Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 3: A Long Time Ago Review

It’s been quite a while since I read my last Star Wars comic so it’s good to be back. It definitely brings quite a few issues here along with the next annual. Han Solo may still be trapped thanks to the events of the movies, but the comics weren’t about to let that sideline him so you’ll still get your share of Han Solo adventures here thanks to flashback issues and the annual which is all about him. You can definitely tell that he was quite the fan favorite back in the day. (Still is!)

There are a lot of different adventures here. The first few are still dealing with the fact that the rebellion doesn’t have a home base after they were chased out by the empire. All of the characters split up to find a new home, but none of the planets seem to be sticking. Finally they find a planet that might work out and currently it is home to a bunch of little gerbils among a rainbow planet. The rebels may like it here, but will they be able to co-exist with these creatures rather than taking it for themselves? The rebels are on the right side, but the individual members can be a little hasty at times and they nearly do try to steal the world which would have been dicey. Fortunately Leia saw reason here.

One of the big story arcs that starts off early as a subplot involves a new character named Shira. You know right away that she’s going to be a big character because she has an actual design as opposed to all of the random pilots who are running around the ship. She also seems to be trying to get in between Leia and Luke so as a rival you know that the comics wouldn’t be done with her too quickly. Her saga is a lot of fun and definitely puts Luke’s force abilities to their ultimate test. You may suspect the twist about her early on, but it’s really well executed as you may start to harbor some doubts by the end. She’s just such a nice character after all.

I also dare say that this is the longest saga in the collection as most of the stories are stand alone adventures. One such stand alone is C3PO’s comic at the very end. It’s sort of like a meeting of the supporting characters as the main characters are the droids, Chewy, and the gerbils. The main villain is a powerful sorcerer and the whole thing is so random, but pretty fun. You also realize how lucky the rebels are to have managed to survive so long with such a powerful villain right in their midst. The guy was literally living right outside the base which is pretty crazy.

Meanwhile we don’t get to see a ton of Vader and the others, but whenever he appears he definitely does look quite good. Everyone is pretty scared of Vader and you would expect no less. They even reference how he is always murdering his lackeys so now some of them are ready to fight back. It makes sense to try and take Vader out because otherwise he will surely destroy them. The attempt goes about as well as you would expect though. Vader is simply way too powerful and the fact that he can use the Force means that the humans will never truly have a chance against him.

One of the generals was pretty solid. I forget his name, but he ends up being demoted after an earlier mission to an abandoned planet and even then the rebels show up to beat him once more. The guy definitely had more heart than most of the other Empire flunkies and at least he was trying. It was ultimately a futile effort but even Vader had to comment on how the guy actually had some honor. In the end you just can’t hope to beat the rebels. They may be outnumbered but whenever they get into a fight every one officer is able to beat around 5-10 Stormtroopers. It’s no wonder why the rebels are making such good ground.

They definitely aren’t the most loyal of companions though. They’re very quick to turn on Luke after he is framed. Of course the whole point of being framed is that nobody knows the truth, but Luke is the guy who saved the solar system from the Death Star and he’s been fighting against the empire his whole life. Why would he suddenly change sides now? Lando and Leia at least stay on his side, but even they aren’t bold enough to do it in public. They should have just stuck by him here as he easily could have been in major trouble otherwise. At least the jury wasn’t rigged so once it went to court he came out all right.

I haven’t talked much about Lando, but he serves as Han’s replacement while the infamous bounty hunter is still trapped in ice. His team-up issues with Chewy are fun even if he doesn’t have quite the same connection. The characters can never let him forget how he betrayed them all a while back so he’s got a lot to prove in each issue. Lando’s done a good job of making up for his earlier actions though and he even manages to save his own city at one point. I wonder if he’ll continue to be a main character once Han returns or if he’ll go back to being a guest star. Only time will tell.

Finally there are also another fun saga which involves Leia heading to a world that’s like the Savage Land. She meets up with a guy who’s like Kazar and a bunch of others who have been under attack by a faction of the Empire led by some cool alien creatures. She helps them fight against these guys and while their technology may not be too advanced, they definitely do know how to fight when it counts. The only iffy plot here is that the main guy is engaged but he falls for Leia. The whole time he even keeps telling himself that this isn’t good, but can’t seem to truly stop himself until Luke comes and puts an end to this. The fiancee was super forgiving the whole time and took it surprisingly well, but the guy should have never weakened so much anyway. Still, it was fun seeing some real hand to hand fights in a Star Wars comic.

As expected the art here is definitely quite good. It’s really nostalgic to see such retro art and these were fun times to be a Star Wars fan. The writers do a good job of coming up with so many adventures in between the movies while taking care not to actually meddle in the events that could come up in the next sequel. Luke is also a little more experienced with the Force than in the last collection so he does a little better here. He’s still got a ways to go though as some of the creatures are still able to mentally overpower him which definitely wouldn’t be happening once he becomes a Jedi Master.

