Monday, March 22, 2021

Star Wars Comics: Dark Empire #6, Classic Star Wars #4-8

I have come to the end of Dark Empire this week.  It was a strong first offering for Dark Horse and one that definitely had an impact on the franchise moving forward.  As I pointed out last week, I prefer the style of the newspaper comics featured in the Classic Star Wars series but I appreciated the ideas explored in Dark Empire as well as the darker atmosphere.  Speaking of Classic Star Wars...

Archie Goodwin was the writer for numerous Star Wars stories, both in comic books and newspaper strips.  He was born September 8, 1937 in Kansas City.  Interestingly, he got his start in the medium as a drawer rather than a writer - magazine cartoons as well as comic strips.  He got his first regular work with Warren comics where he was also editor-in-chief for a time.  He contributed to their still running Vampirella stories.  He free-lanced with both DC and Marvel over the years and served as editor-in-chief briefly for the latter.  In addition to his work on Star Wars, he co-created both Luke Cage and the original Spider-Woman.

Timothy Hutton as Archie Goodwin via Wikipedia

Funny side story: Goodwin coincidentally shared a name with a character from the Nero Wolfe mysteries.  Archie is Wolfe's "legman" and the narrator of the stories.  When the writer Goodwin's first stories were published, the publisher warned him against using Archie Goodwin as a pen name because of the connection.  When he explained that it was in fact his real name, said publisher was delighted to use the story in its promotional materials.

Goodwin died in 1998 after a long battle with cancer.

My Recent Reads

Dark Empire #6: The Fate of a Galaxy
Originally Published October 20, 1992
Writer: Tom Veitch
Artist: Cam Kennedy
In-Story Timeline: 10 ABY

via Wookieepedia

  • R2-D2 saves the day in the battle with the Devastators on Mon Calamari.  He has a code that effectively shuts them all down.  The Rebels win the battle.
  • The stolen holocron reveals an ancient prophecy to Leia, a prophecy which appears to include both her and Luke.  
  • The Emperor shows up in his Star Destroyer.  He demands the return of both Leia and the holocron.  
  • She agrees, though she resists the Emperor's possession of herself and her unborn child.  
  • She battles Luke and, though he resists, she manages to convert him back to the Light Side.
  • Luke defeats the Emperor in a duel, slicing off his hand.  Everybody's always losing hands in this saga!
  • Luke and Leia escape, just as the Destroyer and, presumably, the Emperor himself, dissipate in a Dark-Side storm.

Classic Star Wars #4
November 3, 1992
Reproduction of a newspaper comic strip from 1981
Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson
In-Story Timeline: 0 ABY
via Wookieepedia

  • The Darth Vader Strikes story concludes.
  • With the help of his new friend, Tanith Shire, Luke and the droids escape from Vader's ship, though Luke and Vader sense each other's presence...
  • The Serpent Masters arc begins.  It ran initially from July 27 - November 1, 1981.
  • Tanith's escape plan isn't the greatest.  She brings Luke and the droids to her homeworld Ophideraan where her father and the rest of their community is enslaved by, you guessed it, the Serpent Masters.  Tanith herself has managed to live a relatively free life by serving the Masters as a smuggler.  
  • Unfortunately, it would appear is now likely to become a slave, too.

Classic Star Wars #5
December 1, 1992
Reproduction of a newspaper comic strip from 1981

via Wookieepedia

  • The Serpent Masters continues.
  • Indeed, both Luke and Tanith are enslaved.  The droids are knocked out of commission.
  • Luke tries to escape but without being able to control the flying serpents which the Masters ride around, there seems little hope.
  • Wouldn't you know it, Artoo has the answer once again.  He figures out how to imitate the signals the Masters use to control the serpents.  As such, Luke is able to ride one.

