“Showdown on Smuggler’s Moon Part 2”
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
- Luke’s lightsaber has been stolen and he must retrieve it!
- Meanwhile, the Imperials are closing in on Han and Leia…
- …set upon them by a mysterious woman from Han’s past!
Things kick into full-on action mode this month with Skywalker chasing the thief who stole his lightsaber in the streets of Nar Shadda, and Han, Leia and Sana fighting Imperial TIE pilots. Of the two I have found that the Luke side of things has not really grabbed my attention, while the intrigue surrounding Han’s group has me turning pages in the hopes of new revelations. It looks like Chewie and C-3PO will be trying to help Luke starting next issue, so hopefully that will pick things up a bit.
On the Han, Leia and Sana side of events there is little movement regarding the primary mystery of the group, namely the marital status of Han and Sana. Instead the focus this month is on Leia and Han needing to convince Sana to not turn Leia over to the Imperials for her considerable bounty, and then the three making their attempted escape. While it is a little difficult to square Sana’s rapid change of heart towards Leia’s situation at the moment I do feel confident that a more lengthy answer is coming shortly. In theory the three of them should be stuck together for a while yet, unless they get captured next issue. We are starting to get to the point where the questions that have been raised so far need to get answers, or at least suitable hints leading to those answers, but the arc still has several issues to go. I suspect this is one aspect of the story that will read better once we get to the trade format.
It is worth noting that most of the action in these scenes is being driven by Leia, and not Han or Sana. From a story perspective that is a bit disappointing since (as noted above) what I’m really interested in at the moment is learning more about their connection, but from an action perspective it is quite great. In the movies it is often Leia who takes charge of the situation, and it is good to see the trend continued in the comics. It is easy to forget that she is a bit of a badass herself, and watching her take down Imperials when everyone else is standing around gawking never gets old.
Over with Luke we have two separate sections to take a look at. The first is his chase after the thief, and the second is his confrontation with Grakkus the Hutt. Of the two the former is infinitely less interesting than the second. While it is at least a visually striking chase sequence that is well drawn by artist Stuart Immonen (as is the rest of the issue) there ends up being little point to it beyond getting Luke to where he needs to be to encounter his next challenge. It also gives us the eye-rollingly bad one-liner from Luke, where he replies to the thief incredulously questioning how he made an amazing jump with “I’m a Skywalker”. I had to set the book down and walk away for a while before I could continue on after that.
The second half of Luke’s story in this issue revolves around his encounter with Grakkus the Hutt, who is unlike any other Hutt I can recall. While still a gangster and purveyor of illegal things, Grakkus uses his wealth to build up his collection of rare Jedi artifacts. The idea of a cultured Hutt, who is still a criminal, is rather quaint, and I certainly want to see more of Grakkus as the series progresses. I doubt that his treasure trove will survive more than a few issues, though, otherwise Luke would stop at virtually nothing to acquire all of it for himself (and for good reason). The loss of this treasure is all but assured given that it is filled with Jedi holocron cubes (think memory sticks designed to store the history of the Jedi), and that as part of staying alive Luke is forced to learn how to open them. There appear to be around two dozen of them that we know of, and even just one of them would give Luke access to knowledge that would put him well beyond where we find him in The Empire Strikes Back. Still, even teasing Luke with having them so close like this should make for some interesting material. Unfortunately it looks like we will be moving away from the library and towards some gladiatorial combat next issue, but hopefully that is only temporary.
Both threads have elements to them that are worth recommending, and frankly either of them could be spun off into books of their own without losing anything. We are in an interesting situation where I want to see where both stories are going, but I don’t want them to sacrifice the space and time of each other. This series, on the whole, is getting better and better with each passing month. It is also worth pointing out that the art of Stuart Immonen and his team continues to shine this issue, and anyone who was worried about the shift from the first art team to this one should have those fears alleviated. Any Star Wars fan should be checking this series out.