Thursday, June 20, 2013

Star Wars Rediscovered: Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures Review

“Enough excuses, you scum! Get Moving! Attack!”

Welcome to Star Wars Rediscovered and my review of Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures! Find out after the jump what I thought of this originally for newspaper series.

Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures

Writer: Russ Manning
Al Williamson, Rick Hoberg, Brian Snoddy
Tom Roberts, Rick Hoberg, Dave Stevens, Alfredo Alcala

Collects issues #1-9

Cover Art

The cover art to this collection is really good. All of the characters look like the people they are meant to be thankfully and the use of colours are nice, with the lightsaber gleaming in the foreground and Darth Vader in the background making his presence known. Williamson does a great job here. 


Issue #1

This first issue deals with the Rebel's plan to damage the Empire's finances by somehow vandalising an Empire run casino. Luke, Leia and the droids arrive at the casino but attract too much attention to themselves by Luke's ability to win at an almost impossible game. Luke and Leia are subsequently attacked and kidnapped by the minions of a shadowy figure called Blackhole and it is up to the droids to rescue them. 
I quite enjoyed this first issue, the highlight definitely being the mysterious Blackhole who so far has only appeared as some sort of hologram. He is shown to be loyal to Vader and is behind enemy lines in the Rebel's headquarters. 
I thought it was interesting that the star and sweeping lines that are on or make up the figure of Blackhole look almost identical to the game that Luke wins at that betrays their presence. Was this part of Blackhole's plan?

Issue #2
This issue starts with C3P0 and R2D2 rescuing Luke & Leia from Blackhole's ship. They use a security console to disable our heroes bonds and then direct them via an intercom to the ship exit. The issue then switches to a secret stronghold where C3P0 is telling Mistress Mnemos what happened. They discover that Blackhole is indeed working for Vader and so R2D2 drags C3P0 to a weapons store with the plan to outfit them both with weapons to help protect Luke & Leia but due to the weapons they are fitted with having the ability to sense evil intent they seemingly all fire randomly when a gang of thugs are about to attack them. The droids therefore discard the weapons believing them faulty and leave with the gang lying in wait. 
I found this issue rather boring which wasn't helped by the lack of actual action within it

Issue #3

Issue 3 is about Luke finally meeting up with the secret contact and then Luke and C3P0 rescuing Leia and R2D2 from the young gang that had kidnapped them for a large ransom and the droids. The secret meeting ends badly due to an attack however Luke manages to rescue Leia and R2D2 thanks to a location sensor that C3P0 had installed by the weapons dealer that allowed him to know where R2D2 is. 
I enjoyed this issue more than the previous one as it was more action heavy and it was nice to see  some depth of character in one of the gang members who sacrifices himself to help our heroes escape in return for their rescuing him from Blackhole's mind probe. 

Issue #4

This issues my favourite so far, it deals with a plot by the Empire to use the symptoms of a contagious and fatal disease to help them find and destroy Rebel bases. The disease is directed to the world by
the Empire in the form of a transport capsule which crashes and releases the deadly Bledsoe's disease. The Empire use this to cause destabilisation on known Rebel sympathetic worlds but more crucially victims of the disease get star maps in their eyes in which the Empire plant a message in the virus that allows them to see the location of the Rebel bases. This is an ingenious way to get such secret information. 

Issue #5

No one is suspicious that a strange woman (Leia) arrives in the slave camp from no where and even the owner doesn't ask who she is and where she came from. 
In this issue Leia and a fellow Rebel are attacked by a Rebel ship and to protect her the fellow Rebel knocks Leia unconscious and ejects her in an escape pod to the nearest planet while he sacrifices himself and blows the ship up. Leia arrives at an Imperial slave camp and immediate becomes some sort of assistant to the lady owner who is the widow of Grand Moff Tarkin. Leia stumbles upon a slave plan to escape and tries to help them, their plan doesn't succeed entirely and it is thanks to Han and Chewie that they escape at all from the clutches of Tarkin's widow and Vader himself. 

