The third Rebellion focused collection from Marvel Comics is here and it features stories post A New Hope. Fan favorites like Boba Fett, Luke Skywalker, and Darth Vader all make appearances and while these stories aren’t in canon there is a lot to love in these “Legends”.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
Rebel heroes and Imperial enemies! When Emperor Palpatine sends a spy to a distant planet, will Princess Leia fi nd the enemy within – or drown in a river of chaos? Boba Fett takes on an impossible mission – and Luke Skywalker’s newest assignment is no easier! Meanwhile, Darth Vader plans to teach the raptor-like inhabitants of Tiss’sharl a lesson in the use of force! And as Vader closes in on the rebel fleet, the only thing that can save the Alliance is one model offi cer! But is Imperial Lieutenant Janek Sunber on the wrong side of the war? Plus, a trio of classic Star Wars rarities explore havoc on Hoth – and the dark side of Dantooine!
Why does this matter?
The stories in this collection were published in 1988, 1995, and 2005 and feature familiar faces across each story. Marvel Comics has rereleased Star Wars stories originally published by Dark Horse Comics which takes up most of this collection. There is also Star Wars 3-D collected here originally published by Blackthorne Publishing and featuring a story that brings the heroes back to Tatooine.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This collection houses four story arcs with an additional three one-shot tales. The story arcs include the five-part “River of Chaos,” the five-part “In the Shadows of Their Fathers,” a five-part “Empire: The Wrong Side of the War,” and the three-part Star Wars 3-D which has been republished here with the red/blue “3-D” effect removed. The stories all focus on rebels attempting to thwart the Empire’s stranglehold on their people after the Death Star was destroyed. If there was a repeating theme in these stories it’s how the Empire is on its heels and willing to do whatever it takes to regain back control.
“In the Shadows of Their Fathers” is the strongest story of the bunch thanks to it tying into Anakin and Obi-Wan’s adventures. Luke discovers an awful truth about what his father had done on a planet called Jabiim. Written by Thomas Andrews and penciled by Adriana Melo the story plays around with Luke coming to the realization that his father wasn’t a perfect hero by any means. Meanwhile, Vader is looming over the planet willing to destroy every inch of it. He does not yet know Luke exists and wants to simply crush the Rebels for good. Essentially the story is about Luke attempting to bring a race of people into the Rebel Alliance, but finds out his last name isn’t as squeaky clean as he thought. It’s a clever story well worth a look.
Star Wars 3-D is a wildly fun story written by Len Wein with art by Glen Johnson. Since it’s not part of canon it doesn’t matter all that much, but it’s fun to see these characters in their original costumes from the first film go back to Tatooine. It can’t be taken too seriously–at one point Luke plays with a lightsaber by making it fly around a room smashing things–but it culminates to a fun fight with Darth Vader and Luke that’s over the top fun. It reads very much like a relic of history and shouldn’t be missed by any Star Wars fan.
The three solo one-shot stories are all fabulous too. The cover art is from a Boba Fett story about a Grand Moff requesting Boba Fett retrieve something from a destroyed Star Destroyer. Originally published as Star Wars: Empire #28, Boba is a man of few words in this one, the Moff does most of the talking about a sorrowful story, and it ends in a badass way. Ron Marz wrote this story with art by Adriana Melo (with cover art by Michael David Thomas) and it’s quite good at showing how characters have real-life dreams and aspirations but in a galaxy rife with war that’s sometimes not possible.
The Darth Vader stories are excellent and show how Vader is a master tactician and strategist as he roots out backstabbing Rebels. The first is by Scott Allie with art by Joe Corroney from Star Wars: Empire #31 and involves Vader negotiating with a race of Raptor looking aliens. Darth Vader lays a seed, follows it, and crushes the fruit that sprouts from his plan. There’s excellent art in this one especially a shot of a sullen Darth Vader with his mask off and his pasty white face giving a thousand-mile stare. The second Darth Vader one-shot is by John Jackson Miller and Brian Ching and was originally published in Star Wars: Empire #35. This story has Vader very much get annoyed with a general who keeps blowing up Rebels who they can easily catch. It ends with a twist and a very evil move by Darth Vader.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
I wasn’t a huge fan of the “River of Chaos” and “Empire: The Wrong Side of the War” which both use brand new characters and very few familiar faces. Luke is in the latter story, but he isn’t the focus. Without much connection to the main cast of characters or having to do with Jedi history it’s a hard sell to care about what goes on especially since none of these stories are in canon. There is stormtroopers troopin’, there are pilots pilotin’, but they are all cannon fodder at the end of the day.
Is it good?
There are some excellent gems to be had with this collection. Star Wars fans should snatch this up for the Star Wars 3-D reprinting and the one-shot stories alone. It’s also an interesting read since it features stories from three different eras showing what the Star Wars comics were like prior to Dark Horse, and then two arcs in the middle and latter era of their ownership of the property.
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