• Marie E. Wilson

SPOILER REVIEW: "Star Wars #9: Operation Starlight, Part I: The Ancient Relic" by Charles Soule

"Operation Starlight, Part I: The Ancient Relic" is the 9th issue of the 2020- "Star Wars" long run comic series. It was written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Jan Bazaldua and Rachelle Rosenberg, and published by Marvel Comics on Dec 9, 2020.

While certainly not an epic read by any means, this issue moved the story along a good bit in regards to one plot point. It was a very small in scale story, focusing on how the Rebels were going to create a code the Imperials could not crack. We still don't know exactly what Operation Starlight actually is, but perhaps we'll find out in the next issue when "Starlight Squadron" gets together--I'm also super curious as to which pilots are a part of that! We don't even get to see Commander Zahra in this issue but I have no doubt that we'll see her again eventually. Because the scope was so small, there aren't really many panels that stood out to me as being worthy of sharing. The art was great but there was nothing epic depicted. It's quite likely that this issue just sets us up for some intense epic-ness in the rest of the arc. Fingers crossed!!

The ancient droid that speaks Trawak.

The one thing I really enjoyed about this issue was the spotlight on C-3PO!! It's his plan the Rebels follow through on to create a way for them to communicate clandestinely. He knows of a droid of an ancient design who can speak/translate a 1000 year old language called Trawak "spoken only by a small cave-dwelling species that evolved independently of all other life on its world. It was, supposedly, a combination of ultrasonics, replication of sounds from the natural environment and subtle interactions of air, mouthparts, and--" Of course this is 3PO describing the language, and his detail causes R2 to interrupt him and demand he "get on with it." This language sounds fascinating and I can't wait to see it in action!! It's also so great seeing 3PO getting to monologue to a captive audience!! The Rebels are actually giving him his due in this story!

The curator...spooky dude!

So, great idea from 3PO but there's got to be a catch, right?? Otherwise there wouldn't be a story. Well, the droid they're after just so happens to be kept in the Imperial Museum on Coruscant which has its own security force and a power hungry curator who rides around on a mechno-chair. To combat this obstacle, Leia selects her best Pathfinders--Kes Dameron (Poe's father), Needle (a male Quermian), and Frell (a female Tholothian). And she sends them off on the fastest and sneakiest smuggling ship they have on retainer...the Falcon! With the Falcon comes Lando and Lobot, the first to pilot and the second to hook into the museum's main computer to discover the exact location of the droid. Lando is none to pleased with the situation both for himself and his best friend.

The Pathfinders--from left to right: Needle, Frell, and Kes.

Unfortunately, the droid is locked away in the curator's private collection which is guarded by security with vibro-pikes! To overcome this second obstacle, Needle finds an artifact in the museum proper and makes a big stink about it being taken away from the Quermian people and how it must be returned to its own culture, a distraction meant to get the curator out of his private quarters thus allowing the Pathfinders a way in. In a surprising turn of events, Needle's outburst distraction leads to his death!! Goodness, that got dark quick. Not sure how I feel about throwing away a brand new character like that. The Alliance seems to do a lot of tossing people around without care for their wellbeing, something that they would say only the Empire does... Although I realize that war is real and scary, it still makes me uncomfortable when the Rebels act darkly or tread on the line of morality... Except I loved it in Rogue One. Weird.

Lobot hooking into the museum's central computer.

Anyway, the Pathfinders manage to steal the droid and take it back to Leia, but...there's another problem...the droid's memory banks have been corrupted and it just speaks gobbledy gook! I really hope the next issue doesn't spend the whole time trying to fix the droid. I'm wanting to get some real meat back in the story, learn more about Operation Starlight, and see some epic-ness at play!! The two issues preceding this one were excellent so I have no doubt that we're headed somewhere interesting. I guess I'm just ready to get to it!

"Star Wars #9: Operation Starlight, Part I: The Ancient Relic" written by Charles Soule, illustrated by Jan Bazaldua and Rachelle Rosenberg

SCORE: 7/10 because it was good but could have been grander in scale.

About Marie:

I am so excited to have joined the Beyond the Blast Doors Star Wars conversation! As a person who is deeply passionate about every aspect of the galaxy far, far away, I'm always looking for ways to spread my Star Wars joy and love.

I've spoken at cons and written articles on a variety of Star Wars topics but one of my biggest passions is the canon literature. I hope to help you find your way through the Maelstrom because what is out there is truly amazing!

Email: melisabethwilson@gmail.com

Twitter: @aliamorgaine

Blog: www.thestarwarsreview.blogspot.com