Operation Starlight – Part II: The Rebel Code
“OPERATION STARLIGHT, PART 2 (OF 3)” – REELING FROM THE LOSS OF ONE OF THEIR OWN, THE REBELS FINALLY SEE A PATH FORWARD! THE REBELS attempt to create a new communications code that THE EMPIRE will never be able to crack, in hopes that they might be able to safely reunite their scattered fleet and rejoin the fight. However, the code has a cost, one that LANDO CALRISSIAN is not willing to pay! Meanwhile, STARLIGHT SQUADRON, the group of elite pilots tasked with finding the scattered divisions of the fleet, heads out on its first deadly mission.Marvel.com official solicitation
Part two of Charles Soule’s current story quickly resolves the problem our heroes were left with in the previous issuse. The Rebels had stolen an ancient protocol droid to create a new code for transmissions as the Empire had broken their previous one but when they tried to switch it on nothing happened. All it takes is a prode from 3PO, a poke from R2 and, after a brief bit of violence, some calming from Lobot and they have ‘Talky’ the droid up and running. The only problem they now have is that Lobot and the droid seem to have a mental connection that if broken will turn the droid violent.
The story then takes a twist as Lando gets a call from Bib Fortuna, Jabba’s right hand man. Apparently Lando has offered the Hutt information on the Rebels in exchange for his life and Bib wants him to hand over the codes. Up until this point Lando has be portrayed as having left the criminal life behind and this adds a wrinkle to his story. Is this how Lando manages to infiltrate Jabba’ Palace so easily?
Lando’s bond with Lobot is also explored. Lando fills in the backstory for everyone about how Lobot is the way he is (as seen in the ‘Lando’ miniseries) and how much of a debt he owes him. Lobot’s mind has been taken over by a computer implant and Lando is willing do whatever it takes to reverse this. This has interesting parallels to his relationship with L3-37 (in ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story) who had her memories inserted into the Millennium Falcon’s navigation computer. Meanwhile, it appears that Talky has a way to do this but Lobot’s connection to him may be fatal.
Now that the Rebels have a way of making a new code they have to get it out to the fleet. To do this, enter Starlight Squadron lead by Shara Bey (Poe Dameron’s mother) and featuring the true hero of the Rebellion, Wedge Antilles. The name Starlight is another nod to the current High Republic publishing event with Starlight being the name of the space station in that story. When the squadron arrives at their first destination they find that they are too late and the Empire have already destroyed the waiting Rebel ships. The pilots are then attacked by probe droids who are after the new codes inside their astromechs. The question is have they been set up (possibly by Lando) and flown into a trap. The only way for the squadron to escape is for them get their droids to self destruct thus destroying the codes. This leaves the squadron lost in space with no navigation or codes to communicate.
This issue wraps up with a showdown between Lando and Kes Dameron (father of Poe). The Rebels need Talky to translate some new code so they can contact their missing Starlight Squadron but if he does it will kill Lobot. Lando wants to save his friend and Kes wants to rescue his wife.
This is more like what we want from the flagship Star Wars title. There are personal and galactic stakes involved and there is development of classic characters.