The Rebels each encounter unexpected difficulties and surprises in their missions to distract the Empire in Star Wars #69.
Warning: This review contains plot points for Star Wars #69.
Star Wars #69
Writer: Greg Pak | Artist: Phil Noto | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
When General Rieekan assigned Han, Leia, Luke, Chewbacca, Threepio and Artoo to various missions to distract and disable elements of the Empire in Star Wars #68, he gave them straight forward missions. This is Star Wars after all, so naturally, things didn’t go precisely as planned. Han and Leia soon discovered a local crime-fighting Advocate on Lanz Carpo was Leia’s ex-boyfriend. Luke found that Imperials around Sergia weren’t taking the bait when he attempted to distract them. Finally, Chewbacca and Threepio’s mission to destroy an Imperial fleet on the uninhabited world K43 hit a snag when it proved to be inhabited by a rock-based, sentient lifeform. In Star Wars #69, each mission changes as the heroes adapt to new circumstances.
Do You Trust Him?
Leia and Han are left asking whether they trust Leia’s ex-boyfriend, Dar Champion, in Star Wars #69. After all, he arrived from out of nowhere to rescue Leia and Han when a local gang had them pinned down. The question is very similar to the question Leia asked Han about Lando in The Empire Strikes Back when he proposed seeking help from Lando on Cloud City. “Do you trust him?” “No, but he is my friend.”
In Leia’s case, Dar is an old flame and the son of a disgraced senatorial office convicted for embezzlement and abuse of office. Furthermore, she bears some guilt because she never formally broke up with him. Ultimately, they decide they can’t trust Dar, but they accept his offer of the use of the honeymoon suite at the Carpo Regent, a local hotel. It is an interesting choice. On the one hand, it gets them closer to the cartel that they are trying to frame for treason to the Empire. On the other hand, they just decided they didn’t trust Dar Champion. Yet, they accepted the use of a potentially bugged and watched room from him. Granted, refusal might have raised suspicion.
As an aside, Leia has a great retort for Han when he asks if Dar’s last name really is “Champion.” She snaps back, “Is your last name really Solo?”
A Mysterious Presence
While Han and Leia adjust to the new circumstances on Lanz Carpo, Luke shifts his plans on Sergia. Star Wars #69 finds Luke trying to destroy the Imperial probe droids on the planet before they can discover the Rebels there and report. To complicate matters, Admiral Ozzel dispatched troopers to the planet as well. The Rebels on the planet aren’t making things easy for Luke either as they are barely managed to conceal their presence from the Empire. This prompts Luke to send Artoo to them with a message that they keep their heads down.
Just as in Han and Leia’s case, this part of the story also has an amusing tie-in to The Empire Strikes Back. Ozzel pressures his underlings to get him results from the probe droids. One subordinate officer pesters him with reports of mynocks and plain hundas. As in The Empire Strikes Back, Ozzel admonishes the Captain reporting to him not to mess it up as they are looking for a Rebel base, and they have a credible lead. The very next panel features Luke standing over the smoldering ruins of a droid he just destroyed with his lightsaber. It appears that Ozzel never learned his lesson to follow up on the fate of his droids. It nearly cost him at Hoth when then Captain Piett brought the generator to his attention.
Once the probe droid is dealt with, Luke finds a nearby town and decides to investigate. This is where Star Wars #69’s biggest surprise comes in. At the local cantina, a game of sabacc turns nasty and Luke intercedes as a large, blue alien gets confrontational with a woman named Warba. As the two make their escape, Warba stuns Luke with the revelation that she can tell Luke is seeking the Force because she has it. Over the course of Star Wars, Luke has met many people that have tutored him in various aspects of saber dueling, but he hasn’t encountered many that were knowledgeable about the Force. Therefore, Warba opens a new opportunity for him.
The final part of Star Wars #69 focuses on Threepio and Chewbacca. The pair face a dilemma. They are on a planet the Rebellion intended to blow up as part of a trap for an Imperial fleet. However, reports of “no life” were incorrect. Furthermore, the rock-based lifeforms on the planet speak no language that Threepio is fluent in. So, he and Chewbacca can’t solicit their assistance in removing the bombs they just planted. Things get worse when Threepio botches an attempt at communication and the rock beings become hostile. The segment ends with the arrival of an Imperial Star Destroyer.
Pak flexes his writing muscles in this segment. Once Threepio and Chewbacca make their escape on the Millennium Falcon, they ponder their next course of action. While their mission was to destroy the planet, that was before the existence of any lifeforms was known. Threepio provides both sides of the argument by restating Chewbacca’s points as he rebuts them. Yes, these beings are made of rock, but their inorganic composition doesn’t prohibit them from having feelings and emotions and being alive. Threepio takes it one step further when he says, “Just as much as I am, I suppose.” Threepio believes himself to be alive and feels some sort of kinship with these inorganic aliens.
This isn’t a small statement for Star Wars. The various comics have made statements about the sentience of droids since Marvel began publishing them again in 2015. Even the movies have weighed in on this discussion. In Solo: A Star Wars Story, L3-37 vehemently felt that droids were beings with rights. Threepio is leaving no doubt where he stands on this issue now.
Final Thoughts on Star Wars #69
The decision to segregate the three stories occurring in Star Wars #69 into separate sections was a good idea. It is a common storytelling technique to bounce from one plot thread to the other over the course of a book or movie. While that is a very effective tool in a longer narrative, it can jumble the narrative in a shorter work, such as a single issue of a comic. Plus, the three stories are not taking place at the same time in the same place and at least for now, the outcome of one doesn’t impact the other. Perhaps that will change, but there is otherwise no need to blend them.
Of the three stories, Luke’s is perhaps the most interesting. Although he has plenty to learn, it is evident that he is learning. He didn’t rush headfirst into a confrontation with the Empire. His decisions were rational when advising the other Rebels. His only real slip was confronting the alien at the cantina, but even then, he kept his lightsaber out of sight and used his abilities for defense (of another) and not for attack. The farm boy from Tatooine has come a long way.
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.