“Star Wars” #11 delivers the penultimate installment in Brian Wood’s first arc for this title and things really start exploding. Revelations are brought to light, declarations are made and defections occur. Naturally, much of that brings up the anger and hatred for Darth Vader, who is set to take matters into his own hands by the end of the issue.
Wood checks in with the entirety of Princess Leia’s secret squadron, something that hasn’t been done since the early issues of this series. In addition to that check-in and the revelation of the leak within the Rebellion, Wood also advances the subplot of Han Solo’s quest to bolster the armory of the Rebel Alliance. Quite a lot happens in this issue, and most of the brighter stars have moments of glory, or at least lines of dialog. Mon Mothma, in particular, is given a chance to shine and to blossom as a multi-dimensional character. Her growth in this issue will certainly have further complications, but for now, it galvanizes her humanity.
Artist Carlos D’Anda does more to capture the essence of the characters with his dynamically animated style than any other artist could do with slavish dedication and photo-referenced tracing. D’Anda’s characters are as lively as their feature film counterparts, but as inviting as the action figures of these characters would be. I’ve mentioned Wood’s knack for capturing the raw spirit of “Star Wars” in this series, and D’Anda matches that note for note in “Star Wars” #11. With colorist Gabe Eltaeb, D’Anda is able to replicate the energy of a spaceborne firefight between the Imperial and Rebel forces. About the only thing that could rev up the art more would be if a new track from a John Williams score kicked in on each page turn, not unlike a musical birthday card.
“Star Wars” #11 hits all of the right notes to be a successful “Star Wars” story and gives every fan’s favorite character some panel time. Granted, R2-D2 gets short shrift, but his presence is certainly inferred in the battle between TIE Interceptors and X-Wing fighters. Wood and D’Anda bring plenty of energy and tingling uncertainty to this chapter between films, but more importantly, they breathe life and vitality into their character contributions. As strongly as Wood captures the spirit of the original trilogy, he matches that in deepening the Expanded Universe. “Star Wars” #11 is simply another solid read in what has been a great series filled with wonderful characters.