Issue #7 (January 1978): New Planets, New Perils!
- Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas
- Artist/Co-plotter: Howard Chaykin
Well, here we are. Finally beyond the movie. We finally get new stories! And….what a mixed bag we get.
The issue picks up where the movie left off. Han and Chewie say goodbye to Luke and Leia and blast off with their reward to pay off Jabba. Kudos to the writers for following up on this plot point. Beginning in this issue, we follow the exploits of Han and Chewie for a while. Why? They actually address this on the letters page:
For the present, in order to gain a breathing space while director/creator George Lucas himself is deciding where the movie sequel (and novelizations thereof) will head, the lads are concentrating a bit more on the adventures of Han and Chewbacca.
Apparently, at the time, no one thought Han and Chewie would play much of an important role in subsequent movies. Anyway, back to this issue…
Page 2: Almost right away, we’re treated to some new landscapes that weren’t possible in the movie. Even Zoey was intrigued by these panels and what these places might be like.
Page 3: Is that Han wearing a cheap Chewbacca mask? In the span of four pages, Han and Chewie collect their reward, fly away, and are ambushed by space pirates. You might think this would be a catastrophe, but take a look at the pirate leader:
Page 7: Enter Crimson Jack. Yowza. There’s an outfit you don’t see every day. Thankfully. (And yes, this elicited a few giggles from Zoey.) Still, Han is threatened enough that he hands over the entire reward with nary an argument.
Page 14: Han and Chewie are forced to land on some godforsaken planet that looks like Tatooine in every way. They immediately encounter a bunch of raindbow-hued aliens roughhousing in the street. Well, it’s really an angry mob beating up an insect priest. Because he wants to bury a Borg in the town cemetery. (I can’t make this stuff up.)
According to our insect priest, a Borg is “half human . . . half mechanical droid. Yet the man half of him had a soul . . . or so my faith believes.”
Zoey loved that Han called Buggy “Pera” and Buggy called Han “Fi” — which are “High Galactic” for male parent and male child, respectively, or so the editorial note tells us. Of course.
Page 22: For a small bag of coins, Han and Chewie agree to defy the townspeople and bury the Borg. For the next five pages of story, they battle various aliens on their way to the cemetery. Some of them, like whatever that is above, actually have fairly trippy designs.
(On a related note, isn’t this the same plot of a Clint Eastwood Western? It all feels very familiar.)
Chewbacca is not pleased.
Page 30: The story is rather dull, quite honestly. I could feel Zoey getting bored. It also seemed to go on forever. But everything is so absolutely worth it just to get to this ending. Note to JJ Abrams, that character design from the middle panel needs a place in Episode VII.
Page 31: Meanwhile, back at the Cantina. “Why don’t we take a walk and swap life-stories, star-hopper?” I’m totally using this line.
But, ladies and gentlemen, here is your panel of the century. This will not be topped.