Using the four TIE Fighters they got from Ferret in the last issue, Luke Skywalker and his girlfriend, Shira Brie, attack the Imperial outpost on planet Spindrift. The operation is successful and the Imperial officers at the outpost surrender.
Having heard rumours of a secret armada being constructed by the Empire Luke and his gang of Rebels search Spindrift for clues to its location. They eventually find a coded map which they take back to Arbra for decoding.
Knowing that the Rebel Alliance will take some time before deciphering the map Shira asks Princess Leia for permission to leave the Rebel base for a personal matter. Leia at first declines the request, however, because the coordinates to Arbra are given only to key personnel and Shira wouldn’t be allowed to receive them to get back. But, Luke heroically intervenes and offers to escort his girlfriend to her destination and then fly her back. Leia reluctantly agrees.
Shira, Luke, Artoo, and a few other personnel fly to a backwater planet called Shalyvane which happens to be Shira’s homeworld.
They land their X-Wings outside of an ancient city in ruins which was formerly known as Chinshassa. Inside Shira approaches a circle of stones with an altar in the centre which she identifies as the Circle of Kavaan, a place sacred to her family.
She draws a knife and cuts her hand with it and then precedes to let her blood flow upon the altar. Her ritual is interrupted, however, by a raging horde of alien barbarians wielding blasters and explosives.
The Rebels hide behind an outcropping of rock and Shira begins to explain what is going on on her homeworld. The Shalyvanian aliens attacking them are a xenophobic species bent on the destruction of all who are different from them. They fought with Shira’s family for years and eventually wiped all of her loved ones out. The barbarians told the Empire that her family were in league with the Rebel Alliance and the Empire reacted by joining forces with her family’s enemies and killing them all. Shira, who was a young girl at the time, survived by hiding in Chinshassa’s drainage system. She lived on the streets until she grew up and joined the Rebellion. Once a year she comes to Shalyvane and the Circle of Kavaan to spill some of her blood on the altar in honour of her dead family who died there.
Luke asks Artoo to use his scanner to locate any sign of the drainage system Shira had mentioned and by an enormous stroke of luck he finds an entry to it in a hole just a metre away from them. Shira immediately jumps into it and Luke and his companions hold off the horde off aliens until Shira flies back in her X-Wing and kills all of their enemies with a strafing run.
After escaping another close scrape with death Shira and her friends leave Shalyvane and head home.
This is a pretty good story and I found it entertaining and enjoyable overall, but it really begins to become apparent that Luke and his friends cannot escape adventures wherever they go. They didn’t go to Shalyvane on an important mission for the Rebellion as it was just a private matter for Shira. And yet they managed to get attacked and nearly killed by a pack of vicious aliens.
I am started to suspect that Han and Luke and Leia etc. just have the absolute worst luck imaginable. Even the simplest of R&R is potentially fatal for them.
I am not exaggerating either; this happens entirely too often in Star Wars. There is an episode of The Clone Wars where Anakin and Padme send Artoo and Threepio to buy ingredients for a cake (I swear I am not making this up) and the two droids get kidnapped by bounty hunters. And in another instance when Han took Leia to see a special magic show in one of the Jedi Prince YA books she gets abducted by Hutts. And in the Jedi Academy Trilogy Jaina and Jacen Solo get lost in the deadly underworld of Coruscant all because they went to the zoo with Threepio and Chewie. Hell, even in Rebels Zeb and Ezra found themselves being chased in a stolen TIE Fighter all because they were asked to pick up some fruit. It reminds me of the Star Trek planet Risa. It’s supposed to be a resort world, but every time a crew of the Enterprise goes there someone gets killed or something.
It seems if you are a hero fun and relaxation is not your destiny. And this issue of the Classic Marvel comic series is a good example of that. To be fair this is more of an observation and not so much a gripe as you wouldn’t want their lives to get boring as Threepio might say.
All in all I really enjoyed this issue and I feel that it is around this period that Marvel was producing some pretty solid stories for Star Wars.
You can find this issue collected in Star Wars: The Original Marvel Years Volume 2 which you can buy here.
Check next week for a review of Classic Marvel Star Wars #61-63 and may the Force be with you.