Writer: Charles Soule
Art: Ramon Rosanas and Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: May 4th, 2022
Commander Zahra’s last stand! Commander Zahra, the pride of the Empire, leads her ship Tarkin’s Will into battle, as they’re ambushed by the entire Rebel fleet in Star Wars #23. The Rebel fleet consists of 3 Capital ships and a vast array of X-Wing and A-Wing fighters, all against Zahra’s Star Destroyer. The Rebel fleet’s going to need reinforcements!
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Commander Zahra has quickly become one of the most fascinating characters in the Star Wars universe. As Star Wars #23 unfolds, and we witness the monumental battle of Panisia, it’s gripping to watch Commander Zahra, the Star Wars version of General Rommel, make a stand against the Rebel fleet, which has them severely outnumbered.
It’s a character that’s always fun to see.
Yep, at times, you’ll find yourself rooting for Zahra, even though she’s 150% loyal to the Empire. This is a woman who lost someone close to her when the first Death Star was destroyed. Her crew also lost loved ones on the Death Star, and Zahra’s determined to get revenge.
But this isn’t a raging, Khan-like figure who desperately launches attacks and screams at the stars. Zahra is cool, calm, and brilliant, playing out this engagement like a chess game. She’s a formidable figure, striding the bridge of her Star Destroyer in Vader-like black armor complete with a red visor and an energy sword at her side.
Simultaneously, there’s a subplot with Kes Dameron and his team of rebels, having stealthily boarded the Tarkin’s Will, attempting to rescue Kes’s wife Shara Bey. Though not as engaging as the main plot of this issue, it’s still fun, and very reminiscent of Episode IV, when Han and Luke rescued Leia aboard the Death Star. It’s always a blast watching rebels quietly take down bumbling Stormtroopers, though thankfully, the Stormtroopers here aren’t quite as incompetent as the ones in the Star Wars films. They genuinely seem intimidating, and you’ll wonder if Kes and his team will get off the ship alive.
The issue has action from the first to the last page. It’s one long battle, with a huge variety of ships engaging in combat, and the stars being lit up with explosions and blaster fire. Man, would this look amazing on an IMAX screen!
I feel Star Wars is at its best during these space battles. Sure, there are great moments of philosophy, and times when it’s nice to watch Jedis using their skills to perform superhuman feats, but when it’s all said and done, a Star Wars tale isn’t complete without a good battle among the stars, and this issue delivers that from start to finish.
Ramon Rosanas’s art on Star Wars #23 fills the book with flash and spectacle. His spacecraft, though not highly detailed, are still drawn sufficiently enough to give impact to the battle scenes. Commander Zahra is drawn to look intimidating, with her black armor almost looking like samurai armor with its domed helmet and patterns in the armor. The characters’ expressions are drawn perfectly and enhance the dialogue.
Star Wars #23 is all-out action and great fun, with another wonderful villain in Commander Zahra, and a few tense moments where you wonder if anyone will get out alive. The issue ends with a great cliffhanger, setting up the next issue’s resolution to the story. Highly recommended.