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Thirty years ago today, the much-anticipated sequel to one of the most famous space fantasy movies of all time hit theaters. And just over ten years ago, mostly to promote the Special Edition re-release of those movies and the then-upcoming first prequel, Dark Horse Comics and Lucas Books published a set of manga adaptions of the original trilogy.

In 2007, I posted selections from Episode IV, A New Hope, on the original scans_daily. One of these days, maybe soon, I'll go back and try to recreate those lost posts (a Special Edition of my own? :) ... but for now, enjoy these.




"It is a dark time for the Rebellion. Although the Death Star has been destroyed, Imperial troops have driven the Rebel forces from their hidden base and pursued them across the galaxy. Evading the dreaded Imperial Starfleet, a group of freedom fighters led by Luke Skywalker has established a new secret base on the remote ice world of Hoth. The evil lord Darth Vader, obsessed with finding young Skywalker, has dispatched thousands of remote probes into the far reaches of space...."

... but in the interest of page count, I'm not gonna show that part. Or the part where Luke, desert farmboy now surrounded by more frozen water than he ever dreamed existed, spots one of the probes landing before he's ambushed by a Yeti Wampa. Instead, I'll just cut right to Han and Leia at Echo Base, still denying their feelings for each other:



Tsundere, the both of 'em.

Luke manages to escape the monster's lair, pulling off some slick moves that show he's definitely progressed in his mastery of the Force. But even he may not be able to survive a bitter subzero Hoth night. And then, when all seems lost, his dead mentor appears to him in a ghostly vision:


"You will go to the Dagobah system. There you will learn from Yoda, the Jedi master who instructed me."

Now this is important, and will be even more so in the next installment: this is all we knew about Yoda. A name, a location, and that he was Obi-Wan's teacher. That's it. I can barely imagine what it's like for you kids who started with the prequels. (Qui-Gon Jinn? Never heard of him.)

Anyway, Han shows up just in time to save Luke (again, which he teases him about later) by stuffing him inside an animal's guts. Years later, this scene would inspire an April Fool's joke that people thought was so awesome they demanded that it be made an actual product. But it's not so cool in the manga, so let's skip ahead to see Luke recovering from his injuries (a subplot that was put in mostly to explain Mark Hamill's face getting torn up in a Wampa motorcycle accident) and getting some visitors, who promptly resume their earlier lovers' quarrel:



Angry Chibi Leia is so cute. Too bad they couldn't have squeezed some of the text of her "nerf-herder!" rant into that panel.



Like I said, in 1980, this was just a cute love triangle between our heroes. No one knew how many uncomfortable jokes that little kiss would produce in hindsight.

Meanwhile, the Imperial probe has revealed the location of the Rebels. Lord Vader orders his fleet to the Hoth system. Admiral Ozzel makes a bad tactical decision which warns the Rebels of the imminent attack and gives Vader a chance to display his inimitable management style.



The Navy may be full of incompetents (or just not up to the Dark Lord's high standards), but you can't say the same of General Veers, commander of the Imperial ground forces - a consummate professional in the finest tradition of the Panzerkorps. When his AT-ATs take the field, **** goes down.







The Rebel speeders quickly find that the Imperial armor is too strong for their blasters, and must resort to unconventional tactics:



The mighty beast topples, and is finished off by a speeder. But despite this lone inspiring victory, the Imperial advance is relentless, and even Luke's craft takes a hit on its rear quarter.



(Note that these scenes are a lot bloodier than what we saw in the theaters - we saw troops fall, but nothing like Saving Private Ryan. I've also omitted some scenes of destroyed transports and fighters that didn't manage to run the Imperial blockade, showing drifting bodies.)

Let's have something lighter, shall we? Imperial troops have entered the base, and with Leia cut off from the ship she had a seat on, it falls to Han to get her out on the Milennium Falcon... which has been having some technical difficulties lately.




Don't worry, you'll get your wish soon enough.

EDIT: I really should be in bed, but I couldn't resist throwing this together:




14 pages + cover from an 80+ page volume; not my scans, although I do own the originals.

Adam Warren drew the covers, but I don't know if that's enough for a tag.
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