Thursday, December 29, 2016

Retro Marvel: Star Wars #67 (12 Days of C-3PO and R2-D2 Covers)

Celebrating day five of the twelve days of C-3PO and R2-D2 covers!

Star Wars' "used universe" aesthetics is an important part of its appeal.  Instead of a sterile science fiction setting like many of its predecessors, the Star Wars film show a galaxy that is lived in.  Spaceships are dirty and banged up.  Denizens wear worn clothes or even rags.  Locations are grimy and gritty.  The "used universe" extends beyond the textures of what we see however; it is also accompanied with a rich history woven into its fabric.

From the beginning, the Star Wars universe has a past that helps explain the present.  Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke Skywalker about the Old Republic that fell to the Galactic Empire in the Clone Wars.  There is a history of conflict between the settlements on Tatooine and the nomadic Tusken Raiders.  The Rebel base occupies the abandoned Massassi Temples on Yavin 4, temples built thousands of years before.  This mixing of the past and present is even seen on screen in the recent movies The Force Awakens and Rogue One.  Luke is on the water world Ahch-To seeking answers in a early Jedi Temple.  In Rogue One, Saw Gerrera operates out of hidden base on the holy planet Jedha hidden beneath ancient ruins.  Most planets are not pristine and newly discovered but instead had thriving civilizations that either died out or were abandoned.  New civilizations moved in and this cycle has probably happened multiple times.

This rich history is used to good effect in The Darker in Star Wars #67.  R2-D2 wanders off into an unexplored tunnel at the Rebel base on Arbra.  (This is reminiscent of the cut scenes on Hoth where the Rebel base is attacked by Wampas.)  A Hoojib, a native species of Arbra, witnesses R2-D2 wandering off and reports to Plif who tells C-3PO his concerns.  C-3PO enlists the aid of Chewbacca and together with the Hoojibs they set off to find R2-D2.  What they find is an abandoned ancient city and a trapped, malevolent manifestation of the previous inhabitants' dark energies, The Darker.  In the end, the unlikely pair rescues R2-D2 and kill The Darker.

Star Wars #67a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1983)
newsstand
Star Wars #67b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 1983)
direct
The cover by Tom Palmer shows C-3PO, R2-D2, and Chewbacca with The Darker sneaking up behind them.  Palmer is joined for the first time on the interior by penciller Ron Frenz.

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