Friday, March 4, 2011

Review: Star Wars Omnibus 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

I recently bought volume two of the Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago… and have been enjoying reading it- though the source of that enjoyment varies from story to story, as you’ll see. Below are summaries of the various story arcs to be found in this collection of 1970’s and 80’s era Star Wars comics. And with each will be included my personal opinions of each.

This is one of the comics I actually owned when I was a kid- and still have today (though it is in terrible condition). It tells the story of Han and Chewbacca hiding out on a remote world to fix their ship, only to be tracked there by Jabba the Hutt and his henchmen- in direct pursuit of the Crime Lord’s bounty on the smuggler. Things go from bad to worse when our heroes discover that not only are they trapped in their cave hideout- it is also infested with Stone Mites- insect parasites created as a biological weapon during the clone wars. Through luck and guts, Han and Chewie manage to escape this death trap, only to be cornered by Jabba’s ship. Fortunately for the good guys, Jabba’s craft had been infested with Stone Mites, requiring the crime boss to agree to a ‘deal’ with Solo in exchange for his own life.

I loved this story. It was a fun little one-shot that felt totally in keeping with Han and Chewie’s personas. I was a little disappointed with Jabba himself, however, as he was portrayed as a yellow humanoid monkey-like guy with white whiskers and an orange jumpsuit. This guy was later retconned to be a representative of the Nimbanel species who was a representative of Jabba, not Jabba himself (even though he was referred to as such in the original comic). Apart from the story, I also enjoyed the name of Jabba’s flagship: The Voidraker. Nice. The idea of the Stone Mites was cool as well, and even though I haven’t yet, I’d still love to introduce the little all-consuming buggers in an adventure of my own.

This was an odd story, but that’s fitting considering it is the final chapter in a series of equally odd stories about the self-hating Valance the Hunter. Valance is a cyborg with a loathing for droids. In his previous encounter with Luke, however, he was impacted by the boy’s friendship with his droid companions and has, by the time of this story, turned over a new leaf. Here, he is tracking down a Rebel deserter who knows the true identity of the pilot who destroyed the Death Star. Vader is also tracking this man down so that he might learn Luke’s true identity. Valance stands between Vader and the deserter in order to keep the Dark Lord from the information he seeks. As he puts it, Valance is trying to buy Luke the time he needs to train and get better, so that when he DOES face Vader, he will be able to defeat him. The duel between Vader and Valance is short and brutal. Valance manages to slow the Dark lord and even wound him-prompting Vader to try and recruit him. Valance refuses, however, and is ultimately killed. In death, though, Valance’s sacrifice inspires the deserter to kill himself rather than divulge Luke’s identity to Vader.

To me, it seemed odd for Valance to suddenly turn so noble. But then, his motivation had always seemed very odd to me- so I just went with it. The fact that Vader didn’t know Luke’s name after all this time seemed odd to me as well, considering Luke had (as I recall) been known by name to other Imperials by this point. But again, I went with it. All in all, the fight between Valance and Vader was pretty good- showing off how badass Vader really is at this point. Again, I am reminded that villains and heroes alike always feel ‘greater’ when they are fighting worthy foes.

This is another stand alone story where Leia is on a solo mission to the Imperial industrial planet of Metalorn. There, she is to meet with the locals and attempt to foment revolt. The planet itself is under martial law, with the inhabitants fed imperial propaganda to show them that resistance is futile and the Empire is all powerful. This is show in a scene where a child tries to plant a seed in the polluted ground of Metalorn, only to have it destroyed by a Stormtrooper. Meanwhile, Leia is quickly discovered and must flee hordes of stormtroopers and the advanced security systems of the planet itself. Through guile and bravery, she manages not only to escape, but to show the people of Metalorn that the Empire is not nearly as invincible and infallible as they would have others believe. The story ends with the child from the beginning planting another seed and tending to it- representing the seed of Rebellion Leia had planeted among the populace (Okay, so its probably a bit trite and clichéd, but for a comic of this period, it's a nice touch).

