By Jorge Solis
Shortly after the events of "New Hope," the Rebel Alliance is still continuing their war against the Empire in "Star Wars" #5. From the second Death Star, Darth Vader unleashes his wrath against the Alliance. How long can Princess Lei and her X-Wing squadron last under an intense dog-fight against the Imperial Fleet?
After losing to her many times, Colonel Bircher has had enough of Princess Leia and her rebels. It's time for Bircher to show Leia that she is not the only one with hotshot pilots. As Leia's X-Wing fighter flies deathly close to the warship, Wedge is under a lot of pressure to keep her alive and in one piece. Wedge doesn't care if he dies in battle, but it does matter if Leia survives the ordeal. If Leia is mortally wounded, the war against the Empire is lost forever. Elsewhere, Han Solo and Chewbacca are on the run from Boba Fett, the most-feared bounty hunter in the galaxy.
Writer Brian Wood doesn't stray far from the characterizations, but also adds his own fresh ideas. I definitely liked the team-up between Princess Lei and Wedge in the story. It makes me want to go back to the "Star Wars" movies and see if they had a scene together. Why hasn't anybody thought of putting these two characters together before? It's great to see Leia flying her own X-Wing fighter and taking charge during battle.
I liked that Han Solo and Chewbacca are still getting into trouble as they walk into a bar. Because of the bounty on his head, everyone is keeping their eyes on Solo. Wood stays true to their dynamic and keeps the pair inseparable. In the dialogue, the readers don't know what Chewbacca is saying but Han responds as if he does. With Boba Fett close behind them, is there anyone Solo and Chewbacca can actually trust to help them?
The sci-fi action is really what fans will get a kick out of. In the artwork by Carlos D'anda, I really enjoyed the explosive dog-fight battles between the X-Wing squadron and the Imperial Fleet. Both sides are shooting torpedoes back and forth at each other. In the opening splash page, one of Lei's pilots is flying upside down while a string of missiles are curving in space, heading right behind her.
What I particularly liked is how D'anda reinterpreted the character's faces and wardrobe. Han looks more ruggish with his long hair and sharp jaw. In a close-up, you see who the person Darth Vader is talking to through the reflection of his helmet. Notice when Vader is talking about the Emperor, you catch a glimpse of Palpatine's face in the eyeballs.
"Star Wars" #5 is a highly enjoyable and entertaining read. Though we know how the story unfolds, writer Brian Wood and artist Carlos D'anda find ways to add unseen elements. Split into three subplots, readers are getting a lot of the action from different fronts.