By Boyd Reynolds | Staff Writer Published: 12/11/2013 1:00 pm EST
Publish date: December 11, 2013 Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Some of the most underrated moments in Star Wars are the quiet ones. While the lightsabers, Star Destroyers and Death Stars create awe and wonder, the small moments, like those in the cockpit of the Falcon in the original trilogy, breathe life into the saga far, far away. Writer Brian Wood does a terrific job in Star Wars #12 of rekindling those experiences. Heavy on dialogue and subtlety, Star Wars #12 is essentially devoted to Leia; her strength and vulnerability. For a fanboy who fell for the Alderaanian princess a long time ago, it is a surprising relief in this great storyline.
While Star Wars action is great, truly great, it would be a series useless explosions and battles without the connection to beloved characters. And how do we get that? Simple: through the small moments. Star Wars #12 starts with the Empire retreating from its all-out assault on the Rebels. Taking time to recoup and recover, the Rebellion is reeling, not having anywhere to hide and with the Empire certain to attack again once they’ve licked their wounds. Enter Princess Leia. Not only does she have to deal with being lied to by one of the top leaders in the Rebellion, but she has to make a harrowing decision: Save her beloved Rebels by forgoing her personal happiness for a lifetime.
Perhaps the best moment in Star Wars #12 comes between Han and Leia. In a scene reminiscent of their feisty banter on Hoth in Episode V, the two play a little game of cat and mouse. The scene is subtle but poignant, especially for those of us who know the pair’s inevitable outcome. The panel selection is perfect, giving us a glimpse into characters who care for one another but are unwilling to give in until the other does first. Three rectangular panels are all that are needed. Leia gently holds her fingers on Han’s lips, stopping him from talking, then he takes her hand away to kiss it and she slaps him.
What is it about Princess Leia that magnetizes so? From the male perspective, is it because she’s the only woman with any real screen time in the original trilogy? No. Leia was our new damsel in distress. She was as tough and as brash with a blaster as she was with her mouth. She combined physical beauty with a no-nonsense attitude, and we liked it. There was no fainting at the first sign of danger; our princess embraced any battle, whether it was face to face with Governor Tarkin or blowing open a garbage shoot. Yet, with all that gusto, her most endearing quality is her vulnerability. When she lets her guard down, even for a moment, the soft side of Leia is what really pulls this fan in.
In Star Wars #12, Leia remains true to character; she’s all of the above. Artist Carlos D’Anda does a terrific job relaying all of her thoughts and emotions to us readers. Whether she is storming down a hallway or beating herself up for her decisions, one thing is for sure—it’s fun to watch.