Overall, This collection is definitely quite solid and continues to do the Star Wars series justice. Whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not you can easily jump into these comics and get what is happening. One solid thing about the old issues has always been that they go out of their way to recap the events for you to ensure that you always know what is going on. That’s definitely important and since most of the issues tell their own story you’re good to go. There are various plots that continue in the background like with Shira and Han, but you’ll quickly get what is happening there as well.

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Star Wars Omnibus Volume 1 A Long Time Ago Review

Looks like it is time to read the start of one of the biggest franchises of all time. Obviously Star Wars didn’t originate with this comic, but it was still the start of an era and as this is an Omnibus it is quite the start. This collection brings over 20 issues so it is able to cover quite a few different arcs. It’s cool to see Marvel take a whirl at the series and now that Disney owns Star Wars and Marvel, it is definitely feasible that they could have some kind of crossover someday. It’s great to see Luke and the others as the main characters once more. Without further ado, let’s start this review.

The series starts off with an adaption of movie IV. That definitely makes sense you wouldn’t want to simply ignore the events of the film that started the whole franchise and simply skipping it altogether likely wouldn’t go over very well with the fans. It is pretty faithful to the film and we get some good action scenes as Luke Skywalker goes from being your average kid to a galactic hero. He certainly gets a lot of respect after he helps destroy the starship even if he has yet to become a Jedi. Saving a few star systems from imminent destruction will easily give you that kind of fame.

After the initial arc, Luke vanishes for quite a while along with Darth Vader. No worries though since we have Han Solo on deck to give us some arcs. The plots from Han’s mini arc and Luke’s solo adventure eventually meet up and it is fun to have the character all together once more, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Han is still on the run from just about everyone so he lands on what he thinks is a peaceful planet. Unfortunately this is far from the truth as there are some pretty mean bounty hunters on this planet. He enlists the aid of several inhabitants/visitors on the planet.

They consist of a Rabbit, An old man who may have been a Jedi once upon a time, A bounty hunter heroine who is good with a gun, and a kid who wants to make a difference. It’s not exactly a group of trained professionals, but Han has to work with what he’s got and he can whip these guys into shape. The auditions for who would join his team was certainly a blast and it is easy to feel bad for some of the guys who didn’t make it. Of course, if everyone joined the cut, things would just get crazy right? The group was fairly likable in the end and this arc was actually pretty fun even without Luke.

The Rabbit guy was very similar to the guest star from the 2003 TMNT series. He is a good shot and has a lot of confidence even if he can’t always back up his tough talk. He can fight, which automatically makes him decent here and the banter is always good. The little kid who barely earned his way onto the team thanks to his robot is the only member of the group who is totally not likable. I get that he has no fancy powers or equipment, but surely he could have found some way to be useful. Instead he really just holds the group back. His android is pretty neat though. Picture C3PO, but if the robot was always hurling insults and didn’t mind resorting to violence. That guy could definitely become a fan favorite if he ever appeared in the movies.

The bounty hunter lady knew Han from the old days so she certainly didn’t follow his commands like the others, but she’s good in a fight. There was no drama between her and Han which was certainly good considering that we already have another romance plot in the background. The best member by far was the Old Jedi. The characters think that he may have been delusional, but I think he was the real deal. He did a fairly good job of holding off the monster with his Lightsaber and he did know how to summon the thing. The guy went down as a hero and it was a pretty emotional way to go. He helped out when it counted and I always love to see more Jedi warriors so it was fun to have this guy around. It’s just too bad that the role was so brief.

Back to Luke’s plot. He was looking for a new base for the Resistance, but one thing led to another and he was captured. He landed on an Aqua planet where two factions were vying for power. There was the resistance who teamed up with the monsters of the area to take on the high tech pirate villains. Unfortunately for the heroes, these villains had a sonic weapon that really dealt heavy damage to the monsters and if they weren’t stopped quickly, they could completely sink the resistance base. Luke naturally decides to help, but doesn’t fare too well. Luckily, Han Solo shows up…although not in the most ideal of circumstances.

He was kidnapped by a pirate group as well and they forced him to go here. Luckily the two villain groups begin to fight which buys Han enough time to make it to the surface where he has several disagreements with Luke on what to do. Naturally, Luke wants to make the heroic move here and help out the resistance while Han just wants to get away as far as possible. Meanwhile, one of the pirates who was chasing Han begins to realize that avoiding feelings of infatuation for so long as weakened her resolve. Unfortunately, she went from being a pretty cool villain to a rather sad one due to this plot development. It was unneeded if you ask me.

