Star Wars #22
April 1979
"To The Last Gladiator", 17ppg, $0.35

Writer, Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artist, Cover Pencils: Carmine Infantino
Artist, Cover Inker: Bob Wiacek
Letterer: Clem Robins
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Consulting Editor: Jim Shooter

R2-D2 (Artoo Detoo), C-3PO (See Threepio)

The Wheel

Imperial Star Destroyer, Greyshade's private yacht

Though both listed as artists, Carmine Infantino is primarily a penciler and Bob Wiacek is primarily an inker. The cover art is done by Carmine Infantino and Bob Wiacek and is signed by the two.

The letterer is listed as C. Robbins, who is presumably Clem Robins. A quick search online lists a letterer named both Clem Robins and Clem Robbins have worked on comics, including Dark Horse Comics #7-9. The colorist is listed as B. Sharen, who is presumably Bob Sharen.

This issue contains the Star-Words letter page, with letters from Tom Wales, Mike Sopp, Lisbeth Deebecker, and Bill Spangler.
In a zero-gravity arena, designed to look like outer space, Han Solo finds himself floating in a battle to the last man against a dozen other combatants, including his best friend, Chewbacca. A pink alien is the first to die as it rockets backwards into an explosive planetoid, due to the force of the shot from its needle gun. It's then that Han notices his own gun is inactive.

He manages to use his small ray shield to deflect an incoming blast towards another enemy as Chewie grabs him from floating into the vaporizer beams emitted by a nearby planetoid. It is at this point than Han decides someone is working overtime to make sure he doesn't come out of this match alive. Han quickly deflects another shot, missing a pair of gladiators who scoff at his accuracy. He admits he wasn't aiming for them as the planetoid behind them vaporizes taking them with it.

Watching the match on the video screen in the Royal Lounge, Imperial Commander Strom chides Greyshade for allowing Chewbacca and Han to team up on the other combatants. Greyshade admits he's been clever in this enterprise, and that they both signed a contract that there can only be one winner. Should one fail to shoot the other, they will both be killed on sight.

Strom toasts Greyshade's forethought before passing out from a drug the Senator placed in his drink. The Senator then departs in answer to a flashing light on his wristband.

Luke, the Princess and the droids follow the guards to the docking bay, continuing to tape their actions when a squad of the Senator's elite guards block their way. In a stunning display, Luke manages to quickly take all four guards out with his blaster before racing onto the ship. Leia begins to follow but is surprised by a blaster being pointed at her by the Senator himself. He informs them the craft they stand before is his private yacht and he seeks a truce before any more damage occurs.

Elsewhere in hyperspace, Vader's ship races towards the Wheel, driven by Vader's anger to get there before his prey can depart. Captain Wermis does not share his urgency and has a quick lesson in the powers of the Force. Recovering from the Force choke, he quickly implores his crew to increase their speed.

Onboard Greyshade's private yacht, the Senator attempts to negotiate for everyone's freedom. He can make it happen, he promises, in exchange for Leia staying with him. Luke tells him to forget it, but Leia is not so fast to pass up the lives or her friends, including Han and Chewbacca who are battling for their lives in the arena.

The two star warriors take out the last of their opponents and are left facing each other. Han tosses his pistol away imploring his friend, and co-pilot, to shoot him, which surprisingly Chewbacca does. Not only are Luke and Leia shocked, but the senator as well. he never anticipated this turn of events. Leia tells him to keep quiet. he has won, but it's bitter and empty prize that he will be taking.

Related Issues
Star Wars (Marvel) #18 Star Wars (Marvel) #19 Star Wars (Marvel) #20 Star Wars (Marvel) #21 Star Wars (Marvel) #23

Trade Paperbacks and Alternate Covers
Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago... #1 The Original Marvel Years #1 Star Wars Legends Epic Collection: The Original Marvel Years Trade Paperback #1 A Long Time Ago Trade Paperback #2

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