Monday, June 6, 2016

Classic Cover Comparison: Star Wars (1977) #4 and Star Wars: Republic #78

Marvel's Star Wars #4 is part 4 of the 6-part movie adaptation.  This chapter's story, titled In Battle with Darth Vader, covers the moment the main heroes are engaged in a shootout with Stormtroopers in the Death Star's detention block corridor to the moment they escape the Death Star aboard the Millennium Falcon.  Darth Vader appears toward the end of the issue when he engages Obi-Wan Kenobi in a lightsaber duel and kills him.

Star Wars #4a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (October 1977)
The cover to Star Wars #4 is symbolic of the pivotal moment when Obi-Wan Kenobi dies; Obi-Wan Kenobi sacrifices himself in order for Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, Chewbacca, C-3PO, and R2-D2 to escape.  In the story, Obi-Wan is struck down, but his physical body vanishes much to Vader's bewilderment.  Luke is prepared to stand his ground to avenge the death of Obi-Wan, but Obi-Wan's voice urges "Run, Luke!  Run!"  It is not clear if Obi-Wan's voice is real or Luke's imagination, but this mystery is cleared up in subsequent movies as Obi-Wan Kenobi's force ghost returns to visit Luke.

Star Wars: Republic #78a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2005)
The cover for Star Wars: Republic #78 appears to be a homage to Star Wars #4.  On both covers Darth Vader's visage and hands are ominously hovering over a scene.  On the cover to Star Wars #4, he is over Obi-Wan, Luke, and Leia.  On the cover to Republic #78, he is over the planet Coruscant.  The cover to Republic #78 is the stronger of the two covers; Vader is drawn larger and appears more menacing.  The reflection of the city in Vader's eyes on the cover is also a nice touch.

In Republic #78, which takes place shortly after events in Revenge of the Sith, Darth Vader makes his inaugural appearance to officers of the Imperial Fleet on Coruscant.  During the introduction, Vader makes an example of one officer, Captain Dallin, who has the tenacity to question the Jedi's betrayal against the Republic.  Vader performs his signature move for the first time when he force chokes Dallin in front of the other officers and Palpatine.  Later in the issue, another officer, Sagoro Autem who is also a former Senate Guard, is warned by a friend he is on a list of officers who have an order out for their arrest.  Sagoro flees, and at Palpatine's urging, Vader hires bounty hunters to hunt him down.  In the end, the bounty hunters fail and Sagoro escapes.

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