What does a lightsaber mean to Sand People?
Spoiler Alert: This article discusses plot details of issue #4 of Marvel’s Star Wars series and contains minor to major spoilers for this series and Marvel’s other Star Wars series overall.
Star Wars #5
Writer: Jason Aaron | Artist: John Cassady | Colorist: Laura Martin | Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos | Cover Artists: Cassady & Martin
After deciding he needed guidance in the ways of the Force and that he was a danger to his friends, Luke Skywalker finally returns to Tatooine in the hopes that Obi-Wan Kenobi has left clues for him in his former home. Meanwhile, desperate for parts to repair the Millennium Falcon, Han Solo agrees to accompany Princess Leia on a mission to scout potential new rebel bases as her co-pilot on a stolen Imperial Shuttle. Both Luke on his mission and Leia and Han on theirs encounter obstacles, and the Empire seems to be closing in on them all.
Despite the uncertainly and self-doubt that plagued Luke in the past two issues, he seems at least a little comforted now that he has decided on a course of action. Whereas before he seemed to be brooding, now he just seems frustrated, but at least he has a purpose. As Luke approaches Kenobi’s hut, he is attacked by Tusken Raiders. He quickly disarms one with his lightsaber, and the rest quickly flee. Afterwards, he remarks to R2-D2 that he is glad they fled, otherwise, he wasn’t sure what would have happened. He felt anger and frustration, and he had a feeling that was not the path to become a Jedi.
This scene should seem somewhat familiar to Star Wars fans. In Attack of the Clones, Luke’s father, Anakin, struggles to come to terms with his own actions after slaughtering the Tuskens that had kidnapped his mother. He knew he should have been better than that, and it was not the Jedi way. Fortunately, Luke managed to overcome his anger and avoid his father’s tragedy. I can’t help but wonder if perhaps one of the reasons the Tuskens ran was some sort of legend of the fate of the last tribe of Tuskens that encountered Anakin, or if the fate of the Tuskens that encountered Darth Vader at the end of issue one made the Tuskens wary of anyone wielding a lightsaber.
Another highlight of this issue was the banter between Han and Leia. This series has done admirably in capturing the spirit of the old space pirate and her worshipfulness. Their dialogue aboard the shuttle foreshadows the tension between the pair that occurs on Hoth when Han makes the decision that he has to leave the rebellion. Neither of them can quite manage to say what they want. This scene also is a nice call back to Return of the Jedi when Han and Chewbacca have to sneak a stolen Imperial shuttle past Darth Vader’s Super Star Destroyer. Han and Leia’s scenes conclude with the mysterious woman from the past issue picking up their trail in space.
Then there is the appearance of Boba Fett. He has long had a reputation as the baddest, meanest bounty hunter in the galaxy. From the films, that reputation was largely undeserved. The special edition of A New Hope features Fett among the gangsters that accompanied Jabba the Hutt to Docking Bay 94 to find Han Solo. His sole purpose is to stand there and look menacing. In the Empire Strikes Back, Fett tracks Han Solo down to Bespin, but other than a brief fire fight with Luke, he was not particularly impressive. Again, most of his job was to stand around and look dangerous. In Return of the Jedi, Fett’s big scene is engaging in the battle over the Great Pit of Carkoon long enough for Solo to land a lucky blow to his jetpack, causing him to plummet into the Sarlacc. Of course, in Attack of the Clones, Fett is just a kid. Outside of the Legends universe, there is scant little to warrant his reputation. It was his style and use of few words that created a mystique.
Star Wars #5 changes all of that.
Fett is on a mission from Vader. When one is on a mission from Vader, one does not mess around. Fett fights, maims, and murders his way across Tatooine looking for clues as to the identity of the boy that left the planet with Ben Kenobi. He essentially holds the entire cantina in Mos Eisley hostage until one of Luke’s old acquaintances from Tosche Station makes a run for it. There is where Fett finally gets his first lead on Luke, but not until after many cantina patrons have suffered for it. Fett manages to run down Luke at Kenobi’s hut at the conclusion of the issue, but the question is, does Fett even know it is Luke? He wouldn’t have any reason to know that Luke even returned to Tatooine. This is the cliffhanger for the issue.
Conspicuously absent from this issue was Darth Vader. He had been featured in the last issue, and Jabba the Hutt had stories to tell him of Obi-Wan’s adventures on Tatooine. I got the impression that Vader would head there, but so far, he has not. In some ways, I am relieved. Many in the fan community were not excited about his confrontation with Luke in the earlier issues of the series, but I wasn’t particularly bothered. For some, this early confrontation spoils their later confrontation in The Empire Strikes Back. I don’t count myself in that group. It wasn’t much of a fight. Vader dominated the confrontation with Luke. However, I feel that one pre-Empire confrontation is enough, and I would rather see Luke escape Tatooine with Vader on his heels than see another confrontation at this point.
Issue five was a great rebound for this series. After issues three and four, I was a little down on Star Wars. The first two issues managed to capture the tone and swashbuckling adventure of the movies. The third and fourth issues just seemed to lose the momentum. However, at least Luke’s story in issue five promises to set up larger events in his path to becoming a Jedi and further the story of exactly how Darth Vader came to learn of his identity and importance in The Empire Strikes Back.
A New Hope debuted when I was a very little boy. Back then, it was simply known as Star Wars. One of the biggest things that made an impression on me at that age was the Mos Eisley cantina and the myriad of patrons gathered therein. As a child, I really had no idea what the cantina was all about. It just had a lot of cool aliens. I remember talking about that quite a bit. The first panel featuring Fett in the cantina made me smile. Many of those same patrons were still there, still sipping their drinks, only to be interrupted by a dangerous bounty hunter that didn’t care a thing about them. I found it interesting that despite the apparent lack of concern for violence (Ponda Baba losing an arm to Kenobi’s lightsaber and Greedo getting fried by Han) in the cantina during A New Hope, there did seem to be some community concern about the threats Fett was making. Turns out standing up to Fett is a bad idea. Still, it was fun to see the cantina again, and that is my favorite panel for this issue.
- May 27, 2015–Princess Leia #4
- June 3, 2015–Star Wars #6
- June 3, 2015–Darth Vader #6
- June 10, 2015–Kanan #3
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.