Monday, December 11

Review: ‘Star Wars’ #39 – It’s a Race to Escape Jabba’s Palace in ‘Hostile Hybroid’

Lando and Lobot are fighting for their lives in issue #39 of the main Star Wars comic series. Finding themselves between a rock and a hard place, they need to escape the rancor and the Droid Scourge with the ancient protocol droid. One of those enemies proves rather easier to evade than the other but the prospect of all three of them escaping Jabba’s Palace unscathed looks bleaker with every page.


This is another entertaining issue, which shows us a side to Lando that I’m not sure we’ve ever really seen before — an enraged, vengeful Lando doing absolutely everything in his power to save his friend. We’ve known for a long time now that Lando feels an intense loyalty to Lobot, but to see this raw emotion on the page is something else entirely.


By the end of the issue, things aren’t looking good for the pair of them, and if you read Dark Droids #3 already then you’ll understand why. Things are getting very real in this crossover — this issue also shows us more of the disturbing droid-human taxidermy that was on display in Dark Droids #3 — though I wouldn’t mind seeing a bit more of the Rebel Alliance in the next issue, as engaging as Lando’s story is right now.


Spoilers ahead…


Star Wars (2020) issue #39 cover


It turns out escaping the rancor was the easy part. All it takes is for the talky droid to emit a high-pitched scream that incapacitated the rancor for 10 seconds and the three of them are able to climb the creature to reach the hatch at the top of the cavern.


Back in Jabba’s throne room, they devise a plan that basically consists of the talky leading them out of the palace via secret passageways. They need to leave soon as the Droid Scourge knows where they are and is coming for them. Despite this, Lando takes a moment to interact with Han, frozen in carbonite on Jabba’s wall.


Lando speaks to Han Solo in Star Wars comic


He apologizes for not freeing him right then and there — Lobot asks if they should unfreeze him but Lando says no, pointing out that the practical issues involved could prevent them from leaving, as Han’s condition might slow them all down — and you can see the sadness in him as he turns down this opportunity to free his friend. It’s an important moment to remind us that no one in the Rebel Alliance has forgotten about Han quite yet; no one has really mentioned him since the Crimson Reign crossover in 2021.


It does seem odd that he turns down the opportunity to save one friend while simultaneously doing everything he can to save another. However, as if to prove Lando’s point, the second he walks away from Han, the Droid Scourge arrives with crowds of droids pursuing the three of them. They manage to run to safety, only for the talky to open one of the access doors to the secret passageways and see that the Droid Scourge is already there. They grab Lobot and lock the door behind them, separating Lando from his best friend.


Lobot grabbed by the Droid Scourge


Lando immediately suspects the talky of betraying him, but both of them are unaware of the Droid Scourge’s interest in hybroids. The thought of losing Lobot to the droids sends Lando on a rampage, as he ascends to God Mode and blasts his way through every droid he comes across, fighting his way to the chamber where the Droid Scourge is holding Lobot.


The image when Lando opens the door is ghastly as we can see more taxidermied droids with human arms, legs and even a bandaged head with glowing purple eyes. The true horror for Lando though, is seeing his friend strapped down in the middle of them all. He’s too late; the scourge has already infected Lobot’s cybernetics and possessed the hybroid, one step closer to the intelligence’s overall goal of possessing a purely organic form.


Taxidermied droid/humans in Star Wars comic


It’s a saddening development, but one that might have had more impact if it hadn’t been effectively spoiled by last week’s Dark Droids #3 — surely that issue should have been released after this one and the next Doctor Aphra comic to prevent its final pages from becoming spoilerific.


With a distant explosion confirming that Jabba has returned from his pleasure barge on the Dune Sea — a quick flash to that sail barge the only time we spend out of his palace in this issue — the Droid Scourge flees, taking Lobot with it, while Lando and the talky head back to the Millennium Falcon.


Lobot possessed by the Droid Scourge in Star Wars comic


The final page centers on Lando, who resolves to rescue his friend from the scourge. Hopefully this means he’ll be asking the Rebel Alliance for help, as I find their absence from the main Star Wars comic during this crossover strange, considering the series usually focuses on them when it’s not following Luke’s Force-related journeys.


It seems strange that they’ve been barely affected by the Droid Scourge so far, so as great as Lando and Lobot’s plight has been in the last couple of issues, it would be nice to see them get more involved in this crossover.


Rating: 8/10



Josh is a huge Star Wars fan, who has spent far too much time wondering if any Star Wars character could defeat Thanos with all the Infinity Stones.