This was another solid little story that I enjoyed quite a bit, even if it did portray the Empire as a bit simplistic in its tactical sense. This story also marks the reappearance of a recurring villain: Baron Orman Tagge, who is, in my opinion, a great and unique foil. I also liked the fact that Leia was shown (once again) to be quite capable of taking care of herself in dangerous situations. She may be a ‘princess’, but she’s no damsel in distress.

This is the story of an old enemy from Han’s past returning to plague him and his companions. The evil “Majestrix of Skye” is a tall, winged humanoid who is evidently a student of Darth Vader’s (thus she has Force powers, which are revealed later in the story). Han had run afoul of her early in his smuggling career and had only just managed to escape her vengeance. With her reappearance, and the murder of an old friend, Han decides to finally quit running and face the Majestrix. This sets up a visit to the planet Skye where Han is captured and turned over for torture while Luke and Leia manage to convince the oppressed people of the planet to rise up in revolt. They succeed due to the fact that Luke’s arrival on the planet was ‘foretold’ as a sign that the time was ripe for the Majestrix’s downfall. In the end, Luke fights an aerial duel with the Dark Jedi and defeats her, freeing the planet.

This story is told in a “King Size Annual” and is not surprisingly ‘king-size’ in length. It is also notable in that it is illustrated by ‘guest artists’ rather than the guys who worked on the rest of the series thus far. Visually, I actually preferred this team of artists to the normal ones, but that is subjective, I know. Story wise, this is a solid story arc, ending with a memorable duel. Its funny now, however, that in the final pages of the story, Luke is told of Ben Kenobi and his two students having once visited the world of Skye. It is insinuated that one of the students was Vader and the other Luke’s father. Heh. Well, not quite, huh?

This story arc extends over four issues of the comics and features the Tagge family of villains once more. This time, the Baron and his brother are on Tatooine, developing a new weapon to use against the Rebellion in their never-ending quest to ‘one up’ and humiliate Darth Vader. In this case, the weapon consists of a pair of huge towers that generate between them a field of cold so intense that it destroys anything caught within. This is given the appropriate (if somewhat corny) name of “Omega Frost”. Unfortunately for the bad guys, the existence of the weapon is stumbled upon by Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, both of whom had been visiting Tatooine for different purposes. Luke is captured while trying to learn more about the device, but Han escapes to warn the Rebellion.

The Alliance sends a fleet of cruisers to destroy the weapon before it can be used against the planet Junction (home to numerous rebel sympathizers). Unfortunately for the Rebels, the attack on Junction is just bait to lure the Alliance fleet into an ambush with the Omega Frost in an asteroid corridor approaching the planet. Luke frees himself (defeating Baron Tagge in a lightsaber duel along the way), but finds his escape craft sabotaged. Unable to warn the Rebel fleet, he instead tries to disable the Omega Frost generators before they can be activated. He succeeds just in time, resulting in the Alliance Fleet breaking through and engaging the unprepared Imperials at Junction. Here, Tagge’s ship is destroyed and he (and his scientist brother) are apparently killed.

Quite honestly? I loved this whole story arc. I owned (and still own) the first comic in the series, and still remember marveling in the novelty of the people actually returning to Tatooine. Luke visits his old Farm, finds a couple of his friends (Fixer and Cammie to be precise), and even winds up in the Mos Eisley Cantina again. To me, it was a fun jaunt down ‘memory lane’- but with a lot of new twists. Once again, the Tagge’s prove to be interesting and unique villains. The Baron faces Luke, only to find that for all his training, he is outmatched by the young farm boy. The Baron’s scientist brother is a great contrast to his brother, cold and logical- but those traits fail him when he is presented with the unexpected. The ONLY part of the story that I still have a problem with is the whole concept of Omega Frost itself. I mean, they show it working in space by having asteroids in its area of effect suddenly begin dangling huge icicles. That’s just.. dumb. And could intense cold even have that much effect on ships designed to operate in the cold of space? I… honestly don’t know the answer, but I tend to believe it wouldn’t be as dramatic as the comics suggest. But…whatever. I enjoyed the story enough to just chalk the whole “Omega Frost” thing up to pseudo-scientific mumbo-jumbo.

