In the latest issue of Marvel’s Star Wars, Lord Vader and the Emperor choose the finest commander in the Empire to go after the crippled Rebel Fleet.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Star Wars #8!
In the latest issue of Marvel Comics’ Star Wars, the Empire has the Rebel Fleet on the run, having scattered them after the Battle of Hoth during The Empire Strikes Back. Following reports that the Rebel Fleet is trying to regroup, the Emperor and Darth Vader exchange words about who might be best to take command of the Imperial forces at large, to hunt down the rebels once and for all. Unfortunately, the Emperor’s best and most effective leaders, Grand Moff Tarkin and Grand Admiral Thrawn, are no more by this time in Star Wars continuity. However, Lord Vader recommends another for this important and critical task, enlisting the help of one the Empire’s brightest: Commander Zahra.
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Commander Zahra has been introduced in recent issues of Charles Soule’s Star Wars series as a new rival for Princess Leia Organa. She has a near obsessive hatred for Leia, as Zahra blames her for the death of Grand Moff Tarkin himself, her former mentor. Tarkin was still aboard the Death Star when the Rebel Alliance succeeded in blowing it to pieces. Just before the Death Star and Tarkin’s demise, Zahra had recently failed the Grand Moff, having made an unfortunate mistake on a recent mission. However, she had every intention of redeeming herself in Tarkin’s eyes, though she never got the chance thanks to Leia getting the Death Star plans, and the Rebels using that information to blow it up, and Tarkin along with it.
With Tarkin killed and Grand Admiral Thrawn lost to the Unknown Regions (as seen in Star Wars: Rebels), the Emperor believes that he must pull Vader away from the hunt for the son of Anakin Skywalker in order to assume command of the Imperial Navy. However, Vader informs his master of Commander Zahra and her prowess in Star Wars #8 from writer Charles Soule with art by Ramon Rosanas. With his master’s blessing, Vader makes contact with Zahra, offering her the chance for redemption that she never got thanks to Leia. Zahra eagerly accepts command of the Imperial Navy, though Vader does provide a dire warning should she fail.
With that kind of pressure, and personal stakes of her own, Zahra does not hesitate to go after the Rebel Alliance with a fury, though her obsession with Leia may prove to be her undoing. In previous issues, Zahra has been taking unnecessary risks in order to position her own command ship wherever Leia’s is, even taking it upon herself to lead a premature boarding party to finally get face to face with the Princess of Alderaan.
As it currently stands at the end of this issue, Zahra’s ambition and obsession with Leia have actually worked in her favor. She did indeed meet Leia in person, even getting the opportunity to wound her with her blade before escaping back to her own Imperial Star Destroyer. In Zahra’s mind, this will create a lasting fear in Leia that will rob her of her hope, until Zahra eventually kills Organa once and for all. Zahra is certainly going to be an interesting character going forward as Marvel’s Star Wars series continues, and she’s thus far proving her worth to the Empire in spades. In the absence of Tarkin and Thrawn, Zahra has risen to the heights she’s always desired, serving as the Empire’s best and most effective commander… for the time being.
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