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Marvel Star Wars #50
Published: August 1981

Dropping the Falcon from hyperspace near an Imperial base, Lando and Chewie battle TIEs. A Blockade Runner arrives and Leia says to halt the search for Han and follow her to Golrath, a volcanic world housing a Rebel base in a magma-smelting plant. In the medical wing, 2-1B treats Luke for Crimson Forever, a deadly plague that reddens the eyes and the body. He caught it while leading an X-Wing squad (including Red 3) aboard a Star Destroyer that appeared with a dead crew. Two pilots found a red jewel in a carbonite canister, which spread the plague and required isolation of the pilots, and all but Luke died. His Force-sense may have saved him, but they won't destroy the ship until they know more. Han once told her of a journey beyond the galaxy involving two red jewels; Chewie is mad, for Han promised to keep it a secret, but she coaxes him to tell, with 3PO translating, as follows. Meanwhile, Luke, sees images of Vader, Kenobi, and Yoda in his mind and feels surrounded by evil.

Ferrying spies for Leia, Han and Chewie spot Star Destroyers and escape to Terminus, a high-traffic cross-galactic shipping center. Storing the Falcon with false credentials, Han seeks a cantina where Swamp Maidens dance, but a gunman shoots them and they awaken with other mercenaries aboard an intergalactic bulk-freighter, Nova Prince . A mobile hold-tender droid claims they're headed for the Red Nebula, beyond the known galaxy. Their jailer, Klysk, appears on a viewscreen, offers rewards if they work hard, death if they don't, and punctuates by giving Han a slight ion charge. His people are exiles who plan to steal the Great Life Jewels and destroy their exilers. They hit a comet/meteor storm, but Han pilots them to a world thrown from the galaxy by cosmic upheaval; he also deactivates their ion-charged manacles. Landing on a world cratered like a class-D moon, they walk to a temple and town untouched by meteors, where Klysk says to take all they wish but find the Jewels and keep them united. As others loot the town, Han and Chewie enter the temple. A priest says the Jewels fell from space and protect the area from destruction. Han tries to take them, but Zud and two others take them instead. The Guardian, a huge beast sworn to protect the Jewels, kills the men and thinks Chewie a cub. As Han takes the Jewels to Klysk, the Guardian plays with a humiliated Chewie. Klysk leaves with the Jewels and mercenaries, abandoning Han and Chewie as punishment for deactivating the manacles. The priest takes Han to a tracking room, where Han is shocked to see Nova Prince plunge into the sun. The priest says Klysk's followers believed they should have died in the cataclysm, and returned to destroy the Jewels and end their blasphemous existence. Han admits he gave Klysk a bag of rocks, then brings the priest to a grove where he hid the Jewels, findings a dead mercenary who tried to steal them separately, unleashing the Crimson Forever. The priest restores the Jewels to the temple and gives Han and Chewie a ship to return home, grateful for their unintentional help.

As Chewie finishes his tale, a Rebel reports that Luke has succumbed to the disease. Leia, Chewie, and Lando board the Falcon for the Red Nebula but stop when they detect a ship. Chewie hopes it's Slave 1 so he can kill Fett, but it's a derelict House of Tagge Mining Explorer. Boarding, Lando and Leia find the crew dead of Crimson Forever. They search for the second Jewel, but IG-88 captures them and brings them to Domina Tagge. Seeking the destruction of Luke and Vader, she learned of the Jewels and hired IG-88, Bossk, 4-LOM, Dengar, and others to kill the Guardian and the Red Nebula inhabitants and take them. Torturing the priest revealed the Jewels' secret, and when one of Vader's Star Destroyers stopped them, she gave them one Jewel and the location of Golrath, defeating two enemies at once. Before dying, the priest unleashed the other jewel. She secured the room in time but could not leave due to damage caused by the Imperials. Intending to steal the Falcon , the hunters try to take their suits, but Lando ays he has the plague. As they react in fear, Lando and Leia run and open all doors between them and the plagued area so none can follow. Leia decides to leave without the Jewel and use droids to remove the other from Golrath, but Domina offers the Jewel and a cure if they rescue her. The Jewels, which are alive, radiate a positive aura when together and a negative one when apart; the life-slowing only resembles death and is reversible if the Jewels are reuinted. They return to Golrath, where IG-88 reunites the jewels, but only Luke revives. The shock of fighting a deadly virus killed the rest, while his dream saved him. As per agreement, Leia gives Domina and the hunters an escape ship, then programs the Star Destroyer to leave the galaxy with the Jewels. She hates letting Domina go, but Lando admits that he convinced the bounty hunters to turn her over to the Empire for a reward. EnsViews Comic Review

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"EnsViews" are copyright ? 1997-8 by Paul Ens. They are posted to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc, emailed to Dark Horse Comics and archived on theForce.net. Cover scans are courtesy of Mark Lookabaugh.

Titles, Cover images, Marvel Comics, and the Marvel logo are trademarks of Marvel Comic Group and its respective Licensors.

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