With the third issue in the Path of Destiny comic series it feels we are finally venturing into unexplored territory. I enjoyed how the first two issues emulate the gritty feel of The Empire Strikes back, but I was not yet fully convinced by the story. With Star Wars (2020) #3 it feels writer Charles Soule is making a bold move forward with the story. It does not linger long and every major character from the mysterious Commander Zahra to Lando, Luke and Leia see their story progress.
Commander Zahra in Star Wars (2020) #3
Star Wars (2020) #3 starts on the bridge of the imperial Star Destroyer Tarkin’s Will. Captained by Commander Zahra we see it mop up the remains of rebel cell it ambushed. Zahra is questioned by Lieutenant Gorr as why the ship has a gaping hole in its hull and requests to put repair crews on it. This evokes a rant from Commander Zahra and she explains how she chose this Star Destroyer as the damage was done during the destruction of the Death Star. Without mentioning Grand Moff Tarkin by name it is obvious he was her mentor.
Zahra continues by stating every crew member was handpicked because they had lost someone with the destruction of the Death Star. Zahra vows she will slit Princess Leia Organa’s throat herself. After her absence from issue # 2 Commander Zahra is now properly introduced. Oddly enough this is not the first female officer with a thing for Tarkin, previously there was Daala. I do believe that this introduction of Zahra is a bit heavy-handed. The writer wanted to establish her a an imperial zealot, but it borders on caricature.
The trio arrive at Cloud City
After this introduction we finally see our heroes arrive at Cloud City on Bespin. Leia has gone along for the adventure together with Lando and Luke. Cloud City security fighters quickly confront their ship but Lando manages to convince their commander Karyn Sitra not to comply with imperial orders to bring them in. Lando also manages to disable the point defense turrets of Cloud City. Upon landing their ship is destroyed and we will have to wait until the next issue. At this point their storylines diverge.
Lando sets out to find an old friend and settle a debt. If his words are to be believed he does believe in loyalty. As Lando makes his way through Cloud City he arrives at the Central Processing Core to find Lobot hardwired into the computer. Lando suspects this is the Empire’s doing. His plan is to sabotage the city in order to remove the Empire sooner. As Lobot is in exactly the right place to accomplish this the job is made easier. By the end of the issue Lando has managed to reverse the Tibanna gas extraction process thus contaminating the entire city. Yet, the issue ends with stormtroopers hot on Lando’s heels.
Meanwhile Luke sets out to find his lightsaber. According to Lando it should have been separated form ordinary refuge. There is a chance he will be able to find it in the smelting chamber. Yet the duel with Darth Vader – his father – lingers on in his mind and Luke briefly has a flashback to that confrontation. When Luke does make it to the smelting chamber he discovers he pile of rubble is immense. Considering Luke built his own lightsaber for events in The Return of the Jedi it might mean he will never be able to find it. Perhaps the journey is the goal in on itself. We have yet to see anything of the cocky Luke we see in the last movie and I hoped this comic series will fill in that backstory. The mysterious figure holding Luke’s lightsaber we saw in the last issue has not returned.
Finally we read why Leia also joined this quest. She makes her way to the carbon freeze chamber. There is analyzes the method by which Han Solo was frozen in carbonite. No doubt she hopes she will learn how to undo the process. Which is something she will do in Return of the Jedi – so it does fit with canon. That said, wouldn’t it easier to have simply asked Lando about the process?
This part feels shoehorned into the story just to bring Lando, Luke and Leia together for an adventure. By the end of the issue Leia is stunned by stormtroopers who following new procedure also encase her carbonite. She is to be sent to the nearest ISB outpost for interrogation. It is strongly hinted on the final page that she will meet Darth Vader again. How she will get out of this one we will discover in the next issue.
Conclusion to Star Wars (2020) #3
I was really pleased with how Star Wars (2020) #3 progressed The Destiny Path storyline so boldly. The story could go in any direction at this stage. Writer Charles Soule is also attached to the new sub-universe Star Wars The High Republic. I am hoping we will be seeing more work from him in the future. Artist Jesus Saiz and colorist Arif Prianto have done a marvelous job with each panel. They capture the cinematic feel of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of The Jedi perfectly. Issue 4 of Star Wars 2020 The Destiny Path is set for release on March 18th. Come back to SciFiEmpire.net for the review.