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Comic Book / Star Raiders

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A graphic novel loosely based on the Atari game Star Raiders, published in 1983 by DC Comics. Written by Elliot S! Maggin and painted by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez, it was the first title in the DC Graphic Novel series. The story follows Jedediah Poole and Tomorrow "Tommy" Hardtack, two human adventurers who find a desolate planet with the Star Raider, a small, nimble, and very powerful spaceship. Aided by Zeke Vicker, the planet's only survivor, Poole and Hardtack decide to start a rebellion against the tyrannical Zylons who have conquered the galaxy.

According to Comic Book Resources, the story was originally intended as a 120-page-long limited series. Unfortunately, due to The Great Video Game Crash of 1983, Atari canceled the deal with DC Comics midway through development. With 40 pages already completed, DC decided to cut its losses by commissioning an additional 20 pages to finish the story, then released it as a single volume.

The graphic novel provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Action Duo: Jed and Tommy's approach to almost any situation is to act first and never bother with planning.
  • Asteroids Monster: The Zylons. Blasting one into a dozen pieces will quickly result in a dozen fully-grown Zylons; the only way to completely destroy one is to send it into the vacuum of space.
  • Cool Starship: The Star Raider is a fast, nimble one-man attack craft with a warp drive and disproportionately heavy armament and defenses. It's so cool that simply discovering it inspires Jed and Tommy to start La Résistance against the Zylons and use it as their flagship.
  • The Empath: Skrimish eventually discovers he has telepathic powers. He later uses this ability to sabotage the Zylons' defenses and fly into their base.
  • The Empire: The Zylons are implied to have a tyrannical one for nearly a thousand years, enforced through their Hive Mind, but very little of it is actually shown.
  • Hive Mind: The Zylons. Later becomes their Fatal Flaw.
  • Hive Queen: Not a Zylon, but a telepathic Guattean biologist who took control.
  • Insectoid Aliens: The Zylons have a decidedly chitinous insect-line appearance, as shown in the work image above.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Jed Poole yells bombastic insults at anyone within earshot, but he won't hesitate to leap into action if any of his companions are in danger.
  • Last of His Kind: Skrimish.
    • Zeke might also count, being the last survivor of the Zylon attack on his planet, though it's obvious there are other humans elsewhere in the galaxy.
  • Left Hanging: Unavoidable due to the compressed story and truncated ending.
  • Meaningful Name/Tomboyish Name: Tomorrow "Tommy" Hardtack.
  • Merchandise-Driven: The novel was originally created as a marketing tool for Atari's Video Game of the same name.
  • Pirate Girl: Tommy, a Space Pirate complete with eyepatch.
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: Due to its truncated development, the graphic novel seems meandering at times, setting up plot points and characters that are never explored in detail. It makes more sense as a starting point for either an extended Story Arc (as originally intended) or an ongoing series, however.
  • Psychic Link: The Star Raider has a "brain bug" to allow the pilot to telepathically communicate with his peers; Jeb uses it to warn Tommy from an ambush. Later, it is implied that Skrimish uses it to control the Zylons when he attacks their homeworld.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The rebellion against the Zylons consist of Tommy, Jed, Zeke, and a half-dozen alien recruits.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Zeke, who somehow acquired immortality due to lingering radiation after the Zylon attack that decimated the rest of his planet.
  • Rewrite: The origins and appearance of the Zylons in the graphic novel directly contradict what was previously established in Atari Force mini-comic #3.
  • Space Pirates: Tommy and Jeb are implied to be as such. Tommy even sports an eyepatch...
  • Spear Carrier: The other recruits to the rebellion, except for Skrimish — aside from a line of two establishing their backgrounds, they're irrelevant to the story.
  • Spin-Off: From Atari Force (first series) #3.
  • Standard Sci-Fi Setting: Easy faster than light travel? Check. Psychic Powers? Check. Scary Dogmatic Aliens? Check. Dozens of inconsequential alien races? Check. The Empire and La Résistance? Check. Epic space battles? Check.
  • Supporting Protagonist: Jed. He starts off as the main hero of the story, but around halfway through the focus shifts to Skrimish instead.
  • Telepathic Spacemen: The Guatteans are a race of empaths, exterminated by the Zylons decades ago. Skrimish is the Last of His Kind.
  • There Is Another: The Zylon Hive Queen, who's actually a Guattean biologist.