Review by C.J. Bunce
Let’s take a trip back 33 years ago to a galaxy not all that far away. It was my very first issue of the only comic book I ever subscribed to. It was the end of the school year in 1986 and at last I took the plunge to send in a check to start getting a comic in the mail. My first issue? Star Wars #107, which contained a note from Marvel Comics stating that this was to be the final issue and I was going to be sent something instead going forward from a new universe of comics Marvel was starting called… New Universe. In the days before the Internet or anyone to call to say “what?” I was then sent eleven monthly issues of Star Brand. Not quite Star Wars, each issue reminded me of what I was not getting. I was a fan of the Star Wars comic book (issued as Star Wars Weekly in the UK) since receiving my first ever comic as a giveaway when my mom took me to my local library’s Star Wars Day right before Christmas 1977. The series would introduce me to a roster of creators (many I’d later meet in person) including Roy Thomas, Howard Chaykin, Steve Leialoha, Rick Hoberg, Archie Goodwin, Donald F. Glut, Carmine Infantino, Gil Kane, John Byrne, Michael Golden, Chris Claremont, Herb Trimpe, Al Williamson, Tom Palmer, David Michelinie, Klaus Janson, Ann Nocenti, Jan Duursema, Bill Sienkiewicz, and Walt Simonson. I read every issue up to Issue #107.
The big surprise? That original Star Wars series became everyone’s first encounter with the word BORG. It’s probably the first ever use of those four letters to describe a cybernetic organism, and it was spoken by none other than Luke Skywalker in reference to Valance, The Hunter way back in 1978. We would learn Valance was a borg who killed borgs, and he became an inaugural inductee here at borg in our borg Hall of Fame, and part of my opening dialogue with borg readers eight years ago here. This year, through the miracle of an idea worthy of a light bulb floating over your head, Marvel Comics introduced for its ongoing 80th anniversary celebration something I’ve never seen done before: a single, new, numbered issue continuing a series canceled as far back as 33 years ago. The issue is Star Wars, Issue #108–it’s fantastic and available at local comic shops everywhere now.
Providing a chapter by chapter sequel not to Issue #107 of the vintage series, but to the Issue #50 story “Crimson Forever,” Matthew Rosenberg is the writer on the new Issue #108 titled “Forever Crimson,” and along with Valance we again meet some of our favorite characters of the entire Star Wars universe who we haven’t seen in decades: the villainous Domina Tagge (remember Baron Tagge?), the stylin’ Amaiza Foxtrain, the memorable telepathic hoojib and the red Zeltrons, and best of all, Jaxxon the bounty hunter rabbit, who we last saw on a special variant edition copy of Marvel’s reboot Star Wars, Issue #1. Plus all the stars of the series we all know and love. As for the artists, Jan Duursema returns to the series for this one-shot issue, along with Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cam Smith, Andrea Broccardo, Kerry Gammill, Ze Carlos, Stefano Landini, Luke Ross, and Leonard Kirk, with colors by Chris Sotomayor, and lettering by Clayton Cowles. The result is everything you could want in a Star Wars comic. It’s the kind of purely fun story that would make a great monthly even today. If only they continued this story in an ongoing series!
Stepping back a second, you can also pick up a complete reprint of Issue #107 now priced at only $1, written by Mary Jo Duffy–the longest running contributor to the Star Wars series–with art by Cynthia Martin and Whilce Portacio. Also available is a reprint of Issue #50, written by Archie Goodwin with artwork by Tom Palmer, Walt Simonson, and Al Williamson. Although you don’t need these to jump into Issue #108, they provide another dose of nostalgia.
Issue #108 is a big double-sized 48-page issue with eight cover options, including a blank sketch cover, a John Tyler Christopher action figure cover, a main cover by Walt Simonson and Antonio Fabela (with and without logo), a variant by Carmine Infantino, Dan Green, and Dean White (with and without logo), a variant by Michael Golden (logo only), and a second John Tyler Christopher design (without logo).
Don’t miss three pages of interviews with several of the creators listed above, featured at the back of Issue #108.
Not to be missed, pick up Star Wars Issues #50 and #107 in reprint, and the new #108 now at your local comic shop.