Released: August 16 2016
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Star Wars 15-19, Annual #1
Rebel Jail continues the Star Wars series. For those trying to follow the series chronologically, Vader Down comes before volume three (and even includes two issues from this series). The order goes; Star Wars Volume two (Showdown on the Smuggler’s Moon), Vader Down, Darth Vader Volume three (The Shu-Torun War), then finally Rebel Jail. Again, that’s for those following it chronologically. I read all of Darth Vader first, and am now doing a read through of Star Wars (minus the two that were in Vader down, since I have already read those). I think that they can be read in any order, and it is really up to the preference of the reader.
I may be a bit biased when it comes to liking this volume so much; it includes one of my favorite comic only (so far) characters to date; Doctor Aphra. So just keep that in mind as I gush about everything else.
As per usual there’s quite a lot going on for our Rebel army; as like last volume they’ve been split up again. Han and Luke are off doing a supply run, Threepio, Artoo, Leia and Sana are off doing a different mission (Chewie’s absence is noted, but I couldn’t tell you where he is). The annual issue in this volume has a slightly different focus, but it is setting up for events that happen later.
Eneb Ray is a loyal Rebel spy. He knows he’s outnumbered on Coruscant, as there’s no way the Rebellion could place more than a half a dozen of them on this planet (as he stated, he’d be surprised if there were more than six). Despite this fact he’s willing to risk it all for a shot at the Emperor. I won’t say how things end (though considering the timing of events I’m sure you can guess), but I will state that what happens to Eneb comes up later, so you shouldn’t skip over this issue.
Luke’s story is being given context through flashbacks in Obi Wan’s perspective. They’re tales of how hard he tried to protect Luke as a boy, even though his help was not wanted (Luke’s uncle, Owen Lars made that pretty clear). Instead he’s forced to try and find roundabout ways to help, while living off of the land and trying to stay under the radar. Any one of those tasks sounds like an awful lot, so I can’t imagine trying to juggle all of them at once. (Note: these stories are coming from the Diary of a Jedi plot started earlier).
The supply run story is more of a comic relief bit than anything else, especially given the context of what the girls and droids are up to. Essentially Han did what he does best: gambled the Rebel Alliance’s money about (that he was supposed to be using for supplies) and then quickly did some smuggling to earn back the money and conceal that fact. It’s all pretty funny on the whole and certainly served its purpose of changing the tone of the story.
Finally there’s the Rebel Jail. When I first saw the title I assumed it was a jail for Rebels, as opposed to a jail run by Rebels, but I was mistaken. Leia and Sana (along with Artoo and Threepio, of course) are dropping off a new prisoner to be held at Sunspot Prison (aptly named, as it is literally so close to the sun that the cells must be shielded at all times). In case you didn’t guess who this prisoner was, I’ll help you out a bit; Doctor Aphra. Thanks to the events in Vader Down they’ve managed to apprehend her, with the intent of getting information about Vader from her (good luck with that).
Things go downhill pretty quickly on Sunspot, and ironically it wasn’t even because of Aphra (though I’m sure if they had given her a bit more time that wouldn’t have been the case). Leia is put in a position where she has to decide if she’s willing to compromise her morals in order to do what needs to be done. It was a really interesting point in the series, as was the revelation that Sana and Aphra may have been an item at one point in time (implied, not confirmed). I won’t give all the details, as they’re much more exciting when read in the context of the series.
I can’t wait to move onto volume four (Last Flight of the Harbinger) and see what happens next. I already read Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra’s series, so I know what happens on those ends, what I don’t know is what happens to our main crew of characters here.