Review: Star Wars: Rebel Heist #4

Star Wars: Rebel Heist ties up this month, and it’s the Rebel we’ve all been waiting for: Luke Skywalker. Luckily, Kindt is too smart a writer to make us read a whole issue of whiny, New Hope-era Luke, so we get a Luke who’s not quite a Jedi Knight, but who’s already a born leader. Where the last three issues of the miniseries were very clear character studies of Han, Leia and Chewie, this issue felt a little more like a character study of all of them together; of the “heart of the Rebellion,” as a Bothan spy calls them in one scene. The extent of the character work we get to see for Luke is a sidelong acknowledgment that at this point in the Rebellion, Luke is talented and he is charismatic, but he is 10000% lucky. He can’t reflect lasers with his lightsaber on purpose, and a lot of his plan hinges on hoping for the best. It’s not tactically sound, but goddammit if that’s not Luke Skywalker to a “T.”

This issue has a lot of winks and nods to Empire (and even Jedi), which is fine up to a certain point. In several instances, the Bothan talks about how the Rebellion could never actually overthrow the Empire, etc etc. It’s like watching an episode of Columbo, where the audience finds out at the beginning who the murderer was, and Columbo spends the whole episode playing catch-up. That Bothan is Columbo, and we get to laugh at the things we know that he doesn’t. The downside to this kind of plot is that it doesn’t allow the reader to get the whole thing out of this miniseries. In order to understand the magnitude of the information that Chewie was carrying, that the ancillary characters discover at the end, you have to be familiar with the movies, or else, it could just be some sort of strange machine you’re looking at. It’s extremely important machinery, but by nature of the series, you spend no time worrying about the machinery until they are revealed at the end. It’s a tough row to hoe.

Star Wars Rebel Heist #4Kindt and co. do a great job tying up not only the main storyline of the Stormtrooper, but also the other cast members with changes of heart along the way in this issue. Part of the reason Luke doesn’t get much page time is there’s just too much to tie up. You have to follow up with the Twi’lek from issue 2, the turncoat from issue 1... literally everyone shows up. There’s just no time to talk about Luke except as part of a larger concept, a member of an organization. Kindt’s a sharp guy, and his interpretation is fairly spot-on. When Luke’s not in the Rebellion, he’s in the Jedi Order. When he was a farmer, all he wanted was to go to the Imperial Academy; Luke thrives on a desire to be part of something bigger, and because of his charisma, he ends up at the forefront every time. It’s his blessing and his curse, and it that’s what Kindt was going for, he nailed it. If I’m completely misreading it, then I still enjoyed it, so we’ll call it square.

This series, when it’s firing on all cylinders, doesn’t quite work as drama. Sure, there are plot and beats that move forward, and characters with goals. It has all the trappings of drama. But at its core, it’s Matt Kindt stepping back and critiquing these four people at the heart of the Rebellion and at the heart of one of the most beloved pop-culture establishments in history. Sometimes the best way to review something is to create your own version of it. This is what Kindt has been given license to do, and it left me feeling relatively cold. There was no sense of triumph when the heroes won; there was never any doubt they would. There was nothing we didn’t already know about the characters; they’re the same princess, Nerf herder, walking carpet and hayseed we’ve always known. Kindt’s series aimed to find the spark in each of them and bring it out. It did that well every month, it just never quite fanned it to a flame.

Score: 4/5

Writer: Matt Kindt Artist: Marco Castiello Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/30/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital