Dark Horse Presents Annual 1999: DHP Jr. "Luke Skywalker's Walkabout"
Story: Phill Norwood
Art: Phill Norwood
Lettering: Amador Cisneros
Cover: Christian Zanier, Sergio AragonÚs, Paul Chadwick, Mike Mignola, Joyce Chin & Walden Wong, Phill Norwood & Shannon Denton, Stan Sakai
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (07/24/2005)
Thirteen year-old Luke Skywalker and his friend Windy go out on a dewback ride to prove they are not small fry. They are hit by a sandswirl while in the canyons on the way to Ja-mero Ridge and knocked off their mount. A krayt dragon comes after them and they get trapped in a cave, until an old man named Ben Kenobi comes to rescue them. He helps them traverse the storm and leads them back to Luke's farm. But Uncle Owen is not too happy to see the old man.
This 10-page, black and white story is "inspired by dialogue in the Star Wars radio play by Brian Daily [sic]," more specifically in episode five "Jedi That Was; Jedi To Be." Here's what Luke tells Threepio when the droid asks if he met Ben before:
"In a way... about five seasons ago [...] My friend Windy and I rode out on his dewback into these [Jundland] Wastes. We wanted to go out on our own for a bit. Look, we were bored. The dewback threw us in one of the canyons and ran off. We were pretty bruised up. When it got dark, we still hadn't found our way out. There were all kinds of night sounds, and then we heard a voice off to one side and it called my name! It was old Ben Kenobi. Somehow Ben found us and guided us back to the farm. He told us a lot about what it was like to live out in the barren lands all alone. But a funny thing happened. When Ben took us back, Uncle Owen got real mad... not at Windy and me but at Ben. He ordered Ben off our farm and ordered him not to come back."
It seems also inspired by the previous year's Adventure in Beggar's Canyon storybook from Golden Books, since that one has a krayt dragon encounter as well, which is not from the radio drama. But this story is a lot more faithful, since the storybook has the teens crashing a T-16 instead of riding a dewback.
There are a couple more differences from the drama, namely the fact that Huey the dewback is owned by Luke instead of Windy, and that they went on a ride for a different reason that being bored. By no means does that change the story. In fact, this is a great extrapolation of the dialogue from the drama, as it adds a lot of details and dialogue to the event. First off, we find out that Luke was 13 at the time (which means a season equals roughly a standard year), how Ben found out the kids were lost (he hears a broadcast report), that Windy's real name is both Windom Starkiller and Windy Marstrap (editorial error?), and the aformentioned kray dragon encounter is added for dramatic effect.
Norwood's narrative is very good, and the kids really do sound like thirteen year olds. Not only that, Norwood also handled...
Norwood's art is very stylish, with some details like the dewback's scales and Luke's goggles. It is not exactly realistic, but not cartoonish either. He makes good use of shadows, especially with the night scene depicting the kids being scared and the dragon hiding in the dark. The character's expressions convey very well what they are saying and feeling. An advantage of being both writer and artist is that some of the storytelling is told through the art.
This story makes a great addition to the story of the future Hero of Yavin and definitely deserves to be reprinted or collected somewhere (and maybe colorized?) to make it accessible to a wider audience.
Rating: 9 / 10 Recommended