Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars Tales #21

Prior to Star Wars Tales #21, most of the stories in this anthology title were not considered part of canon.  This allowed for a variety of stories that were impossible to tell otherwise, such as a meeting between Darth Maul and Darth Vader as well as a crossover between Star Wars and Indiana Jones.  Many of the tales in the first 20 issues are humorous in nature.  With Star Wars Tales #21, new editor Jeremy Barlow introduced a new direction with stories that are serious in nature and part of continuity.  Despite the shift, Star Wars Tales did not receive any noticeable movement in sales and even though Star Wars Tales always sold comparable to other Star Wars titles, the title ended with issue #24.

There are three stories in Star Wars Tales #21.  The first part of a 4-part story Nomad is presented first and follows Darca Nyl who is pursuing a Dark Jedi named Lycan.  In the first chapter, his mission takes him to a planet in the Outer Rim and helps rescue the daughter of one of the founders of the mining colony on the planet.  The second tale Walking the Path That's Given is about Nas Ghent, a cynical ex-fighter pilot who fought on the side of the Confederacy of Independent Systems during the Clone Wars.  Now a smuggler, he is shot down by and recruited by Darth Vader to build an elite TIE unit named Black Eight Squadron.  Ghent is assigned to the Star Destroyer Crucible and placed under the command of Commander Millavec.  Ghent and Millavec clash and Millavec plots to kill Ghent on a training mission, but Ghent survives.  The incident increases Ghent's resolve to carry out Vader's mission.  The final story in Tales #21 is Equals & Opposites and stars Jedi Kyle Katarn and Jan Ors on the planet Ord Sedra freeing captives of the Yuuzhan Vong.

Star Wars Tales #21 has both an art and a photo cover.

Star Wars #21a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2004)
art cover
Star Wars #21b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (October 2004)
photo cover
Both covers are based on the story Walk the Path That's Given.  Unfortunately, this is the one and only story about Nas Ghent forming the Black Eight Squadron.  There were plans to continue the narrative, but they never materialized.

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