Story by Greg Pak
Art by Chris Spouse; Scott Koblish, Stefano Landini
Inks by Karl Story; Marc Deering
Colors by Tamra Bonvillain
Lettering by Travis Lanham
Cover Art by Terry and Rachel Dodson
Editor: Mark Paniccia
Assistant Editor: Tom Groneman
There is something about Luke Skywalker that still inspires awe in my inner child, especially Luke in the Age of Rebellion. If you are like me, heck even if you aren’t, the second page of this issue – which takes a full page to show us Luke in full Return of the Jedi regalia, black outfit, green lightsaber aglow, severing the heads off Imperial Security Droids – will make your heart sing! Likewise the gracious tone of the character on the last page will remind you of why this character will stand as a hero for generations.
Cool-looking scenes aside this book is driven by a really sophisticated example of story-telling by Greg Pak. It opens in the Outer Rim with Luke arriving to assist fellow Rebels commandeering an Imperial Support vessel. This situation is then used by Pak as a launch pad for a rumination on the sheer power that Luke has learned to utilize and how this influences and impacts on both Luke and those with whom he interacts. While the Rebel troops are lifted and inspired by Luke’s arrival, the sheer power that Luke wields also makes the Major of the Rebel unit wary. The Major recalls the only other time that he has seen someone wield that power with a lightsaber – Darth Vader. This reminds the reader of Luke’s own later concerns about Rey in The Last Jedi when he refers to raw power not scaring him enough in the past.
Meanwhile we see Vader’s awareness of Luke’s growing strength and more importantly, in the context of this issue, Palpatine’s awareness. The issue then focuses on Palpatine’s attempt to influence and sway Luke from afar using the Force, placing him in the pathway of temptation, nudging him towards certain actions and emotions. We see Luke pushed towards a dream sequence where he flies away from the Rebel cause to live a life on an agrarian planet away from the war. That particular sequence is beautiful with an almost Old Testament feel to it, with hints of the Moses story after his first escape from Egypt. Time and time again though Luke foils the Emperor by shrugging off his influence and acting in a selfless fashion, signalling and foreshadowing the throne room events at the end of the Return of the Jedi.
The artwork in the book compliments the story well and the art team duties being spread across such a large artistic team is handled in a clever fashion. The switching of the narrative action across many small sequences means that even where the change of art style is noticeable it doesn’t jar. All in all though this is a tale that underscores the heroism and goodness of Luke Skywalker in both the storytelling and the art. Both are used to depict an icon, and a role model of self-effacing courage. Someone with an ability to harness his great responsibility to his great power. Not bad for a single issue of a comic book, and a great return for the cover price.