Star Wars at Marvel (1977-1987): Reviews by Confessor Jun 14, 2021 12:18:26 GMT -5
Post by dbutler69 on Jun 14, 2021 12:18:26 GMT -5
Cover dated: May 1984
Issue title: Sweetheart Contract
Script: Linda Grant
Artwork: Bob McLeod
Colours: Glynis Wein
Letters: Bob McLeod
Cover art: Bob McLeod
Overall rating: 6 out of 10
Plot summary: Lando Calrissian has been summoned to the planet Drogheda by Queen Sarna, an old flame of his, but he soon finds himself and the Queen's sister, Danu, under attack from a band of Droghedan revolutionaries. The pair manage to escape their attackers and are rescued by Harlech, the head of the Royal Guard, and taken back to the Royal Citadel. Once there, Lando is brought before the queen, who explains that the revolutionaries are attempting to depose her and claims that they have ties to the remnants of the Empire. Sarna offers Calrissian a large reward and the prospect of rekindling their romance if he can capture the leaders of the uprising and bring them to justice.
The following day, Lando, Danu, Harlech and a squad of the Queen's Guard travel to the Mount Meru mine, which some of the revolutionaries are using as their base. Following a bungled assault on the installation, one of the revolutionaries is taken prisoner. However, the over-zealousness with which Harlech and his men massacre the remaining insurgents makes Lando start to wonder if he's fighting for the right side.
Back at the citadel, Lando gains the prisoner's trust and the man tells him that, since the defeat of the Empire, the people of Drogheda want to establish their own democratic government. Before the prisoner can explain more, however, he is shot in the back by Harlech, who claims that he thought Lando's life was in danger. An angry and suspicious Calrissian storms off to a local cantina to decide what to do. Realising that the people of Drogheda simply want democracy and that he has been manipulated by Sarna, who is a dictator and wants to continue her absolute rule of the planet, Lando returns to the royal palace and confronts the queen.
Sarna admits to Lando's suspicions, but when he announces that he wants nothing more to do with her and attempts to leave, the Royal Guard move to apprehend him. Escaping from his attackers, Calrissian runs into Danu, who explains that she has been helping the revolutionaries all along. The queen's sister sends a signal to her revolutionary allies, who attack the citadel and, with Lando's help, apprehend the queen. Danu thanks Lando for helping to overthrow the monarchy and offers him a fee for taking Sarna, who is to be exiled, with him when he leaves.
Comments: Instead of the usual creative team of Jo Duffy, Ron Frenz and Tom Palmer, Star Wars #83 is written by Linda Grant and drawn by Bob McLeod, who is probably best known as the co-creator of the X-Men spin-off series The New Mutants. Actually, McLeod does most of the heavy lifting in this issue, since he pencils, inks, and letters the story, while also drawing the cover. The interior artwork is really rather pretty and certainly serves Grant's script well. It also has something of a Flash Gordon-esque aesthetic to it. I like that McLeod manages to render the faces of the various original cast members as distinctly different from one another, with every character having a decidedly unique personality to the way they look. The cover art is gorgeous too, with a dynamic and striking scene of Lando Calrissian under attack and diving from a speeding sky-sled, framed against a bright red sky.
From comments that he made during a 2010 interview with the Dollar Bin website, it seems that McLeod was offered the job of regular penciller on the series, based on the success of this issue. That explains why he pencilled a few other issues over the coming months, but as McLeod explained in another interview with the eXpertComics website in 2012, he left the series fairly quickly because wasn't entirely happy with how the book's regular inker, Tom Palmer, embellished his work: "I think Tom Palmer did absolute wonders inking me on Star Wars, but ... he often changed my faces in ways I didn't like. I never cared about inkers contributing their style to my pencils, but I wanted them to ink the facial structure the way I drew them."
As for Grant's story, it's a pretty simplistic tale, I suppose, and it doesn't feel overly Star Wars-y either, but it's a solid, if slightly simplistic, piece of space opera nonetheless. Certainly it's a fast-paced adventure, which offers us some tantalising clues about Lando's past, what with his relationship with Queen Sarna and various off-hand comments that he makes throughout the issue. The characterisation of Lando is pretty good too and you can definitely imagine actor Billy Dee Williams uttering the dialogue here. Interestingly, the story's conclusion sort of suggests that Lando and the exiled queen will possibly form some kind of partnership, but this is never expanded upon in later issues and we don't see Sarna again in the original Marvel run.
At one point, there's a curious reference by Lando to having come to Drogheda from the planet Arbra. As long time readers of the series will know, Arbra was the location of the Rebel base prior to the events of Return of the Jedi, but in the last two issues, it's been shown that the Alliance has now relocated to the forest moon of Endor. However, there are a couple of mentions of the Empire having been crushed in this comic, so the story is definitely set in the post-Jedi continuity. I guess that rather than being an error, Lando's reference to having come from Arbra can be seen as evidence that the Alliance didn't leave their old base in a hurry. After all, the Empire has been defeated, so there wouldn't have been the panicked evacuation that we saw when the Rebels left Hoth in The Empire Strikes Back. I guess that the transfer of equipment and personnel from Arbra to Endor went on for a few weeks or even months after the fall of the Empire.
All in all, I guess Star Wars #83 is a pretty good comic, especially for a fill-in issue, but it's also completely inconsequential, within the context of the series. However, it does have a fairly exciting pace and a reasonably intriguing plot, which do make it a more interesting read than last month's rather dull story. McLeod's art is very nice too and we shall be seeing more of his work over the coming issues.
Continuity issues: None
Favourite quote: "I may be mercenary, but since I joined the Rebellion, I've earned a lot of people's respect -- I'm not throwing all that away on you!" – Lando Calrissian curtly explains to Queen Sarna why he wants nothing more to do with her plot to crush the Drogheda revolutionaries.
I'll agree that the story is somewhat simplistic (I knew Danu was the spy almost from the beginning) but I also found it engaging, and the art was quite good.