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.