see that Vader learned his lesson. The lesson seemed to be patience, which never has been Vader’s strongest quality. But did we really need this mini-story? I think there’s already better examples of Vader being brash and sometimes getitng his butt handed to him – either by clever rebels or the Emperor himself. The art and everything is fine, I just found it boring overall. Vader’s previous ongoing series have been lauded as some of the best Star Wars comics stories ever told, and this one just doesn’t live up to that level of hype. There’s no Aphra for him to play off of, no Inquisitors for him to boss around, and the ‘killing a failing officer’ trope has been accomplished in better ways.

 
So, that’s all until next time when we start talking about the Age of Resistance. Thoughts? Questions? Leave a comment down below or over on the Instagram post for this article. Once the Age of Reistance series is completed, i’ll do a retrospective to see how these stories stack up against one another and against other stories.

Thanks for reading!

-SLD

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