Written by: Greg Pak
Art by: Marc Laming
Published by: Marvel Comics
Chronology Placement: Set during “A New Hope”
Interwoven within the narrative of “A New Hope”, this one-shot adventure provides some background on Peter Cushing’s merciless Grand Moff Tarkin as he attempts to discipline the staff of the Death Star. Writer Greg Pak references Tarkin’s tough upbringing on Eriadu, which was shown in the novel “Tarkin”, and how his family’s fierce “do-or-die” coming-of-age ceremony left him with scars, both physically and mentally.
The story features a mix of flashbacks and dream sequences which serve to complicate the narrative, particularly the final stinger which appeared to be a combination of the both as Tarkin imagines his home planet to be wiped out by the Death Star. This left me somewhat confused, and I had to search to see whether Tarkin was indeed cold-blooded enough to wipe out his home planet once he had left to join the empire. As it is, it seems like this was another instance of Tarkin’s imagination – giving us readers another glimpse into his violent mind.
Marc Laming’s artwork in this issue is fantastic and really helps to embody the grittiness of the situation. His interpretation of Tarkin is great, capturing the stern face and piercing gaze of the ruthless Grand Moff. His recreation of an iconic scene from “A New Hope” is superb, providing a different perspective on a familiar sequence. While the slight revision to the destruction of Alderaan might infuriate some purists, it would hardly be the first time that Star Wars has been updated, and it fits in line with Tarkin’s personality to have him punish both his own men alongside the Princess. In recent years, Tarkin has been developed into a truly evil villain – rivalling Palpatine in his cold-heartedness – and it is a shame he was killed off off-screen.
Despite the flashbacks/daydream confusion, this was an interesting examination of a man willing to commit planet-wide genocide at a whim. While the issue is too short to give an in-depth character study, it acts as an effective teaser for James Luceno’s novel “Tarkin”. As with his work on “Age of Rebellion: Princess Leia”, Greg Pak has done a great job at utilising continuity from other Expanded Universe content to produce snapshots that slot nicely into the original trilogy – enhancing key scenes with new information.
Score – ★★ ½ Stars
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – “Grand Moff Tarkin” is available in a digital format from Comixology and Amazon, or collected in the trade paperback, “Star Wars: Age of Rebellion – Villains”, which is also available from Comixology and Amazon.