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A comic series by John Ostrander, Davide Fabbri, and Christian Dalla Vechia (2002, Dark Horse Comics)
Republic comics #40-41
30 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

A double-dealing bounty hunter tells how he started a war to deprive the Jedi of a secret treasure.



3 stars

Read on October 14th, 2010 for the second time  
    I think this short comic was just as funny the second time around. Although I never became a real fan of this character, he was amusing, and this is the story that turned me from a Vilmarh-hater into somebody who could tolerate him and even enjoy his adventures at times. That' quite a feat!  


3 stars

Read on December 21st, 2003  
    A very funny tale, contrary to what I was expecting.

I am not a fan of Vilmarh Grahrk, the Devaronian with whom these comic storytellers seem to be obsessed. He pops up in so many of the comics in this series, and elsewhere. He started off very annoying, and got worse every time I saw him. This tale, however, was less about him, and more about the image of a greedy coward.

The covers of these two issues tell us everything we need to know about how to approach the story. The first cover is a parody of the famous poster from Star Wars: A New Hope, with Villie in the central position with lightsaber lifted high! The second cover has Villie sitting in a Wampa chair, with the heads of, most importantly, a Gungan and an Ewok on the wall, two of the most hated creatures in the Star Wars universe! I think this is a parody of something, also, but I can't think of what.

The frame story takes place in a pub, where Villie explains his great deeds of killing Jedi and fooling them, while his companions don't believe a word he says. It is very true to his sort of character that he can think fast -much faster than his listeners. Whenever they come up with a question that seems to expose his story as a lie, he comes up with a retort, even to the point where he is not blamed for the explosion of a shipyard that killed people his listeners actually knew!

Most of the issues deal with a retelling of Jedi Council: Acts of War. A couple of frames come directly from that comic, either directly, or redrawn, but the scenes are identical. Villie explains how he was approached by a meek individual, who to knowing eyes looks a lot like Darth Sidious. This individual wants to steal the Secret Treasure of the Jedi (the existence of Jedi riches is explained by Villie by the existence of a huge temple on Coruscant -"not cheap")!

We also get the actual story, whereby Sidious and Darth Maul throw Villie around a lot, and threaten to torture him if he fails to kill some Jedi. Of course he will never tell his listeners how he cowered in fear! Any time he was alone, or the only witness, he gets to embellish or change the story completely. When others were present, he tells it pretty much as it happened.

So he tells of how he started a war, by allowing the Yinchorri access to ships, which drew the Jedi in, and created a "diversion", so that his client could sneak into the Jedi Temple and steal the "treasure". He never explains what the treasure is, but after the battle is over, he went to offer his assistance to the frantic Jedi. That frame is hilarious, with the Jedi crying their hearts out for the stolen treasure, and Yoda even gnawing on somebody's ankle! He turns into Gollum in this version, even calling the treasure his "precious", and rolling around on his back.

We learn a little more about the back-story of Acts of War, how Villie married his cousin into a Yinchorri clan, thus bringing the stupid Devaronian who got caught by the Jedi into the tale.

Afterwards, of course, Villie was caught by Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan, and brought before the council, but could not reveal what he didn't know. He tells his listeners, though, that he went in search of his client and took the treasure, allowing some monstrous beast to eat Sidious!

The money he got form the Jedi upon returning the "treasure" was all lost betting on Sebulba in the podrace where Anakin won in The Phantom Menace!

To fill out the issue, Villie is asked about the time he spent with Quinlan Voss in Twilight. He has a hilarious account of how he stole a lightsaber and managed to con everybody into believing that Voss was a Jedi, when he was nothing of the sort, just a good actor. When the game was over, and Voss started to get greedy, and actually think of himself as a Jedi, he told Villie to shoot him, where he would deflect the shot. Villie did shoot him, but the impostor didn't manage to deflect it! Of course, if Voss shows up in the underworld again, Villie will have to defend himself against his own lies. Not that any of his listeners actually believed what he said, anyway.

However, as Villie says, it is the game that counts, not the money. Even if they don't believe him, they can't disprove what he said, either, especially since there was so much truth to it. They will always wonder if he even did half of what he said he did, and that is enough for his reputation to soar. I wonder if the "next job" he has lined up will be featured in future comics.

The story was actually quite fun to read, and I laughed out loud at several spots. My favorite comes right at the beginning, when he pounds the Rodian with his full tankard of ale. He calls the robotic waiter over and claims the tankard was defective, since it broke over the Rodian's head! Partway through his tale, he smashes it over the guy's head again, and the waiter apologizes for a second defective tankard! Ha!

However, the story doesn't have much relevance, either, which is okay, but not something I want to see often. It has softened me up to the character of Villie, and that is no small feat.

The artwork left something to be desired, as fun as the story was. The characters were very flat, the scenes completely without depth. The lines around many of the objects or people were very thick, and the colors were rather mute, even the orange skin of the Devaronians. Characters who deserve a lot of detail, like the reptilian Yinchorri, were instead only roughly drawn. Backgrounds didn't have much substance to them, either.

I surprised myself by liking this story as much as I did. Not being a fan of the character, or of blatant comedy in the Star Wars Universe, I was expecting the worst. While I got tired of Villie's simplistic way of talking at about the halfway mark, there was very little annoying here.


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