Star Wars #12 (Marvel, 2015)
Say, reader: were you at all concerned that maybe in between movies, the Original Trilogy Gang did not encounter anything out of the ordinary? Have you lost sleep worrying that Luke Skywalker, for example, may have just gone about his business and had Normal Times every so often, when he wasn’t training in a swamp with a Muppet or getting some really bad news back from his 23andMe DNA test? Well, allow me to put your fears to rest, because if the Star Wars comics are anything to go by, we can all breathe a sigh of relief on that front. As far as I can tell, no moment of Luke’s life has been normal since that day he went to Obi-Wan’s house for a chat.
In the lead-up to today’s comic, Luke — who, BIG GODDAMN SURPRISE, has been off by himself on a Jedi Knowledge Quest AGAIN, STILL — has found himself taken prisoner by an enormous hutt, who is forcing him to fight a giant monster in an arena while a bunch of people gawk and cheer. I don’t want to get too far ahead of things here, but I will note that Luke does not perform quite to the level of his dad or mom or Obi-Wan in this situation, though I do find it hilarious that this insane scenario happened to ALL FOUR OF THEM. In the meantime, Han and Leia (accompanied by Sana Starros, who’s still claiming to be Han’s wife) have mostly just pretended they don’t want to rip each other’s clothes off for what feels like eternity, and are en route to Nar Shaddaa to collect Luke, and to come to the aid of Chewbacca and C-3PO, who were trying to save Luke themselves, but have now been getting their butts kicked by a bounty hunter named Dengar.
Recurring Theme: We Just Showed Up and Stuff’s Exploding Already
As our story opens, Han’s got a blaster pulled on Dengar and is all HOW DARE YOU THREATEN MY WOOKIEE FRIEND/PRIMARY CAREGIVER/LEGAL GUARDIAN. Dengar spits back that he’s got a thermal detonator, and if Han tries anything funny he’ll have them ALL go up in flames! Just then, Chewie manages to get back on his feet and puts an end to this standoff:
…Dengar presumably falls to his death in a pit of flames, but then again, we all know people around here have survived worse, so who knows. He’s probably fine. I appreciate that Han and Leia just landed like 12 seconds ago and there is already a giant fireball involved and someone is already gravely injured, at a minimum.
Han of course is immediately all AWWW CHEWIE BOY AM I GLAD TO SEE YOU, and asks what brought Chewie and Threepio here. Of course, he discovers that it’s because they’re also looking for Luke. Really, an unreasonable amount of Star Wars involves everyone being like “where’s Luke????? WE NEED TO FIND HIM!!” and it’s really been the cause of a lot of unnecessary dramatics and life-threatening situations. I feel like this might be slowing the Rebellion (and, later, the Resistance for that matter) down somewhat, having their Wizard Superhero be constantly missing and/or in need of being rescued. Are we sure he’s not just doing it for the attention? He is Anakin’s son and all. I feel like we can’t discount that as a possibility. The last time he pulled a disappearing act on everybody and fucked off to Space Ireland it was a whole big production to get him back and he got top billing in the opening crawl and everything.
So now everyone’s here on the Smuggler’s Moon, but now they have to figure where Luke precisely is. Leia gestures at some TIE fighters up above causing a commotion, and suggests that following them will most likely lead them there. Following the trail of drama DOES seem like a likely way to find a Skywalker, I’ll give her that.
Recurring Theme: Obi-Wan Isn’t Feeling Up To Helping You Now, I Guess
And how IS Luke faring, you ask? Why, Luke’s doing just fi– oh. No, he’s about to be eaten by a horrible monster, and he’s calling out for Obi-Wan to come help him somehow.
BIG FREAKING SURPRISE. It had been possibly whole HOURS since Vader or Luke had mentioned Obi-Wan (just kidding. I am sure Vader’s been presenting a PowerPoint about him to a bunch of uninterested Imperials in a conference room somewhere this whole time).
