Star Wars #64 Review

by Dennis Keithly

The Rebel mission to Shu-Torun completes another phase, but Benthic’s Partisans reveal alternative goals the planet in Star Wars #64.

Warning: This review contains plot points for Star Wars #64.

Star Wars #64 Cover

Star Wars #64

Writer: Kieron Gillen | Artist: Angel Unzueta | Colorist: Guru-eFx | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover Artist: Gerald Parel | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia

There is a reason the Rebel Alliance was reluctant to work with Saw Gerrera and his Partisans in Rogue One. They were unpredictable. In addition, their methods were extreme and brutal. Mon Mothma and the Rebel Alliance couldn’t condone their actions. Therefore, when Princess Leia invited Benthic, Gerrera’s successor, to join her sabotage mission to Shu-Torun, she also invited a high degree of chaos. In Star Wars #64, Leia and her team successfully complete the opening stages of their mission. However, things are about to change as Benthic and his soldiers seize an opportunity.

Flaws in the Plan

In Star Wars #63, Leia’s plans began moving along with a high degree of success. Leia and her team got to Shu-Torun and Tunga easily acquired Queen Trios’s retinal scan. Now, they need to use that scan at the Abyssal Rooms to lock down the planet. That too goes off easily enough. Despite their early success, the flaws in Leia’s plan begin to emerge in Star Wars #64. First, Tunga can’t resist giving a dramatic performance. His role at the Abyssal Rooms is to distract all personnel, including the guards. He does this. However, he overdoes it. Instead of just playing Trios, he plays a spoiled royal monarch given to unreasonable whims. This behavior puzzles the subordinates. Although there are no repercussion for it in Star Wars #64, it seems likely this will get noticed later.

The major flaw with the plan is Benthic and his Partisans. Leia invited them along when regular Rebel troops weren’t available. However, the Partisans are famous for their brutality and revenge motivation. The tragedy of Jedha is still fresh in their thoughts. On Shu-Torun, they sense an opportunity for revenge and to make a statement. Leia simply wants to bring down the Spike and cripple Shu-Torun’s ability to provide raw materials to the Empire for the war. She previously assured Han and Luke that her plan wouldn’t result in civilian casualties. The Partisans don’t care about such things. As Saw Gerrera once argued in Rebels, to win the war, they can’t concern themselves with rules. This is a lesson Benthic took to heart. The Partisan plan would involve reflecting the power of a reactor back on the planet, tearing it apart. As Benthic puts it, Shu-Torun shares in the Empire’s guilt, and it too shall pay. The Partisans seek vengence for Jedha, and this mission provides them the opportunity to get it.

Star Wars #64 - Tunga and Threepio

Queen Trios Gets Wise to the Plan

Once the Rebels put Shu-Torun on lockdown, it doesn’t take long for Queen Trios to figure out things are amiss. First, one of the nobles at her reception cannot leave. The doors won’t open. Communications are blocked. Her subordinates have no answers for her. Then the answer dawns on her: it is the Rebels. Queen Trios remembers Tunga, in the guise of another noble, delivering a message from Leia: “You did this.” She suddenly remembers that she said the very thing to Leia at Mako-Ta base. Fortunately for Leia and the Rebels, she is powerless to do anything about the sabotage at the moment.

Although this was an opportunity to shove Trios’s betrayal back in her face by Leia, one must wonder if it was worth it. If Leia hadn’t had Tunga deliver this message, perhaps Trios wouldn’t be looking for saboteurs. Instead, she might be looking for mechanical flaws. Then again, maybe Leia wanted Trios focusing on her. There is no explanation yet as to what exactly Leia hoped to gain with that message. For now, it just seems like part of her larger revenge plan and a potentially foolish move.

Star Wars #64 - The Rebels stealing a planet

Final Thoughts on Star Wars #64

For the majority of Star Wars #64, Leia’s plan plays out like the scheme from Ocean’s Eleven. Everything goes according to plan. Only Leia and company aren’t pulling a heist. Or, are they? Han notes that a planet is the biggest thing he has ever stolen. There is a massive difference between the heist in Ocean’s Eleven and Star Wars #64: not all of Leia’s companions are trustworthy. They can’t be counted on to carry out their assigned tasks as ordered. So, Leia, Luke, and Han can’t just be concerned about Shu-Torun and their Imperial allies, they will soon be at odds with their own teammates.

The art of Star Wars #64 is first rate. It particularly shines when Luke and Chewbacca deliver the Partisans to the Spike. Of particular note is the panel featuring Luke, lightsaber ignited, charging into the station with Chewbacca right behind him. The mining vessel Han and Leia commandeer is a fantastic looking Star Wars vehicle as well. It has an engine array similar to vessels seen in the prequels, but it has enough new elements to make it unique. In addition, the colors really establish a mood in this issue. The bright reds of the lava make the exterior foreboding. The cool blues and grays of some of the chambers in the Abyssal Rooms make them look clinical and cool.

“The Scourging of Shu-Torun” is a different type of Star Wars story. Luke, Leia, and Han’s invasion of Trios’s world has tones of A New Hope and the infiltration of the Death Star. The Partisans insertion into the Spike seems very much like Rogue One. However, Leia’s motivation is what makes this different. Throughout the Star Wars saga, she has been a leader. Despite a sharp wit and a touch of a temper, she has always been able to put that behind her to get the job done. In this story arc, she seems to let revenge get the best of her. A Leia thinking a little more rationally like she does in the original trilogy likely wouldn’t have made the same decisions. There are a few issues left to see how this plays out for her, the Rebel Alliance, and Shu-Torun.

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