Marvel Star Wars: Return of the Jedi Issues 1-4
What is it ? : So, unlike A New Hope and The Empire Strikes back, Marvel decided to publish Return of the Jedi as a separate story outside the normal run of the comic.
The storyline sticks to the movie extremely closely, detailing the rescue of Han Solo from his carbonite imprisonment and out of the clutches of Jabba the Hutt. Luke seeks out Yoda once again, who before dying tells him that Leia is his sister.
The heroes then return to the Rebel fleet and are briefed on the construction of a second Death Star, with Luke, Leia and Han being sent to disable the shield generator on the forest moon of Endor. There they befriend the Ewoks, small furry aliens who help them in their mission.
Meanwhile Lando leads the Rebel fleet in an attack on the Death Star once it's shields are disabled. Darth Vader senses Luke's presence, so Luke hands himself over to the Empire in an attempt to turn his father back to the light side of the Force. But finds himself taken before the evil Emperor, as they attempt to seduce him to the Dark Side.
Seeing his son tortured makes Vader turn against the Emperor, hurling the old man into a deep pit aboard the Death Star, and at the same time Lando's attack succeeds detonating the massive stations main reactor.
Luke has some final words with his father before escaping, and as the heroes and Ewoks celebrate their victory, Luke sees the ghost of his father join those of Obi-Wan and Yoda.
High Points : Well, as I stated above, it follows the storyline of Return of the Jedi very closely, which is no bad thing as it's a brilliant movie. Unlike the previous movies however, where they were written from early versions of the scripts, so varied from the final movies, Return of the Jedi is much closer to the movie with no extra scenes, on only slightly altered dialogue.
I really liked the continuity between the issues, for example each of the covers has three main characters in full length poses as relevant for that issue, which is a lovely design choice and very nicely carried off.
Low Points : I mentioned above that these are much closer to the comics, in fact the only difference I could really find was the fact that Vaders face is never portrayed in these issues. When Luke removes his fathers helmet, we only see from above, with his face hidden, and later when Luke sees the force ghosts, we only see it described, not actually seeing the ghosts themselves.
Whether this was done because of any last minute changes to the script, or simply to preserve the surprise for the movie itself I'm not sure, but it's one tiny difference, but the only one I can really notice.
So what do you really think ? : I enjoyed this one, but without any cut scenes, or massively changed dialogue, I have to admit I'd rather be watching the movie, mainly because it's a big action movie and that doesn't translate well to comic book format, especially when compressed into a four issue format, so the climactic battle at the end of the movie must all occur within the final issue, where earlier sections are dragged out to fill theirs.
Final Words : So, that's in for Marvel Star Wars comics in the United States . . . . but I live in the UK, and there's still stories I remember reading in Star Wars Weekly which I haven't reviewed yet?
That's because while Marvel Star Wars in the US was a single monthly issue, in the UK we got an issue every week. Which meant that even when they split stories over multiple issues, they still had to create content to fill some of the space.
And that space was filled by stories by Alan Moore (who later wrote the absolutely iconic "The Killing Joke", "Watchmen", "V for Vendetta", and many, many others), Steve Moore (who personally I adore for having written "Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer", which is one of my absolute favourites, but also did some great work on "Captain Britain", "Laser Eraser and Axel Pressbutton" and tonnes of other great work), and many other major comic book writers who would go on to become icons of the industry.
So next time, we'll be continuing with the stories of Star Wars Weekly, and hopefully find something of interest there even if there aren't any lost Gems.
Score : 7.5/10
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