Star Wars Epic Collection The Newspaper strips Vol. 2 collects newspaper strips from the early 80's- the time between the first two Star Wars movies. The rebel base is still on Yavin 4, Luke is still untrained as a Jedi, and Darth Vader is trying to track him down. These are a lot of fun, a little simplistic in terms of storytelling, but they're clearly geared for newspaper storytelling- short, punchy and lots of action. In fact, the pace rarely flags, which is both a blessing and a curse. The strips read fast, but there's not a lot of characterization and not a whole lot of depth either. What there is, however, is beautiful artwork.
The planetary vistas are gorgeous, and that's honestly why I bought this. Al Williamson is well known for his beautiful art and that is really the highlight here. There are some neat story devices though- the love triangle between Luke, Leia and Han is in full bloom, although it's more in the nature of a friendly rivalry, which is nice. There are some nice touches, as when Leia uses Han to further her goals. The imagination is fun too- we have Serpent Masters, a graveyard of lost ships, an underwater base with amazing visuals. I love the scene where Han and Luke are looking out over the deep from windows underwater.
A lot of the characters introduced here are compelling or have a lot of potential, I'd like to see more of 'em. Tanith Shire is one in particular- a a rogue who has a thing for Luke. Between her and an android later in the story- Luke has a fair amount of girlfriend material here, in case things don't work out with a certain princess!
The locations are fabulous too. The Yavin temples, the underwater base, aqua skimmers- Imperial hover trains, the Iron Tower on a desolate world- visually this is an amazing collection. The stories are a bit far fetched, but this is a showcase for the art, frankly. Luke having to deal with his inexperience in the Force is also a highlight- I think that was done really well.