**spoiler alert** I generally love Jeffrey Brown's work but part of this book particularly upset me. I was really angry to see that the back cover art...more**spoiler alert** I generally love Jeffrey Brown's work but part of this book particularly upset me. I was really angry to see that the back cover art (which portrays the same panel as one of the interior pages), depicting Father Darth Vader telling teenage Leia that she can't go out of the house wearing the iconic 'Slave Leia' gear, while she looks angry at him. I realize it's a riff on a classic father/daughter scene of 'You can't go out of the house looking like that'...but it totally disregards the fact that in the original trilogy of movies, that outfit was forced on her by Jabba The Hutt to subjugate her and to break her spirit as his captive. At all other times in the Star Wars films, Leia was dressed situationally appropriately, yet with the honor and dignity befitting her role as princess, senator, and rebel leader. Yes, in the end, Leia literally strangles Jabba to death with the chains he bound her with to regain her power, but afterwards she immediately resumes appropriate dress! The general consensus seems to be that unless you're dragging a dead carcass around, it's hard to know if you're cosplaying 'Slave Leia' as an unbroken, triumphant captive breaking free...or to attract sexual attention. In framing the 'Slave Leia' outfit as one solely worn to attract sexual attention, the comic is subtly referencing the widespread belief in the cosplaying community that 'Fake Geek Girls' are a real, problematic thing. (Which it isn't. If you put the time and energy into creating a detailed costume replica of your favorite character, 99% of the time it's because you love and admire and know the story of said character, not because you simply crave sexual attention. Though I am willing to admit that if you love Princess Leia and are comfortable/proud of your body, you might be more inclined to choose the 'Slave Leia' ensemble over her wintry Hoth rebel base outfit to cosplay in. And more power to you, because I will never be that comfortable exposing that much skin in public.)
I realize that Jeffrey Brown's comic series is a revisionist Star Wars history, so the context of the original 'Slave Leia' ensemble is a bit muddled. But later on in the book, Leia is shown wearing her 'Slave Leia' outfit while sitting, unchained, with Jabba The Hutt. She criticizes his food choice and tells him he should lose weight, then remarks that he'll be in trouble once her father arrives. The implication seems to be that Jabba is responsible for Leia dressing in a way that would upset Father Darth Vader.
Another page inside was a much better execution of this 'You can't go out of the house looking like that' father/daughter fight idea, showing Princess Leia in white two-piece pants uniform with top cutoff to expose her belly, mirroring Padmé Amidala's look during fight scenes of Star Wars prequel films. I'm frustrated that this moment wasn't expanded into a larger panel in which Father Darth Vader disapproves of so much exposed skin, instead of the 'Slave Leia' ensemble.
The theme of clothing recurs again throughout the comic book when Leia is shown going to school wearing her pajama pants like the youth of today; and again, when the 'Slave Leia' costume appears hanging up in her closet while she laments she has 'nothing to wear.' Nothing, indeed! I realize that basically any male writing about Princess Leia in Star Wars will feel the need to reference her gold metal 'Slave Leia' bikini ensemble once at the very least, but hetero-normative maleness really isn't an excuse I'm willing to accept in this day and age. (less)