Star Wars #5: "Lo, The Moons Of Yavin!"

Star Wars #5
"Lo, The Moons Of Yavin!"
November, 1977

Roy Thomas: Writer/Editor
Howard Chaykin & Steve Leialoha: Illustrators
Glynis Wein: Colorist
Tom Orzechowski: Letterer
Archie Goodwin: Consulting Editor

The tale thus far: Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Chewbacca have freed Princess Leia from her imprisonment aboard the Imperial battle-station known as the Death Star. As the Millenium Falcon makes a break for it, it remains to be seen how long the princess will remain rescued --! Aboard the ship, the space-pilot tells the young farmer that they are not out of trouble yet!

Luke soon finds himself at the controls of the laser cannon on one side of the Millenium Falcon... He has never fired this type of weapon before! But he must! Han Solo is on the other side and manning his own station. Ben Kenobi died freeing them from the Death Star's tractor beam and this is one smuggler will who see that the old man did not die in vain! Han tells the kid to sit tight until the attack begins! As for Princess Leia Organa, she is well aware that they are outgunned -- outnumbered, but somehow her rescuers have managed the situation so far! As for Chewbacca, the seven-foot Wookie's thoughts are his own. As the TIE fighters make their approach, the TIE-pilots' emotions are concealed beneath their air-giving helmets... Luke struggles to use the force that Ben showed him how to use -- or else they will soon be finished!

The force is the name given by Ben Kenobi for the energy field created by all living things -- which binds all things together. It enabled Luke to wield a lightsabre, by getting in touch with himself -- and all others. Now as the TIE Fighters weave around the Millenium Falcon... he cannot get the range. As Han urges him to keep trying, Luke insist they are coming in too fast! Two of the TIE Fighters dive at the fleeing space freighter, in an attempt to line up their weapons on it. Two energy bolts zero in on the fleeing freighter... and a single bolt pierces the already overloaded ray-deflectors to strike one side of the ship! REEEEEEEE Although partially deflected, the bolt carries enough power to blow out a control panel. The gauges whine against the amount of energy they are monitoring and compensating for... HRONK The Wookie's reply to Princess Leia are not pleasant to listen to.

One of the TIE Fighters floats directly into Luke's sights, with the young farmer firing at it, and the small vessel diving out of range -- and into Han Solo's sights! The TIE Fighter erupts in a multi-colored explosion! Han and Luke are firing once more -- with Luke striving to become one with his weapon. This time, he succeeds! There are still three TIE Fighters left to deal with!

Thanks to Luke, there are now only two remaining! Princess Leia informs them that the Millenium Falcon has lost the lateral controls for the starboard deflector shield! FRONK! The space-pilot tells the princess not to worry because the ship will hold together! As he wills it to hold together, the TIE Fighters move in an attack formation, and Han tells Chewie to keep them on the Millenium Falcon's port side!

The Corellian smuggler watches as the TIE Fighter's energy bolts head for the Millenium Falcon, and prays! All aboard are well aware that a single direct hit on the side without shielding -- means doom! One of the TIE Fighters finds itself in the space-pilot's gun-sights, and is vaporized! At that same moment, the other TIE Fighter heads for the now-defenseless starboard side -- and Luke Skywalker ignores the energy being thrown at him! At the last possible moment before the TIE Fighter gets out of range, Luke swings his weapon -- and his finger tightens on the firing control -- "NOW!"

The Imperial TIE Fighter becomes an expanding cloud of space dust! Aboard the Millenium Falcon, the crew and passengers rejoice at their own survival! Han is amazed that they have managed to survive for so long and Princess Leia tells them about the vital information the R2 unit is carrying. She hopes when the technical read-outs of the Death Star are read, its weakness will be found quickly. Their escape from the Empire's battle-station was far too easy for comfort!

Back aboard the Death Star, Governor Tarkin learns from Lord Vader that the fleeing freighter has just made the jump to hyper-space. Unbeknownst to them, there is a homing beacon aboard the ship -- so that the Imperials can follow them to the main rebel base. Lord Vader considers this to be a day long remembered for the end of the last of the Jedi Knights -- and soon, the end of the rebellion itself!

Back aboard the Millenium Falcon, somewhere in hyper-space, Han asks Leia why their escape seemed too easy, and the princess explains that the Empire must want to follow them to the main rebel base! She hopes the data inside the R2 unit can be analyzed quickly so that they can fight back against -- The Corellian smuggler insists he has had enough! He is not doing this for her revolution -- and he is not doing this for her. He expects to be well paid. She tells Han that he won't have to worry about his reward because if money is all he wants... that is exactly what he will be receiving... When he asks what else is there besides money, Leia tells the young farmer that his friend is quite a mercenary...

She wonders if Han really cares about anything... or anyone? Luke cares and watches as Leia heads for the main hold area. He asks Han what he thinks of the princess, and the space-pilot says he tries not to. Still, she has a lot of spirit, and Han wonders if a guy like him and a princess like her --? The young farmer doesn't think so -- and only he knows what his true feeling are.

The planet Yavin is a large gas giant with several moons that are planet-sized, and three of them can support humanoid life. The Millenium Falcon drifts towards Yavin-4 with its thick emerald jungles... The air is filled with the cries of unseen beasts. In the middle of a forest of lush trees, there is an ancient temple shrouded in mist. Those who originally built the templec ould not imagine the interior of their former edifice. Inside, metal has replaced rock and beneath the layers below, there are hangar upon hangar of one-man freighter spacecraft. It is towards the uppermost of the hangars that a landspeeder now heads with the crew and passengers of the Millenium Falcon.

