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Marvel’s Star Wars comic run ends, but things just got interesting for Han and Leia

Issue 75 is the last until January, when the series picks up again with an all-new line

Darth Vader shown here force surfing on some lava in Star Wars #7. Greg Pak and Phil Noto/Marvel
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Writer Greg Pak and Artist Phil Noto’s eight-issue tenure on Marvel’s Star Wars comic ends this week, and things have only just started getting interesting for Han Solo and Leia Organa.

Issue #75 ends with the rebels hustling off to Hoth to set up for the events of the big battle there, and along the way they make friends with some very big rock people. It’s all played out at massive scale, with moon-sized aliens swatting Imperial star destroyers into smithereens. If you are a fan of giant kaiju-like space slugs and the like, you’re in for a treat.

A massive rock monster strides toward Dar, Leia, Han, Luke, and Chewie with the Millennium Falcon in his arms. From Star Wars #75. Grek Pag and Phil Noto/Marvel

This issue also has an interesting vignette, especially set against the dinner scene in Empire Strikes Back where Leia and Han realize Darth Vader has laid a trap for them. At one point we see Luke, Leia, Han, and Chewie all gunning full bore for an injured Darth Vader. Vader deftly blocks their blasts, only to limp back to his shuttle to heal himself.

I’m not sure if the scene works to completely invalidate the look on Harrison Ford’s face as his blaster goes sailing across the room in the Cloud City, but it does give that moment a little more nuance in retrospect.

In addition to improving the overall quality of the series, Pak and Noto went to great lengths to firmly entrench a new character into the Star Wars lore. His name is Dar Champion, and he was introduced back in issue #68.

Luke, Dar, Leia, Han, and Chewie run toward an injured Darth Vader with guns blazing. He shrugs them off, more or less. From Marvel’s Star Wars #75. Greg Pak and Phil Noto/Marvel

Champion is old flame of Leia’s, which led to some early comedy. This latest issue paints him as the hero who ultimately saves the day. On the whole, Dar is a great addition to the franchise, in my opinion. His over-the-top lawful-good act has evolved into an excellent foil for Han’s neutral-good smuggler bit.

Dar Champion and Leia Organa, back-to-back and blasting away at stormtroopers. Who’s that guy, Luke asks. Dar Champion, quips Han. Yes, that’s his real name. From Star Wars #75. Greg Pak and Phil Noto/Marvel

If anything, it will go a long way to softening the weirdness of Leia passionately kissing Luke after his dip in the bacta tank. Of course, nothing can help the fact that Mark Hamill looks like he really enjoyed himself in that scene. Alas.

This may be the end for this episode in the Marvel Star Wars saga, but you’ll hardly have time to miss it. The next series, also titled Star Wars, will begin at issue #1 in January. It’s expected to pick up after the events of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back. Charles Soule will take over writing, and Jesús Saiz will handle art.

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