The Star Wars #3
February 1, 2016
Two robots, two Jedi, two Queens, two Darth Vaders...
(The AT4W title appears in the same font as the iconic Star Wars font, then the storyline is revealed in the style of a Star Wars description crawl)
THE STAR WARS #3
THE FORCE AWAKENS has been released and for many months it has exceeded expectations. Still others believe it is merely a carbon copy of other, better films. Regardless of opinions, SPOILERS remain a constant danger for some.
While 2016 is all about STAR TREK due to its 50th anniversary, D-list Internet celebrity LINKARA has seen fit to review another issue of THE STAR WARS, an adaptation of George Lucas' original rough draft for A NEW HOPE. So far, not a lot has happened.
A giant SPACE FORTRESS has attacked the planet AQUILAE and forced their surrender, its King killed in the attack. The only hope now lies with LUKE SKYWALKER and his apprentice ANNIKIN STARKILLER, plus a couple of robots who I'm sure we'll only see one time and then never again...
(AT4W title theme plays; title card has "Han Solo and the Princess" from The Empire Strikes Back playing in the background)
Linkara: (wearing a Jedi-type cape) Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. Opening expository crawl gave you all the info; let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "The Star Wars #3".
(The first page is shown)
Linakra (v/o): We open with everybody's favorite droids, R2 and 3PO, in an escape pod heading towards Aquilae.
R2-D2: It's desertion, Threepio... They'll destroy us! How could this happen?
Linkara: Turns out when you give R2-D2 a voice, he's kinda whiny.
C-3PO: That's funny. The damage doesn't look as bad from out here.
Linkara: (holding up index finger in confusion) Okay, that line has bugged me for years because I had no idea why C-3PO said it.
Linkara (v/o): I mean, it's not like the ship was something he owned that he would be coming back for, and he knew the ship was taken intact because of the Stormtroopers boarding it. But now we finally have proper context, and the line makes much more sense: the two were Imperial droids who were running because they thought the place was going to be destroyed, commenting on how "oh, it actually doesn't look that bad. Maybe we ran away prematurely."
Linkara: (points to camera, upset) And that one nitpick has ruined Star Wars for me forever! (calmer) Now that I have that resolution, I can start liking it now. (smiles)
Linkara (v/o): On board the Death Star... er, Space Fortress, Darth Vader is giving a speech to the Stormtroopers... who seem a little overeager to get down to Aquilae, since some of them appear to be floating above the ground or have already leapt out of the hangar bay door. But hey, at least they're still in formation. That takes skill.
Vader: The war is won! Today our acts usher in a new millennium for the Empire...
Linkara: (as Vader, wearing his mask) Things will get crappy after that millennium, but we'll all be dead, so I don't care.
Vader: Today, you will make the Empire complete.
Linkara: (as Vader) But first, we have some birthdays today.
Linkara (v/o): Back in the Aquilaean War Room, Luke Skywalker's bluster from the last issue has faded, as apparently he forgot to pay the electrical bill. All the monitors display static, and all the lights are turned off. The only other officer there reports no sign of Starkiller or the Princess, and it's likely they were killed. And here's where we actually start resembling A New Hope a bit, as 3PO and R2 are now in the dune sea, with R2 being his usual calm, collected self.
R2-D2: You're nothing more than a dimwitted, emotion-brained intellectual. Why you were created is beyond my logic systems.
(Pollo suddenly lets out a sigh, interrupting Linkara)
Linkara: Pollo, what's wrong?
Pollo: I just suddenly miss Sierra. (Linkara shrugs)
Linkara (v/o): 3PO, finally done with all of R2's moaning, picks up the droid and tosses him away.
Linkara: C-3PO may have been encouraged to become a translator in his youth, (holds up index finger) but his true passion was always football.
Linkara (v/o): The two separate – always a shame to see a couple arguing – and R2 comes across not Jawas in this version, but Starkiller and the Princess.
Annikin: Where's your master? Can you speak? How do you relate your data? You're of Karollian manufacture... Are you damaged?
Linkara: Maybe if you actually stopped asking questions for a second, (voice turns annoyed) he'd answer you!
Linkara (v/o): But yeah, he actually stays quiet and they decide to take him along, figuring that if he came from the enemy ship, he may have useful information in his databanks. And along the way, they come across 3PO, while the Princess is suddenly pissed off at him, even though a second ago, she was fine.
Leia: I'll have my father cut you into pieces when we get back. I may save your eyes, though... I'll have them petrified and made into a necklace.
Linkara: Finished movie Leia would sooner kiss a Wookie. Original script Leia would sooner dismember the Wookie and turn the body parts into jewelry.
Linkara (v/o): They pick up 3PO, but Leia's not happy.
Leia: If you're going to stop for every unfortunate along the way, we'll never get back!