While it was naturally great to see the two groups (Luke/Leia and Han) meet up, it also brought back the subplot about how both guys like Leia. They trade passive aggressive burns a lot and both try to impress her all the time. It actually plays out like a very old version of the classic trope where the heroine has to decide between the nice guy or the tough/rebellious one. Han and her are always bickering while she gets along with Luke quite well. That’s always a bad sign for the nice guy even if that may seem iffy when you think about it. It’s not a huge factor here and doesn’t hurt the comic at all, but I could have done without it. Luckily, since this is a retro comic the romance never gets too wince worthy. It’s mostly just mild flirting at the most.

The heroes eventually make it to the Wheel where they are all imprisoned/defeated before they even know it. It’s all done very subtlety though since the Wheel is essentially a giant casino and the owner doesn’t want the customers to suspect that Darth Vader and the Order are here. It would be bad for business after all since the villains are supposed to not be welcome here. He arranges for Han to fight in the Gladiatorial arena where he makes it to the final round only to be face to face with Chewy. Chewy naturally has the edge here, but they are able to defeat all of the other fighters and escape. It was a fun arc because seeing Han fight several aliens mano a mano is always exciting.

There were certainly quite a few story arcs here and other stories that I barely touched upon. The aliens that are after Han appear several times and so many bounty hunters/pirates as well that you’ll lose count after a while. It is fun to see how different Jabba The Hut was here though. Rather than the blob that you saw in the movie, he actually looks like a very normal humanoid villain here. Picture an android or Martian Manhunter from DC comics. I wish they had ultimately stayed with this design since it is certainly a lot more menacing.

From the main characters, Han is certainly the most interesting. Naturally, the flirting part of his personality is pretty irritating, but besides that he has all of the necessary qualities that a good main character needs. He has boundless confidence at his disposal and he gets all of the witty one liners. He’s always ready for a fight and he is defiant to the last no matter who he is facing. It’s hard not to root for the guy and he can easily hold his own issue. Something that Luke and Leia can’t really pull off to be honest.

Chewy also excels here as he constantly proves why he is the strongest fighter in the series. He defeats everyone from gladiators to other monsters. His hype never leaves and he basically goes undefeated for the whole series. He’s also a really good shot when he’s got a gun so Chewy’s always a lethal fighter. Unfortunately, I can’t say that Princess Leia is really a good character here. For starters she needs to decide between Han or Luke ASAP instead of having her cake and eating it too. Messing around with both of them is always the dicey move. This was also before heroines became great fighters and had super cool roles like nowadays so she is mainly around just to get kidnapped or to provide some commentary. She rarely actually helps out even though she does have a gun. I’ve never cared for Leia in any part of the franchise all that much though so it’s not really a surprise.

This was also before Luke became a cooler character like in Episode VI so he’s not terrific either. His petty rivalry with Han can be a little dicey. Besides that he’s typically the heroic main character that you would expect to see. His powers may not have fully developed yet, but he’s still not somebody that you want to underestimate in a fight. He’s a fairly reasonable character so I’m not going to say that he’s bad, but he’s not very interesting either. Whenever there was a comic about him, I would be waiting for the issue to switch to Han’s subplot.

Darth Vader’s screen time is limited, but he still manages to be a very imposing villain. The fact that he can use the Force automatically makes him the most deadly opponent here. The heroes simply cannot defeat him in an actual fight and would be hopelessly crushed if they were to even attempt such a feat. The best they can do for now is to bide their time and let the Resistance continue to grow. Another fun villain is the Hunter. He is part Android even though he can’t stand them and he aims to destroy all Robots and those who like them. It’s an impossible goal considering how many of them there are, but I suppose it is a concrete goal at the very least. He only got to appear once really, but he’s after Luke Skywalker and the title for the first issue of the second collection implies that he’ll be a main villain once more. Along with Darth Vader he is easily the best villain so I’m definitely up to seeing more of him. He has an arm cannon at his disposal so that’ll definitely be useful in a fight.

As you may expect, the art here is very clear and pleasant. They really don’t draw panels the way that they used too. The hand drawn style just works really well and I’d especially say that this is true for the character designs. You can tell that this is an old Marvel comic right from the get go and that means that you can expect consistent quality. It may not be super flashy, but it gets the job done and all of the scenes hold up well.

Overall, This Star Wars Omnibus is a good start to the Marvel era of the classic franchise. It’s quite large so this collection should last you quite a while. I’m assuming that we’ll be seeing an adaption of the second film at some point since there are over 100 issues in the series and the next installment should definitely have been out by that time. The series went on for quite a while after all. If you’re a big Star Wars fan then you should definitely enjoy this one. If not, I’d say that it is pretty accessible to all comic readers. It is a good action story with sci-fi elements that holds up well as most classic comics do. The writing is good and the action scenes are fun as well. I’m sure that future volumes will be just as fun.

Overall 7/10