With the Rebel Fleet getting stronger and the leadership reunited, survival is no longer the priority but Luke’s focus is drawn away towards his destiny and a need to train harder toward becoming a Jedi.
As Mon Mothma and Admiral Ackbar make strategies for locating the missing Rebels and (finally) setting up a rescue mission to save Shara Bey, Luke is distracted. He tells Leia that he has to go and commit more to Jedi Training. Saying that she will smooth things over with Mon Mothma Leia let’s Luke go.
Using a list of Jedi hot-spots that R2 has downloaded from Imperial records, Luke journeys to Iilum which is in the process of being converted into what becomes Starkiller Base.
After two more unsuccessful visits to Arashar which is under Imperial occupation and Lothal where the Temple is fully buried and sealed Luke visits Al’doleem, where Mount Pasvaal holds many Jedi secrets (first introduced in Soule’s ‘Darth Vader’ series where Vader kills Master Kira Infil’a). Despite the Imperial presence, Luke manages to get around but fails at his first attempt at a Jedi Mind Trick to learn what the Empire are up to on the planet.
He comes across a mechanic where R2 finds a wing panel from an old Jedi Interceptor. The proprietor of the business is a young man named Colli, whose parents Master Infil’a tasked with keeping his Jedi fighter safe during his time on the planet. Colli’s parents sent the boy and his sister away in the ship when the fight between Vadercand Infil’a destroyed a nearby damn, flooding the city.
Colli agrees to help Luke by taking him to the Imperial facility at the top of the mountain. Luke, about to storm in like a hero on an adventure decides to meditate, realising that the other way would certainly get him killed. Guided by the force, Luke uses a Jedi Mind Trick on the Stormtroopers at the main gate to bring him the most valuable item in the facility. They bring him a Holocron which Luke later opens to reveal teachings from none other than Master Yoda.
First off the bat, Soule, please don’t start going down the flashback route that the ‘Darth Vader’ run overused so much. I get that it was telling backstory to this issue but the three pages that felt lifted from your own ‘Darth Vader’ series was getting a bit much.
O.K. gripes over. Other than that I really enjoyed this issue. We really got to see some much needed character development from Luke as he really starts to transition into the Luke we saw in ‘Return of the Jedi’, and we get an explanation as to how he further developed his Jedi skills between the films without returning to Dagobah or bumping into Ahsoka which had become a popular fan theory.
Despite my earlier gripe, I really enjoyed how connected this issue was to other parts of the overall Star Wars canon, with Illum and Lothal being shown as Jedi hotspots and a few connections to the comics, and not only to Soule’s ‘Darth Vader’ run but also Jason Aaron’s run on ‘Star Wars’ where Luke remembers seeing and trying to use a Holocron before.
Having Yoda be the Jedi Master whose teachings are held in the Holocron makes sense, even though some readers may feel it makes the Galaxy seem smaller, for me it keeps Luke’s training consistent, and doesn’t end up confusing the Jedi-in-training with different or opposing views of the Force and the nature of Jedi. Of course I would have loved to see Qui-Gon Jinn offer some teachings or even Anakin Skywalker, as we know he did provide time lessons in other Holocron. Having Anakin show up in one and having Luke recognise something in Vader, even if it’s something small, could help direct his feelings towards that as well and give him further proof that Vader is telling the truth…
But that’s just me.
The biggest show of character development though comes in the moment that Luke goes from the headstrong heroic character, ready to charge into an Imperial facility with lightsaber in hand to the one who will stop and take time to strategise. His time meditating allows him to take stock of the situation and his own skills, granting him the knowledge to perform the Mind Trick to get what he needed.
Soule is giving us some truly amazing content in this series, and even though I (still) really want to see more stories about characters other than the main ones, when we are getting from the heroes is gold and definitely heading in the right direction towards where they are all at in ‘Return of the Jedi’.
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