Luke Skywalker stars in the last of Marvel's Star Wars: Age of Rebellion one-shots, which focus on a specific character in untold stories from the era of the original trilogy. Written by Greg Pak and illustrated by Chris Sprouse, Scott Koblish and Stefano Landini, the issue follows a young Luke still training to achieve his Jedi destiny in the midst of the war against the Galactic Empire. While a solid story, it's hobbled by frequent changes in artists, making the issue a noticeably uneven read.
Taking place sometime between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, Age of Rebellion - Luke Skywalker #1 follows the hero as he leads a daring mission against the Empire to steal precious cargo. While the future Jedi Knight stages the risky heist, Emperor Palpatine uses the Force to peer into Luke's vulnerable mind, leading to a telepathic confrontation between the two.
As with his work writing the previous Age of Rebellion one-shots, Pak proves he has a strong handle on the franchise and the varied, classic characters of the original trilogy. He captures Luke's burgeoning confidence and moral conflict, combined with plenty of the high-flying action the space opera is known for. And while delivering the thrills, Pak crafts a surprisingly cerebral issue, with Palpatine looking to exploit Luke's emotions and insecurities.
Pak has long written protagonists that are unsure, and even fearful, of their own potential and, at this crucial moment in Luke's training, he has found another lead in a similar narrative position. Tautly paced, the issue is full of both external and internal conflict, unfolding like a sci-fi riff on Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ, only featuring Luke Skywalker and Emperor Palpatine -- and all of the requisite lightsabers and blaster bolts. However, where the issue struggles to engage the readers is the inconsistent artwork.
Age of Rebellion - Luke Skywalker #1 features no less than three credited pencilers in Sprouse, Koblish and Landini, and two inkers in Karl Story and Marc Deering; colorist Tamra Bonvillain is the only constant. With no clear points of transition between illustrators, the artwork changes up significantly from page to page, throwing off the flow of the story, to jarring effect. That isn't to say the art is inferior; the entire team is accomplished and experienced in the Star Wars universe. However, the abrupt shifts hamper the work overall. Occasionally the artist will change in the middle of an action sequence, which especially runs the risk of taking the reader out of the story.
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion - Luke Skywalker #1 closes out the series of one-shots focused on the heroes and villains of the original Star Wars trilogy by focusing on its most conflicted primary protagonist. The future of the main ongoing series is in good hands with Pak, who continues to nail the characters' voices while maintaining the action-packed intensity of the story. However, the sheer number of illustrators rendering the interior art, with no indicator of when changes are made between them, makes for a distracting read here.