Thursday, May 23, 2013

Star Wars Rediscovered: Classic Star Wars Volume 3: Escape to Hoth

“Nooooooo! T-The Force! Someone...reaching out...through the machine!”

Welcome to Star Wars Rediscovered and my review of Classic Star Wars Volume 3: Escape to Hoth. Read on after the jump to see what I thought of this third volume of this series.

Classic Star Wars Volume 3: Escape to Hoth

Writer: Archie Goodwin
Artist: Al Williamson
Art Assist: Allen Nunis
Colourists: Steve Buccellato, Matthew Hollingsworth, Ray Murtaugh, Tom Roberts

Cover Art

The cover art for this collection is as uninspiring as the previous volumes. We have two figures who are about to be attacked by a lizard creature and Darth Vader, the male character looks to be too blonde and muscled to be Luke Skywalker but if previous volumes are taken into account there is every chance this could be him. The colours and use of shadow are fine but Vader looks a bit too small and thin to look very threatening.


Story #14
This is the first volume where we get a fairly heavy recap of what has occurred in the previous volume. We resume the story where we left off in the last volume with Vrad and Luke fighting. Luke manages to somehow convince Vrad to not shoot him after they have fought even though at the end of the previous volume he seemed dead set on killing him. Luke convinces the general to let him fly with Vrad and they set off to confront Vader. However Vrad again betrays the Rebels, he abandons Luke on a planetoid and hopes to bargain for his life with the Empire with the power gem. Luke is rescued by the Millenium Falcon which somehow manages to arrive right behind him without him noticing. Unexpectedly Vrad changes his mind and attacks the destroyer even though the power gem is depleted, he is vapourised by their shields but this allows the Falcon to damage their ship from the rear as they had transferred all shields to the front. I was pleasantly surprised at this twist, it definitely helped to add a bit more depth to the character and he became more than just a traitor who was to weak to stand against the Empire. General Dodonna promotes Luke to commander while they all prepare to leave the base before the Imperials arrive, Dodonna however secretly stays on the planet and sacrifices himself to destroy the Imperials. There is obviously a heroic gene within the Dodonna family line. We again are told the same information multiples times, which gets a bit boring. The Rebel fleet make it to Hoth thanks to Luke's use of the Force and they evade Vader.
Story #15
Our characters on the Falcon have ship trouble before they can make it to Hoth and land on a nearby peaceful looking planet to make repairs. During this Luke sees who he thinks is Tanith being attacked by a giant plant monster, he kills it but she runs away and in chasing her Luke is pulled over a cliff by her and into water. It then is discovered that she is not Tanith but a stranger. Her explanation to Luke is that the atmosphere of the planet is too rich for strangers and so can make them see things. I initially found this such a boring and blunt plot device just so Luke can be teamed up with this woman while on the planet. However this just turns out to be her off the cuff explanation. A few pages later and S'ybll and Luke and suddenly kissing, it feels very strained and unnecessary. I was right to feel this way as she is in reality a mind witch who has attempted to bring Luke under her spell so she can drain his life force. He is stronger than she anticipated however and he escapes. S'ybll tries to bring the entire environment down on Luke but he has made her so enraged that she collapses and presumably dies. They return to the new Rebel base on Hoth. I was quite pleased that she was in fact an enemy waiting to strike and not just another damsel in distress for Luke to save, this turned around what could have been a very bland story.
Story #16
On their journey back from defeating the mind witch the Falcon is unwittingly followed and so out heroes go to lead it away from the Rebel base. The ships turns out to be owned by an old acquaintance of Han's called Raskar, he threatens Han that unless he gives him his treasure from helping the Rebels that he will turn him into Jabba the Hutt for the reward. Raskar forces them back to Hoth and they luckily discover a stash of rare spice that Rasksar takes as Han's treasure, once the giant worm guarding it is defeated they all go back to Raskar's ship. This story had the potential to be  fairly interesting, I enjoyed wondering how they were ever going to convince Raskar that Han had a treasure of Hoth but was disappointed when they randomly found the rare spice, I was hoping for a more clever solution than that.
Story #17
The ship they return to has been commandeered by bounty hunters led by Bobba Fett, there is a nice entrance and return of the bounty hunter Skorr who wants revenge on Han for tricking him into being captured by the Imperials and being sentenced to the spice mines of Kessel. This was a nice unexpected link back to the first volume. They all arrive back on Ord Mantell and Luke and Han are imprisoned however they manage to escape due to Skorrs need for revenge. He tells them that giving them over as prisoner to Jabba is not enough and that he is going to kill Han. Thanks to the Force however Luke throws off Skorrs aim and Han knocks him out. They are then rescued by Raskar who has freed himself from being imprisoned on his own ship and blows up the moisture plant where our heroes were trying to escape from. Skorr’s reappearance and the introduction of Bobba Fett were the highlights of this story.
Story #18
They don't make it back to the base however before Luke picks up a Rebel distress beacon, he contacts the base to find out that they have sent C3P0 and R2D2 to investigate, as they are more expendable apparently. A messenger droid attacks them but Han and Luke arrive to help. Vader has a secret plan however to extract the location of the Rebel base from the mind of whatever humanoid approaches his droid. This happens to be Luke who touches the droid in the hopes of getting any information from it that might be useful but instead is enveloped in a force field while Vader attacks his mind. A combination of R2D2 and Han save him though and Vader's plans are foiled yet again. The volume ends with our heroes about to start their journey back to the Rebel base and their friends. This story was my favourite of this volume, it was simple yet clever and if anyone but Luke had been caught in Vader's trap then he would have most likely discovered the location of their base.

Interior Art

The interior art is generally no better or worse than the previous two volumes, There are some panels that work really and others that are just awful. Luke on one page is drawn terribly, he looks almost to be a 40 something old man, Han next to him looks much younger. It’s the character work that is generally the most disappointing aspect of the art. Some of the panels that work well include a good panel of the ship that both Vrad and Luke are flying off in. interesting design, sleek and metallic. There is a great panel of Vader's star destroyer. the shadowy planets and asteroids behind it are fantastic and the panel of the Falcon surrounded by solar flares is brilliant! It would be an epic scene in a movie. Lastly there is a good panel of the Falcon sweeping after the mysterious ship that may discover the new base, good level of detail on the Falcon.

Conclusion & Rating

To conclude I found this volume to be generally uninspiring, nothing really gripped me and everything was quite safe and bland. Out of the three volumes of Classic Star Wars that I have reviewed so far I found volume 2 to be marginally the highlight. Unless you are a particular fan of newspaper strips that have been turned into full comic books then I wouldn’t bother with this series, there are much better ones out there such as Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison which is fantastic. See my review here

Rating: 4/10 - Hutts

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