Comic Review – Princess Leia Sends Rebel Pilots On a Symbolic Mission to Coruscant in “Star Wars” (2020) #36

In this month’s new issue of Marvel Comics’ flagship Star Wars title by writer Charles Soule, released today, Princess Leia Organa sends some of the Rebel Alliance’s best pilots to the Imperial homeworld of Coruscant to strike a symbolic attack against the Empire.

Star Wars #36 begins with Leia and Admiral Ackbar briefing the assembled pilots (the group of which includes Lando Calrissian, Wedge Antilles, Nien Nunb, Shara Bey, and a couple “redshirt” characters who we can assume likely won’t make it out of the mission alive) about their target. They are to attack Emperor Palpatine’s statue in Monument Plaza on Coruscant, which Leia says will “rattle” the Empire, pushing them off-balance while Palpy and Darth Vader are distracted by the pulses in the Force caused by the opening of the Fermata Cage (see the Star Wars: Hidden Empire miniseries for more on that). So the attack ships are smuggled into Coruscant’s orbit by a fertilizer hauler (Lando doesn’t think they’ll ever get the disgusting smell out of the Millennium Falcon this time) and then they begin their assault. But as soon as the rebels’ presence is known, Imperial forces on the city-planet launch a surprisingly competent counteroffensive that takes out the aforementioned redshirts pretty quickly. Then Lando initiates the bright idea to descend into Coruscant’s lowest levels (it was cool to see glimpses of this, including a single panel of the legendary level 1313) to avoid destruction by the TIE fighters that are in pursuit.

There’s a fun sequence here wherein Nien Nunb’s A-wing is falling apart after a direct hit, and Chewbacca (acting as the Falcon’s copilot, as usual) must go out the ship’s top hatch to rescue the Sullustan, with the Wookiee getting injured in the process. This leads us to understand how Nunb became Lando’s right-hand man later on in the Battle of Endor, and it also gives guest artist Andrea Di Vito a great excuse to show off some well-executed action choreography. Plus, there’s a cool-looking monster and the Falcon naturally escapes without further damage, but all this had me wondering if Leia would really risk the Rebellion’s best pilots for this extremely dangerous and difficult mission. It’s a question that the characters bring up in-story, as well, but I’m not sure that the answer holds water. Either way, the pilots successfully manage to deface (quite literally) the statue, theoretically inspiring more rebellious uprisings around the galaxy… and certainly peeving off the evil Emperor in the process. One other thing that does bug me in this otherwise fun stand-alone issue is that both Darth Vader and Palpatine appear on the “A” cover, though they don’t ever show up in the story itself– they’re only mentioned briefly. As I’ve said before, that kind of thing always strikes me as false advertisement, and the fact that I see there’s a variant cover that does feature Leia, Lando, Chewie, and Nien Nunb instead makes me wonder why they didn’t just swap them with each other. Regardless, this comic is still absolutely worth reading and remains interesting to follow along as Soule continues to plant the seeds that lead to Return of the Jedi.

Star Wars #36 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.