So, there’s been a bit of a longer break over the Summer, but here we are back with some more Star Wars goodness, before we had back into the MU proper.
The issue begins with a view of Alderaan from the bridge of the Death Star. Moff Tarkin and Darth Vader are present, as is a visibly concerned Princess Leia. After much thought, Leia reluctantly gives up Dantooine as the location of the rebel base. However, despite this revelation, Tarkin orders the destruction of Alderaan to go ahead. With a massive explosion, what was once a planet full of people is no more. Tarkin then informs Leia that the rebels will be next.
Meanwhile, aboard the Millenium Falcon, Ben Kenobi shudders in pain and takes a seat.Ben explains that he felt a “great ebbing in the force…like the cry of a billion beings – stopping all at once!” At this point, Han appears to inform everyone that they have managed to shake of the Imperial starships that were following them. But he doesn’t get the enthusiastic response he was expecting. He then turns to R2-D2 and Chewbacca, who are engaged in a game of holochess. R2 appears to be winning, much to Chewie’s anger. He swipes the board, sending the pieces flying. C-3PO initially tries to intervene, but Han suggests he thinks twice, as “wookies have been known to [rip people’s arms out of their sockets]“. 3PO considers this momentarily, then turns to R2 and declares, “I suggest a new strategy Artoo, let the Wookie win!”
Luke is conentrating on a hovering spherical ball, holding his new light-sabre. Ben suggests he continues his training, after which the “remote” starts to fly about shooting at Luke. He fails to deflect any of the shots using the light-sabre. Ben then suggests he covers his eyes with a mask and tries again, this time feeling “the force flowing from him“. Luke then, amazingly, manages to block the remote’s shots whilst blindfolded.
Han interrupts the suggestion, suggesting that “hocus-pocus religions and ancient weapons are no substitute for a good blaster“. Ben tells Luke to ignore him, before Han announces that they are approaching Alderaan. However, there is no planet in sight, just flying debris. The crew are confused as to why there is no planet on their screens, when Han spots a TIE-Fighter flying away. But there is no Imperial base nerby? They decide to follow it. After a while, they notice it is heading for what appears to be a small moon. Ben disagrees, “That’s no moon, Mr. Solo, it’s a space station“.
The space station continues to grow impossibly in size on their screen, leading 3PO to state, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this“. They decide to turn away, but before they can, they are caught by the tractor beam of the station. With his choices diminishing by the second, Han prepares himself for battle. But Ben reminds him that there are always alternatives to fighting.
We then switch back to the Death Star. Tarking and Vader receive news that a scout ship has found evidence of a rebel base on Dantooine, but that it has been deserted for some time. Vader and Tarkin debate whether they should keep Leia alive. Tarkin still believes he can get the location from Leia. Vader then informs Tarkin that they have captured the Corellian fighter that hey saw fleeing Mos Eisley.
On board the Falcon, the crew are in once of Han’s smuggling hideaways. The party of stormtroopers find no evidence of them, and so leave the Falcon. This lets the crew emerge and they debate what to do next. They realise they need to deactivate the tractor beam and Ben volunteers for this. Han calls him a “damn fool” and Ben responds dryly, “who is the more foolish, the foll or the man who follows him?”
The stormtroopers return with scanning equipment. One of the troopers indicates he has a bad transmitter, and the office goes to investigate. He is soon met by the mountainous Chewbacca. They overpower the stormtroopers and Han and Luke both don the stormtroopers armour. R2 plugs into a computer terminal and informs Ben where the tractor beam is coupled to the main reactor. Ben says he needs to go alone to complete this mission. Luke wants to go with Ben, but Han is happy to stay behind. R2 then announces (via 3PO’s translation) that Princess Leia is on board. Luke says they should go and rescure her, whilst Han confusedly asks who she is. Han is unmoved by Luke’s pleas to rescue her, until Luke casually throws in that “she’s rich“. Han is tempted and then asks Luke for his plan. Luke approaches Chewie, who reacts angrily. Han then realises what he has in mind and reassures Chewie. Han and Lukje then both put on their stromtrooper helmets and walk alongside Chewie, as if he is their prisoner.
They approach the location where Princess Leia is being held. An officer angrily informs them that he was not notified of any prisoner transfer. As he investigates, Chewie lashes out they all manage to take out the the stormtroopers on the deck. In doing so, they also manage to destroy all the equipment at the terminals, with Luke impressing Han with his blaster skills. Han tells Luke to go and find the Princess, whilst he tries to deal with the messages coming in over the speakers. Unable to do so, Han then fires at the speaking, declaring it “a boring conversation, anyway“.
Luke meanwhile, find the cell where Leia is being held. He blasts it open and finds Leia inside. Luke stammers, “y-you’re even more beautiful than I…”, but cannot finish his sentence as Leia retorts disinterestedly, “aren’t you a little short for a stormtrooper?” Luke then remembers he is dressed as a stormtrooper and takes hi helmet off. He then tells Leia, “I’ve come to rescue you! Ben Kenobi is with me!” This captures Leia’s interest. They run out and meet with Han and Chewie, but there are more stormtroopers blocking their way out. This does not impress Leia, and Han is even less impressed with Leia’s displeasure. How will they escape? Find out in issue 4 soon!
Another great issue, with wonderful Chaykin artwork and more one-liners perfectly captured by Roy Thomas. The scene is beautifully set for some momentous battles, now that all the moving parts have come together on the Death Star. You also really get a feel for Han’s character in this issue, along with Luke’s naiveness.
Writer – Roy Thomas
Artist – Howard Chaykin
Cover date – September 1977
Cover Price – 30c
At the time of writing, the most expensive listing for this issue on eBay is a seemingly bargain price of £14.99. Get it now!
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Strange Tales 101
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