The central action piece of Star Wars #11 is the fight, teased on the cover, between Dengar and Chewbacca (with a delightful assist and fun callback to earlier issues of the series from Threepio). Dengar, one of the bounty hunters who appeared in The Empire Strikes Back looking like an armored mummy, has always played something like second fiddle to Boba Fett in Star Wars fiction, and it’s hard not to read his appearance here in that context. Dengar, while able to hold his own against Chewbacca, is less flashy and coolly-efficient than Fett. Aaron depicts Dengar as a more blunt and inelegant fighter with Immonen casting him as something of a brutish, hulking figure able to believably hold his own against Chewbacca.
Meanwhile, Luke finally enters Grakkus the Hutt’s arena and faces off against the creature, which appeared on the cover of the previous issue, an event which sets up an additional twist for the story as Grakkus’ gamesmaster makes a surprising move. But more importantly, this issue finally addresses the Han/Sana marriage, with a weary Han revealing the true story behind their marriage. Not surprisingly, it turns out to be less straightforward than Sana’s abrupt declaration in her first appearance suggested. While it’s entirely possible that Han still isn’t being entirely truthful about the situation, finally hearing Han’s side of the story is long overdue, something that needed to be done to advance the story and help Sana’s character move forward. That Leia simply can’t be bothered to care either way at this point, as she’s more focused on helping Luke, is, on the other hand, a great piece of characterization on Aaron’s part.
Immonen continues to shine throughout the issue, growing more comfortable with the likenesses of the Big Three (There’s a few closeup shots of Luke that uncannily resemble Mark Hamill circa A New Hope.) even while he continues to excel at the big action sequences, with the final page in particular eliciting the kind of fist-pumping excitement that makes comics so great.
So, after a couple of relatively slow issues that seemed to be dragging out the plot, it’s promising to have Aaron & Immonen head into the finale having recaptured the energy of the story’s earlier issues even while effortlessly performing the necessary actions to bring all the characters together for the conclusion. Hopefully, that energy carries over into the conclusion.
Some fans did a fair amount of teeth-gnashing over the reveal of Sana back when she first appeared, with cooler heads rightly pointing out that the whole story wasn’t yet known. This issue confirms what many suspected: that her “marriage” to Han is the result of a dubious scheme on his part, something he never intended seriously, with Sana either choosing to hold him to it regardless or ignorant of his true intentions.
The reveal that Grakkus’ gamesmaster is in cahoots with Imperials is an intriguing wrinkle – for one, it introduces yet another complication for the heroes into the climax of a story that is already rather crowded. For another, where the gamesmaster gave off the vibe of a former Jedi earlier in the story, thanks to his knowledge of lightsaber combat, this reveal belies that notion, or at least suggests he’s become something of a self-hating Jedi. Either way, it’s an intriguing development for both the character and the story, albeit something of an abrupt one.
One of the spectators expresses dismay that Luke isn’t “the little green one” (obviously a reference to Yoda) while another suggests that Luke isn’t even fit to be a Padawan, suggesting Jedi lore perhaps isn’t as unknown and cloaked in mystery at this time as has been previously suggested (or just that patrons of Grakkus’ arena are more in the know on this stuff than the average galactic citizen).