Monday, July 25, 2016

Star Wars #21 Review and **Spoilers** - Marvel Mondays

"The Last Flight of the Harbinger, Part 1"

Written by: Jason Aaron
Art by: Jorge Molina, Matt Milla and Chris Eliopoulos
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 20, 2016
Review by: Deron Murphree at

I can remember those long-standing debates even way back then over which franchise science fiction/fantasy enthusiasts preferred. Even back before the days of the internet, I can recall a bit of some snobbery between Star Trek and Star Wars fans. Many had taken the thing so seriously that you literally had to choose which side you were on and based on your decision would determine the outcome of your social standing within the nerd circles. I am not sure that I fit into any particular circle so my answers would often bring about laughter and chastising from some of my friends. I grew up on Star Trek: The Next Generation and I dug everything about it. However, it is the Star Wars franchise that has consistently held my attention for a few decades now. Considering I have read several novels from the Star Wars expanded universe back catalog, I guess you could say that I have a loyalty and devotion to the universe. But enough about me, let's get to the issue.

Now if you've been keeping up with the Star Wars title, Sgt Kreel, formerly known as the Gamemaster, is the former warden of a moon called Nar Shadaa which was controlled by one of the Hutts in previous issues. It turned out that he was an undercover imperial spy who answered directly to Darth Vader. The rebellion's forces have gotten out of hand and an elite team of stormtroopers have been assembled to decimate the ranks of the rebels. 

The story opens up with Sgt. Kreel recalling the first time he saw a man die when he was four years old. He recounts how after a dozen or so deaths how he seemingly started to feel detached from it all until the day that his own father was killed. It was after this tragedy in his life that a week later he began a killing spree of his own. He took out his rage on all those in the Fighting Pits until one day he saw his first stormtrooper. It was at that moment that he realized what he wanted to do when he finally got his big boy pants!

We are then taken to the present day where Sgt. Kreel is leading his battalion on a search and destroy mission of suspected Rebels in a downed freighter. Sgt. Kreel is able to assess the damages around him and immediately picks up on Rebel snipers in the area. He gives the appropriate orders to his men and partners up with a stormtrooper named Cav to take the fight to a position in the Rebel stronghold. What can I say, these stormtroopers look badass! I always dug the look of the stormtrooper outfit, but the fact these guys are considered to be the best that the Empire has to offer, it's no wonder they earned the nickname of Scar-Troopers. The artwork by Jorge Molina takes great care in his attention to detail of the Stormtroopers in particular. These troopers are equipped with rocket packs that enable flight and more weapons than you can shake a blaster at! 

As the "Scar Troopers" massacre the Rebels encamped there, Sgt. Kreel continues his narration of the events of why he ended up joining the empire. He tells the story of how the stormtroopers overthrew the overlords on his homeworld and brought peace and order to their civilization. From the get-go, he found his calling in life.

Sgt Kreel then recounts losing his only friend to the Rebels only to slaughter every Rebel he could find that day. In Kreel's mind, the Rebels want only chaos and are viewed as terrorists. The empire is the very definition of law and order in the galaxy, which he interprets as freedom. He feels it is important to point out that the mission of "Scar Squadron" or Task Force 99 is to wipe out terrorists permanently. This group of stormtroopers are by no means johnny-come-latelys, but hardened veterans of combat. 

At one point during the issue, Sgt Kreel and his squad take to the sewers in order to find a better route to surprise the Rebels. Sgt. Kreel is pulled under the sewage by a sewer squid. But unlike Luke Skywalker's whiny cries for help, Sgt. Kreel cuts through the squid like it's no big deal and orders his men forward in their mission. The biggest surprise of this issue is Sgt. Kreel brandishing a green lightsaber and destroying a rebel tank. How did he get the lightsaber you may be asking? It is probable that it was taken from a slain jedi though the story on that has not yet been revealed. The issue ends with Sgt. Kreel and his band of Scar Troopers surrounding a Rebel officer and suggesting interrogation measures to commence on their enemy.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue was a welcomed change of pace from the previous 20 issues of tales from the cast of A New Hope, at least on the side of the Rebellion. It was about time that there was a story featuring members of the Empire. Historically, stormtroopers have been viewed as a joke due to their poor marksmanship. Writer, Jason Aaron is able to present this group by challenging that stereotype with terrifying and exciting detail. I haven't had this much fun since Chewbacca went one on one with the bounty hunter, Dengar. This issue has the look of the Empire's version of Delta Force sweeping through an area and unleashing hell in the form of death and carnage. It is a great compliment to the art team that this issue really captures the feel of a swift military operation. Being a veteran myself, I was able to appreciate the speed in which these representatives of the Empire moved. To think this is only the first part in a new story arc has me already anticipating the next issue.


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