Ever since leaving the Lars Homestead on Tatooine due to the tragic deaths of his beloved Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen, Luke Skywalker has had quite the hero’s journey. He would meet the wise Jedi Master Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi who would introduce him to the ways of the Jedi. Skywalker would also meet the smuggler Han Solo and his wookie partner Chewbacca which would baptise Luke on the perils of adventuring. He would then go from farmboy to Rebel Alliance hero almost in one night when he rescued Princess Leia and destroyed the Death Star. After having several adventures with Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2, he eventually would further connect with his Jedi heritage when traveling down to the swamp planet of Dagobah.
Skywalker’s biggest trial would come when he went face to face with Darth Vader on Cloud City in the cloudy skies of Bespin. Vader would reveal himself to be Luke’s father much to the aspiring Jedi’s horror and disbelief. In addition, Luke would also lose his hand and his lightsaber that once belonged to Vader when he was still Anakin Skywalker.
However, the latest “Star Wars” comics have shown Luke slowly maturing after his ordeal on Cloud City. He has begun to take his training seriously and has also realized that he should not dwell on his failures but to learn from them. In the process, he had to let go of finding his first blue-bladed lightsaber and in the process, he found a new yellow-bladed lightsaber.
Now as Leia, Chewie, Threepio, and Lando Calrissian are on Jekara taking part in the mission to rescue Han, Luke joins Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the Rebel Alliance 11th Fleet Division. But along the way, Skywalker has encountered something familiar and yet unfamiliar at the same time.
Warning Spoilers Ahead
Issue no.15 begins with Luke Skywalker volunteering to join Wedge Antilles and Starlight Squadron to rescue the 11th division. Although the Rebels have been successful in creating a new code thanks to the talky droid and having a few victories, not everyone is feeling hyped. A-Wing pilot L’ulo Lampar voices the condition of the scattered Rebel Fleet and the missing Shara Bey (Future mother of Poe Dameron). Luke tries to give his comrades hope by telling people that he, Leia, and the other heroes are planning on rescuing Han Solo from Crimson Dawn on Jekara. Wedge acknowledges this but tells the pilots that saving another fleet division would be more important. With that, Luke and Starlight Squadron blast off into hyperspace to find their fellow Rebels.
When the Rebels jump out of hyperspace, they head to the orbit of Ab Dalis which should be familiar with fans or people who have read Charles Soule’s novel “Star Wars-The High Republic: Light of the Jedi.” Freyta Smyth, one of the Starlight Squadron pilots, makes a reference of the fragments from the doomed Legacy Run space freighter which is a part of the planet killing billions of inhabitants. Since the incident, which was about centuries before the Battle of Yavin, the planet had been abandoned.
I feel that it was awesome that Soule’s writing bridges the High Republic era with the Skywalker Saga. From Luke’s new yellow-bladed lightsaber to the name of Starlight Squadron being named after Starlight Beacon (a space station created by the Jedi and the High Republic to unite the galaxy), it shows that the High Republic era was such a huge influence to the galaxy,
Starlight Squadron picks up a transmission from the planet which is confirmed to be from the 11th Rebel Alliance Fleet Division. The 11th division is getting pinned down and overrun by Imperial forces which consists of a Star Destroyer Ultima II, tanks, AT-AT’s and an army of stormtroopers. The beleaguered Rebels and their Colonel, Chouch, receive news that among the six Rebel starfighters coming to rescue them are Luke Skywalker and Wedge Antilles. However, the Imperials aboard Star Destroyer Ultima II are overconfident that they can crush the Rebels. The commander plans on reporting his success to the ruthless Commander Zhara and orders TIE Fighters to intercept Starlight Squadron.
While Luke, Wedge, and Starlight Squadron fight the TIEs, one of the Rebel soldiers comes up with a crazy but brilliant idea. The soldier tells Colonel Chouch that when she was a part of the geological survey team, she was examining the stability of the planet. Her plan is to have one of the pilots fire their weapons at a small target on the surface just above the Ultima II which will create a chain reaction.
