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SWNN Review: Tales From A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens (Pt. 1)

Tales-from-a-galaxy-far-far-away-aliensA western, a horror story, a fable, and a swashbuckling pirate tale…that’s what author and comic book writer Landry Q. Walker brings to the table of the Star Wars universe in his series of four short stories – Tales From a Galaxy Far, Far Away: Aliens – a part of the Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens publishing project. Read on for part one of this review, featuring High Noon on Jakku and The Face of Evil.

 

 

Caution: Spoilers Ahead… If you want to skip the spoilers, scroll down to the “verdict” section for each story to read what I thought about each one.

 

 

High Noon on Jakku

 

HighNoonOnJakku

 

On a planet filled with scavengers, pirates, and thieves, Constable Zuvio is one of the good guys. Zuvio is a Kyuzo (a species first introduced in the Clone Wars series with the bounty hunter, Embo) and the main character in this old western style whodunnit tale. Zuvio is the town constable, head of the law enforcement in Niima Outpost, at the equator of Jakku and near the Fallen Teeth mountain ridge. His seemingly angry expression is from years of squinting due to poor vision and his facial bandages help his sensitive respiratory system cope with the harsh climate of Jakku.

 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Constable Zuvio Ph: Elena Dorfman © 2015 Lucasfilm Ltd. & TM. All Right Reserved.

 

The story begins on an especially hot day on the sweltering desert world of Jakku in Zuvio’s office as the constable is going through some papers on his desk (yeah, he’s old school) in an attempt to avoid the heat of the day. Zuvio’s secretary droid, CZ-1G5 (Seezee) was late to the office, which was unusual for the typically prompt droid. With about three-hundred years in service, Seezee was old by tech standards and has aided the people of Niima since the first colonists landed on the wasteland of a planet.

 

All of a sudden, an explosion is heard outside, and Zuvio and his two Kyuzo deputies, his cousins Drego and Streehn, rush to the scene to investigate. At the scene of the crime, they discover that a banking ship had been destroyed, killing a handful of nearby citizens, and the system on board had been hacked.

 

To his dismay, Zuvio realizes that only his own droid, Seezee could be responsible for the robbery of the banking ship and that he has made off with a speeder and the weapons from the constable’s armory. This was uncharacteristic of the well-respected droid who spent his free time serving in public kitchens and volunteering as a care provider for the ill. The rest of the tale follows Zuvio as he attempts to track down his now missing droid and get to the bottom of the mysterious crime.

 

 

Verdict:

Much like Bazine Netal in The Perfect Weapon, Constable Zuvio has now become one of the new characters I am most looking forward to seeing in The Force Awakens. His role will more than likely be a small one, but it was really awesome to see him in action in this story. Aside from details on his character and the landscape of Jakku, there doesn’t seem to be much in the way of spoilers for the upcoming film, but this story is worth the read – and like the other tales in this series, at only $0.75 (US) right now on Google Play and Amazon, this one is definitely worth checking out.

 

 

The Face of Evil

 

The_Face_of_Evil_cover

 

In stark contrast with High Noon on Jakku, this story takes place in Maz Kanata’s castle on the forest covered world of Takodana. Incidently, the Duros on the cover does not really come into play in this story at all, but those furry minion-looking creatures, however, are certainly the big players in this horrific tale. The two aliens are scientists named Thromba and Laparo. They are female Frigosians, nocturnal creatures from Tansyl 5, and a new species that we first caught a glimpse of in the San Diego Comic-Con reel earlier this year. They wear goggles to protect their sensitive eyes from the light, and small breathing apparatuses to compensate for the atmospheric differences between Takodana and their homeworld. They also have a few anatomical surprises in store later in the story.

 

Warwick Davis and a Frigosian (Comic-Con Reel)

 

The story begins with the heavily tattooed red-haired human thief, Ryn Biggleston, who we find betraying her partner in crime and leaving her for dead in her ship in orbit above Takodana. In a last ditch effort of revenge, her partner, the Balosar criminal known as BeeLee Amdas, sent a broadcast on an open channel revealing Biggleston’s identity as a criminal, which proves problematic for the woman who was attempting to fly under the radar and stay off the grid. Now her secrets were out and she needed to do more than just hide out on a lawless word like Takodana. With every bounty hunter in the area on her tail, she needed to disappear altogether. Off she goes to Maz Kanata’s castle, well known as a safe haven with open arms for criminals like her, at least for a price.

 

Castle

 

Biggleston is allowed to take refuge in the castle for only one night, as one of BeeLee’s old friends with some influence in the compound found issue with Biggleston’s betrayal of her partner. Out of options and with no time to lose, Biggleston runs into the Snivvian hunchback known as Drix, whose job is to aid the mad Frigosian scientists in their laboratory high in one of the castle towers. Drix had been following Biggleston and informs her that the Frigosian cryptosurgeons would be able to help her reinvent herself with a total makeover – which would include procedures like facial reconstruction and fingerprint, dental, retinal, and tattoo alterations to name a few.

 

Biggleston agrees to the procedure with a plan to skip out on the Frigosians after the operation is complete, taking advantage of their agreement to accept partial payment before the operation. Biggleston plans on leaving without paying the remainder of her bill and get back to civilization on somewhere like Hosnian Prime or Candovant where she can commission a new ID and background to go with her new look. Unknown to Biggleston, however, the mad scientists may have a few surprises up the sleeves of their detatchable surgical tool appendages.

 

 

Verdict:

The Face of Evil was a fun quick read and reminded me a lot of the Goosebumps books I read religiously as a kid. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of reveals in this story regarding the upcoming film, and it definitely makes no attempt to mask its inspiration, which was a little distracting for a Star Wars tale. The similarities with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are impossible to miss, especially with such characters as the Igor-like Drix, the mad Frigosian scientists, and a monster that can only be described as an amalgamation of multiple alien species of the Star Wars universe. But the story is so brief, fun, and well paced that those similarities are easily forgiven. Did it feel like Star Wars? Not really, but that doesn’t really seem to be the purpose in Landry’s tale anyway. Read it as a fun, quirky, horror story that just happens to be set in the Star Wars universe and you might just find yourself smiling while you read this one.

 

 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this review which will include the other two tales: All Creatures Great and Small and The Crimson Corsair and the Lost Treasure of Count Dooku as well as an overall review of the series.  Stop by the Cantina to discuss Part 1 of this review or share your comments below.

 

Jordan Pate is Co-Lead Editor and Senior Writer for Star Wars News Net, of which he is also a member of the book and comic review team. He loves all things Star Wars, but when he’s not spending time in the galaxy far far away, he might be found in our own galaxy hanging out in Gotham City or at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, NY.

 

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