Friday, January 14, 2011

11. Resurrection of Evil

"Resurrection of Evil" is the next volume in Dark Horse's collection of Marvel comics. It includes issues 39 through 53 of the Marvel run. This volume includes the comic version of "The Empire Strikes Back", along with eight other stories about the Rebel heroes.

"The Empire Strikes Back" comic version is good. There is nothing significantly different than what appears in the movies. The artwork is slightly improved over previous Star Wars comics.

Once "The Empire Strikes Back" comic version is complete, issue 45 features a story called "Death Probe." The Empire has made some enhancements to the Probe Droid seen in "The Empire Strikes Back", and Luke must prevent it from destroying the Rebel fleet.

Issue 46 has a story called "The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe", which is the first story to feature Lando Calrissian in a prominent role since his introduction in "The Empire Strikes Back." Cody Sunn-Childe is a former hero of the Republic who disappeared several years ago, and Lando and Chewbacca find him in an alternate dimension when they have problems with their hyper-drive. Sunn-Childe has turned his back on warfare and established a colony of pacifists on this dimensional pocket. Unfortunately, the Empire is able to track Lando and Chewbacca, and subsequently launch an attack on Sunn-Childe's city. During the attack, Lando and Chewbacca escape, but the Star Destroyer that was chasing them remains trapped in the other dimension.

Issue 47 features R2-D2 and C-3PO as the main characters in "Droid World", as they are tasked with taking a newly captured Imperial war droid to a place called Kligson's Moon, where Kligson can repair it. Kligson is a reclusive droid expert, who has abandoned the company of organics and surrounds himself with droids. However, one of his droids turns against him and starts a revolt, forcing Kligson to move his space station even farther away from the Empire and the Rebellion.

Issue 48 focuses on Princess Leia's efforts to obtain financing from Aargau in order to purchase new X-Wing fighters. The title of this issue is "The Third Law", which is a reference to the law which prohibits non-citizens from carrying weapons, but requires it of citizens. "The Third Law" again has Leia and Vader involved in diplomatic sparring, which is just not very interesting to read. Since no outside weapons are allowed, Vader brings three beings with what appear to be super-powers. Leia and the diplomat she brings with her, Viscount Tardi, are able to defeat these three aliens. Vader is finally successful in completing his goal, which was to kill Tardi, only to find out that it wasn't the real Tardi, but an android instead. But, it is revealed that Vader knew he was being tricked, and he has already secured his real goal, which was to obtain the crown jewels of Alderaan that Leia had brought for collateral.

There are so many problems with this story. Weapons are not allowed, but Vader is allowed to bring his lightsaber since he claims it's a ceremonial weapon. Why couldn't he have simply used the force to trick the guards into allowing his assassins to bring weapons? And the politics and financing of the war seem out of place. If the Empire is as dominant as is implied by the movies and other comics, why does this banking planet even exist outside of their influence? And if the real goal was to obtain the crown jewels, why didn't he just attack the rebel ship that brought Leia and Tardi? Why did he have to bribe the guard, when he could just as easily use the force to persuade him to give him the jewels?

Issue 49 has Luke and Leia traveling to the respond to a rescue beacon that has begun transmitting. Their hope is that the beacon belongs to a member of the royal household of Velmor, which is trying to decide to stay loyal to the Rebellion or join the Empire. They do indeed find the rightful heir of the throne of Velmor, and successfully return him to his home planet where he pledges his loyalty to the Rebellion.

Issue 50 is titled "The Crimson Forever" and involves the heroes trying to find a cure for a deadly disease that has been contracted by Luke and many other rebels. Leia thinks the disease may be related to a story told to her by Han Solo, and that story is told in flashback form. That story involves two crystals found in the Red Nebula, so the heroes head there to investigate. Upon arrival, they find a House of Tagge mining ship that is being captained by Domina Tagge. She has hired some familiar bounty hunters, IG-88, Bossk, Dengar, and Zuckuss, to spread the Crimson Forever plague in an effort to destroy the Empire and the Rebellion as revenge for the deaths of her brothers. The heroes thwart her plans and the story ends with the implication that the bounty hunters have decided to turn Domina in for a reward from the Empire.

Issues 51 and 52 contain the only multi-issue story outside of "The Empire Strikes Back" in this volumn. The Empire is recreating part of the Death Star, specifically the giant cannon, and have named it after Tarkin. Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, and the droids are sent to destroy it before it can be used.

Issue 53 begins a story that has Leia crashing onto the planet Shiva IV. There she finds a primitive society led by Aron Peacebringer and Keral Longknife. She is quickly accepted into their society, due mostly to Aron's infatuation with the Princess. However their romance is cut short when they are captured by Imperial stormtroopers and brought before the alien General Sk'ar. And that is where this collection ends.

Overall, I found these stories to be pretty disappointing. There are no extended story arcs that allow the reader to find out more about the characters or their situations. Many of the stories are very strange and don't seem to fit in the Star Wars universe. Issues 46 through 48 are the worst issues so far. While the character of Cody Sunn-Childe in issue 46 is interesting, the idea that he could create a pocket dimension with the power of his mind seems silly. The Kligson character in issue 47 is simply annoying, and issue 48 was just terrible. Issue 53 is an improvement, but the conclusion of this story is left for the next volume.

Here is the edition that I read through:

The stories discussed above are actually split in the new omnibus that are currently being printed. Omnibus volume 2 contains issues 28 through 49, and volume 3 contains 50 through 67.

If I were to continue to read the comics in the order of publication, I would probably read "Classic Star Wars Volume 1: In Deadly Pursuit" next, but I'm interested to see how the cliffhanger ending of this volume will resolve, so I will continue with "A Long Time Ago"'s next volume, "Screams in the Void".

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