This three-issue story-arc tells the story of Darth Vader finally learning the identity of Luke Skywalker setting a plot in motion to destroy the Rebel hero. Central to the Dark Lord’s gambit, is Domina Tagge, the sister to the ill-fated Baron who had been ‘kept innocent’ of the intrigues of her family by being placed on the world of Monastery, home to the religious group known as the Order of the Sacred Circle. Vader convinces Domina to aid him by telling her that it was Luke who killed her brothers (this is untrue in several ways, since Vader himself has both presumed-dead Tagge brothers held in stasis on his own ship). It is even insinuated that Domina receives some training in the Force from Vader (which is displayed later in the story).

The plot begins with Domina paying a visit to the Rebels and asking them to ‘argue their case’ to the Order of the Sacred circle. The Order evidently wields great influence throughout the Galaxy and would make a valuable ally to the Alliance. Luke (more than a little taken in by Domina’s looks and words), agrees. Han and Leia (the latter creepily (in retrospect) jealous of Domina), will be (unknown to Luke) backup in the operation- keeping tabs on him through a audio uplink from R2-D2 (Luke’s companion on the mission).

Upon arriving on Monastery, Luke has a series of encounters that portray him in a bad light to the religious order there- not the least of which being the rage he displays upon meeting the Imperial ‘ambassador’ to the planet- Darth Vader. Through her own wiles and force manipulation, Domina plays Luke for a sucker, eventually leading him (and through him the Rebellion) to be condemned by the the Order. This sets up a ‘final’ confrontation between Luke and Vader- a duel which Domina chooses to have held in a place known as the “Crystal Valley”.

Meanwhile, Han and Leia have been listening in and, on their way to help Luke, are captured by the Imperials- on Vader’s ship no less. They manage to escape and get to Monastery- only to find that they have a Stowaway. Baron Tagge has somehow escaped from his stasis prison and intends to save his sister from Vader’s Machinations (though he also intends to destroy the Rebels).

The whole thing comes to a head in the Crystal Valley. There, Luke and Vader discover that Domina chose a place that could easily kill BOTH of them- what with spear-like crystals constantly bursting through the earth. Luke and Vader clash, then get separated. Baron Tagge escapes the Millennium Falcon (which had crash-landed just outside the Valley) and finds Vader- but is once again defeated. Luke encounters Vader again and apparently kills him- only to find that in actuality, he had been battling (and killed) Baron Tagge. Seems that Vader had spared the Baron then used the Force to cloud Luke’s mind so that he thought the Baron was Vader. Why would Vader do this? Why to ‘teach Tagge a lesson’ for one, and to test Luke’s strength for another.

In the end, with more crystals erupting, Luke decides that discretion is the better part of foolhardiness. He flees, eventually finding Han and Leia with Domina. The woman realizes she’d been tricked by Vader, but is now more directly angered at Luke since he really DID kill her brother this time. And so Luke is banished and the Order of the Sacred Circle does NOT throw its influence to the Rebel cause.

This whole arc was a lot more grim than previous adventures— perhaps picking up on the tone of the Empire Strikes Back, which had come out the month BEFORE the final issue of this story arc. Overall, I liked the story an awful lot- especially the twists and turns of the plot. For the most part, they all made sense- though the death of the Baron in the end just seemed a bit too much to me. I mean, there was already deception within deception going on and this only complicated it. Even so, none of the bad points of the story remotely outweighed the good. It is probably one of the strongest story arcs in the comics and Domina Tagge was positioned to become a rather interesting new villain/foil (though I’m not certains he was ever used again).

