Thursday, 17 September 2015


Starcat reviews Star Wars comics: STAR WARS (part six)

The death of Blue Leader has left Luke in charge of Blue Squadron, and we are introduced to two other characters to help him save the day. They are Wedge and Biggs.

On board the Death Star there is a final scene for Governor Tarkin, where he refuses to evacuate. His last line differs substantially from the equivalent one delivered by Peter Cushing in the film. Instead of
"Evacuate? In our moment of triumph? I think you overestimate their chances."
he says
Evacuate? Never! The very idea is treasonous. We shall prevail-- in the name of the Galactic Empire!

Back in space, it may be "a young-old voice" that Luke hears, but it isn't the Doctor from Doctor Who, it's Ben Kenobi who isn't still dead. We get an insight into Luke's thoughts as he speculates that Ben has "merged, somehow, with "the Force" -- and he's here with me in spirit".

I find it interesting that the next panel is from the point of view of Darth Vader even though Luke is speaking - could it mean that Darth Vader is listening to Luke at that very moment?

Biggs is the next character to be killed by Darth Vader, and then it turns out that Biggs was Luke's best friend. While I know that they had to introduce a few characters just in order from them to be killed off and there is not a lot of space in which to assign them all distinguishing character traits, I find it very odd that they should choose to do this for Biggs posthumously.

Darth Vader closes in on Wedge, who escapes by flying his spaceship away (and thus provides him with the single character trait of being the-not-a-main-character-who-survives). This leaves only Luke, and Darth Vader is about to shoot him when the Millennium Falcon flies in and saves him, surprising Darth Vader and his henchmannys so much that one of them explodes and the other one pounces on Darth Vader's spaceship by mistake.

In the film, Darth Vader expresses his surprise by saying
But in the comic he says

Which is a somewhat radical reinterpretation of the line.

Darth Vader's spaceship goes out of control and is sent "out into the endless reaches of deep space!" Wheeeee! The way the last panel there is drawn makes that look like fun.

Ben Kenobi says
"Your eyes can deceive you, don't trust them! Stretch out your feelings!"
which is a line displaced from much earlier in the film version; from before the second ad break in fact.

Another line taken out of its proper place is here, when Han Solo congratulates Luke on his shot before it has blown the Death Star up.

In the film there is additional tension here because the Death Star has cleared the planet and is preparing to blow up the rebel base at the same time as Luke fires, so we are kept in suspense as to whether or not Luke is in time.

On the Death Star, Governor Tarkin goes

But he is premature, because then the Death Star goes

Taking a whole page to do it in.

The last page of the comic is for the tea and medals ceremony. There is no dialogue so plenty of captions are required to explain what is going on, even explaining why Chewbacca doesn't get a medal like Luke and Han:
Few Space-Princesses are that tall.

This is a proper Terry Nation-style way to end the comic, with Princess Leia being described as a "Space-Princess".

That is the end of Star Wars, a flawed but fun adaptation of the best film evar. In comic terms, however, it was only the beginning of a run lasting from 1978 until 1986, with many original Star Wars stories as well as adaptations of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi films. Some of these comic stories are very bad, but equally some are very good, at their best even rivaling the films in terms of quality. I plan on looking at the run that goes from The Empire Strikes Back to Return of the Jedi, and I'm sure it will take in both of these extremes on the way.

Before I sign off for now, let's take another look at the front cover picture to Star Wars (since it is also on the back cover as well).

Being a cat, it is not always possible for me to tell mannys apart, but with his distinctive dress and her distinguishing hair I am pretty confident that is supposed to be Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia in the middle there. But their faces are nothing at all like those of the actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher.

Conversely, the drawings of C3PO and R2D2 are very lifelike, as is Darth Vader's great big face in space. I don't know if different artists did different parts of the whole, but it makes for a confusing clash of styles.
Though you can't argue that it says Star Wars.

Next: The Empire Strikes Back

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