Star Wars #44
February 1981
"The Empire Strikes Back: Duel A Dark Lord", 17ppg, $0.50

Writer, Editor: Archie Goodwin
Artist: Al Williamson
Artist: Carlos Garzon
Letterer: Rick Veitch
Editor-in-Chief: Jim Shooter
Colorist: Glynis Wein-Oliver
Assistant Editor: Danny Fingeroth

CHARACTER
Featured
Luke Skywalker, Chewbacca, Han Solo (in carbonite block), Princess Leia Organa Solo

Supporting
Boba Fett, Lando Calrissian

Guest
Admiral Firmus Piett (dialogue only)

Villain
Darth Vader

Other
Imperial officer, Lobot

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

LOCATION
Bespin, Cloud City

ORGANIZATION
Stormtroopers, Wing Guard

STARSHIP
Millennium Falcon, Executor, TIE fighter

COMMENTS
This issue concludes the official six issue adaptation of Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back.

Vader references Jabba the Hut [sic] again, keeping in line with the previous references to him in Star Wars #3 and #28.

Includes five pin ups from the Star Wars Universe. The pictures include Boba Fett by Walt Simonson; Luke on Tauntaun by Joe Jusko; Fred Hembeck's interpretation of the cast of Empire; Chewie rescuing Threepio from Ugnaughts by Bob Layton; and Leia and Lando boarding the Falcon by Marshall Rogers.

The splash page is a new page briefly giving the events of the previous issue. Page 14 is all new in this issue, and not presented in any of the previous versions of the story.

Issue #41 credits the cover art on all issues of the Empire adaptation to Al Williamson and Carlos Garzon.

This issue features the column Star-Words with letters from Greg Green, Michael Bennett, & Billy Ferrero.
SYNOPSIS
Darth Vader stands next to the Carbonite frozen body of Han Solo as Lando Calrissian announces that he is still alive and in perfect hibernation. Vader allows Boba Fett to take his bounty to Jabba the Hut, and informs his men to make the chamber ready for Skywalkers arrival. He also dispatches a garrison of troopers to stay on Cloud City. Lando takes offense at the altering of the deal, but a a slight Force choke on his throat, reminds of the power of the Dark Lord.

Luke and Artoo are creeping through the hallways of Cloud City when he spots Boba Fett and some Stormtroopers moving the frozen form of Han Solo. Luke manages to kill the two stormtroopers, but Fett escapes as a blast shield door closes. Down another corridor he sees Leia and Chewbacca being lead away by some other Imperials. She tries to warn him that he's entering a trap as another blast shield closes. He becomes separated from Artoo, and directed into the Carbon Freezing chamber where he confronts Darth Vader. They ignite their lightsabers and a battle, long in coming, commences.

As the stormtroopers lead Leia, Chewbacca and the battle-scarred Threepio down another corridor, Lando order his guards to surround and disarm the soldiers. Lando admits that he is trying to correct a big mistake, but Chewbacca does not believe him and begins choking him. Leia convinces the angry wookiee to let him go and he soon gets back on his feet.

Artoo Detoo catches up with the heroes as they race to catch Boba Fett. But as they burst onto the eastern platform, they see Slave I rocketing away. More troopers advance on them, but Leia and Chewie vent their anger on the Imperials, as Lando recommends the reach the Falcon to pursue Fett.

Luke and Vader continue their clash of lightsabers, as Vader backs Luke down a set of stairs into the freezing pit. Vader activates the mechanism, and molten metal pours into the pit. But Luke is not there, he has leapt into some overhead pipes. Vader congratulates him on his control, but taunts him to unleash his anger. Luke hears the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, his mentor, urging him to not give onto his emotions. Luke stands his ground as Vader unleashes a barrage of machinery thrown by the Dark Side of the Force. Luke is knocked out a window into the abyss of the reactor shaft beyond, managing to grab hold of the walkway with a single hand. He returns to his feet on the gantry as Vader advances on him.

Lando, Chewie and Leia hold off more stormtroopers as Artoo attempts to override the alert system. Lando leads them another direction to the Falcon after ordering the denizens of Cloud City to evacuate.

Back on the gantry, Vader swings at some equipment and catches Luke's sword hand in the process. His lightsaber and hand plummet into the deep shaft. Vader informs Luke that Ben had kept many things from him, like the fact the he was Luke's father. Luke denies the claim, even as the Dark Lord of the Sith offers control of the galaxy to him. The young Skywalker steps off in to the chasm, rather than be swayed by the evil words.

Elsewhere, the rebels reconnect with their ship, and the Millennium Falcon takes flight. Under the city, Luke hangs precariously from a weather vane. He makes a weak plea to Ben and then to Leia to help him. Back on the Falcon Leia senses Luke's plight and orders Chewie to turn the ship around. Evading a squad of TIE fighters, the freighter zooms under the city just as Luke falls from his perch. They snatch him up and prepare to jump to hyperspace.

Admiral Piett informs Vader that they should be in range momentarily and their hyperdrive has been disabled. But they do not realize that Artoo has knowledge of this fact and he plugs into the navicomputer and reactivates it just in time. The ship lurches to lightspeed and to safety.

In a safe sector of space, Chewbacca and Lando prepare to take off to rescue Han. Luke, Leia and the droids watch them depart, wishing them the best of luck in this uncertain time.


Related Issues
Comic Pack #26 Marvel Special Edition featuring Star Wars, Volume 2 #2 Marvel Super Special #16 Marvel Comics Illustrated Version of The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars (Marvel) #39 Star Wars (Marvel) #40 Star Wars (Marvel) #41 Star Wars (Marvel) #42 Star Wars (Marvel) #43 Classic Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back #2


Trade Paperbacks and Alternate Covers
Star Wars Omnibus: A Long Time Ago... #2 The Empire Strikes Back Trade Paperback The Empire Strikes Back – The Special Edition Trade Paperback A Long Time Ago Trade Paperback #3 The Empire Strikes Back Trade Paperback (Wal*Mart DVD Edition)
Star Wars (Marvel) 44 (direct market edition) The Empire Strikes Back #6 (StarWars.com)



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