With the resurgence of Star Wars, we see a host of new movies. “The force awakens” “Rogue One” both were fantastic, and with a long list of movies to expect on the horizon. On the other hand we also saw a resurfacing of the Star Wars comic collection. The all new comics started in 2015, published by Marvel and written by Jason Aaron. This particular issue was penned by John Cassaday.

This story takes place between “A New Hope” and “Empire strikes back.”

We open up on a beat up ship flying through space towards a dark desert looking planet. A message rings out, “Tatooine shuttle, your credentials have been approved.” Giving them permission to land on the weapons factory. Along with a heavy warning that any deviation will result in obliteration. This is where we learn the planet is Cymoon 1. The ship lands on the docking bay, surrounded by storm troopers and an imperial overseer, who comments on them being outer rim scum, and orders the storm troopers to kill everyone if anything seems suspicious. I’m loving this comic so far, it has a very Star Wars feel to it. Plus its nice to see imperial storm troopers again. The doors of the ship open and reveal none other than Han Solo swaggering out in his usual fashion, flanked by R2-D2 and two Hutt guards. They exchange as pleasant of greetings you would expect from an imperial as one of the droids confirms Solo’s identity, remarking that he is a “small time” smuggler. Han scoffs at this. They ask them to give up their weapons, the last panel shows Han handing over his weapon as viewed through a scope.

This is where its gets interesting. The scope pulls away to reveal Chewbacca hidden in one of the bases towers. One of the hutt guards speaks quietly into their radio “We’re going in, everyone hold their positions.” A voice comes back, very proper and talkative, this is definitely C-3PO. His final words tainting the mission, “I have a very good feeling about this.” We enter into the weapons factory with the overseer explaining that it will not be a negotiation, more a accept our terms or die situation. He also mentions that the fully automated station is the largest weapons factory in the galaxy. The inside looks really cool to be honest, I love the art work here, you can see droids working on tie fighters on both sides of the group of people.

The overseer tries to take them to a radio sealed room, this is where Han drops the hammer. R2 squirts out a green liquid all over the storm troopers and electrifies it while the hutt guards reveal themselves as Leia and Luke, taking out the remaining guards. Under electrocution threat by R2 the overseer points them toward the main power core right before Leia lays him out with a serious left hook. I love this, I love the fact that Leia was present for most if not all of Luke and Han’s missions, even though she is royalty and a high ranking member of the rebellion. Ditching the hutt outfits they proceed to the core, letting 3PO know to be ready to hit auto pilot on the ship as soon as they’re ready. 3PO comments that it is surprising how often the Falcon has been mistaken for garbage, especially since they are currently hiding it in the bases garbage dump. They reach the core and start rigging it to explode when Luke has some sort of force feeling. “help us” he senses.

Luke starts searching, moving down into the depths of the base. There he finds a mass of people holed up in a cage, remarking “fully automated, even that was a lie” inferring that they were used as slave labor. While moving to break the lock he is attacked by a guard carrying what I can assume is a laser whip. Luke quickly dispatches with him and the lock with a quick flick of his lightsaber. This is what I’ve been waiting for, the chance to see more of Luke and his rise into being a jedi. And that we do, we have a great full page panel of Luke standing, lightsaber in hand, with the writhing handless guard laying behind him. “Follow me” he states.

Going back to the core room, Han and Leia have finished the sabotaging, Leia thanks Han and remarks that now the empire will know he is with the rebellion. This is how we find out how they know him. All of these comics are canon by the way. Luke returns with the slaves and they get ready to leave when a familiar ship shows up. The negotiator.

Darth Vader.

Admit it, you all heard the theme song in your head. We have a fantastic full page panel of Vader flanked by a dozen or so storm troopers. With a growl Chewie informs our heroes of Vader’s arrival. Han orders Chewie to stand down but Leia overrides that order, telling him to take a shot if he has it. This is the first time we see any of our heroes take direct action against Vader, it’s fantastic. The shot rings out and Vader expertly pulls, activates and blocks the shot with his lightsaber. This is another reason I started with the Star Wars comics, we will get to see much more of Vader and his capabilities. After he blocks the shot Chewie lets loose, firing rapidly down at them. Like the bad mofo that he is Vader force pulls two storm troopers up into the air and shields himself with their bodies. With most the troopers laying dead, Chewie gets off one more shot, which misses.

Vader lifts his hand and the tower that Chewie is in starts to crumble, causing him to leap from the wreckage. Vader informs the remaining troopers that there has been a rebel attack and to put the base on high alert, and remarks that he can feel the presence of the pilot that destroyed the death star. Luke. Red lights flare in the core room as the base goes on alert, Han orders C-3PO to hit the auto pilot on the Falcon. 3PO states that he did five minutes ago but there is a problem, the native scavengers have started dismantling the Falcon thinking it was garbage. He instructs 3PO to grab a blaster and go out to stop them. We cut back into the base and the rebels are under heavy imperial fire, escaping into a nearby room where they find a group of empty AT-AT walkers. As they are preparing to blast their way out with one of the walkers Leia notices that Luke is missing. He has wandered off down an abandoned hallway. “Luke” he hears, “Ben?” he asks. Ben Kenobi is who he is referring to, or Obi Wan Kenobi for those more familiar. He tells Ben that Vader is here, and that he must face him. Now at this point Luke still doesn’t know the truth about Vader.

“Luke listen to me carefully…” Ben says as we see Luke round the corner activating his lightsaber. Vader stands in his way, lightsaber in hand.

“Run.”

This comic was a great start to the series, it helps to flesh out what our heroes are up to between the movies and gives us more of an insight into each character. Although it would be kind of hard to understand what is going on if you have never seen or are not familiar with Star Wars.

F.N.G rating 4.5/5