Let’s get something out of the way: I’m cranky about reading this issue because it’s not the next part of Vader Down. I’m so on board with that crossover event that this issue makes me sigh a little because it’s not part of it. Star Wars Annual #1 by Kieron Gillen and Angel Unzueta tells the tale of a Rebel spy named Eneb Ray who is keep undercover on Coruscant.
The nice thing is that this story can stand entirely on its own. Leia makes an appearance via hologram but that’s the only tie into the main book. That’s definitely not a flaw though. Every mission can’t involve our usual favorite heroes and Gillen does a reeeeeally good job of making Eneb Ray someone distinct. In the past, it has sometimes felt like Rebels have fallen too squarely into one of two characters: the good and the kinda corrupt. Eneb feels painfully real with how willing he is to do what has to be done. Personality-wise, he actually comes off as more of an Imperial based upon previous stereotypes. Point is, it’s a nice change even if everyone might not like it.
There is one other familiar character, however, who makes an appearance and that should be no surprise if you, y’know, look at the cover. I won’t spoil it for you but it’s a very well done use of Palpatine that follows in the steps of Lords of the Sith and strengths fans appreciation for what a damn smart bad guy he is.
Is Star Wars Annual #1 necessary reading? Probably not but it’s an interesting, contained story. If nothing else, it’s something to take your mind off the painfully long wait for The Force Awakens. 😉