Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Tales From Mos Eisley

Bantam Spectra published an anthology novel in August 1995, Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, comprised of many short stories featuring background characters found in the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Interestingly, earlier that year in January, the 2nd issue of Topps' Star Wars Galaxy Magazine published an 8-page story Tales From Mos Eisley: Heggs' Tale.  This 8-page comic along with the 8-page comic Tales From Mos Eisley: Mostly Automatic from Star Wars Galaxy Magazine #3 and another 8-page comic Tales From Mos Eisley: Light Duty from Star Wars Galaxy Magazine #4 are collected in the Dark Horse one-shot Star Wars: Tales From Mos Eisley.

The anthology comic opens with Light Duty, the best of the three short stories reprinted inside.  The tale begins as Garve approaches a table in Mos Eisley with Phlik, a Shistavanen and Corporal in the Rebellion.  Phlik is complaining about needing a reserve force of at least twenty fighters when Garve opens a bag and spills coins on the table offering to buy Phlik a drink as he takes a seat.  Garve then confesses to receiving the pay for two weeks of work for the Empire as a mercenary on a planetoid at a location called Jellyfish Cove.  Garve is hired by the Empire to man a lighthouse on the edge of an ocean on the planetoid and told to stay inside at night and on foggy days.  On the first day, Garve grows tired of watching the water and decides to explore the area around the beacon coming across a ruin with statues of beautiful women.  That night, he is awoken to tapping at the lighthouse's large window and sees a beautiful woman outside, but is unable to let her in as he realizes he himself is locked in.  The next day, he goes back to the ruins and spots an alien wearing an orange jumpsuit who runs away from him.  He follows the alien and sees a group of the same species, also wearing orange jumpsuits, on the beach assembling a raft, but they disperse when the fog starts rolling in.  Garve returns to the lighthouse and is visited that night by two beautiful woman tapping at the glass.  He then sees a spacecraft land on the nearby beach and more orange suited aliens leave the craft as the two women head toward them.  As the women near the aliens, they turn into jelly like creatures that engulf and kill the aliens.  He realizes he is manning the beacon for a penal colony and "Jellyfish Cove" is named after these "women" who turn into creatures.  The aliens wearing the orange jumpsuits are the prisoners being dropped off and the beacon is used to guide the ships to the location at night.  The next day, Garve again visits the ruins, but a fog rolls in and the statues come alive, resembling the same beautiful women that Garve is visited by at night.  He dashes back to the lighthouse and later a person approaches who looks like an Imperial soldier.  Garve lets the soldier in and realizes she is wearing the outfit of a former guard of the beacon and turns into one of the jelly like creatures and attacks.  Garve explains to Phlik he was able to kill the creature and when the next prison vessel arrived, he killed the guards and took their money, blew up the beacon, and used the prison ship to escape the planetoid.  He then points to a group of aliens wearing orange jumpsuits outside the prison craft and tells Phlik these are his new reserve force.

It is a decent horror story, melding a familiar location found in horror stories, a lighthouse, with science fiction elements.

Star Wars: Tales From Mos Eisley a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (March 1996)
The painted cover artwork is a portrait of the Shistavanen Phlik.

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