Star Wars Kids: The Magazine for Young Jedi Knights #16-20
"Death Star Pirates"
Story: Henry Gilroy
Art: Glen Murakami
Color Separation: Don Skinner
Released: 10/1998 to 02/1999
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (08/25/2010)
As the Alliance fleet heads for the Hoth system, Luke's X-Wing and the Millennium Falcon carrying Han, Leia, Chewie and Threepio split up as they head for hyperspace. But as the Falcon nears the floating remains of the Death Star, they are attacked and boarded by pirates led by scavenger Redkihl Rokk. Luke comes back and destroys the pirates' TIE fighters, but his starfighter is damaged before he could free the Falcon and crashes in the pirate ship's hangar bay. Meanwhile, Redkihl sends spider droids to board the Falcon and steal its cargo. Han sends Threepio with a recorded message warning the pirate that Han will detonate bombs if the Falcon is not released. This distracts Redkihl long enough for Luke to make his way to the bridge and incapacitate the pirate. Luke and the droids get back to the Falcon with engines now repaired, and Han detonates the bombs aboard the pirate ship as they make their escape.
My fears are realized: this story takes place during the evacuation of Yavin 4, as seen in "Imperial Spy", and the Rebels already are heading for Hoth. But it doesn't mean it has to follow right after the last story: in fact there are no direct mentions of it, no Q-7N, no Vors Voorhorian. In fact, we know there's at least some stories between "Imperial Spy" and this one, namely Star Wars Missions books 17-20 in which Q-7N is destroyed. This short, inconsequential story could be a nice little interlude during any other version of the evacuation. This story has one of the few references to the Death Star wreckage (the other was the RPG adventure Scavenger Hunt) and in both cases scavengers are involved. The scavenger this time is a new character named Redkihl Rokk (spelled "Rok" in part 2), an alien in some kind of containment suit suspended to the ceiling by cables and conduits. He doesn't seem to have much of a crew, we only see three guards, who are easily dispatched by Luke's lightsaber. It's a bit of an easy escape though, although Han lost a cargo of bombs.
There's an editorial goof in part 2 as the credits listed are the ones from "X-Wing Marks the Spot".
Consistent with previous installments, Murakami's art is pretty simple and cartoony, but there's a cool animated style to it. What really shines are the colors (so special, they needed a color separator). I like the pinkish-red TIE fighters, and the very arty electric blue background when the Falcon's bridge controls short-circuit. But the coolest artistic choice is certainly the blood-red interiors of Redkihl's ship. The control panels on the bridge are red, the backgrounds are red, creating a very nice sequence on page 1 of part 4 where Luke fights the guards all seen in silhouette against the red background. The design of Redkihl himself is also cool. He looks like he could be an Elom but lacks the spider-like mandibles and has a regular mouth with pointed teeth instead, enough of a difference to make him a new species (his species is later named Huralok in the RPG sourcebook Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds.)
A rare encounter with pirates in the wreckage of the Death Star.
Rating: 6.5 / 10 Recommended