After a lengthy wait due to delays related to COVID-19, the fifth issue in the current Star Wars comic line was released today!
This series, which explores the time in-between The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, is written by Charles Soule and drawn by Jesús Saiz, and the fifth issue focuses heavily on Luke Skywalker trying to figure out his destiny in the wake of his devastating defeat by Darth Vader.
We don’t get any resolution to the current story and in fact this issue leaves us with a significant cliffhanger, but there’s one pretty cool aspect in particular that I enjoyed. Let’s dive in, but keep in mind that *** full spoilers for Star Wars #5 are ahead!! ***
The issue begins with a person claiming to be Luke Skywalker at a bar in order to take on a shipping job… but Darth Vader shows up and kills him, saying that claiming the name of Luke Skywalker claims his crimes against the Empire, and that, “Skywalkers die.” Meanwhile, the real Luke Skywalker arrives with R2-D2 on the planet Serelia, in search of the mysterious Jedi woman who appeared to him in a vision. Luke and R2 land near a port where fishermen are active, and the woman they’re searching for takes off on a fishing boat across the sea. Luke and R2 take a boat and go after her, but their boat crashes and flings them into the water. R2 helps Luke to shore, where the young Jedi says, “Good old sand. I ever tell you how much I love sand.”
They enter a dark cave filled with booby traps, and Luke decides to go on alone, leaving R2 behind so that the droid can contact Leia and tell her what happened to Luke should he not make it out. Luke avoids a number of additional booby traps but then falls into one, trapping him in a hole that begins to fill with water. The mysterious woman then appears, saying she is no Jedi, but she presses a switch to stop the water, since she can sense that Luke is telling the truth about being a kid trying to find his way with the Force.
She identifies herself as Verla and says that the reason she ran was because she thought Luke was one of the hunters. He asks what she means by this, and he clearly doesn’t know about the hunters or the Purge, so Verla explains it to him. She tells him about Order 66, when the clones turned on the Jedi and killed them, and that the Order still stands. She tells him about the hunters, the Inquisitorius, who were tasked with hunting down Jedi. And she tells him about their boss, who is still out there, “the monster of monsters. Pure, true evil,” Darth Vader.
At the mention of Vader’s name, Verla senses a reaction in Luke and uses the Force to search his mind, discovering that he is the son of Darth Vader. She quickly and angrily presses the switch again, causing the hole to fill with water again, saying, “Good riddance.”
This issue really didn’t answer the questions that were raised in previous issues about Luke’s journey in the Force and this woman’s identity, but it did move the narrative along and set up the next issue as well (and as Luke avoided the booby traps, I got a real Indiana Jones feel, which was cool!).
But there were two things that I thought were worth mentioning further.
(1) First, there are people in the galaxy who are pretending to be Luke Skywalker for profit, but it didn’t profit that guy in this issue, as he was killed by Darth Vader. I hadn’t really thought about this much, but it makes a ton of sense: of course some of the criminals and smugglers of the galaxy would look to make a quick dollar by pretending to be this galactic hero! That’s very understandable. But so too is it understandable that this would make things a bit harder for Vader, since there would be more reported sightings of Skywalker. Vader tells his Imperial officers that they must be more certain next time they call him in.
(2) The second thing was even more significant, I think. In this issue, we see Luke learn about Order 66 and the Inquisitorius for the very first time! Star Wars fans are obviously familiar with all of that, since Order 66 was seen in Revenge of the Sith and The Clone Wars, and then the Inquisitorius in Rebels and Fallen Order. But Luke learns about it for the first time here, which feels quite important. Verla rightly points out to Luke that he has only heard about some of the positives of being a Jedi but hasn’t heard about the horrors that have happened to them. In the years following Return of the Jedi, Luke spent a lot of time traveling the galaxy and learning about the history of the Jedi, the Sith, and the Force, but this is all happening before that. And so of course Luke wouldn’t know much about what happened to the Jedi… until now. I’ll be very curious to see how he deals with this latest piece of information, as it feels like everything Luke thought he knew about the Jedi – both his father and the rest of the Jedi – is being shaken. It’s pretty cool to see Luke learning about this, since we’ve seen it happen, and it thus feels like a pretty significant moment.