Since I'm not able to make one big post about this (obviously) I will continue to post my overview/review of issues from the old Marvel Star Wars comics. In this post, I'll discuss two different stories:
CHANTEUSE OF THE STARS
This adventure picks up where the last left off, with our heroes returning to their Rebel base to report the disappointing results of their last mission. They are then briefed by Alliance command on new leads they have uncovered regarding the lost rebel agent (Tay Vanis) and the information he has on a new, secret Imperial weapon. Strangely enough, intercepted imperial transmissions also implicate Han Solo as having some part in this. It is decided that Luke and Leia will follow the lead to Vanis while Lando and Chewbacca track down the lead dealing with Solo.
The story follows the former duo as they travel to the neutral diplomatic space station of Kabray. Luke and Leia are posing as the servants of their alien friend Plif, who is himself posing as an ambassador from his world to the diplomatic session that is evidently being held on the station. For those who don't remember, we had met Plif the Hoojib quite a few issues ago- the cute, tiny, telepathic, energy-eating bunny-rabbit looking guys? Ring a bell?
In any case, both Luke and Leia are a bit shocked/dismayed to discover that there are quite a few Zeltrons present on the Kabray station. And much like Dani, they seem to be infatuated with Luke for some reason. As Luke and Leia mingle with the delegations, they look for clues as to a message that Tay Vanis had supposedly left here. Along the way, they overhear all kinds of interesting tidbits of information, and spy some alien species there they they had encountered in previous adventures: Stenaxes and Lahsbees, in particular.
The whole situation is played rather light-heartedly. Luke is constantly hampered by Zeltron 'groupies' all wanting to show him a good time. He manages to find Vanis' message, but along the way, he overhears a plot to poison one of the delegates and is them nearly caught by the Empire. Ironically, Luke uses the Zeltrons as 'cover'- allowing them to drag him back to the party, through a patrol of Stormtroopers who had been closing in on him.
Leia, meanwhile, is sneaking around as well- only to be mistaken for the entertainment. Since she was skulking where she shouldn't have been, Leia has no choice to but to take on the role of a singer- the eponymous 'Chanteuse of the Stars'.
Luke, swamped by Zeltrons, is back in the main ball room by this time- and is just in time to see Leia make her big entrance on stage- in a ridiculous wig, boa and bikin-like costume that will be very reminiscent of her gold bikini later on. Having no choice in the matter, Leia begins to sing- and does a good job entertaining the crowd. Too good, in fact. Her sultry performance accidently triggers the puberty response in one of the Lahsbee delegation, turning him into a raging Huhk (the monstrous, mature form of the Lahsbee). To make matters worse, the assassination plan that that Luke had overheard earlier goes into effect as well- with poison soup being delivered to one of the delegations.
In the chaos that erupts, Luke manages to 'accidently' spill the poisoned soup. He then, ironically, runs for cover behind some Stormtroopers who prepare to take down the Huhk... only to find that their blasters have no power. Why? Because Plif and his Hoojib friends had secretly drained the energy from the weapons in the off chance that Luke and Leia were discovered. Unfortunately, that bit of prudent forethought didn't account for a rampaging Huhk. All seems lost, with Luke and the Stormtroopers about to be pulverized. Then Leia breaks into song again- capturing the Huhk's attention- and 'soothing the savage beast'.
The adventure ends with Luke surrounded by Zeltrons, Hoojibs and Lahsbees, looking on as Leia 'tames' the Huhk with her song.
All in all, this was a fun and silly little story- a nice change from the serious tone of the previous story arc. It was also interesting in that there was VERY little 'action', but rather, a lot of talking and sneaking and clever plans and improvisation. There was actually some very fun dialogue and some clever sight gags as well. About the only thing I didn't like about the story was the whole Huhk thing, at least not how it was presented. For all its fantasy elements, Star Wars is reasonably grounded in 'reality'. The whole idea of a tiny Lahsbee instantly transforming into a giant Huhk- without any explanation of how he suddenly gained all that mass- is a little much to believe. Also, if Lahsbees are essentially the 'child' form of their species, why would they be present at a diplomatic function as representatives of their world? Were I writing the story, I probably would have omitted the Lahsbees altogether and just had the 'huhk' role replaced with some kind of big animal that had been brought in as entertainment (like a trained bear), only to suddenly go amok (perhaps as the plot of some OTHER nefarious person). Leia still could have used her singing voice to soothe it, etc. Even with these problems, though, this is one of my favorite short stories in the series.
Plif (After being boorishly dismissed by the Imperial Doorkeeper): "And what qualifications do you have- outside of officiousness, boorishness and misguided snobbery- for any duty whatsoever? When the young lady and the gentleman agreed to join the delegation I lead, I assured them they would be subjected to no unpleasantness. Make a liar of me again and I assure you the Imperial governor of this satellite will hear of it!" -- what an awesome bluff/intimidation
Zeltron #1 (To Luke): "Hello there! I've never seen a man as beautiful as you in my life! Want to have some fun?"
