In the latest “Star Wars” issue, Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Darth Vader and Star Wars: The High Republic), has thrust the Rebel Alliance poster boy and future Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker and the mighty wookie Chewbacca into the “War of the Bounty Hunters.” And for the Jedi hopeful and beloved fur-ball, it is personal since this involves their friend, Han Solo, who is encased in carbonite.
“Star Wars no. 13” begins with Luke Skywalker continuing his Jedi training. C-3PO and R2-D2 approach the Jedi who masterfully dispatches the training seeker droids with near ease. Unperturbed, Skywalker learns that his faithful blue astromech droid has information related to their recent trip to the planet Elphrona, the location of an High Republic era Jedi Outpost where Luke found his new yellow-bladed lightsaber.
Before Luke could learn what information Artoo had, Chewbacca interrupts and, through Threepio’s translation, tells Luke that he has a contact on the planet Nar Shaddaa who has seen Boba Fett who they know is in possession of carbonite-frozen Han Solo. Luke, being the hero that he is, agrees to help Chewie get his friend back.
The Wookie and Jedi, along with the two droids, take the Millennium Falcon and travel to Nar Shaddaa and meet up with a wookie named Sagwa who happens to be a guard at the arena Boba fought in under his “Jango” alias. While Skywalker tries to make the connection between Boba and Jango, he and his friends run into trouble with the thugs hired by the Hutts of Kanji who have a bone to pick with “Jango.” They are angry that “Jango” ran off with their money after killing off their prize fighter Wyrmen Lictor.
When I read Charles Soule’s work on “Star Wars,” I feel that he is up there with Dave Feloni and Jon Favreau. Like Feloni and Favreau, he understands “Star Wars.” Soule’s writing continues to impress when it comes to character development. Even though this issue is a part of the “War of the Bounty Hunters” arc, it is still a Luke Skywalker-centric issue.
Soule’s Skywalker is a maturing man who is no longer the moisture farmer from Tatooine wanting to go to Tosche Station to get power converters. He is a man who is becoming more self-less and getting closer to becoming the Jedi-in-black we see in the “Return of the Jedi” Luke has been to the depths of hell to reclaim his connection to the Force and rebuild his confidence after his duel with Darth Vader on Cloud City and learning that the Sith Lord is his father, Anakin Skywalker.
We see this when Luke and company are ambushed by the goons hired by the Hutts of Nar Kanj. The usually headstrong Luke is uncharacteristically calm and collected and confidently tells the thugs that he and his friends are going to leave while igniting his yellow-bladed lightsaber.
When the thugs chase the young Jedi, we see shades of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi during the Clone Wars as he deflects the laser bolts almost effortlessly with his lightsaber. However, Soule makes us realize that Luke still has a lot to learn and mature when the Jedi arrogantly says “Got ya” and almost gets hit by a blaster bolt from a thug.
Fortunately, Skywalker and his friends escape Nar Shaadaa but the Jedi is not out of the woods yet since the Kanji thugs plan to get a payday by reporting to the Imperials that they encountered a Jedi.
After the battle, Luke learns that the message Artoo had for him was regarding the possibility of existing Jedi outposts where he can find artifacts and study the ways of the Force. The comic ends with Threepio announcing that Leia has gotten in contact with someone who claims to be in possession of Han Solo.
I thought it was cool that Soule apparently threw in an “Solo: A Star Wars Story” easter egg when he introduced Chewie’s wookie friend Sagwa. When Threepio mentioned that Chewie rescued Sagwa on Kessel, I thought of that scene where a young Han Solo (played by Alden Enhrenreich) and Chewbacca (Played by Joonas Suotamo) rescued the enslaved Wookies on the spice mines of Kessel. When I saw the panel drawing of Chewie and Sagwa embracing, I felt that alluded to the scene where Chewie pressed his head with one of the wookies he and Han freed.
Speaking of the panels and scenes, Roman Rosana and Rachelle Rosenberg’s illustrations provided some of my favorite panels involving Luke. One of those panels is of Luke doing his Jedi training at the gym with his yellow-bladed lightsaber.
There were several panels where Luke utters the words the wise Jedi Master Yoda had taught him while those pesky seeker droids orbit him. Several panels show him doing several acrobatics while deflecting laser bolts. I felt that these panels were reflective of the scene in “Star Wars: A New Hope” where Luke is getting hit by the blaster bolts from the seeker droid while learning how to handle a lightsaber.
Another favorite panel is when Luke ignites his lightsaber to take on the Kanji thugs. What was cool about this panel was that it showed Luke wielding his lightsaber backwards , almost similar to Ahsoka Tano and Galen Marek, Starkiller from “Star Wars: A Force Unleashed.”
What was also cool about this panel was that it did not need to be a full splash page to show that Luke meant business when he said that the thugs were not going to take him and his friends. All the panel needed to do was a partial “bleed,” or partially run off the page and be sort of a half splash. Plus, it just made Luke look epic and ready for battle with Chewbacca and Threepio in the background. (Knowing Threepio, he was probably praying to the Maker that he would leave Nar Shaddaa in one piece.)
I am looking forward to reviewing the “War of the Bounty Hunters” tie ins which include “Darth Vader no. 12,” “Doctor Aphra no. 10,” “Bounty Hunters no. 2,” which will be followed by “Star Wars: War of the Bounty Hunters no. 1”
“Star Wars no. 13” is available at your local comic book shop or wherever comic books are sold.
- Writer: Charles Soule
- Artist: Ramon Rosanas
- Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
- Letterer:VC’s Travis Lanham
- Publisher: Marvel
Synopsis: PRELUDE TO WAR OF THE BOUNTY HUNTERS: “The Hunt for Han” Chewbacca has heard from an old friend with intelligence on the location of notorious bounty hunter Boba Fett, known to be in possession of Han Solo. Along with Luke Skywalker, the loyal Wookiee sets off in search of his lost friend, on an adventure to Nar Shaddaa…the Smuggler’s Moon! But will this mission prevent plucky astromech droid Artoo Detoo from passing along a crucial message to Luke, one that will affect the fate of the entire Jedi Order…?