Even though this issue features a completely different creative team, in many ways it reads like a direct follow-up to Mark Waid and Terry Dodson’s Princess Leia mini-series. It’s not just the fact that the script revolves around Leia and a new partner, but that it focuses on her efforts to move past the destruction of Alderaan and continue inspiring her fellow Rebels. It’s a proven formula, and one that still works even when this issue loses any sense of subtlety.
It’s actually Leia’s temporary partner, Pash “Bash” Davane, that gives this issue most of its unique flavor. Bash is a different breed of Star Wars protagonist. She’s a musclebound miner who would just as soon stay out of the Galactic Civil War and has little love for either the Rebels or Empire. Writer Kelly Thompson strikes at something I think is too rarely explored in Star Wars stories. For people whose lives are overturned by war, be it the fight against the Empire or the Clone Wars, neither side falls into a strictly good or evil category. Bash speaks to that nicely, in addition to being an amusing protagonist with her own Han Solo-worthy level of swagger.
The conflict comes as Bash is forced to reevaluate her neutral stance when she encounters a wounded Leia and has to choose between turning her in or helping her carry out her latest mission. Th script becomes a little heavy-handed as Leia makes her case for soldiering on against all adversity. The sentiment is nice, but Leia’s dialogue is just plain over-written here. Especially considering that she’s injured and under a great deal of physical strain. She doesn’t read enough like the no-nonsense Leia of the films.
The similarities to the Princess Leia mini-series are only strengthened by the fact that Emilio Laiso’s art style is so similar to Dodson’s in many respects. Laiso even renders Leia in the exact same costume she wore in that book. That style proves well-suited to this story, especially as the burly Bash calls for a chiseled, statuesque approach to character design. Laiso also captures the ever-important dingy, lived-in quality of the Original Trilogy. The bad news is that the storytelling struggles as the action heats up. The desperate underwater chase scene in this issue’s climax is disappointingly muddled and unclear, robbing an intense scene of some of its drama.
Marvel’s Star Wars comics have been great about adding compelling new characters to the mythos, and this issue is no exception. Bash is a fun and unique Star Wars protagonist, one who pairs nicely with the smaller but no less headstrong Princess Leia. Unfortunately, this issue loses steam when it should be at its strongest, with a climax that suffers from muddled storytelling and overly preachy dialogue.