SPOILER REVIEW: "Star Wars 12: Operation Starlight, Part IV: Reflections of the Lost"-Charles Soule
Well, this issue was certainly unexpected. We get two side backstories, one on how Shara Bey and Kes Dameron met and another on Han Solo at the Hoth base. It was nothing that moved the story forward overall but both were still intriguing looks into the lives of these two characters. For example, the "title crawl" reminds us of Commander Zahra and then she's nowhere to be seen, but I can only assume that next issue she will make a re-appearance and the story will continue rolling along.
A quick note about the title of this issue--"Reflections of the Lost" sounds more ominous than it really is. It makes it sound like we're talking about people who are dead and gone forever and not people just in crazy dire straits currently. Don't get me wrong, both Shara and Han made heroic sacrifices, it's just that they haven't died yet!
Recap from previous issues, Shara Bey has been left, at her behest--she knew she couldn't make it out, on a Star Destroyer while the rest of Starlight Squadron has made it back to the Fourth and Seventh Divisions of the Rebel fleet. Kes is hopping mad, as anyone would be if their wife had been left behind--mad and scared enough to risk Lobot dying so he can get her back. Which brings me to an interesting hole in this issue--Lando and Lobot don't appear at all and we don't get any closer to discovering what's up with Lando and Bib Fortuna which is something I am chomping at the bit to learn more about!!
In this issue, we have Kes wanting to go out to a quiet hangar bay and talk to a recorded hologram of his son, Poe (who couldn't be any older than between 1 and 2 at this time since he's 32 in The Force Awakens), about his mother, but the man runs into Leia whose already in the bay, looking out at the stars beyond. They swap stories and that's the bulk of the issue. Pretty lackluster if you ask me, but like I said above, at least the stories are enjoyable and fun and they make up for the lack of main story action and intrigue with side story humor and surprise.
Kes's story of how he and Shara met: Kes and his buddies go to the betting houses of Galator III for what sounds like a bachelorette weekend (one of their female friends is getting married). He's meager with his betting but does decide to place a bet on a Crestrace (what appears to be fancy speeders that skim over water). It's a super dangerous form of racing with this particular circuit ending in a tunnel that only one racer can get through at a time. There are two racers left at the end and one bails while the other powers on with determination and resolve--something Kes admires greatly. The racer he put his money on is that winner and who is it?? None other than Shara Bey herself!! I LOVED the moment when she took off her helmet and it was a woman underneath--it's always such a joy when Star Wars presents bada** women.
Leia's story of Han on the Hoth base: Apparently Han hates the cold and isn't afraid to let everybody know it. Well, the heater for the base breaks down and all base personnel plus the tauntauns (which end up on the Falcon) are herded onto the various Rebel ships to keep warm as the temperatures drop with night coming. (Side note: why do the tauntauns need to be protected from the cold...aren't they native to Hoth?? I get the tauntaun freezing in the Empire Strikes Back snowstorm outside the base, but inside the base you'd think they would be fine even without sentient-piped-in heat...) In an interesting show of just how "held together with scrap wire and reused parts" the Hoth base is, it turns out that to power levels four through eight, they have repurposed an old YT-2600 reactor...which can't operate at super low temperatures. Well, "The reactor's electro dissipator froze and cracked. And now the colder it gets, the closer it gets to overloading." Bad news all around. Han jumps in to save the day by saying he's got a spare reactor for his YT-1300 model and him and Chewie head off to replace the overloading one. The whole situation/adventure is very Han-esque and thus definitely pulled a bit of laughter out of me!
Each story really ended up being a character study for Shara and Han respectively and I am a sucker for character studies so this issue actually really worked for me. With Shara, Kes says to Leia, "They won through bravery and skill and just not backing down." With Han, Leia rhetorically asks Kes and then answers, "Why would I come to care for someone like Han Solo, so different from me, so infuriating and half-useless and utterly reckless? It's because he hates the cold. He spent his entire time at Echo Base complaining about it. Everyone else saw it, everyone else knew it. But he never left. Over and over, he fought and risked his life and sacrificed and personally saved the entire Alliance more than once. He stayed because even if he couldn't admit it, even to himself, he believes in this cause. Han Solo's a smuggler because he likes it, but he's a Rebel because he's Han Solo." D'awww!!! It should also be mentioned that before Kes launches into his story, he calls Poe "a beautiful disaster" and Leia says she has one of those herself by which Kes rightfully guesses she means Han. My heart!
Concluding the issue, we discover that Shara Bey is still alive and she has intel on the Imperials that just might come in very handy...
MY SCORE: 8/10 because the two backstories were a lot of fun to read but the main story doesn't really move forward much at all.
"Star Wars #12: Operation Starlight, Part IV: Reflections of the Lost" written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg
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