The first arc of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman's work on Star Wars: Legacy Volume 2 wraps up and the Sith impostor is blocking the escape for Ania Solo and her friends.
Still doing a little bit of catch-up from July - It's Issue #5, the final issue of the 'Prisoner of the Floating World' arc that kicked off the new Star Wars: Legacy series (DarkHorse.com profile). At the end of #4, Ania decided that shooting first was the proper course of action, but now, it seems like it was a bad, bad idea - the Sith warrior was too much for them to take on, and we'll see who comes out of it alive. Hopefully you caught my interview with the creative team, writer Corinna Bechko and writer/artist Gabriel Hardman back at Comic-Con in July. Issue #5 also a four-page preview of The Star Wars, coming out in September. Spoilers ahead!
Summary: The Sith warrior has escaped, leaving Imperial Knight Jao Assam floating for dead in space, AG-37 and Sauk wounded, and only Ania Solo able to still fight. The crippled droid appeals to Ania's fabled lineage to inspire her to pursue and keep the fight going, while Governor Biala realizes that her communications array is on a collision course with the mysterious planet below. The Sith warrior, calling himself Darth Wredd, has hijacked the array to broadcast to the Federation that the Sith are back, and able to terrorize the weak government, by going to kill the captive Imperial Knight, Master Val on the air. Having piloted a fighter to Wredd's base, Solo intervenes, pistol blazing, but is knocked down by a wave of debris Force-thrown at her. As Wredd closes in on Val for the decapitation, Val notices Solo's true cargo: she has smuggled his missing lightsaber in her boot. Retrieving it with the Force, Val frees himself and begins to duel the Sith lord. Seeing on a monitor that the array will be crashing into the planet, Solo flies back to the array to rescue Sauk, as the Shifalans evacuate the station. Dragging Sauk and the assassin droid back to AG's ship, and they take off to pick up Master Val as he's been left by the escaping Sith lord. AG discovers that the missing communications droid has found Assam adrift in space and is keeping the Knight alive with a breath mask. After revealing that she had failed because her friends were all wounded, Sauk lets her know that she saved all of them. Meanwhile on Coruscant, the Empress is informed about the woman seen connected in the destruction of the Carrerras array, and wants to know who Ania Solo is.
Review: A good ending for the first story in the new Legacy series. I really like the characters of this series, and how they relate to each other. In this issue, Ania Solo has been inspired by her friends, and is pushed to save the day, not just with her blaster, but with her wits and willingness to sacrifice herself to get close enough to Val for him to find his lightsaber. And she doesn't stop until she's rescued her pals despite their protestations that she should save herself. Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman has created a great story that wraps up quite well - the villain escapes, the heroes regroup and recover from their wounds, and a backworld junk dealer is now in the attention of the powers that be. And we gain a few hints about AG-37, as he waxes philosophical about why the comm droid sought out and saved Jao Assam in space.
The art in this issue keeps right with the flow of the story, with colors (by Rachelle Rosenberg) used thematically for the different locations - the oranges for the burning hangar, blues for the array control, greens for the planet, and blinding white-red for the Sith presence, and bright colors for Coruscant. While there is a bit of combat, between Val and Wredd, the main action is Ania in motion - racing to save Val, then racing back to save her friends. I enjoyed the panel of her landing the borrowed fighter back in the station's hangar, with the sound of effect of making a skidding landing. Dave Wilkins' cover is also a shot of the same fighter, fleeing the destruction of the station, and captures the feel of the issue without depicting something that actually happens.
Overall, a solid ending to a great first arc. I look forward to more stories of this caliber from Bechko and Hardman - they have built a team of characters that works.