Brian Wood wraps up his third arc quickly, but it’s been an amazing ride. From the Rebels arriving on planet Arrochar to Leia’s surprising arranged marriage in exchange for the planet’s use as a staging ground, to the betrayal of last issue it’s been a thrilling ride. Wood writes the characters as well as always, Mon Mothma in particular steals the issue for me. She’s a master strategist who knows a thing or two about getting her hands dirty and, even when the situation turns awful, she never loses her head. Darth Vader as well, though he’s barely in the story, comes off as remarkably well developed and we even get the first hints of his faltering loyalty to the Emperor in these pages.
Stéphane Créty's pencils have incredible detail on closeups and his characters are distinct and focused. The panel control from one page (and panel) to the next is also to be commended, the action, of which there is a TON of in this issue, is always easy to follow and flows naturally from one moment to the next. Julien Hugonnard-Bert’s inks sharpen and bring focus and impact to the visuals, calcifying ever panel and giving an incredible sense of impact and force (no pun intended) while series mainstay Gabe Eltaeb’s does his usual amazing job on colors. From the lush greenry to the massive explosions, everything is brought to crisp, clear life by the book’s visual aesthetic.
While the visuals have a great deal of life and clarity, they also don’t always look top-notch in far shots. There are panels where characters have no pupils, making their focus difficult to ascertain and they often lack finer details giving a flat, lifeless impression. And while the art has a lot of physical weight, its emotional impact often gets minimized. The entire Imperial fleet is bombarding this planet, but we see very little of the human toll that it’s taking.
The pace of this issue is uneven, making it feel like it had to end RIGHT NOW regardless of where the plot was or where it needed to go. Characters converge out of nowhere, plots are revealed hastily and countered even MORE hastily and a lot of moments that feel like they should have weight and impact get hurried and almost forgotten as quickly. There’s one character in particular whose motivations seem completely bizarre, especially considering what he reveals near his end.
While this may not have been my favorite issue of the series, it was a good end to a great arc that still leaves me looking forward to whatever Wood and company want to bring next. While it isn’t free of fault, if you’ve been following the story, you owe it to yourself to see how this one ends. The big moments are well worth the price and the flaws still don’t outweigh the issue's many strengths.