As an amusing footnote. The final issue of this arc contains an epilogue in which Jabba the Hutt (again the Yellow monkey-man from previous issues) discovers that Han Solo had a part in the death of Crimson Jack (a notorious space pirate from very early on in the comics). It is revealed that Jabba was a financial backer of Jack and thus lost a lot of money by Solo’s actions. This sparks Jabba to once again put a price on Han’s head, even though he had removed it several issues prior. Again, I can’t help but surmise that this was because of the events shown in the Empire Strikes back.

Despite the fact that the issue previous to this one announced that the NEXT issue would be the official comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back, the next issue was actually this one-issue story. We pick up with Luke and Leia on a mission, being attacked by the Empire. They flee, but their ship’s hyperdrive is damaged, resulting in a jump that takes them into a starless ‘void’, far outside anything known to them. There, they encounter a huge, alien ship. With no other recourse, they board the vessel, only to discover the dangers of its odd, techno-organic construction and come under attack by a seemingly insane droid that thinks Luke and Leia are just part of its imagination- an ‘entertainment’ cooked up for it by the ship itself. Upon learning the truth, the ship itself tries to expel Luke and Leia. Due to Luke’s self-sacrificing attempt to save the princess, the ship stops trying to kill them. It is then revealed that the ship and its sole crewman are now ‘melded’ into one entity. They are the last survivors of a war that happened eons ago. They want nothing more than to be allowed to continue to drift in the void, away from conflict. Even so, they were touched by Luke and Leia’s care for eachother, and agree to return them to their own Galaxy. Once there, the alien ship is attacked by the Empire. The alien vessel easily destroys the Imperial Star Destroyer, drops off Luke and Leia, then returns to the void.

This is probably one of the weirder Star Wars stories, in that it deals with technology and circumstances FAR outside the ‘normal’ for the setting. Even so, it doesn’t feel out of place. Just another example of the inclusiveness of Star Wars as a Sci-fi setting. Again illustrated by ‘guest artists’, this story has a completely different look from others in the series- which only seems to add to its odd, other-worldly quality.

The official comic book adaptation of the movies spans six issues of the comic, and utilizes (once again) a different team of artists than the ‘main’ series of comics- in this case Al Williamson, an artist who I really enjoy. Here was one of the first times I was relatively ‘satisfied’ with the look of the various vehicles and characters as something reminiscent of what I saw in the movies. The adaptation itself was pretty faithful— though as with the first movie adaptation, some liberties were taken here and there and the dialogue differs in places. I won’t go into this much more, since the comic IS pretty much just the movie. But one amusing little easter-egg I found was one frame of the comic set in Cloud City. While the heroes are shown in the background, one of the denizens of cloud city walks in the fore. It took me a moment to recognize this person, but it is actually a representation of George Lucas, based on a still taken from the filming of the original movie. So Lucas gets a cameo in his comic. Fun.

Once the adaptation is over, we’re back to the ‘usual’ artists again (much to my disappointment at the time). Even so, this next single-issue entry into the saga is actually quite good. In the wake of the Imperial victory at Hoth, a weary rebel ship struggles to find its way back to the fleet rendezvous. Unfortunately, they are intercepted by a specially modified probe droid that blasts its way onboard and eliminates the crew. From there, it makes contact with its Imperial masters, then takes control of the ship and sets course for the Rebel Fleet- with the intention detonating the ship’s reactor in its midst. Luke, recovering from the wounds suffered during his duel with Vader, stumbles upon the probe-controlled ship while patrolling in his X-Wing. He is promptly shot down after mistaking the vessel for a friendly. Luke manages to eject and, along with Artoo, board the probe-ship. Hero and sidekick soon discover the probe droid in charge of the ship, even as they manage to avoid its attempts to kill them with various automated components of the ship.

