Star Wars #4 (Marvel)

Issue #4 (October 1977): In Battle with Darth Vader

  • Scripter/Editor: Roy Thomas
  • Illustrators in Tandem: Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha

This issue has a lot of exposition and covers a lot of ground. It’s also got some downright disturbing images. You’ve been warned.

Zoey was quiet for much of it, but she seemed to be involved with the story. As usual, much of the narration and dialogue is excessively pedantic. This is Star Wars Revised with a Thesaurus.

We jump right into the action with our heroes plunging down the garbage chute.

Page 3: Luke immediately gets sucked under. Look at that. That “Blub!” and that hand? Thing of beauty. This right here is worth the 30-cent cover price. But then we’re treated to this:

Yikes. I mean, I know Luke is getting strangled and all. But still. This is a bit haunting. Zoey wanted to quickly turn the page. But page 6 (the next page of story after a couple ads) had this:

Cripes, Luke. Stop being so creepy and possessed looking!

Anyhoo, the gang escapes, battles their way through some corridors, and finds their way to the Falcon. You know the drill. However, up until now, as I think I’ve mentioned, some of the dialogue has been a bit…off…from the movies.

This. I so wish this were actually in the movie. According to Wookieepedia,

     The Fire Rings of Fornax, also known as the Five Fire Rings of Fornax, were one of the natural wonders of the galaxy, in which the planet Fornax appeared to be encircled by five rings of intense fire.

They were actually solar prominences attracted to the planet due to its close proximity to its star. Pirates were known to duel to the death within the rings, so that no combatant could escape unburned.

As the rings were a natural phenomenon instead of being created by intelligent beings, they were not included in the list of the Twenty Wonders of the Galaxy by the historian Vicendi in 10,000 BBY.

This is why the Expanded Universe is so great. It’s totally bonkers insane. And no minutiae is too insignificant to have a complete history or backstory.

But back to our story…

Page 16: Zoey (who is well aware that Luke and Leia are siblings): “Wha-? Why are they kissing like that?” Yeah. Um. Well? Let’s just move on…

Page 17: Best sequence of the series so far. Hands down. That’s just gorgeous. (Even if Zoey pointed to the middle panel and laughingly said that he looks like The Mummy.)

Page 23: Even Zoey thought Obi-Wan was getting just a little too chatty during the duel. Come on, Ben, you’ve got time for food metaphors? I don’t think your head is in the game. Maybe that’s why this happens:

Page 27: Whoa! Holy crap! What just happened?? Graphic and disturbing much? Man, this is unsettling. It always looked like such a peaceful way to go in the movie. I take that back. This would suck!

Still, Ben’s diversion worked just as well here. The gang gets on board the Falcon and escapes the Death Star. What a whirlwind escape! So much drama! Action! Death! Suspense!

Unless you’re C-3PO. Dude looks beyond bored with it all.

Jamie is a publishing/book nerd who makes a living by wrangling words together into some sense of coherence. He's the founder and owner of The Roarbots and also a contributor to Syfy Wire,, and GeekDad. On top of that, he hosts The Great Big Beautiful Podcast, which celebrates creativity in popular culture, science, and technology by talking to a wide variety of people who contribute to it.

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