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Star Wars Kids: The Magazine for Young Jedi Knights #11-15
"Imperial Spy"

Story: Mike W. Barr
Art: Ken Steacy, Glen Mullaly
Coloring: Ken Steacy
Lettering: Ken Steacy
Released: 05/1998 to 09/1998

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (08/25/2010)

SUMMARY:

After Luke oversees the arrival of the Alliance's new X-Wing fighters, he receives a request for asylum from an Alderaanian ship named Bail Organa. Back at the base, Luke receives a report from Lt. Rogor that someone has accessed the main computer and gone through their starcharts and lists of potential secret bases. Luke announces the presence of an Imperial spy right away to Han and Leia. After getting some rest and meeting with the Alderaan refugees, among whom she finds her friend Darlen, Leia accuses Han of being the spy. Han fights off Luke and escapes aboard the Falcon, but this is all a ruse to lure the real spy out of hiding by becoming careless. Han and Chewie detect an unautorized tranmission coming from the surface, and when Luke and Leia investigate they find am autobeacon setup to mislead them. Then Han picks up another transmission and decides to go there himself aboard the Falcon, but the traitor escapes. Leia then orders the evactuation, and Luke tries one last trick to discover the spy and it works. Lt. Rogor reveals himself and tries to flee but his ship crashes. The Alliance fleet evacuates, leaving the Imperial spy behind alone to meet with the Imperials.


THE STORY

This story picks up where "X-Wing Marks the Spot" left off, with Luke and Vors Voorhorian delivering the X-Wings to Yavin 4. On their way back up the GR-75 medium transport (apparently their presence is needed to look at the X-Wings fly down to the surface), they receive a signal from a Corellian corvette named Bail Organa from Alderaan seeking asylum. There's a few panels showing Han concerned about Leia's lack of sleep in the weeks since the destruction of the Death Star, then see Luke checking out some navcharts and plans from the main computer that were rifled through without authorization. There is a spy in the base, and he happens to report directly to Darth Vader. The Alderaan refugees serve as a red herring when Tolok and Darlen are found necking in the woods near where an autobeacon was left active by the spy. But the heroes come up with a plan to find the spy: they pretend Han is accused of being a spy and he flees aboard the Falcon. When Han comes back, and traces a transmission from one of the guard towers but misses the target.

Leia then orders to evacuate the base, even though Luke insists they should find the spy first. He comes up with another ploy of annoucing that he will identify the traitor from reading for a piece of the transmitter with the Force. This causes the real spy to panic and reveal himself: it's Lt. Rogor. It's hardly a surprise, given that he's the only other character named in the story, aside from the Alderaanian lovers, and taking an active role, one of which was to report the instrusion into the computer. Rogor takes off in an X-Wing, one of the originals, which doesn't take him too far. Meanwhile, the Rebel fleets evacuates the planet, leaving Rogor to deal with Vader and his forces when they land.

I don't have to bring to attention the fact that the evacuation of Yavin is way too early. It's only good fortune that this story is pretty obscure and mostly ignored by continuty. From video games like Rogue Squadron 3D and comics like the Empire series, it is pretty much established that the evacuation happens about 6 months ABY. But the event itself is one of those continuity SNAFU's since it happens several times in several different ways. The first was in the Marvel series, then in the Archie Goodwin/Al Williamson strips, then in the Blackthorne 3D comics, then in the X-Wing PC game, and now this. All we can surmise is that this is an early escape, and once the Empire leaves the Rebel Alliance goes back to Yavin 4 hoping the Empire won't notice. This theory could work, unless they decide to continue on to Hoth in the next Star Wars Kids strip...

Overall, the story feels rushed and stripped down, simplified for the target audience. We only see a few characters, and it feels like the Rebel base is run by Leia, Luke and Han. There are no other leaders anywhere in sight. Expectedly, Threepio, Artoo and Q-7N play very minor roles, mostly on the first page, as does Chewbacca. The arrival of survivors from Alderaan and Leia reuniting with an old friend of hers is a good addition, but how did they find out the location of the Alliance? Darlen and some dude named Tolok announce to Leia that they are married and expecting a baby, which gives hope to Leia about the future of Alderaanians (a preview of her own motherhood some 9-10 years in the future?)

NOTE: Issue #12 also contained another comic of sorts, though it's only three pages, one of which is a maze. Written and drawn by Robert Rath, "The Gambler's Quest" tells the story of how Lando infiltrated Jabba's palace disguised as Tamtel Skreej. While Scoundrel's Wages would tell the story a year later of how Lando became a member of the Hutt guardsman guild and become able to apply for a job at Jabba's, this story shows the try-out challenges he has to face in order to be hired. Challenge #1 is to leap over the rancor's pit; #2 is to play holochess with the palace champion, a Wookiee; #3 is to steal a helmet from a sleeping Gamorrean guard; and the final challenge is to sneak into a krayt dragon's nest and steal thre of her eggs without waking her. The challenges are overseen by Boba Fett, and the final challenge is to be completed by the reader. I think it's a pretty original way of ending a story, it shows quite a bit of action for a mere 2 pages, and it fits with existing continuity (other challenges can be played in the 2000 PS1 game Star Wars: Demolition where Tamtel is driving a desert skiff against other vehicles).


THE ART

Ken Steacy does the job again. It's not a great job, but his cartoony style has a certain charm. I question the wisdom of using a T-16 skyhopper as the vehicle to go the transport in orbit, as this is a sub-orbital airspeeder at best. And there's seems to be too many new X-Wings coming in (we see two waves of 5-6, and there's mention of another one) and too little ships during the evacuation of Yavin 4. But like the story, it's meant to be way simplified. And there's no reason to see Vader without his helmet in his meditation chamber in one panel, but it's just cool.


CONCLUSIONS

The Rebels evacuate Yavin 4 because of a spy.

Rating: 4 / 10

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