Set after the Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi, Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron is the story of a group of Rebel pilots tasked sent on a mission against the remains of the Empire. Alphabet Squadron follows Yrica Quell, a defector from the Empire’s TIE Fighter group Shadow Wing as she enlists in the New Republic. As a member of the intelligence department she is tasked with hunting down her former squadron.
The Empire is shattered, the second Death Star has been destroyed and both the Emperor and Darth Vader are dead. The Emperor’s final move, Operation Cinder did some damage but is losing its shine and masses of Imperials are either going AWOL or defecting to the New Republic like Quell.
Quell finds herself forming the Alphabet squadron with four other pilots; alphabet refers to the groups various different starfighter models, Quell pilots an X-Wing, Nath Tensent, an ex-Imperial who served the Rebellion throughout most of the galactic war piloting a Y-Wing. The A-Wing is piloted by Wyl Lark, a highly-skilled who wants to retire from service, although his loyalty won’t allow him to; Chass is a Theelin B-wing pilot who idolizes Jyn Erso. The final member of the squadron is the U-Wing pilot Kairos, who is a mysterious character as no one actually knows who are what she is, but her loyalty is demonstrated time and time again.
Alphabet Squadron is a slow burner, allowing fans to get to know each character individually as well as understanding how the titular group forms and develop as a team through various reconnaissance tasks. There is a lot of world and character building within the story, especially when characters are exploring their backstories, but the end result is more satisfying after investing time into building a better understanding of the characters.
Alexander Freed does a good a good job of introducing the new characters and making readers understand their morals and values, whilst also giving fans of Star Wars Rebels an appearance from the beloved Rebel hero, General Hera Syndulla.
One of my favourite things about Alphabet Squadron is the way in which Freed explores the similarities between the Empire and the New Republic, in particular the unclear nature of war and how people want to have an identity and to fit in. It’s an interesting complex as we always look at things from one perspective, whereas Alphabet Squadron allowed readers to see the viewpoint from both sides of the war, and how both sides consider themselves the ‘heroes’.
Overall Alphabet Squadron was a fun read despite being slow paced, it was a good introduction to the trilogy of stories and I am looking forward to seeing how this storyline progresses.