Marvel Star Wars Issue 46: The Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe
What is it ? : Lando Calrissian and Chewbacca are in the Millenium Falcon, hot on the trail of Boba Fett and the carbon frozen Han Solo, when their Hyperdrive "buckles and dies", causing them to fall through rainbow lights into another dimension. As the ship fails, they spot a floating rock in space, upon which is a domed city and a surrounding jungle, so Lando forces the ship down into the jungle lacking any other viable landing sites.
They emerge from the damaged ship, and begin hiking towards the city to seek help and parts to repair the Falcon, as they move through the jungle they come under attack from a humanoid creature with furry legs and tusks, which overpowers the two of them, appearing gleeful at the violence, when a figure emerges from the jungle paralysing the creature which he calls his "monster brother".
The figure absorbs the creature into himself, commenting that he allows the creatures to express their violence, but will allow no harm to come to anyone in his domain. Lando is taken aback, because he recognises the figure as Cody Sunn_Childe, an early hero of the Rebellion. The mere mention of his name brings Cody's ire, and he says the only thing that connects him to the man of violence that Lando remembers is the name.
Cody takes them back to the city, explaining that while he was once Cody Sunn-Childe, the stories about him are inaccurate, he did indeed fight the Empire, but was no hero, just fighting for the thrill of battle. As they arrive at the city which is idyllic inside, they meet others of Cody's rebel cell, including another who Lando recognises, Ansible Beelyard, also known by the nickname "The Holy Terror", and Chewbacca meets a female Wookiee, and is reminded of his home he hasn't seen in too long.
Meanwhile in normal space, Captain Plikk, commanding a small fleet of Star Destroyers detects the small rift in dimensional space that the Millenium Falcon fell through, and begin examining it for the glory of the Empire.
Cody tells the tale of how they ended up here, how when battling on a world recently conquered by the Empire, he was shot and fell into the holy fires of that planet, but instead of being burnt as so many others had been, the fires changed him, perhaps combining with some latent talent, perhaps a blessing from some greater power, but he emerged with strange and unimaginable power.
The people of the planet worshipped him as heaven sent, but in spending time with them, he learned simplicity and peace, realising while he had almost unlimited power he couldn't find it within himself any longer to raise his hand in violence.
After study, he opened a rift in space to this place, creating it from within his mind and bringing his old battle brothers so they could live as examples of what a man could achieve after putting down their weapons of war.
Lando reacts angrily, insulting Cody, who has all the power necessary to fight the Empire but is too scared to use it, letting millions suffer. Lando's comments enrage Cody, which draws a swarm of his "monster brothers", which he is forced to absorb before they can do harm.
Lando notices that Chewbacca has passively been ignoring everything that's going on, and remarks he's becoming very chummy with the other Wookiee, a comment that enrages Chewbacca. Lando notes that Chewbacca now seems happy to remain here, and to forget about Han, that this place is like a plague draining people into passivism, and remarking that at least Cody sometimes shows some emotion.
Meanwhile, Captain Plikk's fleet begins channelling their Hyperdrive fuel into their weapons to force open the rift in dimensional space, emerging near to the floating city, they energise their weapons and move to attack, perceiving the city as either a hidden Rebel base, or somewhere the Empire hasn't brought order to yet, either way, somewhere to be subjugated.
Cody and Lando continue to talk, having brought the Falcon into the city and began work on repairing it. Cody remarks the difference between the two is that Cody has anger within him, but has learned to control it, but Lando sees the difference as being that after a life of self service, he's found something to fight for, while Cody has given up. And he thanks Cody for teaching him this, for showing him that he does indeed have something to fight for.
As the Star Destroyers above open fire, the city trembles, and Lando and Chewbacca race for the Millenium Falcon, willing to fight to defend the city even if Cody and his people won't.
The Millenium Falcon faces off against the group of Star Destroyers above, managing to distract them but do no harm as the agile ship dodges around the much larger vessels.
Cody watches, Lando's words weighing heavily upon him, thoughts of the evil the Empire has done, and what they have brought here finally make him crack and he unleashes all of the Monster Brothers he has absorbed over the years, turning his rage into massive demonic creatures the size of Star Destroyers which begin to crush the imperial vessels, but at the urging of his comrades, he realises that he is giving in to violence and calls the spirits back.
The Star Destroyers see the spirits returning to the city, so open fire on the city, but the drain of making the dimensional jump plus the damage received from the demons leaves the vessels floating nearly powerless as the city explodes under the rain of fire.
Lando, with tears streaming down his cheeks for the loss of Cody Sunn-Childe and his dreams of peace, turns angrily on the remains of the Imperial fleet, floating nearly powerless, drained from their efforts. Lando realises that they do not have enough energy to make the return journey from this dimension, and that will be punishment enough for their actions, being left floating in this void forever, and with that he engages the Falcons hyperdrive and returns to realspace to continue the search for Han Solo.
High Points : This is a beautiful tale, well told with some amazing imagery. The story of how Cody is seen as a hero by the Rebellion, when in fact he was a cruel and violent warrior, but on their side is an interesting one by itself, but add the granting of his near limitless powers and awareness that his path of violence wasn't the right one, builds layers onto that story. The final icing on the cake for me is Lando's journey, realising that he's grown from fighting for himself, to fighting for something greater than himself. For all of Cody's status as a hero, Lando is the one actually becoming a hero.
The imagery itself is incredible, with the domed city floating in the void a great setting, the design of the "monster brothers" being similar enough to Cody, but bestial and brutal, and the demons amazing to behold, crushing Star Destroyers in their mighty hands.
I must also complement the poetic nature of the end of the tale, with Lando leaving Plikk and her fleet to the same peace that Cody had sought and they had robbed him of. Not killing them, but robbing them of the glory they sought, and abandoning them to an eternity of boredom and isolation, which to them is a curse, but was peace and tranquility to Cody and his people.
Low Points : The timeline doesn't quite work here, while it's entirely possible for Cody to be a hero of the early rebellion, Lando remembers seeing him in action when he was only a child. Which puts those events somewhere before the founding of the Empire. But, it can be made to work, but either moving the events to when Lando was slightly older, or if he witnessed Cody being involved in the Clone Wars rather than the later Galactic Civil war.
Some of the terminology is wrong for Star Wars, Hyperdrive is repeatedly called Warp Drive, and the Star Destroyers seem to be channeling Anti-Matter, which isn't usually used in Star Wars, as ships are more commonly powered by Hyper-Matter.
So what do you really think ? : Another cracking story in this run, the Dreams of Cody Sunn-Childe has once again stuck with me for 40 or so years. The idea of a Rebel leader, having now found peace forced to destroy everything he has dreamt of because of the Empire, is one I found compelling. For a character which is only mentioned here, Cody comes across with a certain nobility, and the story glimpses into a much larger universe. I find myself wondering what Cody's compatriot, Ansible Beelyard, did to earn himself the name "The Holy Terror", he wears monks robes, but that hardly seems enough, and a darker tale seems to be there, since Cody and his people were in the war against the Empire for no moral reason, but simply because it allowed them to fight and kill.
And that itself is a fairly adult idea for a comic book, that Cody and his people are idolised by the Rebellion as heroes, only because the killing and violence they did was targeted against the Empire. That these people would have perhaps committed atrocities in a time of peace, but because their goals aligned with the Rebellion, they have become icons.
Final Words : Well, it should be obvious, I loved this one, and we're still only towards the beginning of the run of absolute classic stories I remember from my youth, none of which have disappointed so far hopefully the run will continue next issue with, Droid World.
Score : 9/10
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