Despite the fact that the last issue set up The Empire Strikes Back and even promised it would be the next issue this story was published instead. This was all thanks to a production delay at Marvel which left some fans disappointed that another month had to be waited for the Empire Strikes Back adaptation. While not a bad issue in and of itself it is made up entirely of science fiction elements and cliches that have been used multiple times throughout sci-fi history making it a rather forgettable and unimportant contribution to the Star Wars lore.
Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia are flying medical supplies for the Rebel Alliance that they purchased from smugglers. Unfortunately the Empire was tipped off by the greedy scoundrels and our two heroes soon find themselves being attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer. Luke jumps their ship into hyperspace, but not before taking heavy damage from their Imperial attackers. The hyperdive malfunctions and their ship gets plunged millions of light years into another galaxy in a sector known as the Void. It’s called the Void because of the absence of stars making the area a sheer black space with no light. They are given very little time to bemoan their predicament before a massive and very strange space-ship made of organic bio-mechanical material approaches them and sucks them inside itself.
Inside the ship they see that all the machinery is made up of organic matter almost as if the ship was a living thing. A droid suddenly appears and attacks Luke with a lightsaber. The droid is under the delusion that Luke is not a living person but non-sentient swordfighting opponent in a game it is playing. Luke destroys the droid and the computer which controls the bio-ship realises that Luke must be real since none of the fighting partners were ever programmed to lose. The bio-ship immediately sounds the intruder alert and a hole rips open on the wall which begins sucking Luke and Leia out into space. Luke grabs Leia’s hand attempting to rescue her and the tear closes instantaneously saving their lives. Apparently, the mind controlling the bio-ship has not seen compassion and love in many years and decided not to kill the two humans for showing it. The ship reveals itself to be a former soldier in a war thousands of years ago from another galaxy whose people nearly wiped each other out. He fled the war-torn galaxy he came from and he eventually merged his mind and body with that of his ship creating an organic bio-mechanical vessel coexisting symbiotically. In layman’s terms he became one with his ship.
The bio-ship returns the two rebels home to their galaxy where they run into the same Star Destroyer that tried to destroy them earlier. The Imperials begin to attack the bio-ship for really no reason at all which does not pan out in their favour at all. The bio-ship launches anti-matter missiles which obliterate the Star Destroyer on contact.
Luke and Leia are returned to their ship and the organic vessel that saved their lives returns to the void where there is no war which is where it prefers to be.
Riders in the Void, while not a bad story, came at a bad time. The last issue promised a comic adaptation of The Empire Strikes Back to come next and delays in production led to this issue being published instead. It isn’t terrible, but it is a far cry from The Empire Strikes Back and it makes too much use of classic sci-fi cliches like men being merged with their ships, ancient wars from other galaxies, alien entities that haven’t had any personal contact with anyone for years, and so on. There are a lot of sci-fi stories like this one which makes it lack any uniqueness or originality. Compound that with being a sorry excuse for a replacement of Empire Strikes Back and you have a real disappointment for fans. This little issue might have been more likeable if it came a little earlier or a little later than it did. But as it is it came at the wrong time.
Check in next time for my review of The Empire Strikes back novelization and may the Force be with you.