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ALL TIMELINES


ALL TIMELINES

THE EARLY ADVENTURES

A newspaper strip graphic novel by Russ Manning (1997, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 1 of the Star Wars Newspaper Strips
1 year after Star Wars: A New Hope

Luke, Han and Leia meet new rebel contacts, and deal with many Imperial attacks, both of rebel bases, and of innocents.  Boba Fett chances across Han's path.

 

 

2 stars

Read October 6th to 9th, 1997  
    This was not really one story, but a compilation of stories, as would be carried out over the weeks in the newspaper.  It's like a short story collection in graphic form.  It contains some good stories, and excellent use of most of the characters (with the exception of Han Solo), but was brought down by a lack of knowledge of the universe in general, as evidenced by the constant use of Empire instead of Imperial.

The first story shows Luke and Leia about to meet with a rebel contact.  However, a mysterious being spots them, and they are captured by the Imperials, who are looking for the new rebel base.  R2D2 and C3PO are nearly captured by a teenage gang, but escape with the help of a police droid.  C3PO is able to infiltrate the ship where Luke and Leia are being held, and deactivates the field holding them, and they make their way to their ship. 

R2D2 gets an idea to get fitted with a location transponder, and while the droids are doing that, they try out some weapons as well.  The teenagers try to capture them again, and the weapons go off, saving them, although they didn't know it. 

Meanwhile, Luke and Leia try to meet their contact again.  Luke wins the draw, and follows some instructions designed to thwart any Imperial spies and pursuers.  He meets with the president of that world, and briefly discuss a plan of action, but their meeting is interrupted by an Imperial attack.  All escape, and Luke makes his way back to their ship.

Unfortunately, the teenagers have succeeded in capturing R2D2 and Princess Leia.  How they did that, I can't figure.  Leia has defeated stormtroopers single-handedly before this.  Fortunately, C3PO knows R2's transponder code, and Luke goes to rescue them, at the same time as the Imperials attack the teens.  The teens all seem to be killed, but Luke and Leia escape.

Later, Luke is sent to Tatooine to gather information about a plague that may be related to a rebel base that was completely destroyed by Imperial forces.  It turns out that when this disease is caught, it turns the eyes of the person into a star chart, which will reveal the location of any rebel bases that they know about.  Luke catches the disease, and is captured, but with the help of a contact on Tatooine, he is able to escape. 

Meanwhile, Leia's ship is attacked, and she manages to land on a planet inhabited by the widow of Grand Moff Tarkin.  She assumes the identity of a servant girl to survive, and is forced to work for Lady Tarkin.  Leia gets in with some miners of explosives, and agrees to operate Tarkin's transmitter to contact help.  Leia escapes the room just as Darth Vader sees her, and runs through a tunnel lined with the explosive to escape.  She and her new friends blast the explosive tunnel as the Millenium Falcon arrives, and they take off into hyperspace. 

Later, a physicist has created a spacecraft that can terraform worlds in a day, but the Imperials capture it and set it on reverse, destroying rebel worlds.  The physicist does the work, because the Imperials have his daughter, the only thing he lives for.  She escapes, however, and finds help in the form of Luke and Han.  They make their way to Kessel, where her father's laboratory is, so she can use a holoprojector there to contact him. 

Unfortunately, she can't find him, so Luke and Han go up to the ship as it approaches Kessel, and try to free the physicist themselves.  They succeed at the same time as his daughter finds him, telling him that she is free.  They set the machine to self-destruct, and get off Kessel.  I guess at that time, Kessel wasn't imagined to be as bad a place as it later turned out to be.  It even seemed to have rebel sympathies.

Later, Luke is delivering books to a school, but finds that the teacher and some children have been captured by Imperials.  He, of course, has to save them.  He recruits Leia and a reluctant Han, and they discover a hidden squadron of TIE fighters.  They ambush the fighters, and rescue the children and their teacher before the prisoners can be killed.  The Imperial commander in charge of the capture is killed by his own weapon. 

Luke is then sent to a manufacturer to let them know that their security has been compromised, and that Imperials can track X-Wing fighters with the stolen components.  Luke is sent on a wild goose chase, while the traitor tries to contact Vader.  Luke gets back in time to seize the traitor, but has to face Vader's troops in space battle.  Using a super weapon of their own, they are able to cripple Vader's star destroyer, and escape. 

Finally, Luke is chased into a cavern on an ice planet, where he discovers Boba Fett.  Both Luke and Fett are captured by creatures of the ice, but escape in time.  However, Han has been captured trying to rescue Luke, and is found by Fett, too.  It turns out that Boba Fett was going after another bounty, but will gain more money by turning Han over as well.  But Leia is then captured by the ice dwellers, but she is able to rally them against Fett. 

Meanwhile, the man Fett was originally after rescues Chewbacca from an ice creature, but Fett finds them both and marches them off to the Falcon.  But before they get there, Fett's bounty stuns them all, and then straps him to a magnetic generator and attempts to escape.  But he is stopped by Leia, who revives her friends.

They leave with Boba Fett hanging magnetically attached to a wall.  Kind of funny, but perhaps poetic justice. 

Since the adventures are really out of the scope of the Star Wars continuity, I can't comment too much on that.  The characters seem to act true to form.  But the stories just don't seem memorable, and don't leave me with a satisfied impression.

 
   

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