Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
Before the Encyclopedia Browns in my audience correct my spelling I must protest in my defence that I made no mistake in writing Hut instead of Hutt. We hardcore fans all know it’s Jabba the Hutt, not Jabba the Hut. And I know this as well as the next fan. However, the writers of the Classic Marvel Star Wars comics apparently did not. So for the sake of accuracy in representing this issue I have retained the erroneous spellings used throughout issue 28 of the Classic Marvel series.
The story takes place immediately after Han and Chewie left The Wheel in the Millennium Falcon. They are attacked by an Imperial Star Destroyer and as usual Han Solo’s reaction is to jump into hyperspace. Unfortunately, after making point 5 past light speed the ship – famed for making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs – stalls on the two smugglers. Han quickly realises that the repairs conducted on the ship at The Wheel were inadequate and makes an emergency landing in a cave on planet Orleon make some last minute fixes.
Orleon to Han and Chewie’s dismay turns out to be a favourite hideout for none other than Jabba the Hut himself! (And, yes, like in the Marvel comic adaptation of the film Jabba is still a yellow walrus man in an orange suit.) Jabba, delighted, though surprised, immediately orders his men to kill Han and the Wookiee. With no alternative but to remain in hiding Han Solo and Chewbacca stay in the cave defending themselves against blaster fire while finishing the needed repairs. One of Jabba’s less intelligent goons suggests using proton grenades, but Jabba refuses since that could risk damaging the Millennium Falcon which he covets for himself.
Much of the blaster fire between Jabba’s thugs and Han and Chewie results in destroying large portions of the cave creating leaks from which a hive of insects begin to come to out. Han recognises these creatures instantaneously as stone mites which were a bio-engineered species created during the Clone Wars that secreted a strong acid that could eat through a planet’s mineral resources. And soon several of Jabba’s men stupidly decide to disobey the employer known for owning a rancor pit just in case someone displeases him and throw proton grenades in the cave anyway. The resultant explosion unleashes more of the stone mites which attack Jabba’s men who flee back to their master’s ship The Voidraker and Han and Chewie head back to their ship which is now crawling with the bugs.
Aboard the Falcon Han uses the ship’s de-icing system to heat the outer hull and kill the stone mites, but the ship begins to overheat fast leaving him with no choice but to turn it off. Plan B, however, proves more effective which involved blasting the roof of the cave and taking off at the same time. Leaving insects and crime lords behind the famed spice freighter makes it back to space repaired and fully functional. There they find Jabba’s ship laying dormant just as they receive a message from the Hut begging for permission to come aboard. Apparently, one of his more incompetent help (which narrows nothing down) brought several stone mites aboard which killed everyone accept Jabba and now were in the process of devouring the Voidraker from the inside out. Seeing a profitable opportunity Han grants Jabba safety aboard the Millennium Falcon on the condition that he cancels their debt and the prices on their heads and that he even adds a monetary bonus for their trouble. Jabba enraged, but with no other options accepts.
This issue, of course, poses a few obvious problems. For one thing the debt Han Solo owes Jabba is reneged in this issue which cannot possibly remain in effect for the events soon to follow in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Thankfully, this is no real contradiction because in a later issue it gets resolved. You will either have to wait for my review or read the classic issues yourself, but for now let’s suffice it say that Han Solo will find himself in debt to Jabba once again.
The other problem is that Jabba is still does not look like a traditional Hutt. And sadly this gaping continuity error about his physical appearance is never explained. In the issues prior to Return of the Jedi he is a walrus and then suddenly he is a slug. His sudden transition, however, remains a mystery. There is no in-universe explanation that I know of made to resolve this. It will just have to remain one of those things a reader will have to ignore as he enjoys the Classic Marvel era of Star Wars comics. The writers did know what a Hutt looked like before Return of the Jedi and that is best we can get for an explanation.
Overall this story is a quick read, with some nice, fun action and adventure to please fans. We’re still miles away from Timothy Zahn so aiming higher than that is not a realistic expectation.
Check in next time for my review of Classic Marvel #29 Dark Encounter
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