Leia’s Mon Cala liberation plan requires a covert operation to kidnap a Moff in Star Wars #46.
This article discusses plot details for Star Wars #46.
Star Wars #46
Writer: Kieron Gillen | Artist: Salvador Larroca | Colorist: Guru e-FX | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover: David Marquez & Mathew Wilson | Assistant Editor: Heather Antos | Editor: Jordan D. White
Abduction is something of a theme in the various Star Wars comics lately. In Doctor Aphra #17, Doctor Aphra and her crew kidnapped Hera Syndulla as part of their plan to infiltrate Hivebase-1. Charles Soule’s Darth Vader series is leading up to the imprisonment of King Lee-Char of Mon Cala. The current Star Wars story arc is leading up to the resolution of that story. Princess Leia proposed an ambitious mission to rescue King Lee-Char from the Empire in Star Wars #45. The Rebellion High Council approved. Now, in Star Wars #46, she needs to abduct an Imperial Moff to make it happen.
Manipulation and Flattery
Leia’s mission requires an Imperial Moff with the appropriate clearances and bio signs so that her team might slip past Imperial defenses on the planet where Lee-Char is held. Of course, kidnapping a Moff is sure to be noticed. Therefore, they need a stand-in for the abductee while they complete their mission. Enter Tunga Arpagion. Tunga is a Clawdite, and like others of his species, he is a shapeshifter. In Star Wars #45, he convincingly mimicked Bail Organa. After Tunga was rescued from Dex Acquisition (think mercenary and bounty hunter types) custody (again with the abduction angle) by Leia, Han, and Luke, they needed to convince him to fill in for their intended Moff.
Tunga is no ordinary Clawdite. He has a reputation. Leia lists of a litany of his achievements. Han chimes in with a note on how everyone in the Outer Rim has heard of him. Obviously, they are attempting to manipulate and flatter Tunga into the desired performance. They have another thing going for them. Tunga cannot resist this chance to pull this off an become even more famous. For Leia and the Rebellion, flattery gets them everywhere.
Leia’s plan specifically calls for the abduction of Tan Hubi, the Moff of the Mon Calamari sector. Fortunately, it is the start of the infamous Mon Calamari opera season. It seems that like then Chancellor Palpatine, as portrayed in Revenge of the Sith, Hubi has an ear for the opera. He and other countless dignitaries begin flocking to the Moncaladrome for the opening opera of the season. It is expected to last five hours. That is all Leia needs for her plan. Plus, they have the assistance for Leia’s top-secret ally, Queen Trios.
The abduction is the most amusing aspect of this issue. Luke dons a set of stormtrooper armor and wards of a joke from Tunga about his height deficiency reminiscent of Leia’s quip from A New Hope. Han poses as a restroom attendant. The best part though is when Chewbacca leads the infiltration of the restroom from which they intend to extract Hubi. After popping a panel out of the wall, Chewbacca sticks his head through and warbles an all clear. It is a nice humorous touch.
From there, a carefully plotted mission unfolds in which Hubi’s drink is spiked by Threepio and Artoo (who share a few comical moments in the process), Hubi retreats to the restroom, and then Han, Luke, and Chewbacca make their escape with him. As abduction plans go, this one was nearly flawless. The only hint at anything going awry was when an Imperial officer pushed her way past Luke for access to the restroom, and Han had to prove his cleverness by coming up with an excuse as to why Chewbacca was there. That seemed a little forced, and it seemed doubtful the officer should have bought the excuse.
This plot brings to mind another carefully orchestrated rescue attempt by Leia. In Poe Dameron #22, then General Organa lead Black Squadron on an Ocean’s 11 style infiltration of a Neimodian Baron’s palace to rescue Lor San Tekka (again – abduction, rescue, etc.). That caper flowed a little more smoothly than the one portrayed in Star Wars #46. Leia’s narration of the plan helped. It was also paced a little smoother. In addition, key elements of the plan were revealed at dramatic moments adding drama and surprise to the story. Not that there was anything necessarily wrong with the rescue in Star Wars #46, but Charles Soule really showed how it was done in Poe Dameron #22.
Commencing the Rescue
Once they have Moff Hubi in hand, Leia and her team head to Strokill Prime. It is there that Lee-Char is held captive. Perhaps fittingly, this is another water world. After avoiding the planet’s defenses, Han risks noting that their infiltration was far easier than he anticipated. These are famous last words in many cases. Indeed, Moff Hubi notes that “This is Strokill Prime! The planet has its own defenses,” just as a giant fish surges into view. This fish bears at least a passing resemblance to the opee sea killer from The Phantom Menace. How Han gets around this creature is left for the next issue.
Concluding Thoughts on Star Wars #46
Star Wars #46 is part three of the “Mutiny at Mon Cala” story arc. Despite the story suggested by the name of the story arc, so far this story has been less about a mutiny on Mon Cala and more about rescuing Mon Cala’s king. Granted, there are likely two or three issues left in this story arc, but it appears more likely that the actual mutiny and rebellion of Mon Cala is a side story rather than the main event.
The mission abduction of Moff Hubi went remarkably smooth. One might anticipate more unexpected events to interfere with Leia’s carefully laid plans. However, it seems like Kieron Gillen is attempting to tell a story that might otherwise fill seven or eight issues in the space of five or maybe six. Therefore, space is at a premium. Plus, there is no real harm in her mission running smoothly. For one, it makes Leia a competent strategist and leader. Second, unexpected obstacles might come off like a trope. With all that said, this issue could have taken a page from Poe Dameron #22 on pacing and narrative structure. Han’s ruse with using Chewbacca’s fur to dry the Imperial officer’s hands in the restroom was a touch on the corny side.
What makes this story particularly intriguing is that it is a major event for the Rebellion. Often, the comics, and the novels for that matter, have suffered in the scope of their stories. It seems that the truly grand Star Wars adventures were being saved for the films. However, the entry of Mon Cala into the Galactic Civil War is a major event just slightly less intriguing that how the Rebellion acquired the plans to the first Death Star in Rogue One. In addition, this story ties in nicely with the subjugation of Mon Cala as told in the pages of Charles Soule’s Darth Vader “The Burning Seas” story arc. One can hope that if this story is successful, Marvel will have the opportunity to tell other large stories in the Star Wars galaxy.
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.