Monday, June 8, 2015

Between Books - Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago...Volume 2

I have been reading a ton of Star Wars comics with the recent Marvel releases.  In fact, I have been struggling with which ones I should continue with in the future.  But one I thing I know for sure is that I will be reading all of the classic Marvel comics thanks to Between Books.

Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago…Volume 2 collects issues 28 through 48 and annual #1.  The majority of the issues are written by Archie Goodwin with art by Carmine Infantino.   Though not all issues are written and penned by this duo with Chris Claremont authoring the annual and Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon providing art for The Empire Strikes Back adaptation.  The majority of issues before the movie adaptation revolve around the industrial Tagge family and their grudge against a young rebel named Luke Skywalker.  The powerful and vengeful Tagges will use connections to politics, industry, military and religion to attack Luke and his friends.  The action climaxes with a lightsaber battle between Luke and Baron Tagge.  With the Tagges revealing their hatred, Darth Vader manipulates the family for his own evil purposes.  The Marvel original issues are then broken up with the film adaptation.  After The Empire Strikes Back, Lando and Chewbecca seek out Han.  And the issues transition from major continuing arcs to one-shots with revolving artists and writers.

When I was a kid every other time I was sick I read one book.  I tore through Scholastic paperback sized Empire Strikes Back Marvel collection.  And I will admit there are images from the film that I know better through the comic than through the movie itself.  It has been at least a decade if not two since I last read this adaptation.  And to me this multi-issue arc still really holds up to this day.  I do not mean to criticize Carmine Infantino, but I really enjoy the change to the Williamson art.  Williamson and Garzon just seem to be able to handle some key characters like Chewbecca quite a bit better than Infantino.  It is more realistic and less cartoony.  Seriously though, this collection gets five stars from me just by including this adaptation. 

The Tagge saga was new to me.  And it takes up a good portion of the collection.  Honestly, Goodwin did a good job creating a villain that felt Star Wars.  And I mostly bought it when Baron Tagge and Luke went lightsaber to lightsaber.  To be fair, Luke was new to this style of fighting so it was believable that a non-Jedi could hope to match Luke…but probably not Vader.  My biggest confusion was the relation of s film character name Tagge and these Tagges…the answer is no relation!  And that is key to understand since the original Tagge is currently present in today’s Marvel comics.

Hey…Chewy said Groot!

Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago…Volume 2 collects over 20 classic Marvel Star Wars comics.  The stories overall feel like Star Wars and help me come to the conclusion that Star Wars works best with a visual element.  And I am impressed with the episodic storytelling that the pages provide.  But most of all, this volume contains a classic story that was a big part of my childhood.  


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