Saturday, May 20, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Invasion #0

Bantam Spectra published Star Wars books from 1991 to 1999, starting with Heir to the Empire, the book that helped revive Star Wars and kick off the Expanded Universe.  Del Rey won back the license with plans to shaking up the status quo.  Bantam mainly published stories that involved the New Republic battling the remnants of the Empire.  Del Rey's first publishing efforts after The Phantom Menace adaptation was a massive nineteen book story called the New Jedi Order.  Involving multiple authors, the story centers around the original trilogy characters as well as characters introduced during the Bantam era.  The story introduces the Yuuzhan Vong, an alien race from another galaxy, intent on taking over the galaxy the New Republic had consolidated and was stabilizing.  During the course of the story, both Chewbacca and Anakin Solo are killed off.  The novels sold extremely well, although the story is not embraced by some fans who feel it sways too much from a traditional Star Wars story.

Interestingly, the invasion story was suggested by Randy Stradley, Vice President of Publishing at Dark Horse.  Despite Dark Horse's initial involvement in shaping the story, Dark Horse chose not to publish any comics pertaining to it during the 4 years the novels were being released although they did seed the invasion by introducing Nom Anor in the Crimson Empire II mini-series.  Nom Anor is an advance scout of the Yuuzhan Vong, intent on sowing discontent in the galaxy.

Six years after the final book, The Unifying Force, was published, Dark Horse released a 6 issue mini-series titled Star Wars: Invasion.  The first issue of the mini-series, #0, tells the story of two explorers at the edge of the galaxy who intercept a transmission from the first planet in the galaxy attacked by the Yuuzhan Vong invasion force.  They successfully warn the nearest planet Artorias of the approaching armada before making the decision to ram their spacecraft into one of the Vong ships, killing both explorers.  Afterwards, there is a brief one page introduction to the royal family of Artorias who become the focal point for the remainder of the series.  We also learn it is a strategically placed Yuuzhan Vong advance scout that received the message and the planet's inhabitants will not be warned of the approaching fleet.

Star Wars: Invasion #0a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2009)
Star Wars: Invasion #0b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2009)
Diamond Retailer Summit Baltimore 2009 exclusive
An exclusive cover was given to retailers at the 2009 Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, Maryland.  The artwork was modified to have a solid white background behind the Yuuzhan Vong.  Additionally, the logo and other cover artifacts are changed from green to red.  Below the title is text that reads 2009 Diamond Retailer Exclusive.  Finally, the price has been replace with text that reads 1 of 1,000 copies.

At one time, despite being limited to 1,000 copies, this comic was frequently seen on eBay for $20 - $25.  These days, with the renewed interest in Star Wars due to Disney releasing new movies yearly and Marvel owning the comic license, many of the Dark Horse variants and exclusives have become scarcer on eBay and prices have been going up.

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