Story: Charles Soule
Art: Steven Cummings, Victor Olazaba
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
What They Say:
THE ASSASSINS! QI’RA sends two killers to do what they do best to continue with her plan to plunge the galaxy into chaos. The relentless, Force-blinded OCHI OF BESTOON and the mysterious, unstoppable DEATHSTICK each have a target, and nothing will get in their way
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having enjoyed the Solo movie and liking how the Marvel side has been bringing in Qi’ra to the Age of Rebellion era so that we got to see what happened long term for the character, The opening installment of this series did a nice job of getting things underway even if it felt a little too much like mainline Marvel and not quite so much Star Wars, something this installment corrects a bit, Charles Soule definitely has a plan here with this though with it taking place in-between other events has me trying to work out the timeline more than anything else sometimes. Steven Cummings is a solid choice on the artwork here to give us something to handle all the variety and action and the end result is a solid start to this five-issue series while not giving away all of its cards just yet.
With this issue, what ties it together is Qi’ra talking to some of the others working with her at the top level about how to use assassins and others to achieve one’s own goals. It’s a bit simplistic in how she manipulates them but she does have the basic understanding of motivation and uses that to achieve her ends. One is in using Deathstick by telling her that helping Qi’ra will give her the end goal of seeing Palpatine fall, which makes sense as we discover her backstory and how she’s one of just a few of her kind left because of what Palpatine order Grievous to do when she was a child. Here, she’s going after someone that will inherit two different Syndicate clans someday, albeit smaller ones, that’s currently holed up with some Rebels. It’s a dark end for the Rebels but it puts this child, Cadeliah, into Qi’ra’s hands and that feels frightening.
The other assassin that’s focused on here is Ochi as Qi’ra talks about how his fear is what makes him kill and work in this field. He figures that killing others means that there are fewer people that could kill him, which is why he attached himself to Palpatine, i.e. stick with the greatest monster and maybe he’ll spare you mindset. Here, he’s given the job of eliminating a group of the Emperor’s palace guards, the red-robed individuals that serve him. We see how he’s working this as a timed event since there are ten people he needs to eliminate at once and to have it happen in front of Palpatine to raise the stakes and it’s definitely fascinating to watch unfold. We’ve had little in the post-EU world exploring these guards, I believe, so getting a small taste here works well as Ochi’s plan deals with setbacks before going into motion.
While I liked aspects of the first issue I like this one a good bit more overall for what it accomplishes in feeling more in the Star Wars universe. The first issue just had too much going on and was almost montage material for a while. What we get here delivers some good stuff for both Ochi and Deathstick that makes them characters you understand more while still keeping Qi’ra at a distance as we try to figure out what she’s really up to. I know they’re trying to play both sides of the fence with her but it’s not landing well for me still and I hope by the end of this storyline that we get a much better handle on her in this period before the fall of the empire.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 2nd, 2022