With Luke’s quest for his lightsaber complete, the Star Wars comic series now pivots to a new arc with The Will of Tarkin: Predators in Star Wars #7. Published by Marvel Comics, Star Wars #7 is written by Charles Soule, artist Roman Rosanas, colorists Rachelle Rosenberg, letterer Clayton Cowles, and cover artists Carolo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, and Rain Berdo. This arc takes place following the aftermath of the Battle of Hoth in the Empire Strikes Back. The Rebel Alliance is scattered and the Empire is hot on their trail despite the death of Grand Moff Tarkin.
Star Wars #7 opens with General Leia Organa and Luke Skywalker discussing the Rebel Alliance’s plans of attack against the Empire. Meanwhile, Imperial intelligence works to intercept the Rebel’s communication so that they can mount their own offensive. Leading the search for our heroes is Commander Ellian Zahra aboard the Star Destroyer, Takin’s Will. Zahra was introduced to Star Wars canon in Star Wars #1 where her initial pursuit of the Rebels began. Through the intercepted communications between Rebel fleets, Commander Zahra must decide between attacking the closer fleet or the fleet led by General Organa.
Commander Zahra’s immediate reaction is to attack General Leia’s fleet despite the closer fleet being the easier target. After missing her chance to capture the Rebel leader prior, Zahra is eager to rectify her previous failure. She is eventually persuaded by her lieutenant to go with the more logical course of action but it is apparent that Zahra has a deep-rooted vendetta against the princess of Alderaan. Through hushed conversations between her subordinates, it is clear that the Empire is aware of Organa’s involvement in the destruction of the first Death Star. For Zahra, that makes it personal.
Writer Soule takes readers back to years prior to when Tarkin was only a governor looking for a protege. Zahra and two other officers are instructed to hunt on the Carrion Plateau which has been a rite of passage for Tarkin’s for generations. It is here that readers get insight into the cunning and ruthlessness that Zahra processes. Tarkin is pleased with her resolve and takes the young commander to be under his wing.
The rest of Star Wars #7 dives into the source of Commander Zahra’s focus on Leia Organa as it relates to Tarkin. I thoroughly enjoyed the backstory that Star Wars # 7 provides for Zahra. Introducing a new character that we may never see on screen is never easy let alone making that clear focus of an arc of a canon series. However, Soule provides everything readers need to know about this character only seen in previous issues of this series.
Artist Rosanas and colorists Rosenberg, with the help of Soule’s dialogue, capture Zahra’s fierceness with her subordinates while balancing the respect she has for Tarkin that borders the line of meekness. The duality lends to the tension surrounding her desire to deal with Leia while still maintaining her poise in command.
The choice to have Zahra complete Tarkin’s rite of passage and subsequent missions draw similarities to what Leia Organa had to endure during her challenges leading up to her Day of Demand in Leia, Princess of Alderaan. Each woman handled their challenges and their setbacks differently. The leaders they have become are results of those trails and look to inform their actions in the inevitable conflict. Soule has certainly set readers up for a collision course between two formidable opponents in Zahra and Leia and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Star Wars #7 is available on October 7, 2020, wherever comics are sold.
Star Wars #7
The choice to have Zahra complete Tarkin’s rite of passage and subsequent missions draw similarities to what Leia Organa had to endure during her challenges leading up to her Day of Demand in Leia, Princess of Alderaan… Soule has certainly set readers up for a collision course between two formidable opponents in Zahra and Leia and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.