When sci-fi goes into military strategies, where commanders are going to head-to-head, it’s always been interesting to me. This issue takes the reader into this type of battle. Leia versus Zahra, a woman who blames the rebel leader for Tarkin’s death.

Though Tarkin wasn’t exactly nice to Zahra as she came up the ranks, he somehow became a father figure to her. Tarkin was, of course, killed with the destruction of the Death Star. Many writers have touched on what the Death Star’s destruction meant to people who knew or where related to the those that died aboard the space station. So, it’s not a new concept, but it always seems to work as a story trigger. As readers and fans of Star Wars, we always like to hear both sides of the struggle.

Half of the issue is a flashback to Zahra’s career and how she climbed the ranks by impressing Tarkin – until the day she didn’t and he banished her. If he hadn’t, then it was likely that she would have been aboard the Death Star and would now be dead. Perhaps there is some survivor’s guilt built up within her. This makes her a very complicated character, which I love. One failed mission was all it took for Tarkin to turn his back on her. I believe this stays very consistent with the Tarkin character as well.

When Zahra has a choice to go after Leia, even though the tactic was unsound, she immediately leaps at the chance to enact her revenge. However, when she’s confronted with reason as spoken by her first officer, she calms and decides to win the battle, rather than let her emotions rule her decisions. I have to say that I was taken off-guard by this turn of events. Even though it was a single panel, it allowed the villain to be more than just a fist-pounding dictator. In the vein of Thrawn, Zahra decides to walk the road of tactician.

However, it’s Leia that makes the final move and the writer, Charles Soule, decides to leave the story dangling right there with a “To be Continued” text box. I’m definitely looking forward to the further conflicts between these two commanders, who just happen to be women. I’m so glad they didn’t expound on the fact that Zahra was a woman. She’s just a really good character that happens to be female. I wish some writers in film and television would take a page from Soule’s writing techniques. I am hoping that the story ends as strongly as it begins. That’s tricky in comics, but the beginning has me excited for the continuation. Pick it up if you have the opportunity.

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