Linkara: (as Annikin) To be fair, that serial killer we picked up wasn't actually an unfortunate, so I think our track record is still three out of four.
Linkara (v/o): R2 even finally speaks up to say they should pick him up, though I'm sure it's because he wants to rub it into 3PO that he went the right way. When they seem to make a rest stop in a canyon, Annikin and Leia wander off for a while.
R2-D2: Maybe they were attacked! I sense danger!
(Cut to a clip of the Mystery Science Theater 3000 gang watching The Pumaman)
Mike: I'm sensing danger! Oh, that's mildew.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): In reality, the two have located the secret entrance to a bunker for the royal family. Luke is there, too, and the Princess demands that Starkiller be punished for his behavior, but Luke informs her of her father's death. Later, Leia is dressed up like a Final Fantasy villain and has assumed the throne. They talk about the fact that the Senate has been corrupted by the Empire, and the Queen is only a ruler by marriage and therefore doesn't have the political clout to keep them in line. Leia is the true queen here, and given what both her and her mother are wearing, she became the queen of the Planet of Silly Hats. Queen Fan Face says that they have to get Leia to the Ophuchi System, which is headed by the Chrome Companies that we saw in the first issue. They've agreed to supply weapons and troops to help return Leia to the throne, and she and her brothers should hopefully be safe there. As for the current queen, she's staying behind to oversee the evacuation of the palace. My eye keeps getting drawn to the thing on Leia's head. And yeah, that's not a part of the throne; she is wearing that on the back of her head. We see her get up and walk around with it. Do they plan to fly her like a kite later?
Luke: We will have to travel in disguise. No one can suspect wealth or royal training...and I must have full command. I fear the new queen will not stand for this.
Leia: Do not put words into my mouth! I will do what is necessary!
Linkara: (as Leia) Fetch me my peasant dreamcatcher, so that I might affix it to my bun.
Linkara (v/o): Whitsun has apparently recovered from last issue and Luke wants him to come along on their trip, also telling one of his officers to contact Han Solo at a spaceport.
Officer: Han Solo? Yes, sir!
Linkara: (as officer) Wow, the famed pilot of the Twentieth Century Fox!
Linkara (v/o): Darth Vader and Governor Hoedaack have already landed at said spaceport, talking about how they'll have the royal family in custody soon if they can trust Count Sandage.
Hoedaack: A man hungry for power can always be trusted-- to betray those in power.
Linkara: My God! What a shocking betrayal of that guy who I'm not even sure has appeared before!
Linkara (v/o): Luke and Annikin get their supplies ready and change into ponchos to disguise themselves. They also decide to bring the droids along, figuring their information on the space fortress could be invaluable.
Luke: They can be trusted never to harm a living creature...
Linkara: (as Luke) Unless one of them has a bad motivator, in which case, get the hell out of the way and hope they don't develop a taste for blood.
Linkara (v/o): The droids will also provide accurate information when asked, so they decide to keep their identities secret. However, before they can get underway, Aquilaean troops under the infamous Count Sandage arrive to take the Princess and the Queen.
Sandage: The Empire has assured their safety. They must stay!
Luke: I don't answer to the Empire.
Sandage: General, you've gone too far this time. Arrest them!
Linkara (v/o): Aaaand Luke immediately slices Count Sandage in half.
Linkara: I look forward to the Count Sandage action figure with kung fu bisecting action.
Linkara (v/o): I wonder if, in the expanded universe of this Star Wars, Sandage would have come back like Darth Maul did. Also, gotta love that civilized weapon for a more civilized age of cutting people in half. Annikin's solution is to pop the clutch and tell the guards to eat his dust. They get a good distance away and watch as the hidden base self-destructs. Fortunately, this was planned, so no one was inside at the time, just wanting to keep the Empire from finding the Queen. Aaand we soon see the Empire arriving in force, with a combination of hovercrafts, Star Destroyers and new huge model Star Destroyers, as opposed to just the fighters from before, and dudes on dinosaur-back. You think any of them are jealous of the guys who get to ride around on the hovercraft?
Linkara: (as one Stormtrooper) Hey, Ron! How's the view from down there? (as another Stormtrooper) Aw, shut up, Steve! At least I get to sit down!
Linkara (v/o): I also just noticed the dinosaurs have feathers, so either this Star Wars has more accurate dinosaurs than "Marville", or these are actually Chocobos. More surprising, though, is that the Stormtroopers riding them are wielding lightsabers. Yeah, so much for being the weapon of force users; we had to wait until that one guy in Force Awakens for a Stormtrooper melee weapon.
Linkara: Good old TR-8R! You spin that thing, man. (salutes) And yeah, I know there's backstory with his actual designation. Screw you, I like TR-8R. (sotto voce) I have a head canon where (makes "air quotes") "traitor" is actually the only word he's capable of saying.
Linkara (v/o): We cut over to Darth Vader, who appears to be checking a Star Trek LCARS menu.
