I had a read of the Star Wars Infinities Omnibus recently (thanks to the eclectic comic collection at my local library), published by Dark Horse comics. The premise of it is pretty much exactly like Marvel’s What If…? – where key moments of established stories are altered, and then we get to see how the story progresses from there. As such, Infinities is sort of the ideal Star Wars comic for me. The prequel films only hold a passing interest, and I’m not drawn to the “expanded universe” at all. Straight-up adaptations of the original movies feel like a bit of a waste of time, but Infinities is fun because they are like watching alternate versions of the movies that I enjoy. Sort of like watching the Richard Donner cut of Superman II, but with less awkward editing.
This Omnibus contains three such narratives, one for each of the films, that were each released as individual miniseries early this millenium, each by creative teams I have never heard of (though that by no means implies they are not noted writers and artists with impressive bodies of work and celebrated contributions to the comic book medium)
The first story, A New Hope by writer Chris Warner and artists Drew Johnson and Al Rio, tells the most complete saga and worked the best for me. It picks up from the end of Star Wars, except that Luke (through no fault of his own) fails to destroy the Death Star. This results in the rebellion being crushed and Princess Leia captured again by the Empire. Luke finds himself on Dagobah training with Yoda still, but Leia is lured to the dark side and becomes a puppet of the now unopposed Empire. Even with all this trauma, it still all comes to rights, keeping the general uplifting happy ending vibe that us original trilogy fans want from our Star Wars.
The Empire Strikes Back tale is by Dave Land, Davide Fabbri, and Christian Dalla Vecchia. It diverts on Hoth, where Han Solo is just a bit too late to rescue Luke from the snow. This results in Leia training with Yoda while Darth Vader wrecks havoc across the galaxy looking for his son (who he doesn’t know has died on Hoth). This story suffers from having been written after Episode II had come out. Vader tinkers with C-3PO and basically acts like the spoiled brat we saw in that movie. He’s even “played by” both Hayden Christensen and Jake Lloyd in one scene where he fights Yoda in a mental landscape. In the end, Leia, Yoda, and Vader all meet up and fight, arms are cut off everywhere, and the good guys win.
Return of the Jedi, by Adam Gallardo, Ryan Benjamin, Dan Norton, Juvaun Kirby, and Saleem Crawford, is the least interesting for me. It shows a story where the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba the Hutt goes badly, and Han remains frozen and in Boba Fett’s control. Everyone spends a long time trying to track down Fett, but once they do the story plays out pretty much as Jedi did, except that Han remains blind, the Emperor escapes, and Vader is not only redeemed but also lives (and changes to a white costume). This could have been an interesting world to explore but instead it’s just used as a final stinger.
So in the end, it’s a fun find at a library (ie, it was free). For anyone looking for a real exploration of the Star Wars mythology, it might seem a bit pointless. But for a Star Wars fan like me, it was a diverting and enjoyable read.