Issue 30 of the classic Marvel run marks a return for the recurring villain Baron Tagge, the Imperial governor who has hated Darth Vader ever since the Dark Lord’s lightsaber injured him forcing him to rely on cybervision goggles. Thanks to his failure in his last story arc Tagge is assigned a lowly overseeing position on planet Metalorn, an Imperial industrial site. There enslaved prisoners of the Empire are forced to mine ore in service of the Imperial military effort. It is on this planet that take Princess Leia’s finds herself on her new mission.
Leia Organa’s task is to contact an old mentor, Arn Horada, who taught her Galactic history when she was a little girl on Alderaan. While one of the many broken and dispirited slaves on Metalorn, Horada’s knowledge of history is something Leia hopes to put to use in recruiting members for the Rebellion. She hopes to convince the professor to instruct his fellow slaves and plant seeds of rebellion in their minds to eventually instigate a revolt.
The princess disguises herself as a local worker and once inside the check-in point she attacks a stormtrooper and takes his blaster. Things go south almost immediately since all blasters on Metalorn have homing devices installed to prevent them from going places they are not supposed to. Governor Corwyth who is in charge of operations on the planet sends a detachment of stormtroopers after her as she flees into the ore shipping factory. Leia jumps into a pile of ore on a conveyer and escapes; while unseen leaves the tracked blaster behind. Corwyth and his men discover this too late when they find the blaster sans princess after they track it to the conveyer.
Tagge, however, is not to be fooled. Shortly after replaying the attack of the check-in guard on the data recorder he uses a voice-print analysis to identify the princess. He quickly performs a background check to see if any current prisoners on Metalorn had any previous connection with Leia. This, of course, leads him to Arn Horada and Tagge doesn’t hesitate in heading to the mess hall where Horada is located while Corwyth and his men waste time in the factory.
Leia makes contact with the professor but before they can discuss her plan Tagge attacks. Leia with her typical aggression defends herself by throwing some of the food paste that was being fed the prisoners into his cybervision goggles. Temporarily blinded, Tagge struggles to remove the paste while Leia binds him to a table leg with a pair of energy shackles. With the help of a little girl named Tammi – a daughter of one of the other prisoners – the princess escapes to her ship.
The ship hurls into hyperspace and her pilot bemoans the fact that the mission was a failure. Seemingly no sabotage was done and no rebel was recruited. Princess Leia, however, thinks otherwise. She believes that while she did not manage to recruit Horada she did manage inspire that little girl and other prisoners who may now this very moment be seeding the eventual rebellion that will overthrow the Imperial operations on Metalorn.
Here is another good one. Issue 30 is another example of a classic Marvel Star Wars comic that had something to say rather than just mindlessly entertain the reader with camp. The story is neither explosive nor extremely action-packed. It’s slower paced and more thoughtful. It doesn’t depict rebellion so much as it depicts how it is seeded and grown. It is delightful to see this sort of subtlety in Star Wars.
Before I began reading the classic Marvel run I had preconceptions about it that its reputation unfortunately instilled in my mind. I was figuring that it was all going to be like the stories with Jaxxon and the pirates on Drexel. It was my impression that the good Star Wars comics would not start until I reached the Dark Horse era. I am glad to see I was wrong. Stories like this one, the Valance trilogy, and The Wheel arc make reading these vintage comics much more fun and enjoyable than I had hoped.
Check in next time for my review of Classic Marvel Star Wars Annual #1