Did this book just drop a huge Easter egg? Dennis has the scoop.
Spoiler Alert: This article discusses plot details of issue #3 of Marvel’s new Star wars series and contains minor to major spoilers.
Princess Leia #2
Writer: Mark Waid / Pencils: Terry Dodson / Inks: Rachel Dodson / Colorist: Jordie Bellaire / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Princess Leia #2 relates the story of Leia’s first stop on her mission to rescue surviving Alderaanians from imminent Imperial reprisals resulting from the destruction of the Death Star. Leia believes the Empire is likely to target the Melodic Order, an Alderaanian band that is cloistered on Naboo and only performs via hologram in order to prevent corruption from outside influences. En route to Naboo, Leia recalls, via flashback, a number of life and diplomatic lessons she received from her adoptive father, Bail Organa, Viceroy of Alderaan. After arriving on Naboo, Leia adopts an amusing Imperial alias as she and Evaan overcome and survive betrayal in their search for the Melodic Order.
A Symbol of Harmony in the Galaxy
The primary theme of the Princess Leia series is the preservation of Alderaanian culture. In issue one, Evaan reminds Leia of her responsibility while Leia is desperately trying to find a meaningful role within the Rebel Alliance. By the time of issue two, Leia has risen to the challenge and thereby becomes the living symbol of Alderaanian culture. In flashback sequences, Leia reflects on Bails attempts to teach Leia the value of keeping Alderaan’s culture alive by explaining why it was so important to eat her ruica, a vegetable grown on Alderaan whose seeds are imported from other planets. Alderaanian culture means more than Alderaan. Alderaan was in itself a symbol of harmony in the galaxy. The lengths that pilots go to in order to bring ruica seeds to Alderaan represented the harmony Alderaan had achieved with the galaxy. Bail reinforces his lessons when he advises Leia that her future role of Queen requires that she not give into belligerence, and that she must promote Alderaan’s reputation as the “Planet of Beauty” known for its nature, poetry, philosophy, art, couture, and cuisine that it shares with all. Bail advises Leia, that above all, she must keep Alderaan alive.
Bail, of course, meant that Alderaan was all these things: harmony, beauty, and the arts. In the present Leia apologizes out loud to her adopted father. But, what is she apologizing for? Alderaan is dead in a physical sense. Leia watched in horror aboard the Death Star as Grand Moff Tarkin gave the order to destroy the planet to make an effective demonstration of the Empire’s might. Was Leia apologizing for failing to prevent the destruction of the planet, or does she believe she has failed Bail in allowing Alderaanian culture to die? The later seems a bit premature. After all, chronologically Alderaan was obliterated only days or weeks before the setting of this issue. Perhaps it is something else. Perhaps Leia is apologizing because she had lost sight of her larger purpose in the scope of the Rebellion, and that is a failure to Leia. By the end of this issue, Leia has rediscovered her purpose and vows to preserve what is left of Alderaan.
The significance of the destruction of Alderaan magnifies with this issue as well. We all know that Leia claimed Alderaan was a peaceful planet when she pleaded with Tarkin not to destroy it. Thanks to Bail, we now know that Alderaan was the symbol of harmony in the galaxy. By destroying Alderaan, the Empire destroyed the symbolic peace and harmony of the galaxy with its own symbol of fear and order. Rebellion was inevitable.
Leia: Undercover Princess Warrior
The second issue of Princess Leia features more intrigue and action than the first. Leia arrives on Naboo and adopts a cover as Prime Minister Solo, an Imperial auditor. Seemingly by happenstance, she encounters an old acquaintance, Lord Junn, who agrees to utilize his contacts to locate the cloister housing the Melodic Order. Unknown to Leia, the Melodic Order have been kept in the dark as to the fate of Alderaan by their managers, Mul Sanaka and Madame Pareece.
