Star Wars #10: Game On

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Star Wars #10 (Marvel, 2015)

If I have one sole purpose in this fandom, aside from writing very higbrow analysis of Star Wars Hair or making idiotic jokes about Obi-Wan and Anakin’s tragic love affair, it’s to just be there, lurking in the shadows, waiting for some random to try to tell someone that the OLD, REAL Star Wars wasn’t really that ridiculous and that things only became silly with the addition of [whatever – pick something, anything since Empire Strikes Back came out, and someone’s complained about it], so that I can pull out my briefcase full of rants, put my PowerPoint (“Star Wars: Do Not Even Try To Tell Me This Shit Hasn’t Always Been Hilarious“) into presentation mode, sit them down, and proceed to talk for the next 12 hours while they flee.

On its own, today’s comic seems pretty unreasonably wacky: Luke’s gonna be trained, by a guy amusingly called THE GAMEMASTER, to put on a good show while fighting for his life in an arena owned by a Hutt on a place called The Smuggler’s Moon, where the bad guys plan to unleash a giant space monster on him (…did the writers just put a bunch of Star Wars tropes in a hat and start pulling shit out at random to develop this story?) That sure sounds pretty silly to me! But then…really, please take a moment to recall some key happenings of the saga movie that precedes this comic series: one of the heroes literally disappears into thin air without explanation while fighting the villain (who looks and sounds like Darth Vader, who I feel like we’ve all been looking at for such a long time that we tend to forget HOW OUTRAGEOUS HE ACTUALLY LOOKS), Luke gets guidance on blowing up a superweapon from a ghost, and space wizards with glowing swords are a thing that everyone in the universe just seems to accept at face value — even if they aren’t all in agreement about whether or not they still exist or whether or not they can actually harness an invisible Force. I just…Star Wars has a long, proud heritage of craziness, is what I’m getting at. I love it so.

All right! In our last Star Wars comics adventure, Luke had gone looking for an underground ride to the Old Jedi Temple, because he is on yet another one of his little Jedi-related side quests and he’s Seeking Knowledge. Things haven’t gone as planned, though, and now he’s been taken hostage by a Hutt — one who not only runs an arena where people fight to the death for sport,  but also who collects a LOT of Jedi Order Memorabilia (yes, this is the actual story.) Han and Leia, meanwhile, were making their great escape from a random planet in the middle of nowhere on board the ship of one Sana Starros — who’s shown up to bring Han (who she claims is her husband,) back into the smuggler fold. As things wrapped up, Chewie and Threepio were off to Nar Shadda to go rescue Luke — will they succeed? Who can say? Off we go!

Han Solo, Ladies’ Man

Our story today begins on board Sana’s ship, where she’s observing that Leia sure shoots like a princess. I think this was supposed to be an insult, except that most royals we’ve seen in Star Wars are all complete ass-kicking forces to be reckoned with, but all right. Leia complains: oh GREAT, now I have to deal with TWO Solos giving me shit! Han is all now WAIT, she’s not a Solo, but before they can argue more, Sana tells them to shut up: let’s get a move on outta here!

Leia retorts: well! Let’s hope you didn’t buy your hyperdrive in the same place Han bought his! In reply, Sana is like LOL guess you’ve seen Han’s piece of shit car too, huh? Ha, I do so love everyone always dragging the Millennium Falcon. 1

Han is like OMFG can we please just focus on not getting killed? This comic series is really delivering the Eternal Suffering of Han Solo at the Hand of Annoyed Ladies here. I am enjoying it.

Sana throws out some more fightin’ words: I bet Han bragged about his stupid Kessel Run win, too! He’d like you to believe his ship’s the fastest one in the galaxy. And that could POSSIBLY be a true statement, if not for one detail…her ship is way better.

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LOL! OK, I love Sana Starros. They make the jump to lightspeed, and leave the Empire in their space dust.

Recurring Theme: Chewbacca, Rescuer

Chewbacca and Threepio are arriving on Nar Shadda. Threepio is, unsurprisingly, complaining and being dramatic — he’s not at all reassured by the fact that Chewbacca’s just informed him that Chewie, personally, feels more comfortable on a planet like this than a rebel base with people in uniforms and decent wi-fi and a Chili’s Express. Threepio says that since that’s the case, he’ll just stay here on the ship while Chewie finds Luke, mmkay? Chewie laughs: that’s…not the plan.

