Last seen questioning the motives of the Empire and taking a beating from his childhood friend Luke Skywalker, Imperial Lieutenant Janek Sunber has grown out of his naiveté, thrown of his doubt, and is dedicated now to nothing more than hurting his old chum from Tatooine.
My Brother, My Enemy is a collection of the first five issues of Rebellion (plus the promotional issue #0), one of four new series from Dark Horse Comics launched in 2006 following the completion of the film franchise. This particular series is a retooled version of the rebellion in the days following the destruction of the first Death Star, and this volume picks up where The Wrong Side of the War (Star Wars: Empire, Vol. 7) left off, with the rebels' mathematician Jorin Sol recovering from Imperial torture. What the Rebels don't yet know is that Sol has been programmed by the Empire to betray the location of the Alliance fleet. Lt Sunber, aka "Tank," meanwhile reveals to Darth Vader his relationship to Luke Skywalker, a confession that puts Sunber on the hook as bait for the farmboy hero of the Alliance.
Following their work together on Nomad, one of the better and longer stories of the now defunct anthology series, Star Wars Tales, British author Rob Williams and American artist Brandon Badeaux prove here that they are more than one-hit wonders. Badeaux presents some exceptionally fine work, particularly in a two-page space battle, a depiction reminiscent of the opening sequence from Revenge of the Sith, as well as the uniform design for Rebel Alliance special ops, tight-fitting black coveralls with matching black helmet and insignia. Badeaux's style is so distinct that it is sorely missed in the middle chapter, penciled by Michael Lacombe (who has since taken over regular artwork on this ongoing series). The change in style is noticeable, but the switchover happens at the start of a dream sequence and by the time you're out of the dream, you've not noticed that it's the artist, and not the style, that's changed.
For reasons that are not evident from the story, Williams has written in the first person for three different characters, switching to third person for bridging scenes and for the finale. Besides having no obvious reason for this authorial conceit, especially for one of the minor characters, there seems in one case a clear reason not to use it - the reader is prematurely tipped to a character's motivation.
Where the scripter excels is in recapturing Luke's youth, who in this period is often written as an experienced pilot, fighter, motivator, strategist, and jack-of-all-military trades. In fact he should be more as portrayed here, a wide-eyed farm boy wanting to help and do well but with still much to learn and prone to misjudgment and mistakes. Williams also does a good job capturing Luke's old friend and current nemesis, Lt Janek Sunber, a boy from Tatooine who once showed some regret at having joined the Imperials but whose doubt has been consumed by a fiery rage at himself, rage he redirects at his childhood chum. A few new characters slated to reappear in future stories are so far largely unremarkable.
While not an exceptional addition to the Star Wars EU library, this first volume of Rebellion is a solid effort that holds promise for a grittier and darker version of the rebellion than we've seen previously. I'm personally looking forward to future volumes, though disappointed that Badeaux seems to have left the series for the time being.
Set in the days immediately following A New Hope, Rebellion is one of Dark Horse Comics' four new Star Wars series. Chronologically, Knights of the Old Republic takes place several thousand years before the film series, Dark Times in the immediate aftermath of the Clone Wars, Rebellion in the period following A New Hope, and Legacy some 100 years after Return of the Jedi.