Saturday, 14 March 2015
AN 'EMPIRE' AT 35: REMEMBERING 'DEATH PROBE'
Continuing the air of darkness and violence so prevalent during events of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, MARVELS's first all-new original adventure from the sterling team of writer Archie Goodwin and artist Carmine Infantino, after the series previous acclaimed six-issue adaptation, sees Luke Skywalker, trapped on a derelict Rebel cruiser alongside buddy Artoo Detoo, using all of his skills as a pilot and a Jedi-to-be against an augmented and heavily armed Probe Droid that's under remote control from a glory-seeking Imperial commenader. Can Luke stop the droid before it discovers his identity, and locks onto the path of the incoming, on-the-run Rebel fleet?
Death Probe is a great first adventure launching the new series- the idea of using the Probe Droid as a combatant is one of the best seen in what was once the early days of the Expanded STAR WARS universe, and its artistically brought to striking life (check out the opening spread of the Probe Droid smashing into the cruiser's hull and blasting away at its Rebel prey- truly impactful)- a fine way to tell the comic reading audience that the encapsulating post EMPIRE storytelling/timeline has begun with a bang. As a solo story for Luke its equally important: seeing him testing his abilities after the mental and physical scars he received from duelling Darth Vader. Here, as his predicament worsens, he also uses the Force in a new way: controlling his breathing in order to make it look as if he's barely alive to the Probe Droid's sensor readings, and gets to wield his lightsaber (still being mis-spelled "Lightsabre"), presumably written and pencilled before the EMPIRE adaptation had been fully completed and it was known that Luke would ultimately lose the civilised weapon at Bespin.