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Star Wars Comic Review: Princess Leia #3 (Mild Spoilers)

Star Wars Comic Review: Princess Leia #3 (Mild Spoilers)

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Marvel’s most complex series, Princess Leia, continues its streak of espionage, intrigue, and confusing names in its third issue. Clarifying some confusion from the last issue in its opening crawl, Mark Waid and Terry Dodson take us on the next step in Leia and her pilot Evaan’s journey to save the remaining Alderaanians from being hunted down by the Empire. With the help of interesting perspectives on the importance of culture and leadership, well-lit caverns, and stubborn, grizzled leaders, Princess Leia improves substantially on its previous issue.

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In the previous issue, we left off with a cliffhanger in which one of the rescued Alderaanians is communicating amicably with an Imperial officer. I had no idea what was going on, or why this was a cliffhanger. Were they sisters? Lovers? Friends? Thankfully, this issue cleared up the relationship, which serves as a catalyst for the rest of this miniseries. Now that there are Alderaanian traitors to deal with, the mission just became a lot more complicated, and, to be blunt, a lot more interesting. Or maybe I’m just glad we’re off the Dr. Suess/Renaissance revival planet of Naboo. Clear motivations and clear plots are things I cling to as a reader, and, until now, I felt I was grasping at far too many loose threads, but now they’re all coming together in a much more pleasing way than I’d expected. I should have never doubted Mark Waid.

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I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the Preserver, presumably a new position that opens up when one’s planet is destroyed and its culture requires preservation, and the way her actions contradict her title. She is a scarred, weathered old woman, wary of outsiders to her hidden cave colony on the red planet of Sullust (homeworld of Lando Calrissian’s co-pilot Nien Nunb!). It’s not exactly clear why the Preserver initially distrusts Leia–perhaps she is just eager to hold on to her new power–but Leia quickly proves, with the help of Waid’s deftly subtle characterization and Terry Dodson’s smooth action sequences, that she is a level-headed warrior worthy of her royal title.

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As I alluded earlier, the setting was much more visually appealing than Naboo, though I can admit that Naboo did suit Dodson’s flowing pencils quite well. I was hoping for more insight into Leia’s questions about her mother and perhaps even a meeting with the Naberries, her mother’s family, but her trip was cut short. This time, we follow Leia and Evaan, led by a slimy-jowled Sullustan, down a rocky cavern, where action and drama ensue. It’s nice to see stormtroopers again, as they serve as solid proof that the Empire is truly working hard to track down these survivors, likely to silence them as opposed to gaining vengeance. Since this “new canon” began, it seems the Empire is portrayed in a somewhat more self-conscious light; instead of acting ruthlessly and letting word spread through fear, they now seem to have more concern about the public’s opinion, as evidenced by the propaganda posters and festivals seen on Lothal in Rebels.

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Overall, I’m happy with the way this mini-series is unfolding, and I am hoping that its sales will allow it to become an ongoing series. Besides, it’d be a waste of a solid title: Princess Leia. Now that the Empire is hot on their trail, and the presence of a traitor is revealed, the next two issues should be pretty interesting, especially if more focus is put on Leia’s psychological reaction to the destruction of her home planet and loss of her family.

4.5 out of 5 stars

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