Star Wars Kids: The Magazine for Young Jedi Knights #6-10
"X-Wing Marks the Spot"
Story: Mike W. Barr
Art: Ken Steacy, Glen Mullaly
Coloring: Ken Steacy
Lettering: Ken Steacy
Released: 12/1997 to 04/1998
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/24/2010)
With a treasure aquired from an ancient fortress on Yavin 4, Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker leave the planet aboard the Millennium Falcon to purchase new X-Wing fighters for the Rebel Alliance. Vors Voorhorian is the one who designed the ships for Incom Corporation and has escaped the Imperial takeover of the company, setting up a new production factory on a remote planet. The Rebels arrive on the planet and are met by "Gears" Gilhooey, owner of Used Spaceships only to find that he is really Voorhorian who disguised himself in order to check out the identity of his visitors. While Leia is arranging for the purchase of the fighters, Han and Luke discover that the ones on the planet and the factory itself are decoys and the real secret location is out in space. But before they can leave, the Rebels are attacked by TIE fighters who followed them here. They seem to escape the Imperials and fly out to a derelict freighter that houses the real X-Wings when they are attacked again by the TIEs. While Han holds off the fighters aboard the Falcon, Luke and the others reroute power from the X-Wings' batteries to the freighter's deflector shields. Luke uses the Force to wait for the right moment to activate the shields and destroy the TIEs flying into them. The Falcon then leaves the area, towing the freighter that contains the newly acquired X-Wings.
While Barr takes his cue from Ryder Windham's previous story arc and continue with the idea of using the treasure to purchase X-Wings, he gets rid pretty early on of Chewie, Threepio and Q-7N when only Luke, Han, Leia and Artoo leave aboard the Falcon. This is probably to simplify the story, but also to justify why Han is unable to get rid of a couple of TIE fighters on his own. Even that stretches logic; even without Chewie, I'm pretty sure Han wouldn't need to lure the TIEs into the freighter's shields to destroy them. He and Luke did pretty fine on their own in A New Hope. It's also not too clear where the TIEs come from and how they manage to track the Falcon, but that's a lesser problem.
I must admit the whole concept of the X-Wing designer escaping from Incom and setting up a secret factory is pretty cool. While Barr probably doesn't know about Fresia and Incom Corporation's history was not really developped aside from the fact that it was taken over by the Empire, he wisely covered himself by saying Voorhorian escaped (we'll later learn that Incom's engineers and scientists were taken to the mines of Kessel, and were rescued by the Alliance) and not naming the planet where he set up his secret factory. The "secret" aspect is pretty important here, and Voorhorian covers himself pretty well first with a self-destructing navigation beacon, then his disguise, then with the fake starfighters. There's a good reason that the Empire hasn't found him yet. While this story is no great feat, it does resolve the issue of replacing the X-Wings lost in the Battle of Yavin. But the villain of the story could have been somewhat more believable if it had been more than a few TIE fighters wanting to get revenge for the Death Star.
Ken Steacy is an accomplished comic book artist and is well known to Star Wars fans for his art on the Star Wars Galaxy trading cards for Topps. He does many things here, including coloring and even lettering. His style is very cartoony and simplistic, but is does the job and fits the target audience (after all, this is from a Star Wars Kids magazine) very well. He does kind of cheat sometimes, like making the cockpit of the Falcon emit a bright red lights covering all the passengers uniformly, and making the X-Wing factory planet look like Mos Eisley (even has the orange sky and two suns). But the coloring is pretty adequate, and the main characters have all the right color of clothes, eyes and hair. I think it's a cool choice to have the X-Wings painted green to show them as newly built. Steacy also has a chance to create one action scene, when the TIEs attack the Rebels on the ground, Luke leaps up and slices one of them in two with his lightsaber (!) This is apparently enough to scare the other ones away because in the next panel the Rebels already took off in the Falcon. For the derelict freighter containing the X-Wings that the Rebels tow, Steacy illustrated a Gallofree medium transport which might later play a role during the evacuation of Hoth?
Continuing the events from the first four SW Missions books and the previous SW Kids strip.
Rating: 5 / 10 Recommended