Star Wars #19
Star Wars #19
Writer: Jason Aaron
Penciller: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorists: Sunny Gho and Java Tartaglia
Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Artist: Leinil Yu and Sunny Gho
Star Wars #19 wraps up the Rebel Jail arc and puts an end to Sunspot Prison. Finally the identity of the attacker is revealed. But was it worth it? I have to admit, I’m not sure Jason Aaron quite captured the story hook he was looking for with this one.
The issue opens with a stand off between Leia, Sana, Aphra and the mystery man. In the last issue, we saw that the mystery man had the one-up on Han and Luke. Now he has them both tied up and laden with thermal detonators. Throughout this entire arc, he’s been trying to get Leia to kill Imperial prisoners. So he lays down one last ultimatum: kill Aphra, and Luke and Han live. Of course Leia can’t do this, but that doesn’t mean Sana can’t. It’s an interesting setup, unfortunately Jason Aaron dialog and characterizations can’t quite sell the situation.
The first problem is the mystery man. Spoiler time: he’s from the Star Wars Annual #1, which you’ll want to have handy when reading this issue so you can go back and re-read it once the mystery man reveals his name. On the one hand, I like the character being someone we’ve been introduced to before and it giving us a reason to go back and read an older issue. On the other hand, the character who it is revealed to be doesn’t fit the motivations that this guy now has. In the past, he tried to say he was willing to do whatever was needed to be done, but there was no way to match being the monster that the Emperor is. Fast forward to now and he somehow thinks that by forcing Leia to kill some Imperial prisoners this will make her into the person who can defeat the Empire. It’s a pretty weak premise. If he really wanted to help the Rebellion, he’d simply try and kill the Emperor himself instead of wasting his time trying to train Leia to accept murder. On top of that, Leia was the one back in Star Wars Annual #1 who okayed an assassination attempt on the Emperor, so I’m not sure how any of this manipulation at Sunspot Prison is suppose to change anything. Leia has already shown she’s willing to go to that extreme to take out the Emperor. Thus the motivation for the mystery man is full of holes which in turn hurts the backbone of this entire arc.
Mystery man aside, the second problem was with Sana. It’s a good setup that if Leia can’t do it, Sana might be willing to do it. After all, Han’s life is on the line and Sana loved Han. But the mystery man doesn’t just want Aphra dead, he wants Leia to do it. If Sana killed Aphra, the mystery man would have to find someone else for Leia to kill. So there’s a weakness there in the plot. Yet the thing that really got me was that Leia manages to defuse the bomb detonator, thus meaning Aphra no longer has to die. But for whatever reason, Sana still thinks she needs to kill Aphra. It doesn’t make any sense. At this point Sana should be helping Leia in beating up the mystery man. Instead, she dumbly goes after Aphra. One other odd thing with Sana is that at the end of the issue, it’s hinted that Aphra and Sana were in a relationship together. Going back and reading issue #18, there’s a little bit of setup for this, but it doesn’t feel like it all fits together completely. The subplot needed some more history and background to work. As is, it’s tossed in there and just makes everything messier and jammed in. It was a story point that could have had some impact, but instead has none, much like the storyline with the mystery man. It’s very much a weakness with the characterization of Sana as she has remained a shallow, inconsistent character that doesn’t feel fully fleshed out.
The issue ends with a surprise visit from some elite Stormtrooper unit. They show up and the now abandoned Sunspot prison and name drop Kolar Ludd. Kolar was the ugly inmate in Star Wars #17 who was called the Depopulator, “because when they dropped him in the middle of an enemy village…he left nothing behind but the buildings. And usually those were burning.” Leia sparred his life only for the mystery man to shoot him out an airlock to his death. Anyways, the elite Stormtroopers get new orders which is the hook that ends the issue. Interesting to note, one of the Stormtroopers has a lightsaber. Not sure how that story is going to go, but hopefully it’s more than a handful of elite Stormtroopers trying to kill Han, Luke and Leia who we all know cannot be killed.
The artwork throughout Star Wars #19 is pretty good, it’s only the story and the plotting that falls short. As such, I give this issue a three out of five metal bikinis. It’s okay but it missed a lot of opportunities and failed to live up to what it was trying to achieve.
Reviewed By: Skuldren for Roqoo Depot.