Threepio, alone, goes walking down the mean streets of Nar Shadda, then, in search of where Luke could have gotten to. Threepio asks some droids he finds just hanging out on the street (LOL, are there robot gangs on this planet? Cool!) They claim that they’ve totally seen Luke and Artoo! Man: complaining AND getting easily swindled by people who are obviously shady? He really IS a Skywalker. 3

Naturally Threepio’s lack of street smarts work against him here, and he’s just about to get his head cut off by these thugbots and sold for scrap when Chewie shows up to save his ass:

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Chewie makes his point here by ripping off a couple of arms. (Chewie is pretty much just going to be on a nonstop violence streak in this comic. Understandably, this is what happens when someone tries to mess with Luke Skywalker.)

Luke Skywalker, Quickly Realizing That Being a Jedi Sucks

Meanwhile, Luke is being escorted by some magnaguards into the Hutt’s arena. I am sorry, but HOW MANY TIMES DOES THIS HAPPEN TO THESE CHARACTERS? How many freaking death arenas are IN this galaxy, for fuck’s sake? I laughed so much when it became clear that this was going to be part of this story. I hope Rey or Kylo or whoever is ready to face down some space monsters in an arena at some point, because it seems all but inevitable at this point.

A hooded bad guy is giving Luke the business: oh SURE, you opened a Secret Mystery Holocron from our Jedi antiques collection, but that doesn’t make you a Jedi, y’know!

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Luke pouts: I never said I was a Jedi. (Oh!) And BTW, who the hell are you?

The dude in question identifies himself as the “Gamemaster”. Oh my Lord. I guess, why start giving people non-ridiculous titles, right? Also, I’m sorry, but LOOK AT THIS GUY’S DRAMATIC APPEARANCE:

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He almost looks a little Maul-esque, and really, readers, for a brief second that observation terrified me. Because you JUST. NEVER. KNOW.

Recurring Theme: The Skywalkers Hate the Hutts

The Gamemaster tells Luke it’s his job to make sure Luke puts on a good death show for the Hutt Overlord here. And what do you know, Luke is not all that super into the idea of doing anything for a Hutt’s entertainment: 5

Man, Anakin would have been so proud of his Hutt-hating kids. Sigh.

The Gamemaster retorts: I think you will, though — because I can help you learn the things you want to know! About the Jedi! Luke is dubious, but the Gamemaster goes right for the Sads here and before Luke can walk off in a huff, he points out that the place Luke was trying to get to — the Jedi Temple, on Coruscant — it’s gone now, you know. They rezoned the lot and it’s one of the main branch offices of Evil Incorporated now! Nothing you could be looking for will be left there to teach you anything. Wow, that must have been one hell of an Imperial yard sale. (ALSO HOW DARE YOU, ANAKIN.) (Also you know Anakin totally saved all of Kenobi’s stuff. YOU KNOW HE DID, and it’s all in his lava castle right now don’t even fight me on this.)

He continues: actually, really, ALL the Jedi Temples are gone. Just like the Jedi themselves. Ouch, OK. Thanks, Star Wars.

The Gamemaster wraps this up with a proposition: maybe if Luke can figure out how to keep himself alive long enough to entertain their guests, he can take a look through Grakkus the Hutt’s collection of Jedi consignment items, and learn a thing or two. Um, but aren’t they planning on killing Luke no matter what, during the battle? Like, he’s supposed to die in the arena, isn’t he?Are they going to let him out at intermission to look at this crap? Even if they were, why the hell would Luke really care if they let him leaf through Obi-Wan’s old textbooks or check out the dead plants they dug out of Qui-Gon’s storage locker or those giant marble busts of people they kept in the Archives if he’s going to just be murdered five minutes later anyways? What difference would it make?

I Hope He Brought a Kyber Charger With Him

…whatever. Another one of those Star Wars Mysteries of Life. So The Gamemaster tosses Luke Anakin’s lightsaber (honest to GOD, that thing has been on a WILD RIDE. The Clone Wars, Mustafar, eons of loneliness, chopped off by Vader and thrown into the void, back in action to slice up Kylo’s bratty face…)

Luke, taking hold of it, asks: what’s to stop me from just kicking your ass right now? The Gamemaster smirks: me…

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He goes on: they’ve got like a zillion lightsabers back there in the warehouse, and with each passing day, more and more of them run out of Force-fueled battery power. If Luke wants to save the Jedi, well, he better get a move on. OH WHY STAR WARS.

