The Rebels split up on three missions to distract sabotage the Empire. Naturally, nothing goes according to plan in Star Wars #68.
Warning: This review contains plot points for Star Wars #68.
Star Wars #68
Writer: Greg Pak | Artist: Phil Noto | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
Issue #67 of Star Wars saw Kieron Gillen’s run as writer come to an end. Greg Pak picks up the writing duties with Star Wars #68 and starts with a fresh tale of Rebel deception and sabotage. The Rebellion is looking for a new base as the agents of the Empire are closing in. Han, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids are fresh back from their mission to Shu-Torun. So, General Rieekan comes up with a few choice missions for the heroes of the Rebellion to distract the Empire in Star Wars #68. Naturally, things don’t go according to plan as the next wave of adventures begins.
Splitting Up the Team
The opening crawl to Star Wars #68 makes clear that the Rebellion isn’t doing well against the Empire despite Leia’s revenge driven victory on Shu-Torun. Their resources are spread thin as they evade Imperial probe droids. Therefore, Rieekan splits up Leia’s team. Luke is sent to a Rebel refueling platform to distract nearby Imperials. Rieekan appeals to Luke as the best pilot in the Rebellion. Naturally, this attracts Han’s interest as his competitive interest is piqued.
Rieekan has other plans for him though. Recognizing Han’s life as a smuggler, Rieekan determines Han would be perfect for a mission to Lanz Corpo, a world near the core notorious for its crime rate. Rieekan wants Han to set up a fake transmission that will convince the Imperials are working with the local crime boss. To his and Leia’s dismay, Rieekan assigns Leia to this mission as well. Oh, one more thing, Leia’s ex-boyfriend is on Lanz Corpo, and naturally they run into him shortly after arriving.
Chewbacca and Threepio get assigned to a mission to the world K43. This world is a tectonic disaster and is susceptible to destruction with a few well placed bombs. Rieekan gives this odd couple the dubious assignment of luring in an Imperial fleet and then destroying them and the planet. Surprisingly, nobody calls him on the wisdom of destroying a planet or draws any comparison to similar recent Imperial activity (i.e. Alderaan, Jedha, and Scarif).
Naturally, nothing goes according to plan in Star Wars #68. Luke’s mission to the refueling station is noticed by Admiral Ozzel and his Super Star Destroyer. Yet, they hardly bat an eyelash. Ozzel doesn’t even send a squad of TIE fighters after him. Instead, Ozzel orders his men to collect the reports of their probe droids and move on their way. His reasoning is that obviously the X-Wing wanted to be noticed, and therefore, they should ignore it. Perhaps this is why Vader considers him “as clumsy as he is stupid.”
Similarly, Leia and Han arrive on Lanz Corpo, but their altruistic tendencies soon attract the wrong kind of attention. As the local authorities are apprehending them, Leia’s ex-boyfriend, Dar, arrives to rescue them. There is an attempt to make this reveal as surprising as the reveal of Han’s would-be wife, Sana, from Star Wars #6. However, despite Leia’s attempt to equate the two reveals, it just doesn’t have the same surprise or shock factor. Still, it is a fun complication that will likely elicit plenty of banter between Han and Leia.
Finally, Threepio and Chewbacca bond while setting explosives on K43. It is a nice bit of foreshadowing to the care Chewbacca will employ while reassembling Threepio in The Empire Strikes Back. However, just as they complete their mission, they lose their footing and are saved from plummeting into a river of lava by a previously unknown rock-based, sentient life form. Naturally, Threepio and Chewbacca can’t go through with the Rebel plan here, and there is the added problem that this planet is inhabited and rigged to explode.
Final Thoughts on Star Wars #68
Make no mistake, Star Wars #68 is a fun start to Greg Pak’s tenure as the writer for the series. In addition, the incomparable Phil Noto has picked up the art duties for Star Wars. Noto’s work creates a likeness for each of the main characters without approaching the uncanny valley and photorealism. In other words, the comic book characters are recognizable, but they also look like comic book characters. This is a good thing. Plus, he gives Han and Leia really great disguises.
The chief criticism of Star Wars #68 is that it seems a bit predictable. Of course nothing went according to plan. That is how Star Wars works. However, the next issue of Star Wars has plenty of room to evolve stories from the misadventures of the heroes in Star Wars #68. Perhaps the more disturbing criticism of this issue is that anyone from the Rebellion signed off on a mission to destroy a planet. Creating gray areas for the heroes and villains might be in vogue, but this is an area that the Rebellion should have as off limits.
Regardless, Pak did a great job setting up the witty banter between their heroes and their relationships. Luke, Han, Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids are a tight group now. They have been on countless adventures together. They are acting like a team now, and they think that way. It shows. Han and Leia’s developing relationship is about to be tested in a major way. Despite the criticism, this is a fun story with great potential.
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.