The Rebellion goes on the offensive to make their escape from Darth Vader and the Empire in Star Wars #55. The galactic civil war just changed.
This article discusses plot details for Star Wars #55.
Star Wars #55
Writer: Kieron Gillen | Artist: Salvador Larroca | Colorist: Guru e-FX | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover: David Marquez & Tamra Bonvillain | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Over the space of five issues in the “Hope Dies” story arc, the Rebellion went from poised to strike the Empire to desperate. After assembling a fleet of their own, the Rebellion could do nothing but watch as it crumbled. Queen Trios’s treachery and Vader’s ruthless nearly wiped them out. However, Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and the Rebellion found a way to salvage an escape. The Rebellion lives to fight another day. Star Wars #55 outlines how they pulled back from the edge of annihilation.
A Geurilla Strike
Star Wars #54 ended with General Dodonna escaping from the Empire’s trap in the Rebel flagship. Only after Luke and Leia persuaded him to do so, he decided on an attack against the Execrtor. Issue #55 begins with Dodonna bringing his ship in for an attack. This attack is a feint. It is designed as a distraction. When the Empire moves to intercept Dodonna, Han and a collection of transport ships arrive. Their mission is to free the remaining cruisers.
Han makes quite the effective X-Wing pilot. The Millennium Falcon was left behind with Chewbacca. Because Luke is suffering from damage to his own X-Wing, Artoo rides as Han’s astromech. Together, Han and Artoo successfully protect the transports from Imperial assault. Comics are often the most fun when they subvert expectations and provide something new. Han leading the charge in an X-Wing fills the bill.
Eventually Han’s luck runs out. A stray blaster shot cripples his X-Wing. Just when he accepts his fate, Luke and Leia rescue him. Having borrowed a fighter carrier, they pull the same trick Han did back on Jedha and tow him to safety. No Rebel gets left behind. Poe Dameron would approve.
Speaking of Rebels, Hera Syndulla makes another appearance. Her cruiser is the first liberated. Once freed, she turns her weapons on the Empire while the Rebels free the other cruisers. Although not initially apparent, this issue, and this story arc, outline the new hierarchy of Rebel officers. Hera is among them.
By the end of Star Wars #55, the Rebellion suffered a tremendous loss of leadership. Although Mon Mothma and Hera Syndulla survived, much of the command structure perished in the Imperial assault. Generals Dodonna, Willard, and Draven, plus numerous other officers, all died in service to the Rebellion during the Hope Dies story arc.
It was up to Mon Mothma to fill the void. So, she promoted Leia to general, Luke to commander, and Han Solo to Colonel. However, Solo immediately rejects his promotion. Mon Mothma responds with what everyone already knows, Han is a leader. The rank is immaterial to that. This moment emphasizes everyone’s surprise (but mostly Lando’s) in Return of the Jedi when Han accepts the rank of General.
Despite these panels serving as a reward sequence for Leia, Han, and Luke, they underscore how disastrous the situation is. The Rebellion just lost half of its cruisers. In addition, the Empire destroyed many of their starfighters. This is highlighted by Vader’s report to the Emperor. It wasn’t a complete victory for the Empire, but it severely decimated the Rebellion.
Unfinished Business after Star Wars #55
Star Wars #55 concluded the “Hope Dies” story arc, but there is some unfinished business. For starters, Queen Trios escaped. Considering she is the Queen of Shu-Torun, the Rebels can’t simply waltz into her home world and exact revenge. Yet, one gets the feeling she’ll get her comeuppance.
Also, Leia, Luke, and Han find themselves separated from the Rebellion. Mon Mothma dubbed Leia and Luke leaders. She also placed their future in their hands. Their first order of business is reuniting with Chewbacca and the Millennium Falcon. Their carrier is in bad shape. Therefore, they hire Sana Starros. Her job is to get them back to the Rebellion. That adventure, however, is for the next story arc.
Right now, the Rebellion has a fleet, but it is scattered. Once again, they are an alliance. They aren’t a consolidated force capable of bringing their might against the Empire. They still need to find their new base on Hoth.
Concluding Thoughts on Star Wars #55 and “Hope Dies”
The “Hope Dies” story arc concluded with Star Wars #55. This was an incredible adventure. The story featured betrayal, a major space battle, improvisation, monumental loss, and the rekindling of hope. The Rebellion’s focus must change. Without a consolidated fleet, they must return to their roots. For now, this means smaller actions by Rebel cells.
“Hope Dies” moved Star Wars closer to The Empire Strikes Back than it has ever been. In addition, this story impacts Return of the Jedi. When Leia emphasizes that the Rebel fleet is assembling, this is a much bigger deal. For one, the Alliance has consolidated. The elements of the fleet found each other. Second, they exposed themselves to attack from the Empire again. Audiences already knew the Rebellion was throwing all it had at the second Death Star. “Hope Dies” makes it abundantly clear how bold a move that was.
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.