Huh. So that’s a thing that can happen? A lightsaber will just stop working after a couple decades without use? How come that doesn’t happen to Anakin’s lightsaber after Luke drops it into a void at the end of Empire? I guess I assumed it went largely unused in between Episodes 5 and 7, but was someone using it occasionally? Did Maz just go down to the basement every couple years and plug it into its charger? (I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS ABOUT WHY THAT THING WAS IN HER STUPID CASTLE YOU GUYS. I NEED ANSWERS AND THE WRITERS BETTER NOT JUST HAND-WAVE THAT SHIT AWAY. The story better be completely ridiculous, or I want my money back. Hmmph.)

Luke Skywalker, Doing His Best He’s Trying

Luke flies into action at this, because Luke is still in the part of his life where “the Jedi are going to become permanently extinct” is still an incentive to get him to do something as oppose to something that just makes him shrug from his hideout on Planet Ireland.

He charges towards the Gamemaster:

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Unfortunately, despite Luke’s dramatic posing skills being on point here, he gets his ass kicked pretty swiftly. The Gamemaster goads him: pfft, you’re not even going to stay alive long enough for everyone to find their seats! The two of them continue to practice. Man, so Luke’s saber training is going to largely come from a dude who’s planning to kill him for sport, and those times he has to face off against what turns out to be his own dad? Wow.

In Star Wars, There’s Never a Bad Time for a Bar Brawl

Chewie and Threepio have found their way into the bar where Luke caused a scene earlier in this series, and they’re asking around for info on where he might have run off to. You see, the droids they threatened earlier gave up the info that he was possibly taken by Grakkus the Hutt, but they need confirmation:

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LOL. Well, the bartender’s not happy about this line of questioning, demanding to know if this is some kind of a threat — and also droids aren’t even allowed in this bar, OK??! (Are they allowed in ANY bar in the galaxy?)

Chewie is having none of this, yelling and telling the bar patrons via Threepio’s translation that anyone who doesn’t wish to be as inoperable as the droids were before better GTFO of here right now. In response to their blank stares, Threepio fumbles: maybe they just didn’t understand? Maybe he should try another language —

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Hahaha. Dramatics really just follow our friends EVERYWHERE, don’t they?

Recurring Theme: Star Wars Wants to Make Sure I Feel Bad About Obi-Wan and Anakin Again

Oh geez. OK, so we switch back to Luke’s storyline again now, where Grakkus is asking the Gamemaster how his junior Jedi is doing in his training (training, recall, that is to ensure that he dies but just not TOO SUPER fast.)

The Gamemaster is just all about making me feel things in this issue, and so he treats me to the following: that he thinks whatever training Luke got was probably pretty half-assed. OK, FINE, STAR WARS: Obi-Wan tried his best OK?!! NO ONE WOULD LET HIM TRAIN LUKE BUT HE STUCK IT OUT IN THAT FUCKING DESERT FOR ALMOST TWENTY GODDAMN YEARS AND THEN HE GOT DISTRACTED BY STICKING IT TO ANAKIN AND REJOINING THE FORCE ALL RIGHT?

Not content to just leave me with my Obi-Wan feelings here, Grakkus replies Ironically that it’s not like they need Luke to be good enough to kick DARTH VADER’S ASS or anything because LOL that’d be BANANAS:

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…cute, Star Wars. Real cute.

Anyways, the Gamemaster assures his boss that if there’s one thing he’s sure Luke can do well, it’s die. The Gamemaster must not have seen much of Star Wars up to this point, or he’d realize that you should never assume it’s going to be easy to kill someone and have it stick.

Grakkus is delighted: fantastic! Every crime lord on Nar Shadda is excited about watching The End of the Jedi! Oh COME ON, GFFA: some of the sleaziest people in the entire universe low-key liked the Jedi! And now they all want to gather ’round and watch them die out? What a bunch of bullshit.

Recurring Theme: Hilarity Thy Name Is Star Wars

The Gamemaster asks: so have you decided what Insane Bullshit Made-Up Space Monster is going to fight Luke? I hope it’s at LEAST as entertaining as the ones that almost killed his mom, dad, and uncle in previous Star Wars content! Grakkus is like OH HO HAVE I EVER:

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Yes, they’re really pulling out all the stops. OK, so just to be clear: they think Luke is fucking terrible at fighting and that he’s probably not going to be able to stay alive very long, but they’re still going to throw a hellbeast they flew in special to kick his ass? Sure.

