Princess Leia #5 – Comic Review

In the final issue, Princess Leia rescues a friend almost lost to the empire, and inspires afraid and angry men and women to support her cause. Princess Leia #5 offers:

  • Detailed artwork
  • Character’s that address issues of prejudice and fairness
  • A strong ethic about the importance of making clear statements

Details in the artwork set up a strong atmosphere, and help show off key character moments. Silent moments are also brought out to help give the comic artwork a sense of pace and flow, with silent moments taking place just after dramatic actions.

Roughly in the centre of the comic, a space scene shows off a fleet of spaceships carrying Alderaanian people fleeing the empire. A massive Star Destroyer looms into view, and as Leia delivers a key speech, the comic jumps from ship to ship.

Evaan saves Leia from imperial storm troopers with a powerful blaster that fires bright purple light. They succeed in saving an other Alderaanian captive of the empire –  a woman named Jace. The lettering and laser light colour match in this panel. Definitely an effective design choice.

Another strong moment in the artwork is the planet Espirion. On this world, the skies are blue, but the people have bright crimson skin and facial markings.

There are some great moments in the artwork where characters are silent. The artwork captures a character’s face just moments after they have asked a telling question, or made a strong statement. Leia beams when she sees her friends again. One silent scene may be missing dialogue, however, as it appears Leia is saying something to her friend Evaan, but there is no speech bubble.

Conflict between Leia and Jora marks a key conflict in the comic. Leia brings a measured response to Jora’s prejudice and fears.

After the rescue of Jace from the imperial commander who held her captive, Leia confronts another problem. Jora is a prejudiced Alderaanian. Jora reacts badly on Espirion. Jora says “The sight of our world’s descendants with alien features — well, I wasn’t at all prepared…”

The source of prejudice is most often fear. Jora fears change. Under threat from the empire destroying Alderaan, and hunting down its surviving citizens, she is no doubt feeling some measure of terror. With so few people left, perhaps she fears losing what little of Alderaan culture, arts, and tradition is left. Regardless, Leia’s response to her prejudice is measured. Leia admits that sending Jora to Espirion to fine support was a mistake. Leia wanted adventure instead. Rescuing her friend Jace from the empire’s forces was more fun than diplomacy.

Through Leia’s interaction with Jora, there is significant character development.

Evaan’s character has also changed. A Rebel Alliance X-Wing pilot, Evaan once treated Leia very formally. After watching Leia almost abandon her Alderaan salvation plan just to rescue one, single life, Evaan says she considered Leia a friend, not a princess that she must serve.

Leia delivers a moving speech proclaiming the importance of wisdom and imagination over rage and fear. It’s her courage in standing up, and making a statement that is most important here.

Leia says, “we will defend ourselves. But we won’t land one blow more than necessary. We are not our enemy.” He speech inspires the dejected and offended leader of Espirion – a man named Beon – to save Leia’s people from being wiped out of the sky by an Imperial Star Destroyer.

Leia and Beon describe why her speech was important briefly toward the end of the issue. Beon comments that her speech describes the type of society that he wants to live in. And it does sounds good: Leia proclaims that Alderaan culture represents a world where fear is relieved with imagination, and wisdom takes helps calm rage. War is not an answer to conflict.

The only issue being that Beon has the Star Destroyer itself wiped out. Many people working for the empire don’t make it. This is the paradox of war. Defending a country from attack means being prepared to destroy enemies. Princess Leia #5 focuses more on what makes a good society rather than the double edge of war.

What’s most important about these final scenes in the comic is that Leia stood up and made a statement, with the assistance of R2D2 to expand the audience of listeners to be as wide as possible.

With a strong voice, Leia speaks up about her values in the face of impending attack.

There were alternatives. Like Jora, she could have made the mistake of disengaging. Isolation, and running away from the battle back to the Rebel Alliance could have been an option. Instead, she stood up onto a platform and made a statement. Presenting the ethic of making a stand in a clear way is where Princess Leia #5 excels.

Princess Leia #5 is published by Marvel Comics ($3.99USD) Mark Waid (Writer) Terry Dodson (Pencils) Rachel Dodson (Inks) Jordie Bellaire (Colourist) VC’s Joe Caramagna (Letterer). Cover artwork by Terry and Rachel Dodson.

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