Even though scientific accuracy was never one of Star Wars’s stronger points, there are times when you really need to remind yourself that Star Wars is a fantasy where the impossible is commonplace. After seeing Lando and Lobot land on the “surface” of a gas giant I realised that this is one of those times.
In the last issue we saw Lando arrive on Cloud City only to find it deserted. After checking with the city’s computers he discovers that the city was evacuated due to some unknown crisis. Before he can figure what that crisis is Lando is suddenly attacked by Lobot whose implants are malfunctioning and making him act berserk.
Lando escapes and hides just as an imperial ship lands on one of the platforms. Out comes a bomb squad of several stormtroopers and Bespin’s new governor, Treece. Evidently, several disgruntled Ugnaughts planted a series of explosives all about the city.
While the troopers begin working on disarming the first bomb, the explosive suddenly speaks up and greets the bomb squad. It claims to have developed an AI personality thanks to being manufactured from cannibalised droid parts and not wishing to be blown up the bomb offers to guide the stormtroopers in disarming it. Seeing no reason to distrust the bomb’s intentions (I mean, has a bomb ever lied to you?) they go along with its instructions. All this accomplishes, however, is hastening the bomb’s detonation which kills all of the stormtroopers nearby who were working on it. Just before exploding the bomb calls the soon-to-be-dead imperials “suckers!”
Lando surveys the wrecked section of Cloud City where he encounters Governor Treece who survived the explosion. Both being armed they find themselves at an impasse in which they have to aid each other if they are to survive the other bombs. They agree to find and apprehend Lobot whom they reprogram to normal functions and instruct to disarm the remaining eleven explosives.
They do so, but Treece betrays Lando by pushing him over the edge of Cloud City. Lobot, now functioning normally, grabs some emergency life jets and jets after Lando. After grabbing the plummeting Calrissian Lobot and he land on the surface of Bespin where they encounter a group of Ugnaughts who are a filming a newsreel on Ugnaught conditions on Bespin. The film crew captures the two and sends them to their king to be sentenced to death.
Meanwhile on Arbra Luke and his new girlfriend, an ace pilot named Shira Brie, become apprehensive about Lando who has not reported back in some time. Taking his X-Wing they fly to Cloud City where they are attacked by Governor Treece and his stormtroopers. Luke and Shira get pinned down in a corner where they cannot escape and Treece figures on capturing Luke and gaining favour with Darth Vader which could grant him a seat on the Imperial Senate. A rather strange thing to hope for since the Imperial Senate was dissolved a few years ago. But, hey, ambition knows no bounds; including reality apparently.
Down below Lando pleads his case to King Ozz of the Ugnaughts. In exchange for freeing the Ugnaughts from slave labour up in Cloud City his death sentence is commuted. Taking the Ugnaught camera crew’s vessel up to Cloud City they engage in an epic battle with the Imperials and rescue Luke and Shira. Why is it whenever Luke tries to rescue anyone he ends up being the one in distress?
Luke threatens Treece by claiming he will use the Force to rearm and explode the bombs planted by the Ugnaughts if they don’t leave. Treece tries to call Luke’s bluff, but the young Jedi suddenly does indeed use the Force causing them to explode. The Imperial governor and his soldiers flee and Lando himself is about to evacuate when Luke explains that all he did was blow the primers causing minor damage that could be fixed within hours.
With the Empire finally gone, Lando back in charge, and the Ugnaughts being treated fairly again everyone is happy. And as a last token of revenge against Treece Lando uses Cloud City’s financial computer to transfer illegal transactions made by the governor to Darth Vader’s own account at the bank in Aargau.
Everyone has a good laugh knowing that somewhere Treece is getting Force-choked by one pissed off Dark Lord.
Despite the absurdity of the story, issues #56-57 have some of the finest artwork in the entire classic Marvel run. There are a lot of full-page panels using vibrant blues and reds in the colouring that look really nice especially in some of the Cloud City scenes. 57 is actually one of my favourite issues to just look at because of this.
I do think it is a little ridiculous for Bespin to have a land-able surface and I absolutely despise the talking bomb. I get that Ugnaughts, along with Ewoks and Gungans, aren’t meant to be taken all that seriously.
But having them operate TV cameras and plant talking bombs is a bit much.
But where it lacks in story these issues more than make up for in artwork. They also introduce Shira Brie, a character who will carry significant weight to the Star Wars Expanded Universe for a long time to come.
These issues can be found in Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Volume 2 which you can purchase here.
Check next week for a review of Classic Marvel Star Wars #58: Sundown!