I really would sincerely be grateful for some official info — in something that is not like one throwaway line in a novelization that some poor author had to put in there to make something else in the canon make sense or whatever — on what, when, and how Force ghosts can show up in the living realm, because right now I am left to conclude that Anakin, Obi-Wan, Qui-Gon, and Yoda — even though they have all more or less ascended to Force Superheaven, and Anakin is the Force’s actual CHILD and is supposed to be this crazy-powerful being who has Returned to the Light, etc — are all enormous assholes. Like a LOT of the story falls apart if it’s possible for them to appear to Luke at will — unless I am to believe, for example, “everyone who is dead can see Ben Solo turning into an idiot and being manipulated by SIDIOUS, WHO IS NOT 100% DEAD, and chooses to do exactly nothing to stop this or even mention it in passing to Luke in any way whatsoever”, in which case…wow. Guys. Come on. Not cool. You weren’t exactly setting him up for success here. (You just know it’s some bullshit about how the ghosts “can’t” reach out — I know they at least tried to pass off “Luke shut himself off from the Force after he went to Planet Ireland, and that’s why the ghosts weren’t reaching out to him” to partially explain this, but that doesn’t address what the hell was going on in the MANY YEARS PRIOR TO LUKE BECOMING A HERMIT. I await the half-assed story about how Obi-Wan and Anakin had gone to some next-level space afterlife so they could no longer directly see what was going on, or that Luke and Ben “needed” to learn from their struggles on their own no matter how many innocent people were gonna die in the meantime, when you ALSO know the ACTUAL reason is “we were making shit up as we went along and didn’t super think everything through. Anyways, here are some X-wings again.”)
I (mercifully) DIGRESS. Luke is about to be lunch, when suddenly two things happen: one, someone triggers the shock collar on the beast that’s trying to kill him, and two, a bright green blade slices through some of the droids that are in the arena as well. Could it really be that Obi-Wan has reached out his ghostly hand and helped after all?
…nope! Just a well-timed intervention from the Gamemaster, a dude who’d been tasked with training Luke to help keep him alive in the arena long enough to put on a good show. Turns out that guy? Is actually an Imperial who aims to take Luke into custody! Gasp, shock, etc.
Some troopers march in to back this guy up, and prepare to apprehend Luke. Oh no! Luke will be captured and then he’ll be forced to hang out with Anakin and listen to him whine about his terrible life all day. (On the bright side, as noted Luke would also certainly have to hear about Obi-Wan a LOT, and I’m pretty sure Luke would be extremely into this. Now that I think about it, Anakin really overlooked a WAY better way to recruit Luke to join him than all of that “I’m your father and it’s your destiny and do it or I’ll lop your hand off” crap. He should have busted out some of his many Obi-Wan Kenobi Fanboy Scrapbooks that we all know he has, and lured Luke in with the promise of getting to pore over them while hearing stories about Obi-Wan to his heart’s content.) (Can you even imagine Obi-Wan’s ghost watching this all go down? Luke joins the Empire basically because neither he nor Anakin could shut the fuck up about Obi-Wan? It really IS all Obi-Wan’s fault, just like Anakin said? I hope the afterlife in that alternate universe has booze.)
Recurring Theme: Hero Droid
Fortunately for Luke, father-son bonding time isn’t in the cards just yet, and as will surprise nobody, it’s because Artoo, The Actual Hero of Star Wars, is on the case! He’s rolled into the giant storage locker where the hutt’s been keeping a bunch of his Jedi Collectibles, and he’s found something important: those glowy things!
Honestly, the entire Skywalker saga would have been comprised of less than one single movie if Artoo had been killed trying to save Padme’s ship in The Phantom Menace. I am 100% sure every one of the good guys would have died in that film without him (possibly not even IN a huge space battle but like, doing something totally mundane), and even if they had somehow managed to survive, there is zero chance they make it through another movie or two or any part of The Clone Wars without him. Although now that I think about it, if all of them had died back in Episode I, that’d really put a cramp in at least parts of Sidious’ plan. No Obi-Wan? No Anakin? More importantly, no Padme? She’s pretty crucial to his whole hostile takeover thing. He’d have to find a whole new group of idiots to manipulate, and he’d possibly have a non-bisected Maul to deal with, too. It’d probably have set him behind schedule a bit, at least.
So Grakkus the Hutt is furious to find out that the Gamemaster (LOL) isn’t who he thought he was, and the two of them are trash-talking each other. To show that he won’t be easily defeated, Grakkus sets off an electromagnetic pulse in the arena, disarming the Imps’ blasters.
…yeah, as you may have guessed, that one skeptical trooper is about to learn a lesson about Grakkus:
I am still not over this guy’s weird buffness, or his lightsaber necklace, by the way. Good grief.
Recurring Theme: Everything New Is Old Again
Grakkus is throwing people around and Chaos is Ensuing, as the EMP that was set off has also apparently disabled the giant space monster’s control collar, too. Everything’s a big mess, and in the midst of all of this, Luke is trying to fight off being arrested, protesting to his would-be captors that he’s not a Jedi! Honest!
