While picking up the pace of the plot a bit from the previous issue, Star Wars #10 succeeds almost singlehandedly on the strength of one particular pairing of characters. After being teased in the cliffhanger of issue #9, this issue fully introduces Chewbacca into the “Showdown on Nar Shaddaa” storyline (in the same month as the first issue of his solo limited series launches) and pairs him with perhaps the unlikeliest of partners: C-3PO. The end result is comic book gold.
Meanwhile, Aaron and Immonen advance the storyline’s two main plots incrementally: Han, Leia and Sana escape the Imperials pursuing them (Han protesting all the while over Sana’s claims of spousehood), then decide to head for Nar Shaddaa when Leia learns of Luke’s predicament, while Luke, still a prisoner of Grakkus the Hutt, finds himself under the tutelage of the lightsaber-wielding master of the Hutt’s arena. Their interactions suggest a possible route for Luke to gain knowledge about the Jedi after all (given that his goal of reaching the old Jedi temple seems even more out of reach than ever, halfway through the story), while the Han/Leia/Sana plotline finally seems headed towards an intersection with Luke’s (at this point, the three main characters haven’t been on page with each other for six issues).
But those are promising developments more for future issues than entertaining ones in-and-of themselves in this issue. The real fun here comes from the team of Chewbacca and Threepio as they storm their way across Nar Shaddaa in search of Luke. The ultimate odd couple, Aaron gets the most out of contrasting Threepio’s elegant, erudite requests of information from local ruffians with Chewbacca’s visceral violence when said ruffians laugh off the prissy droid’s requests. That Threepio seems almost embarrassed himself by Chewbacca’s actions only adds to the entertainment value.
Immonen adds to the comical effect, using the art to help sell the characterization. His Threepio is stiff and unflinching, a golden beacon of rigidity standing out amidst the moon’s dirty denizens and their even dirtier morals, while Chewbacca is a towering mass of angry fur, constantly in motion, irritated that he has to slow down to menace answers out of Threepio’s targets. It’s subtle work (there’s no exceptionally big, splashy Chewbacca/Threepio action scenes in this issue), but it does a lot to sell an already-entertaining pairing.
While an acceleration of the story’s larger plotlines in this issue would have been appreciated, the introduction of Star Wars’ own odd couple does a lot to counterbalance the narrative malaise threatened by last issue. With everyone now presumably set to cross paths on the Smuggler’s Moon, and with Aaron and Immonen finding life in an unusual character pairing, there’s hope for a strong finish to the story over the next two chapters.
Han’s continued insistence that Sana is not his wife really does seem at this point like an obvious telegraph that there’s more to the story than “OMG! Han has a wife! Disney is ruining Star Wars!”; hopefully, the secret behind why Sana is so insistent they’re married isn’t something that’s going to be dragged around forever, and will be revealed before too long.
Luke’s arena trainer doesn’t seem terribly familiar offhand, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he turned out to be a known character from the Prequels, which could make for an interesting continuity patch, explaining how Luke went from “defend against a laser blast while blinded once” in Star Wars to “able to hold his own against Darth Vader with a lightsaber” in The Empire Strikes Back. No good guesses on who he might be, if anyone, though.
Threepio refers to Artoo at one point in this issue as a “thermocapsulary dehousing assister“, a throwback to the early days of licensed Star Wars fiction; that was the term first used to describe Artoo’s job (before the now more common term “astromech droid”) in the New Hope novelization, as well as issues #1 and #19 of the original Marvel comic book series.