Wedge Antilles Defeats The Empire's Best Stormtroopers
To make sure casual Star Wars fans can appreciate the actual badassery on display in these panels from Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, and artist Mike Mayhew, it's important to know these aren't your everyday Stormtroopers that the Rebels are opposing on their first trip to The Last Jedi's Crait. As their assorted armor and weapons attest, the standard uniformity and 'quantity over quality' mentality of the Empire's forces doesn't apply here. This is the SCAR Squadron (also known as Task Force 99), an elite unit introduced during Jason Aaron's run on the main Star Wars comic series, specifically to defy stereotypes.
Where most Stormtroopers are seen as laughable cannon fodder, every member of Task Force 99 is handpicked and specialized. And they're led by Sergeant Kreel, a fearsome warrior from Darth Vader's personal 501st Legion - and who wields a lightsaber with serious skill. The arrival of SCAR Squadron is treated with the appropriate levels of gravity, pursuing Leia and Han on speeder bikes until Wedge and his pilots intervene. The goal is to distract the Imperials so Leia can escape to freedom, providing Luke with his own 'hero' moment squaring off against Kreel, lightsaber to lightsaber. Which makes it all the more satisfying when the action returns to Wedge and the Rebels. The fight is over, and has been won decisively.
A point driven home by Wedge as he is shown towering over Zuke - the most physically imposing heavy trooper in ARC Squadron - and loosing a war cry as the sole survivor of the original Red Squadron, smashing his enemy's helmet off-panel. Considering just how many of Wedge's adventures and significance to the Alliance and New Republic was wiped out of canon, this may be a small comfort. Fans can only hope that this undeniably epic moment of personal glory is a sign that Wedge's role in the Rebellion - both before, during, and after its victory - is one future writers and artists are determined to explore.
Small as it may be, it's further proof that the supremely epic heroes of the Rebellion extend well beyond the film's existing heroes. And if future films or adaptations are looking for a fearsome hero... Wedge just made his name known to the entire galaxy. And for more than just a Rogue Squadron movie, although we're still shocked that's a movie pitch that needs to be made.
Star Wars: The Storms of Crait #1 is available now.