Luke tricks the droid into changing course by announcing that he is Luke Skywalker. The droids new programming is overridden by its ‘standard order’ to take Luke into custody. It turns around and starts to head back to the Star Destroyer that launched it. Meanwhile, Luke feigns his own incapacitation, then uses the Force to keep his life-signs at a low level. This tricks the probe droid’s sensors into registering Luke is ‘no longer a threat’- even as the Rebel makes his way to a crucial control linkage and severs it. The ship momentarily disabled, Luke and Artoo make it to an escape pod and eject. The probe ship continues on its course, heading right for the Star Destroyer- and with its reactor still primed to explode. The Imperials try to destroy the probe ship, but cannot before it impacts. The Imperials and the probe ship are all destroyed and Luke is picked up by the Alliance.

I loved this plot. It was pretty well thought out and involved a lot of clever ideas by Luke and Artoo in order to get out of their situation. I could easily see this translated as an RPG adventure for a single player. Great stuff.

This single-issue story follows the exploits of Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca as they search for clues to Han Solo’s whereabouts. They run afoul of the Empire and escape into a ‘distortion’ in space which takes them to an odd ‘pocket dimension’. There, they find a strange world evidently controlled by an Alien man named Cody Sunn-Childe. Evidently Cody was a hero of the Rebellion many years ago who disappeared without a trace. It is discovered that Cody was actually defeated in battle only to be transformed by a mysterious ‘fire’ into a being of almost godlike powers- able to shape things around him to his liking. This ‘pocket’ dimension is of his creation- a place to hide from the horrors of war and from his own darker side. He has also gathered others of like mind around him. Chewbacca is somewhat taken in by this seemingly idyllic place, especially when he finds another Wookiee there. Lando, however, is angry that Cody turned his back on the rest of the galaxy to ‘hide’ here- especially when he has the power to make a difference in the REAL world. The argument comes to a head when the Empire manages to enter this pocket dimension. Lando and Chewbacca try to fight them. Cody at first does nothing, then gives in to his darker side, conjuring up gigantic demons that tear the Imperial ships to pieces. Shocked at what he has done, Cody suddenly calls off the attack and allows the Empire to obliterate his world- and him along with it. The Falcon escapes as the dimension collapses. The Imperials are not so lucky.

Yeah. If the above sounds really goofy to you, then it is nothing compared to the actual goofiness of the story. Cody Sunn-Childe himself looks like an escapee from a Space Ghost cartoon. Goofy to the extreme (to say nothing of his already goofy name). The whole ascension to godhood and ability to warp reality is likewise really outside of the ‘feel’ of Star Wars. At least it is to me. Prior to this, such mystic powers were either explained away as an aspect of the Force or as some incredibly high-tech relic of a foregone age (such as the ‘Rider in the Void’). But this is just presented as… magic, or some divine galactic power outside of the Force. And neither of those explanations really appeal to me. Even setting aside all this weirdness, you are left with a Lando and Chewbacca who just don’t act like we see the characters act in the movies. Lando is downright blunt and hot-headed- not at all like the suave smooth-talker we saw in the movies. Chewbacca is inexplicably soft-willed. As if the mere presence of another Wookiee would suddenly cause him to forget that Han Solo was in trouble and needed his help. They never even explained if the other Wookiee was a male or a female (though I suspect the latter). Even so, it isn’t as though Chewbacca was the ‘last of the wookiees’ or anything. And besides, doesn’t he have a family back on Kashyyyk? Bleh. Anyway, suffice it to say this is one of the more ‘problematic’ stories for me. I don’t like it and I couldn’t even see how a ‘modification’ could save this storyline.

