SPOILER WARNING: This article contains spoilers for "Star Wars" #22, which is on sale now.
Thanks to solicits and preview pages, "Star Wars" readers have known for a little while now that the current arc of the Marvel Comics series would feature the Rebels taking command of a Star Destroyer. The arc, titled "The Last Flight of the Harbinger," kicked off last month with a chapter that introduced a competent group of stormtroopers called Scar Squadron. "Star Wars" #22 from Jason Aaron and Jorge Molina shifts focus back to the series’ protagonists, the Rebel forces. And, most importantly, it shows us just how the Rebels pull off stealing a Star Destroyer.
To break down this impressive feat of rebellion, we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide to stealing a Star Destroyer as depicted in this issue. Of course, you have to have a fleet of starfighters, some ace pilots and a little bit of the Force on your side to really pull this off.
First, drop proton bombs on sector 19-A of the Star Destroyer, breaching the hull surrounding the main engine reactor. Han and Leia pulled off this feat while in the Millennium Falcon, with Han piloting the ship close enough for Leia to drop the bombs that Chewbacca loaded. This tactic also worked because the Imperial Officers onboard the Star Destroyer wrongly assumed the Rebels were following common attack patterns and attacking their forward shield generators first.
Second, fire torpedoes at the exposed reactor, making sure you hit your target. After X-wing pilot Wedge Antilles’ torpedoes missed their mark, Luke Skywalker did something unthinkable: he flew inside the hull breach and delivered the torpedoes to the reactor up close and personal. With the main reactor pushed into overload and presumably no one left in the breached sector 19-A to shut it down, the Imperials were left with one option…
…Evacuate. If you want to steal a Star Destroyer, you definitely don’t want to steal the thousands of crew members on board. With the Harbinger minutes away from destruction, the crew evacuated quickly, leaving an opening for a replacement crew to fly against traffic and land on the ship.
Next, once your team is onboard the ship, you have to move fast. After all, you’ve got to fix the hull breach and shut down the main reactor before it blows up, taking the Star Destroyer and crew members old and new with it. Fortunately for the Rebels, a productive Imperial engineer was able to do the first step for them by fixing the breached hull. But Luke knocked him out cold before he could move to shut down the overloading main reactor, and that’s when the worst happened.
Step five: don’t let the main reactor overload. You will explode. That’s what happened to the Harbinger -- or at least that’s what the Rebels let the Empire think happened to the Harbinger. But actually the Rebels jettisoned the overloading main reactor into space and punched the Star Destroyer into hyperspace, fleeing the scene under the cover of an explosion.
And that’s how you steal a Star Destroyer. You breach the hull of the main engine reactor, overload it with torpedoes and cause the crew to evacuate. Then you jettison the exploding main engine reactor and use the hyperdrive and less powerful secondary engine reactor to make your getaway while the explosion distracts your enemies. That plan got the Rebels a Star Destroyer, but it didn’t leave them with the upper hand. As Han, Luke, Leia, Sana and the rest of the Rebels found out, it takes more than a skeleton crew to efficiently maintain a Star Destroyer. And the secondary reactor is nowhere near as powerful as the main engine reactor. And jumping into hyperspace during an explosion fried thier hyperdrive, requiring extensive repairs.
But still, the Rebels scored a Star Destroyer. And now we get to see what they’re going to do with it as "The Last Flight of the Harbinger" plays out. "Star Wars" #23 arrives in stores on September 28.