Luke (trying to be polite): "Not really..."
Zeltron #2 (Joining Zeltron #1): "Well, we do! Don't be selfish!"
Luke (quickly and 'suavely' excusing himself): "Uh... bye."
Leia (Singing): "Like a meteor cutting across a starlit night... he brightens up my darkest hour...he's gentle, he's true... never tries to force me, oh no... and so I follow him... like the tail of a comet...I'm just his satellite yeah... never stray into any other orbit... not while he's around...I'm empty when he's away from me... my heart's a black hole... because he's the one who makes my skies a heaven."
Yeah. Wow. What lyrics.
Favorite Sight Gag:
As the rampaging Huhk that had been just about to pulverize Luke and two stormtroopers turns and walks away, one of the troopers stammers "I think we're saved!" The other promptly passes out. THUD.
This is another single issue story arc. It follows the adventures of Wedge Antilles after the battle of Hoth, though it starts long after the battle, with Luke, Leia and a nameless rebel pilot investigating a derelict transport approaching the Rebel fleet. Luke seems to think (for some reason) that Wedge, having been MIA since the battle, is onboard. Unfortunately, once they're on the ship, they find it deserted- though the ship's log is intact. Leia plays this and so we see Wedge's story in flashback form, narrated by the man himself:
The story begins with the fall of Echo Base. Wedge and his gunner, Janson, are shot down while trying to escape in a Y-Wing. They crash land, and in the process Janson is wounded. The two of them take shelter in a destroyed AT-AT until the Imperials appear to withdraw. They then sneak back to the destroyed Rebel base in the hopes of finding something that will help them- or perhaps a way to send a signal to the Rebel fleet. Unfortunately, Wedge discovers (through the base's still functional sensors) that the planet is picketed by patrols of TIE fighters in orbit- ships that would pick up any distress call he attempted to send out.
To make matters worse, Wedge finds Wampas in the base, attempting to eat a few Tauntauns who were left behind. Wedge manages to kill the Wampas and rescue at least one of the tauntauns. He uses this to help him hunt some of the local wildlife to feed himself and Janson over the coming days. Janson is in bad shape, though- just barely hanging on- but as long as those TIE fighters are overhead, they're stuck.
And then one day, Wedge returns from his hunting to find Janson has been brutally murdered. The culprits are soon revealed to be a group of scavengers who had somehow snuck onto planet through the Imperial picket and were now ransacking the remains of the Rebel base. The leader of this group is someone Wedge is evidently familiar with- Arns Grimraker, a ruthless cyborg.
Wedge manages to sneak into the scavenger camp and sabotage several of their vehicles before stealing one of their transports and lifting off. The scavengers give chase, but due to Wedge's sabotage of their navigation computers, they fly right into the Imperial patrols and are wiped out. Wedge's transport is damaged, however and he finds himself losing power and drifting without food or fuel. That's when the log ends.
Back in the present, Luke is devastated to hear of the apparent death of his friend. It's then they spy Wedge outside the ship in a space suit- alive and well. When he gets inside, he explains. He'd been outside fixing the ship. Evidently the hold of the ship had spare food and parts, so his situation wasn't as dire as the log had lead them to believe- he just hadn't had time to update it.
And so the group returns to Rebel base with Wedge. A happy ending after all.
This issue features a different writer and artists than the previous issues- and it shows. It isn't BAD, just a bit jarring when you've gotten used to a particular style. The story itself is actually pretty well done, with relatively coherent narration and monologue. I do, however, have a few problems with the plot, one major, others nitpicky. We'll start with the major.
Why would the Empire leave the Rebel base in any state of intactness? I mean, it had functional sensor systems and heating. Why wouldn't they just obliterate the whole thing from orbit once they'd picked over it. That sounds a lot more like what they'd do. I mean, the story could have been told without any major 'loss' by saying that Wedge had made his way to a rebel outpost that the Empire hadn't found... or something.
Now for something nitpicky- The author here seems to imply that Wedge and Luke were as close as brothers and that Wedge had been raised on (or at least spent time on) Tatooine in the past. Here, I think they were just confusing Biggs with Wedge for.. whatever the reason.
The author also gave Wedge an accent- either Scottish or Irish. I don't know why they did this, since Wedge DID speak in the films, and without accent. But there you go.
Also, I don't like the fact (for personal reasons) that they killed of Janson. I am glad they ignored this particular issue entirely when they did the Rogue Squadron comics. So, I guess this entire story could be considered non-canon, which is fine with me. Could easily be the story of some other Rebel pilot and would make a pretty good premise for a Star Wars RPG adventure.