Classic Star Wars #6
January 1, 1993
Reproduction of a newspaper comic strip from 1981

via Wookieepedia

  • The Serpent Masters concludes.
  • Luke and friends not only manage to escape.  They also free all of the slaves.
  • Luke, Tanith and the droids meet up with Han, Leia and Chewie at Kabal, just as that planet is coming under unprovoked Imperial attack.
  • Luke and Tanith have a teary goodbye - at least, it's teary for her.  
  • Our regulars escape together from the planet on the Millenium Falcon.
  • Deadly Reunion begins.  It ran initially from November 2, 1981 - January 3, 1982.
  • Our friends evade capture but are unable to jump to lightspeed.  In an effort to find a quiet place to make repairs, they follow the signal of a homing beacon.  
  • Alas, it's a trap.

Classic Star Wars #7
February 1, 1993
Reproduction of a newspaper comic strip from 1981-82

via Wookieepedia

  • Deadly Reunion concludes.
  • The mysterious Dr. Arakkus has drawn our friends to a lost ship graveyard.  Now, they are all trapped by the gravitational pull of a dwarf star.  The Falcon can't get enough thrust to break away.  
  • Fortunately, Han comes up with a clever plan and they get away.
  • Traitor's Gambit begins.
  • In a Bespin-like story, our friends find shelter with presumed allies on the water world of Aquaris.  
  • Turns out, Han knows Silver Fyre, the world's leader, from his smuggling days.  And he's not inclined to trust her as much as Leia does.

Classic Star Wars #8
April 1, 1993
Reproduction of a newspaper comic strip from 1982
Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson and Allen Nunis

via Wookieepedia

  • Traitor's Gambit concludes.
  • Our friends go on a hunting expedition with Silver.  Han ends up in Silver's boat.  As much as I enjoy space operas, I do enjoy an underwater adventure from time to time.
  • Han still doesn't trust Silver, though it turns out her second in command, Kraaken, is the Imperial spy.
  • The prey is a giant octopus, though the beast turns the table quickly, nearly killing Luke, Han and Chewie.  Silver saves them all from a watery death.
  • Leia, meanwhile, confronts Kraaken as he tries to steal data files from the droids.  She outsmarts him, and everyone else, too.  
  • Our friends return to the rebel base just in time to help thwart an Imperial attack.
  • The Night Beast begins.  It ran initially from March 8 - May 16, 1982.
  • During the previous battle, an Imperial bomber crashed into part of the base, though it was believed no harm was done.
  • But some underground beast was awakened in the crash.
  • In the celebratory party, Leia accepts a date with General Dodonna, neatly avoiding the Han/Luke dilemma for the time being.
  • Festivities are interrupted by loud noises, among them Wookiee growls.  Chewbacca has gone to tussle with the unknown monster.


  1. I remember when The Star War movies came out, so much excitement and fun. We took our oldest son to the movie, stood in line He was so excited and then slept through the whole movie. It was #3 such good times.
    The comics always have more stories or different time tines
    quite interesting

    1. I remember going back in 1977. I was too young even to know what I was getting into. My mother wanted to see it. Little did I know...

  2. I read? something at some point about the hand thing... or, maybe, it was mentioned in Clone Wars?... I don't remember.
    Anyway, when your foe is using a lightsaber, removing the hand is the best, least dangerous way of disarming your opponent. Effectively, it's a Jedi technique in dueling. And it means you win.

    1. It makes sense. A Jedi's power seems largely dependent on the use of one's dominant hand.

  3. My brothers were heavily into the Star Wars revival efforts (which seems strange to even think now) of that time, but I never read the Dark Empire comics. I lost interest in this wave somewhere between the Zahn trilogy and the Anderson trilogy (in the books), and there were a lot of others (the name of the book The Courtship of Princess Leia always sticks in my mind, though) that I skipped, too. And it continues, because I’m not anymore interested in The Mandalorian than I was in the Clone Wars shows. But I love the movies. All of the

    1. For me, the movies will always be the main events for the franchise. I won't pretend I love all of them equally, though...

      As for the Expanded Universe material, it's a mixed bag. As I wrote last week, a lot of it is simply terrible. But I'm having fun with the Dark Horse comics so far.