All things must end, be it a year, a film franchise or the comic book spawned by the film franchise…  At least, until something new arises in their place.  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Star Wars #107 awaits!

STAR WARS #107

Writer: Jo Duffy
Penciler: Cynthia Martin
Inker: Whilce Portacio
Colorist: Elaine Lee
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Editor: Ann Nocenti
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: 75 Cents
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $50.00

Previously in Star Wars: JAXXON!  JAXXON THE BIG GREEN BUNNY, Y’ALL!  HE’S CANON AND THERE’S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!

Also, all the stories we know from the original trilogy, including the loss of the book’s major antagonist for nearly a decade.  With the removal of Vader and the threat of the Empire, the remains of the Rebel Alliance ended up in conflict with a strange race of vaguely vampire-lookin’ aliens called the Nagai.  It quickly became clear that, despite different ideas on morality, Nagai folk weren’t all that bad, and in fact lived under the thumb of the pitiless green alien Tofs (who all look like Henry The VII wearing Frankenstein makeup.)  By the time of this story, the Rebels have teamed up with a sect of Mandalorians, a few leftover Imperials and the Nagai to buy the strange aliens their freedom.  Oh, and Luke Skywalker has gone full-Rambo…

The sight of a shirtless Luke hefting a massive blaster cannon is the first image in this issue, and it’s oh-so-very 1986.   His gaunt friend is Knife, a Nagai named for his signature weapon, and who dragged Skywalker and his friends into this mess in the first place.  Answering Knife’s last-panel question, Luke indicates that he does not see any threats, leading to one of the hallmarks of 80s Marvel: the point where the plot stops to tell you who everybody is.

It’s especially entertaining here, with a dozen players on the field…

As an adult, I really appreciate the art of Martin and Portacio in these pages, but as a fifteen-year-old, I remember being very turned off by it.  (It wasn’t John Byrne, inked by Terry Austin, so my youthful self was skeptical.  I had the same response to Bill Sienkiewicz on ‘New Mutants’, and I was wrong there, too.)  There’s a strange sort of fun grace to be had in every panel, with every lanky, sleeveless character.  Of course, this is a problems for the likenesses, as Princess Leia looks remarkably like Sigourney Weaver…

To be honest, The Nagai took over a lot of Marvel Star Wars after ‘Return Of The Jedi,’ which I always wondered about.  Was it due to increased Lucasfilm involvement making it necessary to keep the movie characters static?  A similar effect led to DC’s ‘Star Trek’ comic featuring a vibrant comic-only secondary cast, since they couldn’t do much with the bridge crew.  In any case, tempers start to flare, leading Luke to flash back to the moment where Admiral Ackbar assigned their current mission…

“Wedge Antilles, Chewbacca, Nein Numb, here, and I…”  Man, Marvel method makes the act of reading a bit easier, but it makes the dialogue a patchwork mess, doesn’t it?  While all of this goes on, Han Solo is mired in a conflict with Knife about their mutual friend, Bey, who was revealed as a traitor some issues before, and whose presence is still felt as a competition over who Bey loved more…

That oddly drawn Mandalorian is Fenn Shysa, one of many Star Wars folks whose name is hilarious in another language.  He’s been around for nearly 40 issues at this point, popping up occasionally to serve and important story role of “not really but kinda being Boba Fett.”  Whjle the insertion team works planetside, the Rebel fleet waits for their signal, giving us a status check on Lando, Chewie and the rest and an interesting transliterated take on Nein Numb’s dialogue (in reality, he speaks Kikiyu, a Kenyan dialect.)

Luke and Knife make their way into the Tof stronghold, only to find that Lumiya (a Dark Sith, and oh my god there’s a lot of explanation in this comic book, you guys) is also on Saijo, intent on killing Luke himself in the name of the fallen Vader.  Things quickly get violent, with Shirtless Luke sabreing it up, while Han uses the good blaster at his side…

Princess Leia gets in her own shots, in disguise as a lady in waiting, taking on Lumiya one-on-one, only to fall prey to her Force-powers (which are also carefully explained on panel, because this is an 80s Marvel comic.)

While Lando and Gold Squadron bust out a can of spaceship whup@$$ in orbit, things get out of control in the Tof thrownroom, with Leia about to be murdered by the last Sith, with Han Solo unable to save her.  Suddenly, a shot ring out!  (I’ve always wanted to write that…)

Luke brings the Tof leader to heel by threatening to take off his head with an energy blade, while Han realizes that it was one of the Tofs that saved his beloved from being blasted.  Why?

Because, he’s not a Tof at all, and the Chekhov’s Gun of his old friend Bey brought up a few pages earlier turned out to be, in truth, a Tof blaster…

What follows is a charming Han Solo moment, as he brings Bey his half-brother, trying to play off how grateful he is to find that his old pal isn’t a traitor after all…

Aaaand *scene*!

There are a lot of theories about this issue and whether or not Marvel knew very far in advance that it would be the final issue of the series.  A solicitation appearing in Marvel’s promo comic a few months earlier solicited this issue with a different story (one which, to my knowledge, was never published), making it seem like this happy ending was cobbled together quickly to wrap up the title, which honestly wasn’t the same after ‘Jedi’.  For me, though, this final issue goodbye to Marvel Star Wars works relatively well, leaving Star Wars #107 with a better-than-average 3 out of 5 stars overall and wrapping up the very first expanded universe material with a quiet happy ending.  I could have used more Jaxxon, though…

[taq_review]

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

1 Comment

  1. “.. a strange race of vaguely vampire-lookin’ aliens called the Nagai”

    A more than apt description, as Cynthia Martin has said the inspiration for the Nagai appearance was drawn from anime and some Japanese comic about a tragic vampire.

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