Monday, February 7, 2011

16. Devilworlds

Devilworlds is a set of two comics that reprint various issues of Star Wars that were published by Marvel in the UK but never published in the US. I found these stories to be very interesting, even if they did vary from the normal Star Wars style. Several of these stories were written by Alan Moore, and his stories were the most unique. Some of the stories were just too strange though. Regardless, it's an interesting collection of short stories, although they're generally too odd to be considered as part of the standard Star Wars story.

In Moore's "Dark Lord's Conscience", Darth Vader is challenged by a mutant that can bring people to suicidal despair by forcing them to dwell on their darkest memories. Vader appears to be immune to the mutant's powers, which could be due to the force or could be due to his ability to justify his actions.

Moore also wrote "Tilotny Throws a Shape", which was the strangest Star Wars story I've read to date. It involves a few beings who think they are gods creating the universe, and are confused by the appearance of Leia and some stormtroopers who are chasing her. These supernatural beings inadvertently kill all of them, which makes Leia and the stormtroopers much less interesting. One of the beings, Splendid Ap, is left behind to clean up the mess, but his lack of knowledge regarding time means that while Leia is revived in the same time and place where she died, the stormtroopers are revived several thousand years in the past.

Another interesting story is "The Flight of the Falcon", which describes how Han Solo originally acquired the Millenium Falcon. This story doesn't match up with the story that appears in the Han Solo novels, but it's an interesting story none the less.

"Dark Knight's Devilry" was also entertaining, as it featured a group of people aligned with neither the Empire or the Rebellion. Luke and Leia have gone in search of a device called "The Eternity Crystal", which allegedly has the power to turn back time. The are captured by the Empire, then rescued and held hostage by some local militants, before leaving for Adony Station where the crystal is supposedly kept. But it seems this was simply another elaborate ruse on the part of Darth Vader to kill Luke and Leia.

Next up, I will continue with the Marvel reprints in Fool's Bounty.

Friday, February 4, 2011

15. Escape to Hoth

With "Escape to Hoth", the newspaper strips unfortunately come to an end. These stories have been superior to the Marvel stories and have been fun to read. I will miss them.

One thing I appreciated about "Escape to Hoth" was its attempt to tie into the movies. While these particular strips were actually published after "Empire Strikes Back", they tell the story of the Rebel's arrival on Hoth in flashback, providing background for the opening scene of the movie.

"Escape to Hoth" picks up with the story of Luke and the suspected traitor Vrad Dodonna. Vrad proceeds to carry out his suicide mission, but it is not entirely successful. Although it damages Vader's ship, it does not destroy it. Meanwhile, the rebels are evacuating Yavin IV. As the last ship leaves, they realize that Gen. Dodonna has stayed behind. He has decided to sacrifice himself in order to destroy the Imperial strike force that has been launched to attack the former rebel base.

While the majority of the fleet escapes to Hoth, the Millenium Falcon has dropped out of hyperspace in the wrong place. They land on a jungle planet to make repairs, and while Luke is scouting the area, he stumbles upon the mind witch S'ybil. Luke is able to escape her trap and the Millenium Falcon is able to rejoin the rebellion on Hoth.

Once they arrive, they are immediately dispatched to deal with a ship that has followed them there. Han, Luke, and Chewbacca discover that it is Raskar who has followed them. Raskar is the former pirate from whom the the stole the power gem used by Vrad in his attack on Vader, and it seems that Raskar has been forced to return to pirating now that he is no longer in possession of the power gem. Raskar believes that Han has hidden some treasure on Hoth, so he forces them to return to Hoth to uncover it. As it turns out, Luke has discovered real treasure on Hoth, but it's guarded by a giant dragon slug. They are able to escape, and in the process Luke, Han, and Chewbacca, save Raskar's life. Raskar agrees to release them in exchange for the treasure, but another surprise awaits them.

Raskar has been followed by a group of bounty hunters, including Dengar, Zuckuss, Bossk, and Skorr, the bounty hunter from Ord Mantell. They are working with Boba Fett to bring Han Solo back to Jabba the Hutt. The bounty hunters take the rebels and Raskar to Ord Mantell to deliver Han to Boba and also to deliver Luke to Vader. Since there is no bounty on Raskar, he and his men are left as prisoners in their own ship while the bounty hunters land to collect their reward. Han, Chewbacca, and Luke are able to escape with the help of Reskar, frustrating Boba Fett and Vader. The heroes return to Hoth, and this great series comes to an end.

It was great to see the bounty hunters again, as well as some of the characters that had appeared in earlier comics. The artwork in this series has been great, and the stories have been involved and well developed. The characters have been true to their own screen persona, and there have been a number of original characters introduced. It's too bad that this series wasn't able to continue, but it was fun while it lasted.

Next up we return to the world of Marvel UK, reading the reprints published in "Devilworlds".