Warning: SPOILERS for Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special
The Star Wars saga has dropped some truly tragic and bleak moments on its characters, but they've saved one of the simplest - and most devastatingly grim - for a cult favorite hero of the Rebel Alliance.
The average Star Wars fan may not instantly recognize the Rebel pilot Jek Porkins, one of Luke Skywalker's wingmen in the Battle of Yavin. But if movie viewers think that Porkins’ story only turned grim when he was shot down above the Death Star, the latest glimpse into his life may suggest he was more than ready to be vaporized. The Star Wars movies may gloss over the horrors of the Rebel/Empire conflict, but old Porkins got one thrown into his face--literally. And it's a moment fans aren't likely to forget.
Being known as “the big guy who gets blown up” may not be the legacy Porkins had hoped for, but with just one sequence in Star Wars: A New Hope, being remembered at all is a compliment. Thankfully Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special gives fans another unforgettable Porkins moment, infinitely darker than his death.
The short story titled "Stolen Valor" begins by reminding fans that Porkins was a deadly pilot, despite being best known for the mission that got him killed like a sitting duck. He was assigned to Red Squadron along with Luke, after all (callsign Red 6 to Luke's Red 5). And as Porkins blasts Imperial ship to pieces near Kashyyk, he does a credit to all of the Tierfon Rebels, and those who trained him to become one of the infamous Tierfon Yellow Aces--one of whom lost their helmet so that it could someday end up in Rey's Jakku collection.
In this story, though, the true heart is what happens after Porkins blows another Imperial TIE Fighter into dust… and the object that flies directly into Porkins’ canopy. Following hot on the heels of Porkins almost getting killed by the Imperial, his exclamation of “I got it!” is understandable. But the object that continues along its path, out of the TIE's cockpit, and smack into Porkins’ sight line… well, have a look to see if it changes your perception as much as it does Porkins’.
The Rebel's expression really does say it all. How else are you supposed to respond when obliterating an enemy craft, only to have a hologram of the pilot and his wife, child, and newborn baby coldly clatter into your windscreen? We almost don't want to explain what the Aurebesh written on the holo translates to, but we must: “Come Home.” You have to hand it to writer/artist Jon Adams, for changing how we see every destroyed Imperial target from now on.
It isn't likely that the future Star Wars movies being planned will explore the conflict between armies as nakedly as even this single scene in “Stolen Valor,” since audiences would be just as bummed out as Porkins. But it's nice to see the human cost, and the families broken every time a Jedi or Sith decides it's time to take their revenge on a galactic scale.
Star Wars: Age of Rebellion Special is available now from Marvel Comics.