Manning, Russ


3 out of 5

(1 book)

Classic Star Wars: The Early Adventures

(Art by Russ Manning)

A weighty collection of Manning's newspaper strips, which were originally published at the time that the movies were being made and released.  This book contains several storylines, beginning with Luke, Leia and the Droids facing off against the Imperial agent Blackhole on the casino world Vorzyd 5.  This is the very first appearance of a villain who would go on to have a much bigger role in the Expanded Universe under various guises (such as Cronal and Shadowspawn) 

We also get Luke's first return to Tatooine ater 'A New Hope', an interesting story that is severely damaged by the daft concept of a virus that makes secret Imperial star maps appear in the sufferer's eyes.  Then it's a solo adventure for Leia as she is forced to go undercover as a maid to the widow of Grand Moff Tarkin.  I was fascinated by the concept that Tarkin's widow should be every bit as sinister as Peter Cushing's character, but in a more 'cruel aristocrat' sort of way.  Han, Chewie and Luke then have to deal with a (frankly improbable) superweapon in a story that is just a touch too sentimental for my tastes.  The Rebels then have to rescue a school of hostages and save a supply planet from an Imperial Star Destroyer, and in the latter Leia even gets a bit of a love interest. 

However, the best is saved until last.  The final story tells of the Rebels' run in with Boba Fett on the ice planet Ota.  This last is a great little story that would almost be worth the money on its own (although I'm a big Fett fan, so I would say that!).  Overall this book is a nice bit of Star Wars fun from back in the day, with good artwork and some of the best depictions around of the coolest Sith Lord, Darth Vader.

3 out of 5


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