Luke and Leia survive the wild and fight the Empire.
Warning: This article discusses plot details for Star Wars #33.
Star Wars #33
Writer: Jason Aaron | Artist: Salvador Larroca | Colorist: Edgar Delgado | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover: Mike Mayhew | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White
A Survival Tale
Having survived the ordeal on Ktath’atn in The Screaming Citadel crossover event, life returns to what passes for normal for the Rebellion. After a pursuit by the Empire, Luke and Leia crash on a remote island on an unknown world when a nebula shorts out their shuttle’s systems. They survive for weeks on this ocean world by fishing for sharks, creating makeshift vaporators, and hunting the wildlife of the island. After weeks go by, they discover the Empire learned of their location. They also learn of the indigenous people, an aquatic race of beings whose eggs are threatened by the Empire’s impending attack. With time on their side, Luke and Leia lay a trap for the Imperial forces and escape this remote world in Star Wars #33.
Brother and Sister Bonding
Evidently this unknown world is so remote the Rebellion failed to find them there. As an aside, one might wonder whether this island has anything to do with Ahch-To, or whether Luke just ends up on remote islands from time-to-time. Regardless, this remoteness afforded Luke and Leia some time to bond. Although they don’t know it, they are brother and sister. Remarkably, beyond a peck on Luke’s cheek from Leia for luck (it is tradition afterall), there are no romantic moments in this story.
Instead, the pair bond over their shared isolation. As they relate their life experiences, they discover they have a few things in common. Although it should be obvious, both are effectively orphaned. Luke never knew his parents, but his aunt and uncle (his adoptive parents) were recently slaughtered by the Empire. Similarly, Leia’s parents died when the Empire destroyed Alderaan with the Death Star.
Despite the differences in their upbringing (Leia was raised in a royal palace while Luke was raised on a moisture farm), Luke and Leia shared similar childhood experiences. Both had opportunity to learn survival skills. Those came in handy on this isolated island. In addition, both ran away from home on occasion. Leia feared an arranged marriage. Luke simply rebelled against his life as a farmer.
Perhaps most interesting, both shared a sense of no longer having a home. After all, the Empire literally destroyed Leia’s home. The Empire might as well have destroyed Luke’s when they killed his parents. Despite the loss of their homes, they have the comfort of the stars, and Leia notes they are never truly alone.
A Different Style
Star Wars #33 is unique for this series. Multi-issue story arcs largely dominate Star Wars. By comparison, this is a standalone issue. Although Star Wars featured standalone issues before, those issues featured the adventures of Obi-Wan Kenobi as read by Luke from Obi-Wan’s journal. Han, Luke, and Leia’s adventure always took four or more issues to tell.
In addition, this issue features the inner thoughts of Leia. Star Wars previously eschewed thought bubbles in favor of a more cinematic style. This story is clearly told through Leia’s perspective. Through Leia’s eyes, the reader learns of her desire to do what is right and to defeat the Empire. Plus, her upbringing, and what she learned from her past, clearly colors her perspective and her tactics for defeating the Empire.
The Empire’s Attack
The Empire chose a novel method of attack. Instead of flying to the island, the Empire chose an underwater assault. They didn’t use a submarine or scuba gear either. Indeed, the Empire employed an AT-AT as its assault craft. Who knew they were waterproof and capable of delivering troops across the ocean floor? That was a clever detail. In addition, the troopers wear shoretrooper armor featured in Rogue One. This is fitting considering they are on the beach much like they were on Scarif in Rogue One. This is good use of new canon material.
Star Wars #33 is a well-contained story. The strengths from the story come from the exploration of Luke and Leia’s relationship and the clever method of the Imperial attack. If the story has faults, it is in the details of the setting. The Star Wars timeline does not appear to have time for Luke and Leia to go missing for weeks. In addition, although Luke and Leia are resourceful, some of their tactics seem out of character. Then again, never underestimate a Skywalker. Considering how well this story was pulled off, Marvel should consider other one shots in the future.
Favorite Panel of Star Wars #33
Overall, Larroca’s art is quite good in this issue. However, the art falters in places when combined with Delgado’s facial coloring. It appears Delgado employs two different styles of coloring for this issue. One style is straight forward and applies to everything but human faces. The second is reserved solely for human faces. Unfortunately, the styles clash a little. Luke and Leia’s face sometimes pop out of the panel. Make no mistake, the coloring is outstanding, but the two styles don’t always blend well.
For the favorite panel of this issue, the art was not the determining factor. Instead, I chose a panel featuring a great observation by Leia. While Luke and Leia camp out under the stars, Luke asks Leia if she still looks for Alderaan in the night sky. Leia notes that sometimes, Alderaan is still there.
Leia makes a great point. The star in the sky is the light that left Alderaan many, many years ago. Therefore, Alderaan still appears in the night sky even though the Empire destroyed it. By comparison, the closest star to Earth, other than the Sun, is Proxima Centauri. Its light takes four years to reach Earth. Of course, this creates an inconsistency and physics problem for the destruction of Hosnian Prime in The Force Awakens.
Putting aside the difficulty Leia would have finding Alderaan in a foreign night sky to begin with, this was an outstanding detail to include in a comic. Therefore, that makes it the favorite panel of Star Wars #33.