Friday, November 6, 2015

Not So Long Ago 5: Star Wars #10

Today I'm wrapping up my recap of Roy Thomas & Howard Victor Chaykin's only post-Star Wars story with Star Wars #10!

This time the cover is by Rick Hoberg, one of the many artists who stepped in to help Chaykin meet the blistering deadlines while adapting the film into comics form. Here, he depicts Han & Chewbacca in combat with the Behemoth (I can't say I recall there being a giant monster in The Magnificent Seven).

The story is titled "Behemoth from the World Below" (which sounds like a recycled Conan title) and the credits do bear some comment. The dissatisfaction both Thomas and Chaykin were feeling can be seen as the script is by Don Glut, who received a fair amount of mentoring by Thomas in the 70s; this indicates Thomas had lost interest in finishing his story. Likewise, Chaykin had brought in his good friend Alan Kupperberg to "ghost" for him. It probably helped that Tom Palmer was still inking the comic as his heavy inks brought a uniformity to the art. This proved to be a turning point in Kupperberg's career at Marvel as it led to him receiving more offers of work, but as this was also the final issue by Thomas & Chaykin, there would be no more Glut or Kupperberg found in the series' pages.

In the chaos surrounding Han's team, Serji-X's Cloud-Riders and the Behemoth all fighting, Don-Wan Kihotay even turns up hale and hearty (Thomas may not have intended for him to die in the previous issue, but he did forget to depict his recovery). Not only is the Behemoth a massive lizard but its forehead fires energy blasts; it is, essentially, Godzilla. Serji-X simply ignores Han's team and tries to destroy the Behemoth; he gets the idea that the old shaman is controlling the monster and makes a power dive to get him, but Serji-X's observations seem somewhat incorrect as the Behemoth steps on both men, killing them.

As Han's forces try to take stock, Amaiza simply wants to leave as she signed up to fight Serji-X, who's no longer an issue. Han insists they fight on, which Jaxxon ascribes certain motivations to (I really need to reproduce all of the following as it's vintage Jaxxon):

Jaxxon: "Awwright, awwright already! So we know you're a little soft on that Merri female. So you two can stand around arguin' about it! But y'know how us Rocket-Rabbit types are: We just can't stand still!"
Amaiza: "Jaxxon!!"
Jaxxon: "And since I alway say, 'Never send a man out to do a rabbit's job--'"
Amazia: "No, wait, Jaxxon--!"
Jaxxon: "Heavenly hutches! Rocks knocked the gun out'a my hand!! Got to reach the crummy thing before--"
Amaiza: "Leave the blaster, Jax! And take cover between the rocks! You'll never--"
Jaxxon: "Already have, Amaiza! But did these floppy ears'a mine detect a little affection in your voice? Hmmmmmm?! Nawww! Like my mother told all eighty of us kids-- it'd never work out! Marry a nice girl from a nice burrow, an'-- Whooooeeee!! Almost didn't see that one! Maybe I ought'a get my eyes checked if we ever get out'a this mess!"

Take note of the dialogue above as it contains many things fans complain about when talking about Jaxxon: "Rocket-Rabbit," "hutches," "all eighty of us kids," "burrow." But also note this isn't necessarily from Thomas, it's from Don Glut. Jaxxon & Amaiza evade the Behemoth while the team tries to figure out a plan to fight it, but Don-Wan goes off on his own to face the beast. Meanwhile in the subplot, Princess Leia flies in pursuit of Luke Skywalker, a plot which finally takes center stage in the next issue.

On Aduba-3, Don-Wan faces the Behemoth with his lightsaber, believing he's using the Force to combat the creature; in fact, the Behemoth seems to be thrown off-kilter by Don-Wan presence. Hedji springs into action to help Don-Wan, but for his trouble he's obliterated by the Behemoth's energy blasts. Han figures out what's going on: Don-Wan's lightsaber is "acting like an old-fashioned lightning rod-- interfering with that energy beam the creature shoots from its fin!" Han runs to Don-Wan, takes the lightsaber and charges the Behemoth, thinking ot himself, "Seems I remember hearing once about a Jedi killing a monster something like this with a lightsabre." Han thrusts the lightsabre into the monster's chest and it causes a massive disruption of the energy inside the creature, causing it to disintegrate. "The Force is with us, Han Solo!" Don-Wan proudly beams.

With the fighting finished, Han's team receive their rewards but the Starkiller Kid (following in the pattern of The Magnificent Seven's Horst Buccholz) decides to remain with the villagers when he realizes Merri was impressed with his heroics and is, in fact, in love with him - much to the chagrin of Han who saved her life twice. At any rate, Han has earned enough to get the Millennium Falcon spaceworthy again and "If only for a minute, I got a little feeling of what it's like-- to be a Jedi knight!"

Tomorrow: The aftermath of Star Wars #7-10. The triumph! The tragedy! The snark! The bold! The bitter! Come back to find out how fandom, LucasFilm and the industry reacted to this tale!

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