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Union #1

Story: Michael A. Stackpole
Art: Robert Teranishi
Digital Inking: Christopher Chuckry
Color Rendering: Christopher Chuckry
Lettering: Vickie Williams
Cover: Duncan Fegredo
Released: 11/10/1999

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (06/05/2007)

SUMMARY:

While Luke and Mara are on leave on Garqi, Leia Organa-Solo announces publicly their coming wedding on Coruscant. When the couple arrive, it is time for planning. The news spread fast, and Kam Solusar and Corran Horn even suggest to do a second ceremony for Jedi only. But on Dolis 3, potential enemies also hear the news. An ex-Imperial Moff rallies some discontents and they plan to attend the wedding, even if they are not invited.


[final cover]


[DF gold cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

This story takes place a few weeks after Timothy Zahn's Vision of the Future. The Republic and Empire are now at peace, and Booster has a new coat of paint on the Errant Venture. The one major change seems to be that Gavrisom is not President of the Republic and Leia seems to have resumed that position (it was hinted at in Zahn's book).

When Threepio says his speech, he mentions that "it was my privilege to first meet the groom on Tatooine, the planet of my birth." At first, this seemed to be a big deal: how could Threepio remember the planet of his birth when he didn't remember anything about it when he and Artoo crashed there in A New Hope? Clearly, his memory had been wiped so he was seeing Obi-Wan, Jawas and the Dune Sea for the first time. But then I thought Artoo or someone else could very clearly have revealed it to him later. After all, this takes place some 19 years later so he had plenty of time to catch up.

What's interesting in this issue is to see several characters from past EU stories and find out what they've been up to, including discovering a lot of them got married. When the wedding is announced on the HoloNet, first we see Han and the three Solo children of course; then it cuts to the Antilles household and find Wedge, who apparently got married to Iella Wessiri and had two daughters Syal and Myri with her; then at Rogue Squadron HQ, it gets a little more confusing. I'm not sure exactly who everybody is in that one shot but Wes Janson and Gavin Darklighter, who says he is married, are mentioned by name. We see a blond Human male who also mentions he is married (Tycho Celchu?), a brown-haired Human male (Hobbie?), a blonde Human female (Feylis Ardele?) and a Gand who is undoubtedly Ooryl Qrygg. Also in that scene, Janson seems to be Rogue Leader now according to the rank insigna on his uniform; then out in space we see Talon Karrde talking with Booster Terrik about wedding gifts; and finally at the Jedi Academy on Yavin 4 we see Corran and Mirax and their son Valin (playing music with Whistler) and Kam and Tionne possibly?

The next scene has Han and Leia welcoming Luke and Mara back on Coruscant. While Han has a humorous talk with Luke about the number of wedding guests that will attend the wedding, Leia takes Mara to shop for a wedding dress. The scene is also funny, with Mara trying on several styles and hating every one of them. Then she has enough and leaves on her own, and guided by the Force she meets a Twi'lek dressmaker named Jari'kyn in an alley. She immediately hires her to make her a dress, feeling that the Force made them meet.

After that, Luke is watching Kam Solusar and Corran practicing at lightsaber (this must be a week later since that's the time it takes to arrive from Yavin 4 as mentioned 8 pages earlier). Kam mentions that his wedding to Tionne was a Jedi Ceremony and they suggest to Luke to have a Jedi-only ceremony prior to the actual wedding which Luke agrees to. They also discuss the old Jedi Council's ban on marriage, and what would they have thought to see so many married Jedi.

But what is a Star Wars story without a villain? The next scene sets up a group of ex-Imperials who are disgruntled at the Republic for taking work away from them. Times are bad for Banner Sumptor and other like him. It only takes an ambitious leader, such as Moff Takkar, to rally them to his cause promising to help them defeat the Republic if only they can find money to travel to Coruscant.

Stackpole even finds roles for the droids: C-3PO is the one who takes over from Leia during the public wedding announcement, and "accidentally" invited a lot of people for different diplomatic reasons. He also opens his speech by saying that Tatooine is the planet where he was born, information from the recent movie The Phantom Menace which Threepio couldn't possibly be aware of, unless he learned about it from another source such as Artoo. Speaking of which, Artoo's role will be as the ringbearer during the ceremony. As for poor old Chewie, just like in Zahn's book he is relegated to being the Solo kids' guardian and appears only in two panels with them.

There is a lot of information going on, and it's very nice set-up for the upcoming ceremony, if a bit confusing at times. Stackpole knows the characters well enough, and even created several of them. He even throws in a mention to Wurth Skidder and Ganner Rhysode from R.A. Salvatore's book Vector Prime and Stackpole's own Dark Tide duology respectively. This is a very important event in the EU, and Stackpole is the man to write it. But the downside is it may not be for the casual fan; a lot of those characters are hard to recognize unless you've pretty much read all the post-Return of the Jedi novels and comics.


THE ART

What to say about Teranishi's artwork? He previously did a short story called "Life, Death, and the Living Force" in Star Wars Tales #1 and his style is still the same. There is a lot of black ink in his art, and very realistic facial expressions. Sometimes it feels like the artist uses a lot of photo references; this could explain why some characters look like well-known Hollywood actors. It gets a little hard to follow at times, characters are hard to recognize especially when some look different from one panel to the next. And the coloring really doesn't help. I'm not a huge fan of this "color rendering" thing; all the background are either unicolored or in a whole rainbow of color from green to purple. I noticed a little goof on page 16, two of the dialogue bubbles from Kam and Corran are switched. As for the cover, I don't think it's one of the best and doesn't hold up to close scrutiny. It almost looks like those old scary clown paintings from my childhood....


CONCLUSIONS

The wedding of Luke and Mara. Did you think it would go smoothly? Not in a good Star Wars yarn, and this first issue shows a lot of promise.

Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended

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