Star Wars Early Expanded Universe Review and Analysis
By Angel Santiego
Welcome back! Here is the second part of the “The Lost Treasure Plot”, Star Wars issues #11 to #15.
Star Wars #11
Onwards to a new adventure.
Leaving behind Aduba-3, Han jumps to hyperspace, with the intention of rejoining the rebels on Yavin 4. He thinks it would be best to drop to sub light speed just shy of the Yavin System, in order to avoid possible imperials in the vicinity. After scanning the surrounding area, he is ready to approach the system, when out of hyperspace comes Crimson Jack’s ship! Han figures the pirate, “Must’ve planted some kind of tracer aboard.” and after a warning shot by the giant ship, he comes up with a plan, letting himself be captured again.
An unexpected complication!
Once onboard, Han finds out his plan, whatever it was, went down the drain, as he discovers Princess Leia has also been captured! Since the pirate knows her identity, he intends to receive a ransom for her return but he doesn’t count on the princess determination to her cause. Crimson Jack tries to entice Leia to cooperate by killing Han and Chewbacca in front of her.
Both Han and Leia giving no hints of knowing each other, at the moment, try to free themselves from their respective situations, until Han pulls a blaster and the pirate cowardly shields himself with Leia. This forces Han to bluff his way to buy some time, leading to some awesomely funny moments, during which they both improvise a plan to not only try to escape but to Luke’s last known location, the Drexel System.
Luke’s new challenge!
Even though the pirate keeps Han and Leia separated, they both take full advantage of any and all weaknesses they can exploit from their captors. The issue ends with Luke and the droids in the middle of an open sea, being attacked by a giant sea dragon! With their ship lost, they enter an escape pod and gain some distance from the beast, only to discover another one, this time with a rider. This issue has, as stated before, some incredibly fun moments with Han and Leia, as they make contact for the first time after Yavin 4.
Star Wars #12
Luke is in deep water for the first time.
Luke is not one to give up so easily, no matter the situation.
Luke finds himself in the middle of a war and ends up captured, threatened with the destruction of the droids by the leader of one of the warring factions, a character called, Governor Quarg. As a way to buy time, Luke begins working with the droids, repairing Quarg’s water skimmers. Meanwhile on Crimson Jack’s ship, han continues shaping his plan to fool the pirate and rescue Princess Leia, while Leia herself continues causing trouble with a female pirate called Jolli.
Could Han’s plan backfire?
Finally arriving on the Drexel System, Han has to continue his bluff. Though it has action, this issue is mostly a setup, a huge one at that. Another interesting development is that while Luke encounters and tries to defend himself from Quarg’s men, his weapon is recognized as belonging to a Jedi. I find this interesting, since the man that recognizes the lightsaber, as drawn, must be at least 50 years old. This is a very important point that shouldn’t have been forgotten in the future, but that could be discussed at another time.
Star Wars issue #13
Here, Luke makes himself useful to Quarg, as he continues his plan to not only save the droids but to buy time until a proper escape can be achieved. Unfortunately for Luke, that usefulness comes at the expense of others, who make an attempt on his life. Surviving the attack gains him some respect from Quarg, who then casually tells his origins, as well as that of his operation, including the story of how the war with the dragon riders began and how Luke lost control of his ship in the first place.
Quarg makes sure Luke understand his choices.
This is when we get to the beginning of the end of this massive plot, which easily could’ve been a 3 hour film in itself, as Crimson Jack’s cruiser arrives at the water covered planet! Inside the cruiser, Han waits for Leia, so they can continue their plot against the pirate but as soon as the ship gets within range, Quarg activates his secret weapon.
Nasty surprise when approaching the Drexel System.
The Jammer, as Governor Quarg calls it, a combination of a communications signal jammer and powerful tractor beam, suddenly shakes and deactivates the artificial gravity systems of Crimson Jack’s ship, giving our heroes the opening they needed, in order to reach the Millennium Falcon and make their escape. Meanwhile on the surface of the water planet, Quarg argues with his technicians regarding their jammer and its target power differences, which the pirate cares little for, as he wants to scavenge the giant ship at any cost. Unlike their leader, the technicians are fully aware of the coming attack by the dragon riders and the danger to their floating city.
Things get out of hand for Luke.
