Monday, November 30, 2015

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars #90 and Titans #90

After the Return of the Jedi, Marvel Comics did not immediately address what happened when Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader died.  In fact, it would not be until Star Wars #81 came out at the end of 1983 before the Star Wars title moved past the movie.  In Star Wars #82, Admiral Ackbar reveals the plan to build a new galactic government by offering representatives from recently freed planets an opportunity to participate in meetings to decide the type of rule they wanted.  For several issues between Star Wars #82 and 89, Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Lando Calrissian are sent out on missions to contact representatives from these planets and ask them to participate in the formation of the new government.  In Star Wars #90, a new interim government is formed, the Alliance of Free Planets, which would be the foundation for the New Republic.  We also learn that remnants of the Galactic Empire still exist as not all Imperials capitulated when the Emperor fell.

This status quo started by Marvel would be used when the Expanded Universe starts up in the 1990s.  The conflict is no longer between the Rebellion and the Galactic Empire, but between a fledgling New Republic and the remnants of Imperial forces.  Marvel did place Princess Leia on an interesting path that differs from the Expanded Universe however with Star Wars #90.  In a story titled The Choice!, Leia is torn between pursuing a future as a leader in the new government while she yearns for the action of fighting.  In the final panel, as prophesized by Luke, the choice Leia is asked to make is actually taken from her as the council to form the Alliance of Free Planets ends and Mon Mothma announces "By their absence from the council, Luke, Leia, Chewbacca, Lando Calrissian and Han Solo have lost the right to help us govern."  It is an interesting decision allowing Marvel to sidestep the logical progression Leia will eventually make as a leader.

Star Wars #90a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 1984)
The cover for Star Wars #90 shows the conflict Leia has between choosing the path of a leader or of a warrior.  Leia is cut in half and drawn in garb representative of both choices.  On the side where she wears a diplomatic dress are Mon Mothma and Ackbar.  On the side where she is dressed as a warrior are Luke and Han.  Looming over her, similar to his presence in the story, is her father in the guise of Darth Vader.  Even though it is not a scene from the pages, I feel the cover does a good job of representing the story.

Titans #90a - Editions Lug, France (July 1986)
Star Wars #90
The cover for Titans #90 is a scene taken directly from the pages inside.  Rik Duel, Chihdo, and Dani are assaulted by some Rebel who feel they have been cheated in a card game with Rik.  The Ewoks are about to jump into the fray but Leia tells C-3PO that they will make the matter worse if they do.  It is Leia's participation in this conflict that prevents her from attending the council.  As usual, this is a beautifully painted French cover, even though the scene is minor and just serves to remind the reader that this activity is taking place on Endor which is home to the Ewoks.

The U.S. cover is a better representation of the story, but the French cover is more appealing as art.  The warrior outfit worn by Leia on the U.S. cover is actually the clothes she wore in a flashback story in Star Wars #86.  Leia rarely wore her hair with the side buns after The Empire Strikes Back.  The clothing and hair style Leia wears on the French cover are those she wears inside.

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