Monday, January 31, 2011

14. The Rebel Storm

"The Rebel Storm" is the second volume published by Dark Horse that collects the newspaper strips that were originally published in the early 80's. As with the previous volume, the strips are not cut and paste directly into a trade paperback format, but they are edited and redrawn where necessary to make the story flow better in this format. While in the first volume this completely eliminated any repetition that necessarily appears in newspaper strips, in this volume there was a few times where the repetition was apparent, and it detracted from the flow of the story.

The stories in this volume were not as engaging as the first volume, and they seemed to develop a lot more slowly as well. There was a lack of character depth and development that made the first volume so enjoyable.

The last volume concluded with the Rebel heroes on Aquaris, trying to determine if the leader of Aquaris, Silver Fyre, was sincere in her commitment to the rebellion. When there is an accident involving Luke's underwater skimmer, and it's revealed that one of Silver Fyre's associates is an imperial spy.

The rebels return to Yavin and are caught in a battle where an imperial bomber crashes into the ruins of the ancient Massassi, releasing a monster into the rebel base. The monster has some force ability, and Luke is able to use the force to trick the monster into leaving the planet. This story arc was interesting because of the force ability of the monster, knowing what is revealed about the Massassi in later comics and books.

Following this, Luke is sent on a mission to a desert planet, where he encounters someone who appears to be Obi-Wan Kenobi. Luke is fooled completely, until the person who hired this impostor, Darth Vader, arrives to spring the trap.

The next story arc focuses on Han and Chewbacca and their quest to find a power gem that could be used by the Rebels to destroy the Empire's latest super-weapon. They discover that there is a gladiator contest going on to determine who will get the power gem, but Han devises a plan to trick the former pirate who owns the gem into turning it over to him.

The next story has Luke and C-3P0 on the run from Imperials, and they escape by entering the slipstream of a passing comet, which takes them to the ice planet Hoth. There they find a father and daughter that have lived there for years, only to find out they were androids. Han and Chewbacca arrive to rescue Luke, and they are able to determine that this would be an excellent place for a secret rebel base.

When they leave Hoth and to request the aid of the Mon Calamari, only to find that the Mon Calamari fleet there has been defeated. It appears that some of the Mon Calamari may have escaped to the planet Daluuj. The heroes follow this lead and find the Mon Calamari, but have to tangle with an Imperial presence before they are able to leave.

Vader arrives as they are escaping, and his new ship, The Executor, is involved in a battle with a Republic cruiser. When the heroes return to Yavin, they find a distraught General Dodonna who has received word that his son was killed in battle. Much to the General's relief, his son soon arrives on planet in a battered ship. However, Luke recognizes the ship as one that fled undamaged from the battle, and questions Dodonna's son Vlad about this. Their conversation breaks into a fight, but before it can be resolved Vlad is summoned and assigned the task of taking the gem that Han and Chewbacca obtained and using it to destroy The Executor. Luke volunteers to go with him on this apparent suicide mission, because he doesn't trust Vlad to carry it out.

This story will conclude in "Escape to Hoth", which will be the end of the newspaper reprints. I hope it returns to the form of the previous edition. In general I've enjoyed the newspaper reprints more than the Marvel comics. It's too bad that the Marvel stories seem so shallow compared to the newspaper comics. Maybe that will change after "Return of the Jedi".

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