Five of the six who took on the Death Star and survived are now greeted by Commander Willard! They had feared the worst when Alderaan was destroyed, and they feared Princess Leia lost -- along with her homeworld and her father. There is no time for sorrow because the Imperial battle-station has surely tracked them here. The rebels must use the information stored in Artoo to plan their attack against it. Deep within the temple, General Jan Dodonna gives a hasty briefing... Perhaps Luke may have joined the rebel pilots -- but Han and Chewie are getting out as soon as they are given their reward. The Death Star is heavily shielded and carries more firepower than half of the Imperial Star Fleet.

Although the Death Star's defenses are designed for a large scale assault, a small one-man fighter should be able to pass through its defensive screen. Analysis rpovided by Princess Leia have revealed a weakness in the battle-station in the form of a small, unshielded thermal exhaust port that runs directly into the reactor system. A direct hit should set off a chain reaction that will destroy the Death Star. Unfortunately, this target is two meters across -- and will have to be hit by photon torpedoes. Although it sounds impossible for the computer to hit a two meter target at maximum speed, Luke insists he has bull-eyed womp-rats in his T-16 back on Tatooine, and they are no larger than two meters. Their approach will not be easy, for they must manuever down the shaft which circles the Death Star. They must level off in the trench and skim the surface to the precise location of the target area. They must remember -- only a direct hit has a chance to destroy the battle-station -- before it detroys Yavin-4 -- and the rebellion itself! General Jan Dodonna tells them to man their spacecraft -- and may the force be with them!

Luke, Threepio, and Artoo rush along with hundreds of others into the massive hangar, where flight crews load last-minute armament, and unlock power couplings. It is two familiar figures who catch Luke's attention -- Chewbacca and Han! The space-pilot has gotten his reward -- and is leaving! He has got some old debts to pay off... and if even if he didn't he would be a fool to stay here. Since Luke is pretty good in a fight, why doesn't come with them aboard the Millenium Falcon? Luke knows that Han is aware what is about to happen and what they are up against. They could use a good pilot -- but Han is turning his back on them! The Corellian smuggler points out that a reward is no good if you're not around to spend it! Attacking the Death Star is not his idea of courage; it's suicide! HRUNK Chewie is not so sure about that. Luke tells Han to take care of himself... since that seems to be what he is best at. He doesn't hear Han's whispered reply: "May the force be with you!"

As Luke reaches his X-Wing Fighter, Princess Leia greets him... This is what he wants to do, and his only regret is that Han did not change his mind. She knows that a man must follow his own path; and that no one else can choose it for him. If only Ben were here. As they hold hands, Luke is greeted by his childhood friend, Biggs, and wishes he had the time to tells him what he has been up to since they last saw one another! They are greeted by Blue Leader, who asks Luke if he has been checked on the Incom T-65, and is reassured by Biggs that he is the best bush-pilot in the outer-rim territories.

Blue Leader is familiar with the outer rim and the name of Skywalker because he had met Luke's father once when he was a lad! If Luke has got half of his father's skill, he will do all right! The galaxy will be a lot better off when the sons of the original Jedi Knights are back on the job! Biggs wants to hear all of Luke's stories when they get back! This will be like old times for them because they are a couple of shooting stars that will never be stopped! Threepio wants Artoo to come back in one piece so that his life won't be boring. The R2 unit may be a little beat up, but Luke wouldn't dream of flying without him! BLEEP!

Princess Leia Organa is among those gathered around the display screen which displays Yavin and its many moons. Upon that very screen is a large red dot that is moving steadily towards the fourth of Yavin's satellites... The red represents the Death Star's progress as it moves into the Yavin system. There is no more than half an hour before it is able to fire on Yavin-4 and destroy the planet. The sounds of animal life are muted by the man-made thunder created by four ion rockets -- as several X-Wing Fighters emerge from the dense folliage in tight formation -- to vanish into the crimson morning sky! Blue Leader communicates to his Blue Boys to adjust their selectors, and to check in. They are approaching their target at one-point-three parsecs... and now, it's do or die time! Or perhaps both, for them... perhaps both!

On the cover by Rick Hoberg and Dave Cockrum, Luke and Chewbacca run for the Millenium Falcon, only to be told by Han Solo that it's too late because the Death Star has arrived!

I first read this story when it was reprinted in the second Star Wars Treasury Edition.

Back in 1977, the only way to see Star Wars was in the theater or by reading the Marvel Comics adapation.

For Han Solo, money can buy happiness, and be used to pay off his debt to Jabba the Hutt.

I first saw Star Wars with my cousins at Serramonte 6, then at Tanforan with my mother.

The film holds special meaning for me because Tikal, Guatemala was were filming for the rebel base on Yavin-4 took place.

My mom is from Guatemala and when I recognized Tikal on the movie screen, I elbowed my mom in the ribs, and spent the rest of the summer telling my relatives that Guatemala was in Star Wars or La Guerra De Las Galaxias as they called the film in Spanish.

Using photon torpedoes on the Death Star sounds like a job for the Starship Enterprise.

Unlike the film, readers got to meet Biggs in issue number one of the Marvel Comics adaptation.

In the adaptation, Blue Leader claims to have met Luke's father when he was just boy, and knew him as a great pilot!

I wonder if his opinion would have changed if he had known who was about to shoot him and his ship during the assault on the Death Star.

Steve Chung
"Lo, The Review Of Yavin!"