Cue Artoo, then, with that same move he does in Return of the Jedi and that he’s already done with Anakin at least once in The Clone Wars (which I feel compelled to share with you that I for-real just typo’d as The Clown Wars, which…yeah), and chucks Anakin’s lightsaber over to Luke in fittingly dramatic fashion:
Because I am an adult who cares about things that definitely matter, I’m still very annoyed about pretty much everything that happened to this lightsaber later in its life, beginning with its whole “tee hee here it is for some reason!” introduction in The Force Awakens. That said, I love and care about you readers, and so I am not going to subject you to that rant. I will instead focus on Luke’s “what were we talking about?” line, like he’s some sort of Cool Smooth Action Hero with sarcastic one-liners while I’m over here all NICE TRY, SKYWALKER, I’VE SEEN YOUR WORK. Not buying it.
While Luke wails on people with that lightsaber his dad once used to commit genocide with (…kids’ show!), the rest of Team Original Trilogy is approaching and watches as a giant wave of screaming people come running out of the arena. Leia deftly observes that uh, they maybe should be concerned about WHY everyone’s running AWAY from the arena, when the reason goes ahead and makes itself abundantly clear:
In Which I Continue to Push My Baseless “Han Kenobi” Conspiracy Theory
The giant beast moves towards them, and Han is dismayed to discover that his blaster won’t work due to the EMP. HMM! I do wonder if something else could help out our buddy Han here. As it turns out, Artoo grabbed a whole BUNCH of lightsabers, and he’s here to distribute them like he’s a birthday pinata full of weapons. (I love that the art for this shows him firing out like 5 at once. Artoo is such a dramatic bitch and I am here for it. Also I love that it looks like apparently Chewie’s gonna dual-wield.)
Han? Is like GEEZ UGH NEXT THING YOU KNOW OBI-WAN’S GONNA BE HERE, a sentiment I cannot relate to.
Setting aside the fact that Leia’s comment obviously is breaking my heart here, I would like to take a moment to talk about a conspiracy theory I have completely made up but am nonetheless very devoted to. Consider, if you will, that damn near everybody in Star Wars is pretty into Obi-Wan Kenobi. Villains frequently get upset when any Jedi other than him shows up, half the people who are trying to kill him also kind of seem to want to get in his pants, he caused Mandalore to break their thousand-plus-years “No Jedi” rule, the Skywalkers never shut the fuck up about him…but Han Solo? Pretty unimpressed! I have joked many a time that the only other person who’s seemed this unimpressed with Obi-Wan is Obi-Wan himself, and really: these two DO have a lot in common. I’ll just pull from an old Tumblr post of mine here:
- Han, pretending to be the lone sane person around a bunch of dramatic idiots, when he too is a huge drama llama? Sounds about right.
- Han, flirting with a lot of people and being kiiiinda into his own damn self? Sounds about right.
- Han, his glorious Star Wars Hair Swoosh flying around in the wind? Sounds about right.
- Han, unable to say no to a Skywalker? SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT.
- HAN, GREATLY ENJOYING “ARGUING” WITH PEOPLE HE ABSOLUTELY WANTS TO SLEEP WITH? SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT.
Look, all I am saying is that those two being related in some capacity wouldn’t be the MOST OUTLANDISH thing Star Wars has ever tried to convince me of, OK? If Luke and Leia could turn out to be twins, and Rey can turn out to be Space Satan’s granddaughter, who’s to say Han Kenobi can’t be a thing? Even setting aside that they could just be distant cousins, don’t even try to start with me with all that Oh Obi-Wan Was So Pure and Chaste So How Could He Of All People Have Fathered a Child? stuff. We are all familiar with Obi-Wan, people.
Also, look at the panel below: Han’s as annoyed about having to use a lightsaber as Obi-Wan is about having to use a blaster.
Well too damn bad, Solo! (Also Leia, honey, you look fabulous and I am sorry Anakin blew it so badly that you could never get fully into the whole Jedi Thing, though I do not blame you even .1%.)
Recurring Theme: More Bummers Brought to You By Anakin Skywalker
The Gamemaster’s got Luke pinned to the ground, and he tells him the bad news:
*cries* ANAKIN WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO THE 501st, YOU IDIOT. It’s not fair. None of this is fair.
He’s grandstanding about how This Is Truly the End of the Last Jedi Ever as EVERY BAD GUY IN THIS STUPID FRANCHISE ALWAYS DOES AND IS ALWAYS WRONG ABOUT when Grakkus suddenly picks him up and starts choking him. The Gamemaster manages to get his hands on one of the lightsabers in Grakkus’ necklace (LOL) and starts fighting back, yelling to his men that they can’t let Luke get away — but there’s, uh, a problem:
WOMP WOMP — yep, because EVERYONE now has a lightsaber, the bad guys can’t figure out which one is Luke! (I feel like it’s an indictment of Luke’s lightsaber skills that Chewie, Han, and Leia apparently seem to be able to use theirs as capably as Luke does to the extent that it’s impossible for the Imperials to tell which one of them is a Jedi. Luke REALLY needs more training.) (Also I’m SORRY Star Wars, I know I am overthinking it and this is just a Lighthearted Comic Romp and all but Luke, Han, Leia and Chewie all look NOTHING alike. Literally all The Gamemaster would need to do here is yell “arrest the BLONDE MAN” and then it wouldn’t matter how many of them have lightsabers.) This is yet another lucky break thanks to our pal Artoo’s quick thinking (and Imperial idiocy)!