Linkara: I knew Darth Vader was a Trekkie this whole time.
Linkara (v/o): However, here's where things really get weird. See, Darth Vader was apparently originally two characters. Meet Prince Valorum, this dude in the mask and armor.
Vader: Your exploits are legendary. I have long waited to meet a knight of the Sith. If there's any way I can assist you, my entire command is at your bidding.
Linkara: (as Valorum, wearing his mask) You may dispense with the pleasantries, Lord Vader. I am here to put you back on schedule. (as Vader) I can assure you, Prince Valorum, my men are working as fast as they can. (as Valorum) Perhaps I can find new ways to motivate them. (as Vader) I can assure you this invasion will be completed on time. (as Valorum) The Emperor does not share your optimistic appraisal of the situation.
Linkara (v/o): Darth Vader asks if he really believes that Skywalker is a Jedi.
Valorum: If he was not a Jedi, I wouldn't be here.
Linkara: (as Valorum) I sense something, something I have not felt since... (as Vader) Okay, seriously, this bit is getting weirder every time we do it. (as Valorum) I am altering the bit. Pray I do not alter it further. (as Vader) Stop that!
Linkara (v/o): Back with our heroes, their vehicles are running out of fuel, so they stop at a gas station. Hopefully, the invasion won't affect prices or their ability to call for help.
(Cut to a clip of Birdemic: Shock and Terror)
Clerk: No, I'm sorry. All phones, from the eagle attack, all phones are dead up here.
Rod (Alan Bagh): Really? Damn it!
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): At the gas station, they look for someone to help fill it up, but unfortunately, this seems to be a self-service pump... namely, because the employees are all hanging upside-down and dead.
(Linkara is seen with his arms up, pretending to hang upside-down)
Linkara: (as one of the employees, strained voice) I... wasn't even... supposed to be here today...
Linkara (v/o): They realize this couldn't have happened too long ago, so they need to haul ass, grabbing a fuel rod on their way out.
Annikin: Poor kid. Now he's one with the Force of others.
Linkara: Technically, the Force of others is responsible for this. Perhaps you should rename your religious system to something that doesn't sound so violent.
Linkara (v/o): Unfortunately, the Stormtroopers have already arrived. They try to bluff their way out of it, but the Stormtroopers just decide to use them as target practice instead. Annikin sneaks Leia a gun while he decides to deal with a Stormtrooper.
Stormtrooper: My boys need some practice killing Aquilaeans!
Annikin: You're too slow!
Linkara: Starkiller the Hedgehog.
Linkara (v/o): A battle ensues: people getting shot, people getting run over, people getting stabbed...
(Cut to a clip of Star Wars: Attack of the Clones)
Samuel L. Jackson (v/o): People getting jacked in this movie.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): After setting a nearby tank to explode and take out the "jet stickers", as they're called, they make their escape. And so, our comic ends with R2 saying that he knew everything would be all right.
R2-D2: Threepio, you listening...? Well, what do you know-- fainted!
Linkara: Seems like a really stupid thing to program into a robot designed for diplomatic dealings. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic... continues to be just okay.
Linkara (v/o): By this point, it feels like we're really into A New Hope, even if a lot of the details are different. Our heroes have their task and are having to fend off the Empire, who's looking for them. The problem, as with last time, is that characterization is still very light. It's not aided by the amount of superfluous characters. Leia's two brothers are along for the ride, and you'll notice I haven't really mentioned them until now, because they have no impact. The same goes for Whitsun, who has appeared in all three issues so far, but hasn't done anything that makes him a unique character. Darth Vader has been split into two characters for no reason. In fact, Darth Vader himself seems to serve little purpose when Prince Valorum is the actual Sith here. The one with the most characterization is Leia, who comes off rather uneven, since at some points, she's stuck-up and arrogant and other times perfectly pleasant about everything. I do find it kind of funny how Leia and the droids have had their roles reversed. A New Hope was about the Empire looking for the droids, and the Princess was just a secondary rescue goal for the heroes. But here, the Empire is looking for Leia, and the droids are just an added bonus for their tactical knowledge for the heroes. But ultimately, they're not that necessary. It's really easy to see why they made the changes they did.
Linkara: Next time, we celebrate the anniversary of when I started doing comic reviews with, of course, "Youngblood #8". (grudgingly shakes hand back and forth as though waving an invisible flag) Yaaaay... (his expression turns sour as he gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll)
So where the hell has Annikin's dad been since this started? Did he break himself after he smashed his fist into the table and revealed his cyborg parts?
Actually, Darth Vader is technically THREE characters in this, since Annikin is a different character, too.
(Stinger: The shot of Annikin seeing the gas station attendants dead is shown)
Annikin: Poor kid. Now he's one with the Force of others.
Linkara: (angrily) That's not how the Force of others works!