Grakkus declares that “there will be blood and lightsabers”, and really, that seems like a guarantee on any given day in the GFFA.

The Skywalkers, Not Willing To Let Anyone Die Especially If That Person IS A Skywalker

Back on Sana’s ship, she’s marveling at how the Mighty Smugness has fallen. Han Solo, a rebel of all things?!
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Han is like yes well that WOULD be the craziest thing I’d done if I HAD married you…also BTW, looks like we’ve left the Bad Guys behind finally. Sana smugly glosses over Han’s comment and is like “well OF COURSE we outran the baddies! A SOLO’S at the helm!” The two of them start bitching about whether or not they are actually married to each other (OMG) and Leia cuts in: Nar Shadda. She’s gotten a transmission that Luke’s on Nar Shadda. And since Leia’s a Skywalker-Naberrie and so is Luke I think we ALL know what Leia thinks is the appropriate course of action here: they’ve just GOTTA go save Luke!

Sana Starros, Dealmaker

Sana is totally not interested in Luke’s Sad Story here and is like “WELP too bad for that guy, sadly not EVERYONE on this ship gives half a crap about the Rebellion”, and Leia is like “Ah, but I don’t even want you to be a rebel, and you ARE a smuggler, so All You Care About Is Money, yes?”

In response, Sana generously offers to help — but instead of money, she wants to help in exchange for Han Solo. Nice — Leia gets assistance AND she gets Han out of her hair? Sweet deal, Organa! Take it!

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Han is like ???!, and the ship sets course for The Smuggler’s Moon.

Chewbacca, A Different Sort of Negotiator

So: Chewbacca and Threepio are standing on top of a building, and Chewbacca is holding the bartender by a single leg, upside down over the side of the building. Finally the guy spits out: yes, yes! Grakkus the Hutt has your friend! You can see his palace from here! Well, that’s one way to get the information you’re looking for. It’s, shall we say, a little bit different than the Obi-Wan Kenobi “smirk at them until you get information and/or into their pants” approach. Both are effective, just in…different ways.

The bartender, an idiot, is like your friend’s TOTALLY gonna die over there, btw. Maybe if you get a move on, you can die there too! DUDE. A Wookie has you by the leg over the side of a roof. Maybe wait until after you’re out of immediate danger of death before goading him like this?

Chewie takes this shit-talking just as calmly as we’d expect, dropping the guy onto what I think is some kind of floating garbage barge with a space monster on it. ‘k.

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Ah, The Comedy of Star Wars

Threepio, who’s been staring out at the horizon trying to figure out where Grakkus’ palace is, turns around and sees Chewie emptyhanded:

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DID CHEWIE KICK ALL OF THOSE GUYS’ ASSES? HOLY CRAP.

Har har har! Ah, Star Wars humor. It never fails.

Recurring Theme: The Legendary Bromances of Star Wars

So this comic issue wraps up with a Gungan bounty hunter (?) of some type, with an eyepatch, approaching a threatening figure in a bar with some information: he’s totally spotted Chewbacca on Nar Shadda! And he knows that guy’s gotten up to all KINDS of hijinks and misadventures — and what’s more, everyone in the galaxy knows that where you find Chewbacca, you’ll find Solo not far behind. Last time he checked, Jabba was REAL interested in knowing where Han Solo was at these days!

OK:

  1. I love that every hero in this series is easily hated maybe 25 times more by the galaxy at large than they are loved by it;
  2. I love that they travel in these tight-knit pairs to the extent that it becomes Legendary and everyone is like “oh yeah those two are TIGHT”

So, the Underworld Gungan here just…figured someone in this Mysterious Badass’ line of work might be grateful to know about this. Is that true? Oh, the guy says: I’m grateful…

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…he asks where the Wookiee is, and with that this issue calls it a day! Next time, on Star Wars Fills In a Few Gap Years For Us, our new bounty hunter friend will head off in pursuit of his big hairy target, Han and Leia will show up to aid Operation Save-A-Dork, and Luke will demonstrate to the Galaxy Far, Far Away — probably not for the last time — that much like bedbugs, red wine stains, and ill-advised tattoos, the Jedi are a lot harder to completely eliminate than you’d think.