While the Imperial commander on board Ultima IIis confident that he will be victorious, the pilots of Starlight Squadron are contemplating on whether they should go through the coordinates given to them by the rebel ground forces. Freta discovers that since the target is so small, this task looks like a job for Skywalker, who destroyed the Death Star which also had a small target in the form of the thermal exhaust port. Now, we see the inspiration behind the soldier’s plan and who better than Luke Skywalker to take the shot?
As Luke goes in for the shot, he feels that he is in familiar territory. He’s back in the Battle of Yavin with his sights set on the thermal exhaust port with proton torpedoes ready to fire. However, as Luke is cornered by Vader, he sees Han coming to his rescue with the Millennium Falcon. But to his horror, he also sees the Corellian YT-1300 freighter getting destroyed by Darth Vader’s TIE Advanced. As Luke questions the memory, he is in an unfamiliar situation. This is clearly not how things went during the Battle of Yavin.
Luke sees Vader aboard his TIE advanced telling him that he will fail to save Solo and that he belongs to him. Then Luke sees Vader blast the Falcon with his ship. This is when Luke realizes that this is a Force vision. Horrified by this nightmare, Luke freezes up but Wedge snaps him out of it and Luke fires his torpedoes but misses! However, as Luke plans on making another run, Wedge and the other pilots fire their torpedoes onto the targeted area which causes a chain reaction. Suddenly, the surface erupts in an volcanic explosion which destroys the Star Destroyer Ultima II.
I feel that Soule adding a very familiar scene was the best part of this comic. This scene takes you back to that moment when Luke hops aboard Red Five for the first time and takes the fight to the Empire. The moment that made Luke Skywalker a hero and a legend. However, in this scene, Luke gets a little cocky as he thinks that the task as of him will be a piece of cake. However, the Force vision of the Millennium Falcon getting destroyed causes Luke to freeze up and miss the shot. This shows that Luke still has a lot to learn as a Jedi since he still has an arrogant streak about him which he inherited from Anakin.
The Rebels are victorious but Luke is a little bummed that he missed the target. Wedge assures his Force sensitive comrade that everyone misses and that he should not beat himself up for it. Wedge thanks Luke for assisting Starlight and wishes him luck with the mission to Jekara. The Rebels are elated to more good news when they receive a transmission from Rebel Alliance leader Mon Mothma who is accompanied by Mon Calamari Admiral Ackbar.
Meanwhile, as Luke heads to Jekara, he tries to contact Leia who, along with Lando and Chewie, is cornered by Boba Fett. Leia cuts off the transmission as Luke tries to tell her that he had experienced a Force vision warning him that Darth Vader is coming after Han (and if you have read “War of the Bounty Hunters no.2,” “Doctor Aphra no. 12,” “Darth Vader no. 14,” along with the end of this issue, you would know Luke’s vision comes true.)
The art done by Ramon Rosanas and the coloring by Rachelle Rosenberg made this issue vibrant as Soules’ writing. One of my favorite panels is of Luke reliving the memory of flying his X-Wing Fighter into that Death Star trench only to see an alternate version where Han gets shot down by Vader. My favorite splash is of the volcanic explosion on the Star Destroyer. It symbolizes the Rebels’ tenacity to never give up despite insurmountable odds.
Now that just about everyone and their mother has come to Jekara to bid for Han Solo, how will Luke react when he learns that his vision has come true. How will the young Jedi react when he discovers Boba Fett has Princess Leia and his friends cornered? And how will Luke react when he learns about Qi’ra’s history with Han? “War of the Bounty Hunters no. 3” is, without a doubt, going to be another explosive issue but the next issue seems to be teasing a rematch against father and son before their fateful encounter on Death Star II!
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Colorist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Synopsis: “Friends and Enemies” Luke Skywalker embarks upon an epic mission with Wedge Antilles and the brave pilots of Starlight Squadron to rescue a lost division of the Rebel Fleet. Leia Organa, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian attempt to save Han Solo from the evil clutches of Boba Fett. But what hidden vision will the Force send to Luke about the troubles to come?