Nothing goes according to plan for the Rebels, and now all their missions converge in Star Wars #74. Plus, Darth Vader complicates it all.
Warning: This review contains plot points for Star Wars #74.
Star Wars #74
Writer: Greg Pak | Artist: Phil Noto | Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles | Cover Artist: Phil Noto | Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman | Editor: Mark Paniccia
For seven issues now, the Rebels have pursued three separate missions in the hopes of distracting the Empire from the location of the Rebel fleet. Naturally, being Star Wars, nothing has gone according to plan. Now in Star Wars #74, Luke’s mission on Sergia, Han and Leia’s mission to neutralize Boss Carpo, and Chewbacca and Threepio’s mission to destroy an Imperial fleet on K43 all begin to intersect. All three missions seemed straight forward at the beginning. Then all three missions ran into unexpected difficulties. Now, all three missions must overcome Darth Vader if the Rebellion is to find any victory in the last hurrah before this volume of Star Wars concludes.
The previous six issues of the “Rebels and Rogues” story arc largely segregated each mission into its own story. Furthermore, the stories generally didn’t overlap in any of the issues. It was useful and served each story well. That structure changes in Star Wars #74 as all the missions begin to converge. This begins with Han Solo contacting Threepio on K43 as he, Leia, and Dar Champion begin their mission to defeat the Imperial Star Destroyer that potentially threatens Lanz Carpo. During the conversation, Luke interrupts. Greg Pak expertly blends all three missions into one quest here. Once Han hears that Darth Vader is on K43, he concludes that one problem might be the solution to another.
Growth of a Jedi
One of the issues with “Rebels and Rogues” has been Luke’s regression. Over seventy plus issues of Star Wars, Luke has had opportunity to learn a little about the Force and lightsaber fighting from various mentors. He even acquired Obi-Wan Kenobi’s journal from the old hermit’s home on Tatooine. These lessons in the Jedi arts were supplemented by practical experience. Despite this, Luke easily fell prey to Warba’s influence. Luke was so desperate for a new teacher that could guide him in the ways of the Force that he became an easy mark for the scoundrel on Sergia. Finally, in Star Wars #74, Luke finally starts to exhibit the growth one expects from this series.
Warba confesses she isn’t a teacher. She is a con artist. All she did was repeat back to Luke the ramblings she heard from the prophets and guardians on Jedha. Luke is clearly disappointed, but he rises above this. He exhibits the characteristics that will eventually shape him as the Jedi he is to become. Warba tells him he will die if he rushes off to face Darth Vader. So, Yoda and Obi-Wan weren’t the only ones to caution Luke about facing Darth Vader. By the time Luke gets to The Empire Strikes Back, he has heard this before and lived to tell the tale.
K43 in Peril
Not all solutions come easy. Han, unbothered by the fact that Threepio and Chewbacca’s mission was to destroy a planet, thought he had a solution to his problem in K43. He would lead their pursuing Star Destroyer that threatened Lanz Carpo to K43 and allow it to get destroyed with the Imperial fleet there. Of course, this solution is immediately rejected when Threepio informs him that K43 is inhabited. Notably, Han Solo instantly realizes, in his own swaggerly way, that blowing up the planet won’t work. This is remarkable because both Threepio and Chewbacca took longer to convince themselves of this, and of the three, Solo has the most flexible conscience.
The Rebel’s bombs continue to loom over the Kakra and the fate of K43 in Star Wars #74. With less than two minutes to spare until the bombs detonate, Darth Vader is attacking the Kakra. The Kakra plan to bury him under rock, but Threepio interrupts to inform them about the bombs. This doesn’t concern the Kakra. Star Wars #74 reveals that the Kakra fought flesh beings a long time ago, and in that fight, they learned how to disable machines created by flesh beings with pulses of electricity. They plan to do that again to disable the bombs.
The Kakra are quite noble here. They inform Threepio that although they can disable the bombs, the pulse will disable him as well. The Kakra seem to almost request their permission to go through with their plan even though it was Threepio and Chewbacca that created this predicament in the first place. Their plan will achieve the most good for the most people, and yet, they await Threepio’s blessing. Threepio gives it.
When the Kakra are done, the bombs are deactivated, Threepio, Luke’s X-Wing and lightsaber, and Artoo have been disabled by the blast as well. Also, Darth Vader was caught in the electric discharge. However, he did not deactivate and his lightsaber wasn’t disabled.
Concluding Thoughts on Star Wars #74
In Star Wars #72, Darth Vader realized that the Rebels had set a trap on K43. He also knew in Star Wars #73 that the trap could be reversed to catch Luke as well. He has an advantage. Luke has no apparent escape. His X-Wing is disabled. Also, Luke’s ability to defend himself is compromised by the Kakra’s electric discharge disabling his lightsaber. Vader still has his. Luke, though, still has Chewbacca and the imminent arrival of Han, Leia, and Dar Champion. It was impressive to see the noble wookiee charge Darth Vader as the issue concluded. The reader knows they will get out of this. Star Wars #74 occurs before The Empire Strikes Back after all.
Star Wars #74 is exactly what the “Rebels and Rogues” story arc needed. Although the prior issues tell an interesting story, the story became stagnant. For instance, the morality of destroying K43 was debated one too many times. It shouldn’t have taken that much time. This issue finally sets the heroes on the path to the climax of the story arc and the series. Star Wars #74 is the penultimate issue of Star Wars. The pieces are in place now. Star Wars #75 has some huge steps to take.
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.