Luke reconnects with the rest of the gang and, because it is mandatory and The Way of the Jedi and so on, makes sure to sneak in a lil’ light flirting with Han as he does:
I sure hope everyone retired that whole “good thing you’re still in one piece” line after the time that Luke, uh, didn’t come back with all of his original body parts.
Artoo now rolls up to show off the fact that he’s managed to rescue Obi-Wan’s old journal from the hutt’s lair. So Artoo saved them all and also made sure to salvage something of Obi-Wan’s for Luke while he was at it, and everyone else has basically just been flailing around for the last several issues/years/decades. Luke is unsurprisingly thrilled about this and ALSO unsurprisingly Han is not. Luke begins to insist that they have to go back to Grakkus’ storage locker/warehouse/whatever, because there’s so much more Jedi Lore and Ridiculously Giant Statues and Secret Recipes and ancient collections notices from the power company in there. Think of all the amazing information that will be lost! My God, Obi-Wan’s old term papers could be in there!
Han puts a stop to this plan quickly, though: Imperial reinforcements have shown up, and their blasters work. They’re outmatched and it’s time to get the hell outta here! My favorite bit of this issue might be that Chewie physically picks Luke up and holds him back like he is a toddler having a tantrum about having to leave Chuck E. Cheese:
Yoda should have sent of one of his many Wookiee friends to be Anakin’s bodyguard/babysitter for Obi-Wan. Could have saved us all some pain. I’m just picturing Anakin twisting his arms and legs trying to get free so he can go see Palpatine at the opera, and a giant Wookiee just holding him in place and stroking his hair until he finally goes down for a nap.
Han starts looking around for Leia. She’s gone to the aid of Sana Starros, who’s gotten trapped under some giant boulders during all of this craziness. Leia looks fierce as she uses a lightsaber to smash these huge chunks of rock apart.
Sith Leia would have been absolutely terrifying. Like, WAY more so than Vader, plus unlike Anakin, she’s also good at all that diplomacy stuff, so she could also use those powers for evil in a Palpatine-esque way. The galaxy would be dead ten times before it hit the ground.
Sana is surprised that Leia has come to her rescue, as the two of them haven’t exactly had a warm and fuzzy dynamic during this whole adventure. She thanks Leia for her help, and also ultimately admits that no, Han isn’t really Sana’s husband after all — it was a lie that was part of one of their robbery schemes gone awry from back in the day, which Han still owes her money from (LOL). The two girls have a bonding moment of sorts as they flee the wreckage, and then everyone takes off on the Falcon while I assume Luke has a total meltdown, because he managed to learn basically nothing on this stupid Jedi side quest AND as a bonus was almost eaten by a monster. See, I think what Luke doesn’t yet understand is that going on stupid side quests where you learn precious little new, usable information while also almost being killed by something ridiculous kind of IS in and of itself the Real Authentic Jedi Experience. I guess that is why the Force ghosts never see fit to step in and just teach him directly: the real Jedi training is all the times you almost die for no clear benefit along the way.
Recurring Theme: I’ll Get You Next Time, Jedi
As this issue comes to a close, the Gamemaster — whose real name is Sergeant Kreel — is standing in the giant Storage Locker full of Jedi Crap chatting with someone. And that someone has an extremely high level of interest in this Jedi Who Got Away:
…so I guess the first part of this exchange is trying to imply that the Empire’s gonna like, set this warehouse on fire or something now, but given who he’s talking to here I refuse to believe there’s not going to be ANY effort put into digging through this stuff just to make sure there aren’t any good sculptures of Obi-Wan in there worth taking back to the ol’ Dark Monolith first. I’ve seen Vader’s basement, guys. There are an AWFUL LOT OF CRATES down there, is all I’m saying.
Yeah, obviously, we all know who’s on the line, and he wants DETAILS because he is just really looking for ways to become a more involved parent:
How can one person be so amazing, so beautiful, so powerful and so terrifying while still being SUCH a total goober AND manage to somehow convey all of these things at the same time ALWAYS? Anakin Skywalker, you are a riddle for the ages.
So! Thus concludes this particular issue, so that means we’re all done here for now! Join me next time for Vader and Luke Are Trying To Figure Stuff Out, Volume God-Knows-What. Anakin did warn us he was a slow learner, I guess. Until then, dear readers!