This is another story that I still have the original book from. It is a single-issue adventure in which the Alliance has recovered an Imperial Warbot. They are trying to figure out how the thing works in order to pinpoint its weaknesses. Unfortunately, the one they have is beyond their ability to repair. This is when Luke decides to take it to the quasi-mythical ‘Droid World’- an artificial satellite ruled by a Cyborg, Kligson, who dislikes organics. Luke himself must wait on the ship, since organics are NOT allowed. Artoo and Threepio board and meet with Kligson. The deal is that he will repair the droid and keep it- but that he will give the Rebels the technical schematics for it. Kligson offers Artoo and Threepio the chance to ‘live free’ with him on Droidworld, but the two actually prefer to remain with their ‘friend’ Luke. Meanwhile a prototype Imperial Stormtrooper droid, ZX-3 (Kligson’s second in command) plots to usurp control of Droidworld, using parts from the Rebel’s captured war-droid to complete his own. He strikes as Kligson talks with Threepio and Artoo, seemingly killing the Cyborg. Threepio and Artoo manage to escape, but are just about to be killed by the ‘evil’ droids when they are inexplicably saved…by Kligson. Seems he had suspected ZX-3 of treachery and planted a droid duplicate of himself (though it pained him to see even this destroyed). He goes on to explain that he had, in secret, been building his own forces up to put down this coup. A battle erupts and in the end, Kligson’s forces win. ZX-3 is destroyed and the Cyborg mourns the loss of so many of his friends. True to his word, the Cyborg provides the Alliance with the schematics for the War droid. After Artoo and Threepio return to Luke, the entirety of Droidworld suddenly lurches into motion- engaging before-unseen engines and heading off in search of isolation- and peace.

This is another solid adventure, probably one of the more tightly ‘scripted’ stories in the comics as a whole. I also like that it gives a chance for Artoo and Threepio to be the ‘heroes’ (or at the very least, the focus of the adventure).

This adventure revolves around Leia and the droids escorting a Viscount Tardi to the neutral banking planet of Aargau. Evidently, Leia is going there to finance a squadron of X-Wings, evidently by utilizing the Viscount’s holdings as collateral. Unfortunately, Vader shows up with a trio of shady looking companions who turn out to be assassins hired to kill Viscount Tardi before all the bureaucratic work for the loan is complete. The first hulking assassin is killed when Leia uses a ‘gravitational field disruptor’ that multiplies his weight and causes him to sink into the ground. The second assassin is killed when he shape-shifts into a tiny butterfly and Leia ‘accidently’ steps on him after artoo sprays him. The third assassin is killed during a planetary military demonstration when he telekinetically directs a missile at the Viscount, only to hit himself (since Artoo had cleverly projected a hologram of the Viscount over the assassin- and vice versa. In the end, Vader confronts Leia directly and winds up killing the Viscount himself- who turns out to be a robot double of the Viscount, who had died weeks earlier! Unfortunately for the Dark Lord, Leia had already managed to secure the loan she needed by using the Alderaanian crown jewels as collateral. Hah! She outsmarted vader. Or did she? Seems Vader’s whole purpose was to get his hands on those jewels, which he manages by bribing bank officials. So, Leia leaves with money for her Squadron of X-Wings and Vader leaves with the Jewels.

Umm. Yeah. If the above seems as confusing and pointless as it sounds, then I am doing this story justice. I’ve read this adventure a couple times over now, and even after that, I’m not entirely sure I ‘get’ the plot they were trying to convey. Why did Leia and Vader go through all this trouble? Why did they even NEED Viscount Tardi involved. And you know, I’m not even inclined to try and go back through this story again, as there are just so many things I do NOT like about it. The whole ‘Gravitational field distruptor’ seems way too ‘high tech’ and dangerous to NOT be considered a weapon (Leia isn’t prosecuted because it officially isn’t a weapon). The whole shapeshiter who is able to shrink down to the size of a bug is stupid and pushes the bounds of believability for the established physics of the Star Wars galaxy. Even the Force seems to have ‘rules’. This power just seems to be ‘magic’. And then there is the Telekinetic assassin hitting himself with a missile because of Artoo’s holographic projection. Since when was Artoo able to projecta a REALISTIC image of ANYthing? GAH it just makes no sense. Neither does Leia’s whole plan of allowing vader to kill the Tardi droid duplicate so her deception would not be discovered by the medical scans that are required to leave the planet. Ummm… wouldn’t they examine the dead body anyway? And in the comic, it was shown that the ‘Viscount’ had like.. circuits and wiring exposed when Vader hit him with his lightsaber. You’d think the local docs and police might notice something like that. GAH again! And then there is the lame addition of Leia pointing out specifically that Viscount Tardi was a ‘specially programmed, non-sentient droid’… uhhh.. okay. So, that’s just to make her own droids feel better that she intended for the droid-Tardi to be killed… whatever. This story is just a mess and I’d just as soon forget about it. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the title of the story comes from the ‘Third Law’ of the planet Aargau, which states that “Willfully conspiring to defraud, discredit or deceive the Bank of Aargau” was punishable by death.

