Reviews of Old Comics: Star Wars #38


August 1980

starwars38I remember waiting for the comic book adaption of The Empire Strikes Back to show up in the next issue of Star Wars, and when I saw it on the spinner rack, I was so excited that I started to read it when I got home. Imagine my surprise when it wasn’t the start of the film adaptation. However, if my expectations aren’t going to be met, there’s no better way than by giving the nine-year-old version of me a fill-in issue drawn by Mike Golden.

I hadn’t yet really paid attention to the artists drawing comics, but was really disappointed in the quality of the artwork on Star Wars (done by Carmine Infantino, whom I now really appreciate), but with this issue, I realized that there was a difference and that Mike Golden was one of the artists I liked best. When he started doing covers for G.I. Joe and Saga of Crystar, I was really excited, and over the years, seeing his artwork on a book makes me give it a second look.


Luke and Leia are being attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer while transporting medical supplies for the Rebel Alliance. The smugglers that sold them the supplies must’ve double-crossed them. Just as the Imperial attack is about to overwhelm them, Luke makes the jump to hyperspace, but they find themselves outside the galaxy, lost in the black void of space in a crippled ship.

A ship, looking like a massive, living organism approaches them, taking them aboard. They are greeted by loud laughter in the hanger and are sucked through the floor into separate compartments. Leia finds herself threatened by tentacles growing out of the floor, while Luke faces down a robot with a lightsaber, who seems to be treating their duel like a game.

When Luke defeats the robot, the laughing voice comes back and realizes that Luke and Leia are real and assuming they’re enemies, opens the ship to the vacuum of space creating a giant wind tunnel throughout the ship. Luke holds on for dear life and spots Leia coming down the shaft, he grabs her, and thinking that he must hold on tells her that he loves her and won’t give up. The ship seals itself again, surprising Luke and Leia.

The pilot of the ship guides Luke and Leia to him, since they reminded him about caring for others. He has been around for a long time, most of it incorporated into the ship. His race created the living ships to wage war, but when the pilot returned home he found his race had been wiped out by a “Plague Bomb” which spread throughout his galaxy. The pilot and his ship fled, the ship entertaining him with games, which is what he thought Luke and Leia were when they arrived. The ship comes out of hyperspace back in Luke and Leia’s home galaxy, right where they left it.

Which is also where the Imperials are waiting, and attack the ship. Luke and Leia convince the pilot that this isn’t part of a game created by the ship and he responds by firing anti-matter pods at the Star Destroyer, disintegrating it. The pilot has repaired Luke and Leia’s ship and sends them on their way, returning to the void to run away from memories of war rekindled by the war the Rebels are fighting against the Empire.



Normally I start with the story but the draw here is the art, no pun intended. Mike Golden’s art was astounding in it’s day and it still holds up with some of the best art being published today. He even colored his own work here, which makes for a nice continuity and it shows that everything is lit exactly as it needs to be. There are foregrounds of one color, which make for a nice science-fiction feel, almost like an older, EC comic. There are two places where the modeling could have been better with the colors, but those are the only places I have problems with the art. The highlight for me, in terms of flawless storytelling is in Luke’s lightsaber duel, which reads exceptionally fluid and consistent, almost as if it was being storyboarded for animation.

 The story, by Archie Goodwin, has a nice Star Wars quality to it, looking like it fits in right after Episode IV. Now knowing where George Lucas took the Luke/Leia relationship, the “I love you” line seems out of place, but maybe I can just toss that off to love meaning, “care about you” and not “want to raise babies with you.” The story of a lost ship with outstanding technology seems like one that would get used a lot, but I’m racking my brains trying to come up with one.  It’s a solid story that doesn’t rely on anything to hold it up and asks only the most general of knowledge in the characters.StarWars38_1



This issue has been collected in the various editions of Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago Vol. 2 and Luke Skywalker, Last Hope for the Galaxy.  Finding the individual issue may be a little tough unless you look online, but it shouldn’t set you back more than a few dollars. I wouldn’t pay more than ten bucks for it, even for a pristine copy. It’s worth owning, even if you have no other Star Wars comics in your collection.

FINAL RATING: 9 (out of a possible 10)