Comic Review: “Star Wars” Free Comic Book Day 2024 Has the Rebel Heroes Returning to Echo Base On Hoth

This past Saturday (also May the 4th) was Free Comic Book Day 2024, and for that occasion Marvel Comics released an exclusive Star Wars issue split between two different stories. Below are my brief recaps and thoughts on this release.

Star Wars Free Comic Book Day 2024 kicks off with a tale (written by author Charles Soule and illustrated by Ibraim Roberson) about our Rebel Alliance heroes from Marvel’s flagship Star Wars title, namely Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Lando Calrissian, and Chewbacca. It’s not clear when exactly this story takes place (as Lando is not on trial here like he is in the current Star Wars run), but it is broadly set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi. Leia holds a briefing informing the others that they must return to the ice planet Hoth in order to retrieve some other rebel soldiers who were left behind during the evacuation. So this group takes the Millennium Falcon back to Echo Base, where a squadron of Imperial snowtroopers is still holed up with an officer who is being punished for a recent failure on Coruscant. There’s a fun multi-page battle sequence between our heroes and the Imperials, followed by a transport chase through the icy plains of Hoth after the remaining rebel soldiers are rescued.

Here’s where things get really interesting: in the desperate search for shelter during a snowstorm, Luke senses the Wampa cave where he was held prisoner by the snow creature during The Empire Strikes Back. The rebels hole up there and even wind up eating the arm of the Wampa that Luke chopped off back then. Gross! I almost couldn’t believe what I was seeing, but I can’t say this comic wasn’t at the very least memorable because of that. The Imperial forces pursuing our heroes also come to a rather dark ending due to the snowstorm, and then the comic switches gears to the second story, which does take place between the current issues of Star Wars: Darth Vader by Greg Pak. At Zee-Nine City Seven, Vader takes out some Imperial stormtroopers and an officer who plan to assassinate him for his recent crimes against the Emperor, and then the Dark Lord has a vision of Palpatine himself pitting Vader against his son Luke Skywalker (in a glimpse at events to come in Return of the Jedi).

Then Pak and artist Ramon Rosanas cut to the planet Sergia, where it is revealed that Padmé Amidala’s former handmaiden Sabé did actually survive her recent encounter with Lord Vader, and here she meets up with Warba Calip, the Force-using con-artist who misled Luke way back in the previous volume of Star Wars comics. Sabé wants help tracking down Luke, but Warba decides to put her through a test first– one that involves a local cantina, a box, and an indentured servant in need of help. In the end it is implied that Sabé failed the test, but it is also revealed that Warba is working for Vader himself, and that this story will be continued in the pages of the ongoing Darth Vader title. I really dug both of these stories, though only the second one seems like it will have any major impact on the continuing plots of Marvel’s regular Star Wars comics. Still, Soule’s story ended on such a twisted note that I can’t help but lean toward that one as my favorite. Either way, I think this Free Comic Book Day offering was likely a great way to introduce new fans to the consistently excellent Star Wars comics from Marvel, and hopefully those readers will carry over to the monthly releases.

Free Comic Book Day takes place on the first Saturday of May each year. Check your local comics retailer for more information.

Mike Celestino
Mike serves as Laughing Place's lead Southern California reporter, Editorial Director for Star Wars content, and host of the weekly "Who's the Bossk?" Star Wars podcast. He's been fascinated by Disney theme parks and storytelling in general all his life and resides in Burbank, California with his beloved wife and cats.