Issue #6

This is another stand alone story and is about a scientist that creates a ship that can create perfect weather and he hopes that it can harmonise the weather of the more violent planets. The ship however is taken by the Empire for their plan to destroy Rebel planets. The scientist's daughter is taken prisoner by the Empire to force the scientist to operate the ship. The Empire is foiled by Luke, Han & Chewie who pretend to be prisoners to gain access to the ship but then defeat the Imperials and rescue the scientist who destroys the ship to stop the Empire using it in the future. 

Issue #7

This issue deals with The Empires plan to kidnap pupils and teachers from a school in the hopes of trapping any Rebel's that try to rescue them. They are foiled however by a combination of one of the teacher's sons Berd and our heroes. They trick the Imperial's into thinking that a massive Rebel fleet is coming to attack them and by the time they work out that it is a fakery our heroes have sneaked aboard and manage to defeat the Imperials and rescue the pupils and teachers. 
I find it odd that Luke is surprised at Berd's suggestion that he help rescue them all, surely rescuing people is what he does. 
I found this issue quite boring and it took far too long to get to the conclusion. 

Issue #8

In issue 8 we have a story about a man on the neutral planet Arda 2 who is secretly selling a part from the Rebel ships that allow the Empire to lock on and destroy them. This man is discovered and before he is captured sends a message off to Darth Vader who promptly arrives to destroy the planet and the Rebels. Thankfully our heroes manage to persuade the neutral ship builders to build a machine that can affect the targeting systems of both the Rebels and the Empire allowing the Rebels to adjust because they know about it. This gives them an advantage but it takes a man called Kiros to crash into Vader's ship and sacrifice himself to make Vader back off and try again another day. 
I quite enjoyed this issue although I think that the Rebel Alliance should buy a few more of the machines that affect targeting systems and put them on Rebel occupied planets at least until the Empire cotton onto them and manually adjust their weapons targeting, this would give the Rebels a temporarily military advantage. 

Issue #9

In this final issue we have a fun adventure thanks to the arrival of Boba Fett in his first comic book appearance. Luke is chasing an Empire pilot who makes them both crash land on a frozen planet. This pilot turns out to be Fett and they are both captured by the natives who try and force them to fix their machines so that their planet stops getting colder. They both escape and Fett finds the man who he came to get a bounty from. Unfortunately for Fett he is outsmarted by this man who activates a magnetic field that traps him on a wall and they all escape. 
I loved Fett's portrayal within this story, he is definitely shown not to be someone to be messed with and the bounty is rightly all he cares about, a great first appearance. 
I felt that this story could easily have been resolved without violence, Luke evidently knew how to fix their machines and the natives showed that they only wanted help. Fett of course couldn't care less but Luke could maybe have fixed their machines at the end of the story. 

Interior Art

I feel that the interior art within this volume is of a higher quality than any of the previous volumes. Nowhere did I notice any character hastily drawn or look nothing like themselves. This was a pleasant surprise. Some of my favourite panels include one in issue #1 where Luke is using the Force unintentionally to win at a gambling game, the use of light and shadow is brilliant and the way the mysterious symbols encompass the whole panel makes it look a bit hallucinogenic. The panel in issue #1 where Luke draws his lightsaber to attack Blackhole's troopers is brilliant, the light from it really glows off the page and the sense of movement is fantastic. In issue #4 we have a shadowy panel where Luke and Anduvil are travelling on Bantha's across a bridge, it really looks cold and slight eerie and as a scene would look great in a film. In the same issue we have a close up of Luke's eyes which have stars in them due to the disease he has contracted, it's a great close up and the shock that we can see just from Luke's eye is great. Finally the final splash page of the collection in issue #9 of the Millenium Falcon swooping off in victory is a great final page. 

Conclusion & Rating

To conclude out of all of the Classic Star Wars volumes I have read and reviewed so far this is definitely my favourite. The worst story in this is probably as good as the best story in any of the previous volumes. If you check out any of the Classic Star Wars series this would be a great place to start. 

Rating: 7/10 - Death Star

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