A conspiracy has developed around the Melodic Order. The band has been sequestered on Naboo from Alderaan to prevent any outside influences. Madame Pareece agonizes over whether the Order should be informed of the destruction of Alderaan. However, Sanaka exerts his influence to keep this information from the Order to protect the profits to be made from their performances. Tipped off by an unidentified contact, Junn directs Leia to Sanaka’s club, known as Club Deeja, to rescue the Order. However, a squad of Besalisk mercenaries (see Dexter Jettster from the diner in Attack of the Clones) ambush Leia and Evaan when they arrive. The Original Trilogy from the Saga displayed Leia’s ability with a blaster on numerous occasions, but they never let on just how skilled Leia was at hand-to-hand combat. The poor Besalisks never stood a chance.
Chief Advisor Evaan Verlaine
After two issues, Evaan continues to be a wonderful addition to the Star Wars cast. Her relationship with Leia in issue two is just as frosty as it was in issue one. Leia and Evaan seem to have established their boundaries. Leia tolerates Evaan’s insistence of following royal protocol, and begins calling her “Pilot” while on their shuttle. Evaan begrudgingly tolerates Lord Junn. The look of scorn on her face as Junn bows and kisses her hand is one of my favorite panels in the entire book. Despite her dissatisfaction with the manner in which Leia handled the eulogy for Alderaan, Evaan remains fiercely loyal to her and the memory of Queen Breha. As this series continues, a certain amount of thawing towards Leia is to be expected as Leia continues to rescue Alderaanians, but I cannot imagine Evaan gushing over a friendship with Leia.
The Ghost of Padme
Shortly after arriving on Naboo and before meeting Lord Junn, Leia finds an image of Queen Amidala set into an arch. Unbeknownst to Leia, she is gazing upon an image of her natural mother. Leia is captivated by the image which appears to turn and give her a sad look. Realizing Evaan had not seen anything, Leia dismisses this as an illusion and moves on. I’m not sure what to make of this scene. Was Leia experiencing a vision through the Force? Is this one of the “memories” she later relates to Luke in Return of the Jedi? One can assume that something larger is being set up in the Marvel/Star Wars comic universe. However, I expected a larger payoff from Leia visiting her mother’s home world, and it was slightly disappointing that nothing more came of the trip to Naboo.
Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire follow up their work in the first issue with some great art in this issue. Leia does not look much like Carrie Fisher. This stands out because John Cassady’s Leia from the core Star Wars book does. Instead, Leia has a stylized portrayal here. In contrast, Evaan is new as of this series; and therefore, she is a comic book character first. There isn’t an actress to whom she can be compared. This makes Leia’s appearance slightly distracting at times. That aside, the look she is given is quite good. It is a hybrid of Padme’s look from Attack of the Clones and Leia’s look from The Empire Strikes Back. It works very well for a comic book series where photo realism is not required.
Evaan’s appearance is also quite distinctive and striking. Her jacket looks like a modified version of Luke’s jacket from the medal ceremony in A New Hope. The look of the Besalisks was also well done. The fleeting images of Naboo captured the sytle of the planet. In short, the art firmly establishes that this book is set in the Star Wars universe.
Issue two of Princess Leia competently builds on the themes and stories established in the first issue. Leia has found purpose in her post-Senatorial life. Although she may not have a planet to claim as sovereign territory, she still has people to guide and a culture to preserve. Leia, Evaan, and their retinue of Alderaanians best be on their guard though. The final panels reveal that not all Alderaanians hold to Leia and Evaan’s ideals.
Now, on to Sullust.
Upcoming Star Wars Comic Releases:
- March 25, 2015–Darth Vader #3
- April 1, 2015–Kanan: The Last Padawan #1
- April 8, 2015–Darth Vader #4
- April 15, 2015–Princess Leia #3
- April 22, 2015–Star Wars #4
Dennis Keithly is a graduate of the University of Missouri, North Texas attorney, husband, father of two, and co-host of Starships, Sabers, and Scoundrels. In addition to Star Wars, Dennis is a fan of science fiction, fantasy, and super heroes in general. When not engaged in fictional universes, Dennis is reading a good book or watching the NHL, football, or studying the NFL draft.