DrunkWooky Comic Review: Star Wars (2020) #9 (Soule, Bazaldua)

Welcome back to another DrunkWooky comic review everybody! Today, I’m checking back in with my old flame, Star Wars! The second volume of Marvel’s new age of Star Wars comics is entering into it’s third story arc, Operation Starlight in Star Wars #9!

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Spoilers abound ahead, dear reader, so beware! As of this writing, copies of Star Wars #9 were still available at TFAW and you can of course read it digitally. Check out the solicit below and then read on for my review!

Regular Cover
Daniel variant
Christopher Variant
Sprouse Variant

UNDERTAKE A DESPERATE MISSION TO THE IMPERIAL CORE. In the Imperial Museum on CORUSCANT, an ancient droid holds the key to salvation of the REBEL ALLIANCE. The Rebels’ elite operations team, the PATHFINDERS, must pull off a daring heist right under the nose of the EMPEROR himself, with LANDO and LOBOT along for the ride! Rated T

The Empire has decoded the Rebellion’s communications encryption. Now the Empire can track the Rebellion with every communication the fleet sends between its divisions. So, what is to be done!!?

Soule does a masterful job articulating the problem and why certain solutions won’t work within the opening pages. Information is communicated quickly, effectively, but it’s not boring or a chore to read. Fairly soon we end up learning about Threepio’s plan to track down the one source of a dead language that even he doesn’t know. From that language the Rebels hope to devise a new code.

The theme of Star Wars stories reaching back into the distant galactic past is something that resonates with me for some reason. With Doctor Aphra out their digging up artifacts, the High Republic set hundreds of years before the Prequels, and all manner of creepy Sith and Jedi holocrons littering the galaxy, I think it’s going to be hard to bore me with new lost civilizations in the Star Wars galaxy. It happens that the droid in question is housed at the Imperial Museum on Coruscant, the strongest of imperial strongholds and a planet the Rebellion would rather avoid. To me, this heist mission is a great change of pace from the “fly somewhere, shoot something” rut that Star Wars story lines sometimes fall into. The one thing that had me a bit incredulous was the fact that the Millennium Falcon was the “stealth smuggling craft” chosen to fly into Coruscant. If the Empire didn’t have that YT-1300 freighter on its watch list by now, what business do they have ruling a galaxy? The fact that Lando brought Lobot in tow to do some hacking was a welcome element, though.

While not as complicated as an Ocean’s heist, there are still multiple variables going on at the same time as our heroes attempt to infiltrate the Imperial Museum. Needles, a Rebel operative, acts outraged to set up a high profile distraction while Mama and Papa Dameron infiltrate the curator’s personal collection to pick up the droid housing the ancient language. In the end the whole heist is wrapped up in one issue as the Imperial Museum proves to be a pretty soft target. A pretty straight forward story with predictable, if enjoyable twists and turns. The last twist, however, is one I did not expect and honestly, without it, I would have been a little disappointed with this issue. You see, Star Wars is usually pretty hopeful. Rebels pull out wins against incalculable odds all the time. In this period after Empire Strikes Back, the Rebellion is wounded, however. I feel that with the final reveal of what is actually in the ancient droid’s head Soule captures that waning hope and rising despair perfectly.

The art is effective if a bit simplistic at certain times. backgrounds are often basic impressions of the geometry of what should be there and characters become more and more abstract the further away from the foreground they get. In particular, Ackbar ends up looking really odd. The foreground characters that are done well are done REALLY well, though. The circuitry of Lobots head implants or the sheen of threepio’s face are done really well at close up.

Without the final pang of loss that this issue ends on, it would have felt monotone and a little boring, but the fact that the stakes and the losses are now so real has me headed back to the well for issue #10.

Star Wars #9 is on sale now!

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