Anthologies usually aren’t my thing but I suppose it is a way for everyone to show off their stuff in how they would draw a Star Wars story. With Luke Skywalker being the main presence here, it’s a nice way to give him some more action. The guy is probably the most recognizable Star Wars character aside from Vader so it’s good that he gets some time to shine. The stories are solid and I would say this book is pretty good. Perhaps it could use some more action but I really don’t have anything negative to say about it.
The first story starts off with the Empire getting absolutely devastated by the rebels to the point where their Star Destroyer is blown up so the main character is forced to get on an escape pod. He’s near death right now and pretty scared because it seems like Luke Skywalker is the one who downed the ship. Fortunately a cloaked stranger appears and starts to drag him off. Perhaps not so fortunate though depending on what this guy is doing here. Throughout the story the guy begins to think that this could really be Luke Skywalker but why would he help out in the first place? The guy’s motto is that they are all Luke Skywalker and by the end the empire guy says this too as he rebels against the crooked villains.
It’s a solid way to start off the volume and shows just how big Luke has gotten. At this point in the verse he is considered to be more of a mantle than a person. He inspires the rebels to such an extent that they all believe they can be Luke Skywalker as opposed to just being ordinary joes. It’s rather inspiring and they even got an Empire soldier to join the cause as a result. Of course the Empire should be embarrassed at how easy they make it for someone to want to join the rebels. Interrogating their own people and torturing them for barely any reason? Not a good look when they claim to be the good guys. You’ll notice that nobody had names in this story to help show the main character’s transition from a random person to another Luke Skywalker.
Next up is a story about a droid named Zeta. He is a robot who works the mines and is pretty horrified at the rough treatment down there. Droids are worked to the bone until they melt or are discarded. All of them are controlled using chips so that they must obey these commands and there is really no hope in sight. Fortunately Luke Skywalker shows up and offers them a way out. Here we get to see the real Luke Skywalker who lives up to his legend as he saved almost everybody. He does whatever he can in the force and then some. It’s easy to see why the rebellion has got his back.
This story was certainly darker than the first as we got an inside look as to just what kinds of things the Empire is up too. They really do make life hard on the droids and the toughest part is that the robots are aware of this but can’t really do anything about it. They’re effectively being mind controlled every step of the way so that’s game over for them. If Luke hadn’t showed up they really had no other alternatives which is really a sobering thought.
Next up is much more of a lighthearted story. Princess Leia befriends an alien flea named Mote who is rather full of herself. She tends to talk very big and has no shortage of confidence which is always fun and so Leia asks if she can watch over Luke. This takes place during the famous intro where Luke breaks in and saves Leia from Jabba the Hut. Turns out that rather than the force being what led Luke to victory, it was Mote pretending to be the Force. Perhaps this is a bit of a retcon but it’s a fun enough one to consider.
Mote is a nice character and really shows that big things come in small packages. I wouldn’t say it’s quite as strong as the first two stories but perhaps they felt the volume was getting a little too dark so this would shake things up. Either way it was fun enough for what it was and we also got a little more action in this one since Luke had to fight his way out so that was handled really well.
Finally you have a story where a biologist gets a ride from Luke Skywalker but they are trapped inside a giant monster. This one ends the collection on a fitting note. See in the other stories Luke was more of a novice or at the very least he wasn’t super settled in as a Jedi Master yet. In this story that has changed as Luke is one with the force and really knows how to use his powers. He’s not afraid at all here no matter how dangerous things get. I liked to see this level of confidence even if he might be taking it too easy at times. While it’s true that they won’t disintegrate for many years, they’ll have to eat eventually right?
Still, the two get to learn a lot about the ruins, the Force, and the monster itself thanks to getting eaten. They are definitely glass half full kind of people that’s for sure because I think a great many characters would not have taken this so well at all. At the very least you typically feel like getting eaten is a very bad thing and not something that you sneeze at. There’s no action here so it’s a pure adventure story but an interesting one nonetheless. You don’t get to see the experienced Luke so often after all.
The art changes for each story of course but I wouldn’t say any of them are very solid. It’s all about average at best which tends to be the case for big franchise titles and anthologies. I guess maybe the big established artists always want to do their own volume so in the anthologies they naturally do not tend to look quite as high tier. They aren’t bad but definitely are not at the top levels.
The anthology lives or dies based on how much you enjoy each individual story. There is no ongoing plot after all so you can’t be waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel or a big cliffhanger. You have to enjoy each of the stories as they come in and they are good. I definitely thought the writing was satisfying. A little more action could have taken things to the next level but I suppose that’ll have to be for another collection.
Overall, This was a solid volume. The stories are all pretty self contained so there isn’t a ton to talk about but none of them are weak. They are quite varied and stay interesting for the whole duration. You’ll be finishing each story really quickly too that’s for sure. An ongoing plot will always win but you will walk away from this one feeling satisfied. Star Wars has definitely gotten quite a few manga as of late so the franchise is in good hands. If you want some good Luke Skywalker adventures then you’ve come to the right place.
Anthologies aren’t my thing either since they’re very hit-or-miss, but I sometimes pick them up when they’re on sale or find secondhand for cheap. I’ll add this one to that list.
Yeah it definitely makes for a fun little read so that sounds like a good idea. For sure though, give me a classic story with an ongoing plot and that’ll win 9 times out of 10!