Also being affected by the jammer, Han loses control of The Falcon but he manages to skim the surface of the ocean, right in the middle of the battle! Han and Chewie exit the ship but are immediately attacked by Quarg’s forces. Luke witnesses the attack and fires on his “comrade” and as he approaches The Falcon, Chewie grabs Luke by the throat! Seeing Luke firing at another skimmer, the rest of Quarg’s men fire on Luke, causing an explosion that knocks out both Luke an Chewie and are captured. An all-out action packed issue. It also gives hints at the Jedi’s functions during the Pre Empire era.
Star Wars #14
Once he regains consciousness, Chewbacca finds himself captured and attacks Luke thinking him a traitor, since he saw him on the same type of skimmer that fired on The Falcon. All this while the battle continues outside between Quarg’s men and the dragon riders. Both antagonists trying to figure what to do in order to achieve their goals, Quarg wanting to bring down the massive cruiser for materials and Crimson Jack to free his ship and get revenge on Han.
Han and Leia in deep trouble.
At sea, Han is rescued by a dragon rider, while Leia is still inside The Falcon, ready to defend herself against boarders.
Luke’s situation becomes far more difficult.
Luke manages to survive by having R2 spray fire retardant foam on the Wookiee, choking off air, making him fall unconscious. Meanwhile, Han learns from the leader of the dragon riders the truth behind the conflict and Leia ends up captured by Quarg. This forces Luke to cooperate by connecting The Falcon’s to the jammer, to increase its power to bring the cruiser in orbit down, all this while the dragon riders begin a second assault on Quarg’s floating base.
An unexpected complication.
Luke and Han confront each other inside The Falcon, neither knowing the entire situation. But after a small scuffle, they manage to pull together and work out a solution. While on the floating base, Leia manages to escape Quarg’s grasp, causing a chase inside the base, a chase that Chewbacca, who as still in his cell, uses to his advantage, leaving Leia a chance to gain some distance between her and Quarg.
Leia in trouble.
Leia gets herself cornered, but Luke approaches Leia, swinging from a higher mast and grabs her, while Han shoots the mast where Quarg stands. With this, the battle is over and the jammer is destroyed, freeing the dragon riders from its effects. All are reunited and all misunderstandings cleared, but Han is quiet, as he knows there is still one more threat to deal with in orbit. Having wrapped up Luke’s subplot, it is time for Han to get closure with Crimson Jack.
Star Wars #15
This is it, the ending of the very first mayor adventure of our heroes together, after the Battle of Yavin. This of course not counting the Splinter of the Mind’s Eye novel, originally published in hard cover in February 1978, but it did not feature the entire cast. The novel could be easily said to take place immediately after Han left in Issue #7
Free to deliver his vengeance.
With his cruiser finally free of the powerful jammer’s pull, Crimson Jack is blind with rage and wants Han Solo and the Princess dead, for the damage inflicted during their escape and orders an immediate attack on the surface of the planet.
An expected attack.
After the battle, Han has ordered the droids to check up The Falcon’s systems and as C3PO begins reporting Han spots an incoming fighter, which immediately opens fire on them! Han jumps into the water to try to get his ship airborne, Leia grabbing Luke and jumping after him. They reach the ship as the fighter gets ready for another pass, quickly activating The Falcon’s shields and lifting off. More fighters join the attack while Crimson Jack tries to net Han on the cruiser’s tractor beam, which Chewbacca skillfully avoids, while Luke and Han fire at the attackers. On a desperate, near suicidal move Jolli, on her fighter, scrapes the top of The Falcon’s cockpit section, damaging the ships gyro control module.
Seeing The Falcon has taken damage, Crimson Jack gloats before delivering the killing blow, giving Han the opportunity to deliver some extremely important information. While on the pirate cruiser, when he was imputing the location of the Drexel System from The Falcon, he had deleted all the data from the cruiser’s navi-computer! This forces the pirate to make a deal with Han, a spare gyro control system for a copy of The Falcon’s navigation charts. On a twist of fate, just as Han gets ready to make the exchange, Crimson Jack receives a transmission from Jolli, who needs assistance, since her fighter was damaged on her attack and the pirate chooses to ignore her.
Han, once again, shoots first.
After Han and Crimson Jack face off and make the exchange, the pirate orders his men to attack Han as he flies towards The Falcon, when suddenly, Jack’s men are killed by Jolli on her damaged fighter and with some torpedoes left, she crashes into the cruiser’s bridge, destroying it. Han and Jack face each other one last time and just as he is about to strike, Han shoots him. It is unclear if Han was able to recover his treasure in this issue, perhaps later, but at least he gives Jolli a first and final gift. Leia watches, as it may have been her words with Jolli that in the end made her do her last acts. This was one hell of an epic story, a worthy entry into the EU. Until next time!