krpalmer: (europa)
[personal profile] krpalmer
It's been quite a while since I last got one of the Dark Horse Comics volumes reprinting the old Marvel Star Wars comics. I can wonder now if that had something to do with having reached the point where the comics were now following Return of the Jedi, and I'm aware that back when I first started looking up information online on all of the Star Wars comics I had missed when they had first come out, I saw a number of at once casual and negative comments that Marvel's series had become less and less impressive with time... Instead of deciding that I would judge for myself, though, I think my getting the latest volume had more to do with deciding that I needed to add one more volume to some other books I was ordering online to reach the free shipping threshold, remembering the five reprint volumes on one of my bookshelves, and thinking "Why not?"

In any case, I was getting pretty good at keeping up with the comics by this time. Of the fourteen comics (one an extended-length special) in this volume, I recall managing to buy all but two of them (one of them I later spotted in a discount store, although I didn't ask to get it then). As I started into the volume, though, I realised for the first time how many "fill-in" issues not by the regular writer immediately followed Return of the Jedi, and wondered if this might have somehow contributed to a sense of some that "the story wasn't going anywhere." Even so, there were still interesting moments even in the fill-in issues, starting with a solo Lando adventure with just a little bit more of a "Flash Gordon" feeling to the art than usual. I was particularly able to remember the Han adventure that followed next, although as I was actually reading it I began to have the odd feeling that with different reference photos and a few altered bits of dialogue, it could have worked just as well having been set before Star Wars itself. Then, I started thinking that with Han racing an Imperial remnant (and a "cat person" alien, dissimilar to the "cat people" aliens who appeared in a later issue in this volume by the regular writer) to unlock a buried treasure, the story was somehow just like an Indiana Jones adventure perfectly adapted into the Star Wars universe... (Han even carries the initial artifact, picked up in a cantina squabble, in a satchel.) The next fill-in was outright set before Return of the Jedi and had Princess Leia and a stormtrooper who just happened to also be from Alderaan both crashed on the same desert planet; while this may contradict current suggestions of just who's inside stormtrooper armour, I'm a bit more inclined to quibble about the stormtrooper having been flying a TIE fighter, somehow reminiscent of the days before there were "TIE fighter pilot" action figures... The last true fill-in issue has Luke travelling to a "planet of ten suns" to help topple the Imperial sympathiser king there, only to have a grizzled rebel struck down between the splash page and the first panel of the second page; while trying to solve the mystery he was right next to, Luke manages to start getting romantically entangled with someone only to also have her killed; he takes it badly, asks what good the Force is, and laments "I wish I were a god." Fortunately, his next encounter is with an oddly cherubic child thief instead of someone promising abilities "some consider unnatural."

In the issues that were written by the regular writer, an initial sense that the story was following up on things and characters introduced before Return of the Jedi (all of which and who just happened to have been introduced in the past dozen issues by that writer, except for "Plif the Hoojib") eventually turned into a "new conflict" being set up. The comics seemed a bit less devoted than the Expanded Universe wound up a decade later to having the Empire survive its Emperor, although at times I wondered if this meant a "one planet at a time" situation was being maintained, the way the Marvel comics now always seemed to be more or less focused on to me. Instead, chalk-white aliens and the "Dark Lady Lumiya," at first very Darth Vader-like and then redesigned, start showing up in the last issues of this volume, along with a brief interlude in the extended-length special where Luke manages to encounter Yoda, Obi-Wan, and the "golden years Anakin" played by Sebastian Shaw from the "Vintage Edition" as he tries to deal with a different minor "Dark Lord" and follow up on one more character. As the volume drew to a close, I wondered how long it would be until I picked up the final one; then, I realised the volume ends on a cliffhanger... I suppose I may yet be finding another book to reach the free shipping threshold for the final Marvel Star Wars comics soon.

October 2017

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