Under the chaos of foiling the machinations of the Sith Lord, writers Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman guide Ania Solo with her band of misfits in "Star Wars: Legacy" #5 to slide the story from world-building to world-ending with high stakes and explosive action sequences. The issue opens aboard the controversial communications array following the cliffhanger ending from the previous issue. That array is firmly in the grasp of the Sith Lord, who uses it to broadcast a message of terror and hopelessness.
The ragtag band assembled around Ania Solo includes Imperial Knight Jao Assam, assassin droid AG-37 and Sauk, the Mon Calamari analog for this Solo's Chewbacca. Granted, Sauk is nowhere near as imposing as a Wookie, but he is no less loyal to his friend. The writing duo has done a nice job imparting Sauk and AG-37 with personality to counter the predictably resistant personality of Ania Solo. To that end, Ania is given a history lesson from AG-37, who tries to straighten the young Solo out and empower her to do what is right simply because it is right.
Hardman serves double duty on this issue, co-writing with Bechko and drawing the action on-panel. A great deal of that action is bathed in shadow, playing to Hardman's style, as the Sith Lord assumes the mantle of Darth Wredd and prepares to broadcast the slaying of an Imperial Knight. Hardman choreographs an interesting battle between Sith and Knight, but that battle, like a pair of other critical moments, is conveniently concluded with a lucky escape, even for a Star Wars story. All the same, Hardman is well matched for this gritty future era of the Star Wars universe. His character designs are magnificent, stretching the growth of Star Wars visual tropes while maintaining the integrity of the line.
"Star Wars: Legacy" #5 marks the conclusion of the first storyarc, but leaves a few more questions than answers. This series introduced a tight band of characters and dialed in the focus on them, leaving broad swatches of the universe undefined. Undoubtedly Bechko and Hardman intend to flesh that out a bit as they continue to develop the cast around Ania Solo. Like the original theatrical release, however, readers are left with a set of characters to relate to, assimilate with and cheer on. I just hope the creative team continues to build the cast to make them more sympathetic for readers, as right now the droid is the one I most identify with.