Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years, Vol. 1Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years, Vol. 1 by Roy Thomas

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


This book collects the original Marvel Star Wars comics from the 1970s with Issues 1-23 of the US Marvel comics and serialized stories originally printed in the UK Comic.

The book can be divided into several sections:

Issues 1-6: The original film adaptation. Early issues came out before the film was released and is different in several places from the theatrical version. The story shows that Hans shot the bounty hunter remorselessly and we get to see how Jaba the Hutt was originally imagined. On the negative side, there are several lines of dialogue that lack the oomph of the film version. I lean towards blaming the fact that the final script wasn't used than writer Roy Thomas.

The art by Howard Chaykin is not all that great, and in some cases, he ruins scenes with weird expression and poor artistic choices. This doesn't capture the grandeur of A New Hope. The issues aren't bad but they are far more middling than they should be.

Issues 7-10: Hans and Chewie leave the rebellion to settle up their debts, only to be robbed by a space pirate. They then lay low, but find work gathering a team of mercaneries to protect a bunch of peasants being harassed by bandits. Essentially, this is the Magnificent Seven meets Star Wars. The plot is a decent idea and several of the character are interesting, although the Don Quixote homage is silly.

The writing has some rough moments as Hans references not having been to Sunday School, which is an odd thing to say in another galaxy. The art is a bit uneven, but not as disappointing as in the opener.

Issues 11-15: Hans captured by the same space pirate. Hans want to take the pirate's ship (which is a captured Emperial cruiser) and turn it over to the rebellion but his plans go awry when he discovers Leia is a prisoner on the ship. Leia left the rebellion to find Luke, who had gone on a recon mission and finds himself fighting in a war against the Dragon Riders. The story is written by Archie Goodwin with the art by Carmine Infantino (with Walt Simonsen spotting Infantino every now and again.) This story and the next big one were very well-written and exactly the sort of thing I expect the Star Wars heroes between movies.

Issue 16: A one-shot that features none of the movie characters. Valance, a bounty hunter, goes after members of Hans and Chewie's team from Issues 7-10, hoping to learn about Luke. The story has a clever twist at the end that leaves me hoping Valance re-appears.

Issue 17: A tale of Luke before A New Hope. Far better than I thought it would be as it holds your interest without too much fan service.

Issues 18-23: Luke goes into a coma and Hans and Leia take him to the Wheel, a gambling space station that's not under the Empire's jurisdiction, but the Empire's trying to change that by staging robberies and framing the Rebellion. At the same time, Darth Vader re-emerges hunting for Luke. There are a number of parallels to Empire Strikes Back as they're on a station run by an unscrupulous gambler who's willing to sell them out for his own benefit while the Empire closes in.

Pizazz #1-#9: From the UK magazine Pizazz, these three-page serialized stories focused on Luke and Leia going out to bring other groups into the Rebel Alliance but they're forced out of space by the Empire and land on a planet with mysterious children on it. Not bad, but felt more "Star Trek" than "Star Wars."

Pizazz #10-16 and Star Wars Weekly #60: Three page continue until Pizazz was cancelled with the rest of the story being published in Star Wars Weekly. Luke and Leia arrive on an ice planet where creatures called Snow Demons steal the Droids. However, it appears Luke and Leia will be fine, but unfortunately for them, everything's not as it seems. A very fun adventure.

Overall, despite a few rough issues, this is a fun collection filled with great swashbuckling stories in between movies and requires next to no extra continuity knowledge. Well worth reading.



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Published on November 29, 2018 23:49 • 31 views • Tags: 1970s-comics, marvel, star-wars

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