After seeing her home planet destroyed by the Galactic Empire, Princess Leia Organa immediately rallied the Rebel Forces to destroy the Death Star, but what happens where your entire world is gone? Your Major Spoilers review of Princess Leia #2 awaits!
PRINCESS LEIA #2
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciler: Terry Dodson
Inker: Rachel Dodson
Colorist: Jodie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Jordan D. White
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Princess Leia: In the wake of her planet’s destruction, Leia has been frustrated to find her friends in the rebellion treating her with kid gloves. Refusing to waste her time mourning, Leia strikes up an unusual friendship with Evaan, another Alderaanian survivor, to investigate rumors that the Empire is hunting down the remaining survivors of their world, taking off alone in a shuttle to collect the remaining refugees of Alderaan…
HOW THE PRINCESS BECAME THE REBEL GENERAL
We open not long after the close of issue #1, with Leia and Evaan en route to Naboo, for reasons the Princess is keeping secret. There’s some really wonderfully handled flashbacking in the first third of the issue, giving us bits of Leia’s past (including a Bail Organa who is clearly “played by” Jimmy Smits, a detail I found endearing) and the reasons why a woman of her stature might end up in the rough-and-tumble Rebel Alliance. Arriving on Naboo, our twosome goes undercover (with Leia meaningfully choosing her alias as ‘First Minister Solo’ of the Empire, seeking out a group of Alderaanian musicians who operate there. On the way, the meet up with an old friend, cross paths with the Empire, get in a huge fight with some Besalisk thugs (they’re the guys with four arms and crested lizardy heads, like the fry cook from Episode II), and engage in a really well-written undercover mission. Waid fills the issue with solid Star Wars references for the in-depth nerds, but doesn’t expect that knowledge to drive the adventure. He gives us a version of Leia that we haven’t really seen a lot of in the movies, as heroic as Luke, as underhanded and clever as Han, and more driven to succeed than either.
The art is truly impressive, as well, with the Dodsons delivering a recognizable world that calls on both trilogies’ visual style, including a really haunting moment where Leia what seems to be a stained-glass image of her late mother, Padme. Twisty, turny stuff follows, including a well-handled heel turn, and the issue ends with Leia successful in the first part of her goal. Unfortunately, things in the Star Wars universe never go easily. After issue #1 was such a fun ride, I was certain this whole series was going to be good, but this book exceeded even my expectations, showing us sides of Princess Leia that I can’t recall ever having seen before. She’s often been the stern taskmaster, and occasionally the distressed damsel, but seeing her in the role of primary swashbuckly hero is both fun and way overdue. With any luck, this aesthetic will be the kind of thing we get with Episode VII and beyond, as it’s the kind of story that’s entertaining enough to distract us from the loss of the old Expanded Universe. Mostly…
THE BOTTOM LINE: SERIOUSLY IMPRESSIVE STUFF
When the news came that Disney was returning their Star Wars properties to Marvel, there were some whiners panicking that it was all going to be big, green rabbits, as though Marvel hadn’t changed at all since 1977. While I wouldn’t mind a bunch more Jaxxon, because I’m both contrarian and weird, I have to say that the quality of this book (and, to a slightly lesser degree, the main SW title) makes me happy to see such nay-sayers proven terrifically wrong. Princess Leia #2 has a great story that feels both true to the Star Wars tone and expands the role of one of its’ most iconic characters, with art that never fails to impress, earning a truly impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. I’m in for the duration on this series…