(2007) various, Titan Books, £10.99, trdpbk, 128pp, ISBN 1-84576-460-9
This first volume of the collected Star Wars: Rebellion series continues events that were started in Star Wars: Empire. Between the movies A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Darth Vader pursued Luke Skywalker across the galaxy in hopes of turning him to the dark side. In volume one 'My Brother, My Enemy' he faces trouble closer to home as friends from his past may not turn out to be as trustworthy as he first thought. The premise is a well-thought out one - bringing together stories of Luke's childhood friend Janek Sunber, now a lieutenant in the Imperial Navy, and Jorin Sol who was previously captured by the Empire. The first seemingly wants to defect to the Rebellion; the latter has been rescued and is recovering with them.
There's a lot of milage in the theme of past betrayals and present loyalties, and it's played out in many other fashions as the plot thickens. Sunber's own questions about the cost of the Rebellion's war on the Empire come dangerously close to being unanswered - Star Wars making quite a political comment. It's just unfortunate that the matter is so easily resolved, and the good guys are shown to be really good guys. In the same way, Jorin Sol's storyline follows the well-trod path of brainwashed heroes struggling to do 'the right thing'. Both story threads end on a precipice where loyalties have to be chosen, but it's disappointing that everything ends so neatly.
'My Brother, My Enemy' makes pretty interesting reading for the first four issues, and it is really the final climax that lets it down. It is nice to have a Star Wars story that does wander into darker territory, and this is reflected in the bold and brash artwork that illustrates the story. In particular, Wil Glass's colours are very stark and atmospheric, but even Brandon Badeaux's drawing work is eye-catching in its sheer detail. This is a Star Wars spin-off showing some maturity, and it is a shame that it cannot stand as a story in its own right.
See also on this site Inside the Worlds of Star Wars, Star Wars: Empire vol. 4 and Star Wars: Visionaries.
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