Star Wars: Vol. 2 – Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon

Writer – Jason Aaron

Artist – Stuart Immonen

Inker – Wade Von Grawbadger

Colourist – Justin Ponsor

Whilst this volume covers Issues 7 – 12 I will be focusing on Issues 8 – 12 and will cover Issue 7 at a later date.

‘Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon’ follows directly after the end of the ‘Skywalker Strikes’ storyline with Han and Leia being held at blaster-point by Sana Solo and Luke is on his way back from Tatooine with Obi-Wan’s journal.

Luke goes to Nar Shadaa to find a lowlife willing to take him to Coruscant so he can find the Jedi Temple. What he does find is a bar-room brawl, a lightsaber thief and a seriously buff Hutt, called Grakkus, who collects Jedi artefacts. Luke is forced to use the Force to open a whole bunch of Holocrons before being trained by the ‘Gamesmaster’ on how to wield a lightsaber as Luke is due to being forced to fight a giant monster in Grakkus’ arena.

Meanwhile Han, Leia and Sana are attacked by TIE Fighters and they use Sana’a ship to escape, they find out Luke is in trouble and Leia convinces Sana to hell whilst Chewie and C-3PO also go to help Luke but encounter the Bounty Hunter Dengar.

All of the heroes come verge on the arena, the Gamesmaster turns out to be an Imperial spy, the Enpire arrives to take Luke. Han, Leia and Chewie arrive and use lightsabers. Luke is rescued, Grakkus is inprosoned and Vader gets more info on his son. And it turns out Han and Sana’a marriage was fake for a job they pulled a few years before.

This is a seriously solid story arc. The only problem I have with is is that Luke is forced to fight a final monster that makes the Rancor in ‘Return of the Jedi’ look like a tiny angry dog.

The interplay between Han, Leia and Sana is fun. Leia is more than willing to ditch Han onto Sana but after Han announces he is a Rebel and on the Empire’s ‘most wanted’ list I get the feeling that it’s a bit too much for Sana to deal with and let’s Han go at the end.

I like that the Empire aren’t the main villains in this arc, they do have a presence but Grakkus is a great villain that really gives us another look at the Hutt species. Rather than the large and obviously lazy Jabba, Grakkus is muscular and mobile thanks to a walking platform that inevitably becomes his demise but still, it’s a great addition to the knowledge of Hutt culture.

The setting, Nar Shadaa has been seen in various mediums throughout the ‘Legends’ time line but gets its ‘canon’ reintroduction here and it’s just as scummy and sleazy as ever. If Mos Eisley is a “wretched hive of scum and villainy” then I have no words to describe this place.

We get more about Sana Starros in this arc, she’s a fellow smuggler who ran a few jobs with Han (check out ‘Last Shot’ by Daniel Jose Older for one of them) and of course, Han owes her money and now she’s trying to collect but she will inevitably become an ally to the Rebels in the future.

Whilst still leaning on throwbacks to the Original Trilogy, this story arc really revels in the freedom to tell new stories within the OT timeline, with a three year timeframe to play with between ‘A New Hope’ and ‘Empire Strikes Back’ we can get some great new characters, both heroes and villains and not step on the toes of the films. A solid story and great art makes this a must read comic arc.

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