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A novel by Alan Dean Foster (1978, Bantam Spectra)
2 years after Star Wars: A New Hope

Luke and Leia search for a Force-amplifying crystal after they crash and are trapped on an Imperial-controlled world.



2 stars

Read March 29th to April 4th, 1995  
    Not too bad. I actually kind of enjoyed the book.  The relationship between Luke and Leia is strangely developed, especially since Lucas insists that he knew they were twins before Jedi.  And I can't believe, even with the help of that crystal, that Luke or Leia could defeat Vader the way they did.

It was sort of enjoyable, but not true to the Star Wars universe as we know it now. Maybe back in 1977, but not now.




A graphic novel by Terry Austin and Chris Sprouse (1996, Dark Horse Comics)


3 stars

Read October 29th to 30th, 1997  
    This was better than I remember the novel being.  Well adapted, and well drawn as well.  A good refresher, since I don't want to read the book again.  The crystal is obviously what the title is named after.

Luke and Leia and the two droids are on a diplomatic mission to a planet with Rebel sympathies.  But they are forced to crash land on the next planet out from the star, not even within hailing distance of the planet they want to go to. 

They make their way to a partially walled city, where they discover stormtroopers.  The Empire appears to be mining on this planet.  Luke and Leia steal some miner's clothing, and go to a cantina, where they fool the Imperials, and contact a strange woman, who seems to be attuned to the Force.  She presents them with a shard from what is called the Kaiburr crystal. 

Leaving the cantina, they attract unwanted attention.  They end up in a fight with some other miners, which attracts stormtroopers.  Luke and Leia are imprisoned, while the supervisor contacts his boss, who recognizes Leia.  He ends up called Darth Vader.

Luke and Leia are put in a cell with two beasts called Yuzzem.  The old woman appears outside their cell window, forty stories up (!), and uses the Force to open their door.  They escape, and take off in the woman's all terrain vehicle. 

They are not out of danger, however, as a giant worm topples the vehicle and chases them towards a pit.  Leia finds a ledge to stand on, and the worm falls into the pit as it overextends itself trying to catch them. 

The ladder, however, is gone.  The old woman recognizes the pit as some sort of access tunnel to the native species of the planet.  They are spurned by the Imperials, and live completely underground. 

Luke and Leia go look for an exit from the underground, and the old lady and the droids go from above.  Of course, they meet eventually.  But they are all captured in one way or another by the native species.  Luke and Leia manage to fight them off, which impresses them.  They challenge Luke to a duel, which he wins using the Force. 

The natives agree to help this group of travelers ambush the Imperials who are on their way into the pit.  Luke can sense Vader leading them. 

They manage to outwit the Imperials, of course.  It seems that anybody with one blaster and several sticks and stones can defeat a legion of Imperial troops.  I have to admit, though, that even Vader was unimpressed with this legion, and ends up killing their supervisor. 

Luke and his friends find the crystal before Vader, and hurt and chase away its guardian lizard.  Vader arrives before they can reach it, though, and baits Leia into a fight.  It seems that he's teasing her, because he barely spends any energy, while also just missing her, giving her little scrapes.  She doesn't actually do him any harm.  This, I believe, is different from the novel.  I don't remember it too well, but I thought she was made out to be his equal.  Luke joins the fight as well, and only manages to defeat Vader because the old woman has retrieved the crystal for him.  It seems that it has the power to augment the Force ability.  Why Vader is not able to do the same is not properly explained. 

They are able to escape, and presumably continue with their diplomatic mission. 

The art in this comic was great.  I don't think I've seen Leia drawn better -in that black suit, she was, um, beautiful!

This rendition was, as I remember it, much better than the novel version, in that it toned down a lot of the relationship between Luke and Leia, and their force powers and ability to fend off Vader.  But I think that's what is called hindsight, since it was more than a decade since even Jedi came out in theatres. 

I heard a rumour that the Kaiburr crystal could play a part in one of the prequels.  I'm torn about that.  It could bring the Force up beyond the magical powers that it already has.  I don't remember what happened to the crystal in the novel, but here, the old lady seems to keep it.


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