Star Wars #17 Review: Rebel Jail Part 2


In Star Wars #17, Jason Aaron and Leinil Yu continue the “Rebel Jail” arc and send things into some very unexpected yet welcome directions.

Star Wars #17
Written by Jason Aaron
Art by Leinil Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
Colored by Sunny Gho
Published by Marvel Comics

Last time in Star Wars: Leia and her new ally Sana Starros have brought the captured Dr. Aphra to Sunspot Prison, a Rebel penitentiary in orbit of a sun. There she will be interrogated and imprisoned so the rebel Alliance can discover the secrets of Aphra’s boss, Lord Darth Vader. Suddenly, the prison comes under attack by a squad of droids…

If you read my review of Part One of “Rebel Jail”, then you know already that I was a bit underwhelmed by the opening chapter of the latest Star Wars arc. While it was perfectly enjoyable and a great comic, it didn’t really live up to the high expectations I have had for Star Wars. The book has just been so unbelievably good that the bar is just ridiculously high at this point and anything less than awesome comes off as kind of a disappointment.

That said, I have to say that Part Two was a vast improvement in both the story and the art and took the story in a direction I just didn’t see coming. It has transformed “Rebel Jail” from an arc I thought I was going to have to just get through into one that has me very excited for Part Three.

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It was that twist, which I won’t spoil here, which casts the entire arc in a entirely new light. Instead of a standard prison break story, Jason Aaron has turned it into something much more personal, specifically for Princess Leia. It forces and her new best friend Sana to work together with some very unexpected new allies to try to survive the deadly situation they have been placed in.

Speaking of Sana, the dynamic she is forming with Leia is becoming one of the things I’m really enjoying about “Rebel Jail”. It is very similar to her relationship with Han Solo, but works on a completely different level. Here are two women who obviously have feelings for the same scoundrel but have no clue what to do with them. It’s like they have formed their very own exclusive club and don’t even realize it yet.

As for Leinil Yu’s art, even though it is seems visually the same as last issue, for some reason in Star Wars #17 it feels tighter and more focused. The storytelling is more streamlined and the art overall has a much more organic vibe. Maybe Yu is just getting a better feel for the characters or maybe he’s just enjoying himself more. It’s not something I can put my finger on, but all I know is that I really enjoyed the art here much more than I did in Part One.

In addition, we get some seriously funny cutaways to Han and Luke trying to get the Rebel money back that they lost gambling (cheating, really) on Sabacc. I won’t spoil it for you, but it involves a herd of Nerfs, outrunning some Imperials and a Falcon that is really going to need a thorough cleaning afterward they get where they’re going.

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The Bottom Line: Star Wars #17 is a return to the solid and enjoyable storytelling that was oddly missing from last issue. The issue takes the “Rebel Jail” arc in different direction I didn’t see coming and it makes for a vastly better reading experience.

Here’s hoping the trend continues into Part Three and beyond.