Alan Moore's Star Wars Episode IV: 'Rust Never Sleeps'
Our first exploration of Alan Moore’s Star Wars introduced "The Paragon Effect".
Now it’s the turn of two very familiar droids to see action in “Rust Never Sleeps,” a tale first published in Marvel UK’s The Empire Strikes Back Monthly #156 (released in May of 1982).
C-3PO and R2-D2 are the main characters featured within, with Alan Davis penciling the robotic ruckus. Back in the early days of the Bearded One’s career, Davis was a frequent collaborator, illustrating the likes D.R. & Quinch, Marvelman, and Captain Britain.
This five-pager takes place on planet Ronyards, which is essentially a vast graveyard for droids. Some regions of the wandering star accommodate piles of ex-robots up to five miles deep, with most new arrivals having already met with demise. But Ronyards does still host traces of life—synthetic survivors who believe their abode to be the living body of a "god" warranting its own religion!
After hitching a ride to Ronyards aboard a junk hauler, C-3PO and R2-D2 (purporting to bear the same level of life as John Cleese’s parrot) meet with Fivelines, a cleric heralded by a dedicated band of disciples. The duo warns Fivelines of imminent invasion by the Empire, aiming to fleece the planet of its metal. Fivelines dismisses the cautionary message, believing his celestial stature will provide apt protection from such an incursion. Alas, Fivelines comes minus the otherworldly equivalent of a bulletproof Pope Mobile, leaving an Imperial Star Destroyer free to expunge him.
Luckily for Fivelines’ followers, the “god” that is their planet decides to unleash some carnage of its own—a sentient mound of scrap obliterates a drove of stormtroopers before making equally quick work of their vessel.
In truth, “Rust Never Sleeps” is the least significant of Moore’s Star Wars yarns. It feels rather automated, impersonal and spiritless, at least by the author’s lofty standards. But any story that features a lunging pile of homicidal scrap shellacking an Imperial Star Destroyer warrants at least some attention... Oh, and Alan Davis makes sure the deluge of demolition looks very pretty.
Next time: Alan Moore’s final jaunt into the world of Star Wars sees Luke Skywalker thrust into the cosmic fray!