Classic Star Wars: Devilworlds #1
Dark Horse (August, 1996)
This two-issue special is a collection of originally black and white Star Wars adventures from the UK’s Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back magazine, collected and colorized by Dark Horse. For anyone who has read UK sci-fi comics you may notice a few differences from the normal style of the series…especially one tale in the next issue we’ll get into next week.COVER ARTIST: Christopher Moeller DESIGNER: Scott Tice EDITOR: Scott Allie “Dark Lord’s Conscience” & “Blind Fury” WRITER: Alan Moore ARTIST: John Stokes COLORIST: James Sinclair LETTERER: John Aldrich “Dark Knight’s Devilry” WRITER: Steve Moore ARTIST: Alan Davis COLORIST: Matt Webb LETTERER: Jenny O’Connor “The Flight Of The Falcon” WRITER: Steve Parkhouse ARTIST: John Stokes COLORIST: Laura Allred LETTERER: Jenny O’Connor
“Dark Lord’s Conscience” begins with Darth Vader playing a form of chess (in which the giant pieces are incinerated) with a squid-like person in an orb. Like I said, UK sci-fi is different from the usual style. An assassin arrives who uses his power of empathy to force the Stormtroopers to face their greatest sins Ghost Rider-style and kill themselves. However, Vader feels no guilt over what he’s done according to this story and resists the assassins power, killing him with the shooting flames of the game board, which he also uses on the squid since Vader knows she hired the assassin. In light of what we know about Anakin/Vader nowadays the story doesn’t work but at the time it’s at least an interesting concept and we would later see in Clone Wars that the Force isn’t the only mystical element of the Star Wars galaxy.
“Dark Knight’s Devilry” does not feature Batman, although that would be an interesting team-up in theory. Instead, Luke and Leia journey to the desert planet of Jerne after finding an ancient spaceship that included information of a crystal that can be used to travel back in time. Leia wants to use it to restore Alderaan and the leader of the guerrilla fighters who rescue them from an Imperial ambush wants to use it so she can gain power. However, it’s all a ruse created by Vader to eliminate Leia, but Luke figures out it’s a trap and only the guerillas are blown up. It’s probably closer to the Star Wars style than most of the stories in this series but I wonder why Vader couldn’t sense Luke hiding so close to him?
“The Flight Of The Falcon” is actually a prequel tale (not as in the prequel movies, as in a flashback but nobody is telling the story) of how Lando and Han stole the Millennium Falcon, a prototype created by the Millennium factory for the Empire to compete with their own Millennium Hawks, used by smugglers. There’s a bit of irony in that, but while Lando and Han both are involved with the theft I have to wonder how Han ended up winning it from Lando, whose ship it was originally. Still, not a bad “origin” tale but hardly canon.
“Blind Fury!” opens with Luke practicing his lightsaber in his X-Wing. I don’t think Alan Moore knew what an X-Wing Fighter was. It’s like practicing swordsmanship in a fighter jet, not a jumbo jet. He gets a distress signal which turns out to be a trap, set by a computer with the mind of the last of an alien race the Jedi once fought. Once Luke convinces it that it was years ago and the Jedi are all gone it goes crazy and blows itself up. There are other oddities besides a TARDIS-X-Wing. Other Jedi have their souls trapped in some crystal, never set free as far as we know. Moore has their bodies clad in armor like a British knight, which would be counter to everything we saw past that about Jedi. (We did see Obi-Wan wearing Clone Trooper armor on occasion but that’s about it.) This is Moore’s second story and everything he writes gets countered by the next movie and onward.
Overall, this is a comic you buy out of curiosity, to see how far from Star Wars these comics are. The British have a different approach on science fiction that clashes with Lucas’ take but they’re still interesting stories. More of these next week.