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Lumiya & Luke Skywalker

Star Wars
by yo go re

There's a danger inherent in a shared universe. The longer things run, the harder it is to keep all the continuity straight, and things will invariably begin to contradict one another. On the other hand, it can give the stories a very organic feel, wherein seemingly unimportant characters rise to prominence under future authors.

Luke Skywalker is defeated in a battle with Lumiya, the Dark Lady of the Sith, who wields her lightwhip with devastating precision. But this confrontation is far from over. Lumiya wants to punish the Jedi who caused her to become more cyborg than human, while Luke tries to persuade his opponent to turn away from the dark side.

Lumiya is half Mara Jade, half Galen Marek: she was briefly trained as Darth Vader's apprentice, but later he presented her to his master as an Emperor's Hand. In the original story, Vader just knew it would be a bad idea to hide a secret apprentice from the Emperor - now, thanks to the retcon of The Force Unleashed, we have a concrete reason why he'd think that. Last time he tried that, both he and his pupil got their asses handed to them.

Well before she was Dark Lady of the Sith, Lumiya was just Shira Brie, a loyalist from Coruscant who went undercover with the Rebellion in order to discredit Luke Skywalker and leave him with nowhere to turn except to his father. In fact, the plan almost worked when the Force led Luke to shoot Shira down in the midst of battle. We got a Shira last year as part of an exclusive three-pack, but that might as well be a different character.

Lumiya wears a skintight suit that seems to be made out of circuitry - she'd be a good base for a custom Circuit Breaker, for those looking to complete their Transformers or Secret Wars collections. She has a tattered black softgoods cape that's long enough to drag on the ground behind her, though it's still shorter than it seemed in the comics, where it was generally shown dominating every panel it was in. Spawn's got nothing on her.

The figure has two heads: the one she's wearing in the package has a mask and a complicated headwrap that disguise her, leaving the eyes exposed; the second shows her unmasked and sporting a few injuries. The unmasked head has a wonderful sculpt, with silver cybernetics showing through her wounds (and appropriately sculpted beneath the surface of her skin), but it looks too big on her body. Maybe it's just the contrast of the tight hat versus her poofy hair. Leaving the cape on helps.

Lumiya moves at the neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, waist, hips and knees. Her only accessory is the improbable "lightwhip" - a much more flexible weapon than the Jedis' traditional lightsaber. I can almost accept the idea of an energy sword, because energy travels in a straight path, but a whip? That's stretching things. Additionally, Lumiya's whip was said to have multiple components: not just energy, but also metal and leather thongs. Sure, okay. How does the lightsaber part not cut right through the other parts? The accessory is curved, but still 4½" long and at least 3" across.

Wow, what do you know? Another Comic Pack with a Luke Skywalker in it. I've bought comic packs only sparingly, but this is already the fourth Luke I've ended up with. This one looks like an auto mechanic - I expect him to slide out from under a car on a creeper, wipe his hands on a dirty rag and tell me I need to replace my serpentine belt.

This figure is kitbashed from a few pre-existing sources. The legs come from a black-suited Rancor-bait Luke, while the chest comes from one of the expensive "Vintage"-style figures. He gets a new head, arms and lower torso, but the total package looks good overall. He has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, elbows, knees and ankles, swivel wrists and hips, and a balljointed torso of one type or another.

Shira Brie was introduced in the gap between Empire and Jedi, but she didn't return as Lumiya until after the movies were over, in 1985. Appropriately, the Luke in this set has a new facial sculpt, slightly older than the RotJ figures, but still younger than the Heir to the Empire/Dark Empire figures. The art in the comic doesn't really make the same distinction, so the fact that the toy does is a nice bonus.

Luke has his normal lightsaber, though the blade almost looks yellow, rather than green. But then again, in the comic, it looks blue, so who knows what color it's meant to be? He also comes with a shoto, or short lightsaber: it has a shorter hilt, and the blade is only half the length of the standard 'saber. If the comic is to believed, Luke jury-rigged the shoto by somehow hooking a normal sword up to extra power packs for a blaster. Yeah, that makes sense. Anyway, fighting Florentine style allowed Luke to compensate for the dual natures of Lumiya's lightwhip and eventually defeat her.

This comic pack, #42 by Hasbro's reckoning, is a bit different than most of the others. It includes a reprint of Star Wars #96, which is one of the Marvel books. However, the cover and indicia inside give credit to Dark Horse. It makes sense that Lucasfilm would own all the work, but does that really mean they get to put Dark Horse's info on Marvel's book? Anyway, the story is good, and the art, though perhaps dated by today's standards, really shows some true skill at storytelling. For instance, Lumiya never tells Luke who she is, but you can pinpoint the moment he recognizes her.

Although she was introduced (and apparently killed off) as a character in the Marvel comics over 25 years ago, Lumiya became a pretty major force throughout the Expanded Universe. She was the one who trained Carnor Jax in Dark Horse's Crimson Empire, and eventually showed up in the novels to turn Jacen Solo to the dark side. I bought this set mainly to get the Dark Lady, but the Luke turned out to be pretty decent and the comic was a fun read, as well. That's a winning combination!

-- 01/10/09


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