This story finds Luke, Leia and the droids responding to a distress signal on a remote world. There, they find a young man and a crazy old alien. The former is the lost prince Denid of Velmor. The latter is his loyal servant, “Jedi”, who is now crazy and believes he is a Jedi due to a head injury he suffered during their stay on the remote planet. Luke and Leia decided to return Denid to his home in an effort to reclaim the planet from the Imperial backed usurpers who have taken control of it. Leia pretends to be a Denid’s lost noble betrothed while luke plays the role of Bounty Hunter Korl Marcus- who supposedly found the lost prince (this role comes complete with Luke wearing a beret, moustache and eyepatch. Heh, fun.). As a side-story, Luke grows annoyed with the crazy “Jedi”, seeing him as an embarrassment and a slander to the TRUE nobility of the Jedi Knights.

The intrigues begin right away, of course, as the bad guys (Denid’s brother (Anod), a shady advisor (Zelor) and a female Imperial Captain (Traal)) plot to kill the returned prince. How do they intend to do this, you ask? Well, Traal ‘seduces’ Luke (disguised as Korl) to get him to do it. Luke/Marcus ‘agrees’, but then goes to warn Leia- only to find her and Denid (who had been flirting earlier in the story), in a passionate embrace- with Denid proposing that Leia marry him, for real. Things come to a head the next day during a royal hunt, when Luke betrays the plotters and attempts to foil the assassination. In the fight, however, both Denid and Leia are apparently slain by Anod. A distraught Luke battles the three bad guys on his own, but is nearly killed by Traal, who attempts to shoot him in the back. Luke is saved at the last moment when the crazy old “Jedi” (who had ‘sensed’ danger earlier), arrives and throws himself between Luke and the shot- sacrificing himself. It is then discovered that Anod had only stunned Leia and Denid, thus there is at least some kind of a happy ending. In the end, Leia doesn’t marry Denid and leaves with Luke, pausing only for a moment to give “Jedi” a burial in space. Luke salutes the old man and confronts his own prejudices- realizing that nobility can be found even in the stranges places- or people.

I enjoyed this story quite a bit- at least for the most part. The core plot was (in sharp contrast to the issue just BEFORE this) well thought out and clearly executed. I also have a soft-spot for Quixotic Jedi, and “Jedi” definitely fits that role- and in a lot more endearing way than the goofy “Don-Wan Kihotay” of earlier issues. The only thing that really bugged me about this story was the fact that Leia would so soon just seem to forget about her love for Han Solo and engage in snogging a guy she’d just met. It made her character feel shallow and not at all like Leia. In fact, she had very little part in the story at all, which kind of bugs me. Overall, though, it is probably one of my favorite issues (and one I still own the original comic to). It was also notable in that it marks a change of main artists. Gone are Carmine Infantino and Carlos Garzon (who’s artwork I always found to be a bit too… odd), and in are Walt Simonson and Tam Palmer, who’s style I really like. Not only do the characters look a lot more like the people in the movie, the worlds and vehicles are a lot more recognizable and less ‘funky’ as well.

In any case, I can’t wait to get my hands on the next Star Wars Omnibus and relive the rest of memories of “A Long Time Ago…”

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