Star Wars: Rebel Heist is a comic with a hell of a lot going for it. Adam Hughes is doing the covers and Adam Hughes is the business at covers; Matt Kindt is on a hella hot-streak, doing great work for basically all the publishers; and it’s a limited series, which makes it seem like more of an “event,” to be checked out. The first issue was less than impressive, but issue 2 measured up to all the stated goals of the series. In the letters page area at the end of issue 1, Kindt stated that his goal was to try to examine these iconic Star Wars characters, put them through the wringer, and see if he still liked them. It’s an interesting concept for a miniseries about one of the most iconic franchises in history, and it must be a tough theoretical row to hoe. When you think about Han Solo, you think about the extremely Han Solo-y stuff that he did (“Who’s scruffy lookin’?”, “Punch it, Chewie!”, “I know,” etc), and not Han when he’s been run ragged and gets caught in a mistake. This issue takes umbrage with the addressing of Leia as “princess” and plays with it for twenty-two pages.
A red Twi’lek (one in a million coloring, apparently) works as an exotic dancer, and as a Rebel agent. She meets up with Leia after she gets made, and Leia takes her place at a fancy drug dealer rooftop gala. It seems to be a theme for this series that the heroes aren’t going to win this round. They’re on the downslope that leads them to refuge on Hoth, and things just aren’t working. It’s not something I’m used to seeing; I read enough of the Expanded Universe novels to be familiar with the concept of the main gang losing periodically (still upset that the Yuuzhan Vong killed Chewbacca. Total bullshit), but seeing it represented in comics, where it’s actually a visible thing... It’s different.
I think I’m starting to see where this series is going, which is a dangerous spot to be in. Either I’m wrong, and Kindt takes me by surprise, and that’ll be fun for everyone, or I’m right, and as a reader, I hate being right. Fanboys like myself are the toughest to get ahead of and keep ahead of because we have such rabid theories, so I’m trying to scale back and be cool. Either way, I dug the story of this one much more than the first issue. Leia’s never been my favorite, but this is one of the first times I’ve gotten to see her be a true blue, shitkicking badass. It was pretty awesome.
Marco Castiello’s art is pretty great as well. He’s not afraid to create some new aliens, and he’s got a casual way of making the most complex Ithorians or Rodians look like he’s drawing them from memory, the way you would draw your childhood bedroom. His art style has the detail to place you in the universe, and the pacing to keep you reading, and I look forward to seeing more from him. And not to heap too much praise on Kindt, but I’ve been digging his variant covers so far.
This is a fun Star Wars series. It’s a largely untapped aspect of the universe, utilizing a sort of Cloverfield effect (stay with me here): if you put Godzilla up against Mecha-Godzilla in front of a building, you start to lose the scale of their size. If you put a POV shot of Godzilla towering over a huge city full of people, he’s terrifying. In order to make Han and Leia and Chewie truly impressive, you have to give them something to stand next to, to give them scale. If Leia’s always with Han, they make each other seem less impressive. If you put Leia next to Shlub Numero Uno, she becomes like unto a literal Greek god. She’s the most impressive person in the galaxy. Kindt is going for glory, and it’s working. It has some kinks to work out, but it’s definitely worth coming back.
Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Marco Castiello Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.50 Release Date: 5/28/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital