Chinese Star Wars Comic (Part 5 of 6): We have to destroy the Death Star!6 min read

This is part of five of a six part post in which I plan to translate a 142 page Chinese comic book adaptation of Star Wars originally published in Guangdong, China, in the 1980s. Thanks to Maggie Greene for giving me the go ahead to re-post her scans, and Brendan O’Kane for bringing this to my attention. In this episode, Obi-wan sacrifices himself  so that Leia and droids can be escorted to Yavin IV,  Han and Chewie take off with their big reward, and Luke joins the Rebel assault on the Death Star… 

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100. Luke takes out a small communicator and impatiently yells for C3PO, but he gets no response. Just as all four of them are about to be crushed by the walls of the garbage chute, C3PO’s reply is transmitted [through the radio]. Luke quickly asks him to turn off the device which is controlling the garbage chute so that they won’t be turned into a meaty pulp (roujiang 肉醬).


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101. Once the two walls have returned to their original position, Luke pushes aside the trash covering the escape hatch so that he can see the [garbage chute] number clearly. Right away he radios C3P0, saying, “Open the inspection hatch for [garbage chute] 336-191.” In this way they are able to escape from the garbage chute.


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102. But as soon as they enter the corridor they run into the Imperial Stormtroopers again. Solo takes Chewbacca to fight them off while Luke and Princess Leia run off down a side corridor only to discover a bottomless chasm blocking their way. With no way forward and the enemy close behind, what can be done?

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103. In a flash of inspiration, Luke finds an electrical cable and lassos the opposite side. He embraces Princess Leia with one arm and grabs the cable with the other, using the cable like a pendulum to swing across. From there they run quickly in the direction of the space craft.


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104. Luke, Princess Leia, Solo, Chewbacca, and the two robots are reunited near the space craft. Coincidentally Kenobi has just finished his mission to destroy the power source of the tractor beam. As they are walking towards the space craft, Vader suddenly appears.


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105. To protect the others, Kenobi stays behind to face Vader alone. He says to him calmly, “You still have much to learn.” He turns on his lightsaber and Vader does the same, saying to him in answer, “My school days are far behind me. It is now time for the student to surpass the master.”


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106. Kenobi lunges at Vader furiously, and Vader blocks with equal speed. The two men parry back and forth, sending forth a shower of sparks and a cascade of flashes.


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107. Due to his age, Kenobi can’t keep up and he is forced to retreat, step by step, towards the space craft.


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108. Luke the others take advantage of the fact that the guards defending the space craft are distracted by Kenobi and Vader’s fight to quickly make their way to the craft.


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109. Kenobi looks back [to look at the ship] and Vader takes advantage of the opportunity to bring down his lightsaber. Lamentably, it is in this way Kenobi sacrifices himself.


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110. When Luke sees Kenobi get cut down he wants to rush over and revenge him, but Princess Leia holds him back, saying, “This isn’t what Kenobi wanted for you. We’ll have a chance [to get revenge] later. What we need to do now is leave here right away!” Only after hearing this can Luke be convinced to board the space craft.


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111. The vessel rises quickly into the air. Luke sits down, despondent over Kenobi’s death. Princess watches him silently for a time, and then takes off her cloak and drapes it softly over Luke’s shoulders.


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112. Despite the enemy’s [best efforts to] intercept and attack their space craft, they manage to shake them, swiftly arriving at the secret [Rebel] base on the fourth moon of the faraway planet of Yavin (Yawen 亞文).


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113. The [Rebels] welcome Leia back, greeting her warmly. Leia says, “I don’t have time to talk about the past. I believe we were followed.” Solo wants to disagree, but Leia cuts him off, saying, “That’s the only way to explain why we were able to escape so easily.”


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114. Under Princess Leia’s direction, the Rebels quickly decide to attack the Death Star using the technical schematics collected by R2. Leia says, “This is our only hope. We have to find a weak point in the Death Star and destroy it!”


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115. Little R2 is now the center of attention, his chassis projecting a diagram of the computer and database. The nearby bank of computer screens and monitors are displaying the data which has been stored on the microscopic data tapes that make up the robot’s brain. C3PO sees all this and is surprised to no end.


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116. After careful analysis they come to the conclusion that the Death Star’s only weakness is a two meter wide exhaust vent. The [exhaust vent covers] an unshielded duct which leads directly to the reactor which powers the base. If they can hit the exhaust vent with a proton torpedo, it will set off a chain reaction which will destroy the Death Star.


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117. Based on this information, the Rebels quickly develop a plan of attack and put it into action immediately, hoping to destroy the “Death Star” before it destroys them. Solo and his partner Chewbacca can’t be bothered about any of this, however, having already received a generous reward which they are busily loading into their safe.


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118. Luke tries to get him to stay and fight, but Solo jokes with him, saying, “What’s the point of getting a reward if you’re not around to spend it? Attacking the ‘Death Star’ isn’t heroic, it’s suicidal!” Disheartened, all Luke can do is leave. [It is clear that] Luke and Solo have developed a friendship in the course of their fighting [the Empire] together.


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119. Before Luke boards the X-Wing (X-Yi Feichuan X翼飛船) he is to fly into battle, Princess Leia comes to see him off and wish him success. R2 will accompany Luke on his ship, so C3PO arrives to see off his partner, too.


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120. The fighters take to the air. Luke belongs to Blue Squadron (lanse zhongdui 藍色中隊) which is tasked with defending Red Squadron during their attack on the Death Star exhaust vent, and, if necessary, step in to take their place.


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121. The “Death Star” appears before them, already close enough for them to make out the docking bays and antennas—man-made valleys and hills. How much creative ingenuity and material wealth it must have taken to build a battle station as big a moon!


Nick Stember
Nick Stember is a translator and historian of Chinese comics and science fiction, currently working on his PhD in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Cambridge. In 2016 he completed his Master of Arts in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of British Columbia with his (very readable and not at all obscure) thesis on the formation of the Shanghai Manhua Society in the mid-1920s.

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