Sometimes you just can’t get enough Star Wars. Last week saw the semi-official announcement that Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford will definitely be returning for Star Wars Episode VII. What better way to follow that than with the release of Dark Horse’s Star Wars #3?!
Issue #3 of the ongoing series begins by catching up with Darth Vader, who was noticeably absent from issue #2. Having fallen out of the Emperor’s good graces after his failure at Yavin, the Dark Lord has been reassigned to a “remote construction site” at the ass-end of the galaxy. Fans may recognize this site as ENDOR, where the construction of the SECOND DEATH STAR is taking place! While we know it to be a pretty significant place to be, Vader sees himself as nothing but an over-qualified foreman at this point. However, what’s really gnawing at Vader’s ego is the fact that he, the Emperor’s right hand, has been so easily cast aside and his duties given to just another officer. As writer Brian Wood so wonderfully put it, “The existence of his replacement, the upstart Colonel Bircher, mocks him from light years away.“ Brilliant. There will undoubtedly be a confrontation between Vader and Bircher at some point, and it has the potential to be amazing.
More interpersonal drama is brewing among the top pilots of the Rebel Alliance. As Princess Leia’s crack team of black ops scouts continues to train for their mission of locating a suitable base, Luke Skywalker and Flight Officer Prithi seem to be developing more than a professional relationship. Believing this to be a distraction from the matter at hand, Leia takes Luke off active duty. The move reflects the goings on in the Imperial fleet, putting Luke and Vader in similar positions with their higher ups. Like father like son. Oh…uh…spoilers?
A rift begins to form between Luke and Leia that, at first, is between a commanding officer and her subordinate, but after a few choice words from Luke, it goes beyond the professional level. The Princess takes her frustrations out on the simulator, running scenarios with Wedge, but at the same time, reflecting on the condescension she received from Luke. Just as with Vader and both the Emperor and Colonel Bircher, tension is building to a critical point.
But the real fun begins far from both the Rebel and Imperial fleets. In the heart of the Empire, Han and Chewbacca find themselves sitting pretty in a Coruscant apartment, awaiting dealings with Mon Mothma’s contact. Brian Wood injects a touch of humor as comments on the complimentary bottle of wine they received, stating that if he sold the Millennium Falcon, he might have enough to buy a case of the rare spirit. Once their contact arrives, and promptly begins to change the details of their arrangement, Han Solo does what he does best: he shoots first. The ensuing firefight with Imperial troops leaves the pair pinned down in bathroom, hoping they can make it out alive.
To close out Star Wars #3, we find Colonel Bircher giving a William Wallace-esque speech to his best and brightest TIE Interceptor pilots as he prepares to personally lead them on a campaign that will deal a devastating, crippling, and ultimately fatal blow to the Rebellion. Clad in his own scarlet flight suit, we see that Bircher is the hands-on type, prepared to get his own hands dirty and not stand on the bridge of a Star Destroyer while the minions do all the work. He is a dangerous man, indeed.
Brian Wood continues to make this series one that keep you coming back each month. He has instilled doubt and unease in the unflappable Leia Organa, put our favorite smuggler pair in dramatic jeopardy, and made one of the most iconic and fearsome villains of the last century a whipped puppy, biding his time to reclaim his rightful place at the right hand of his master. The original Star Wars is still the best Star Wars.
Star Wars #3, written by Brian Wood and drawn by Carlos D’Anda, is out tomorrow.