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Comic Book / Steam Wars

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Steam Wars is a five issue comic book by Fred Perry (of Gold Digger fame) and published by Antarctic Press. It is meant as a steampunk semi-parody/re-telling of Star Wars made during the time of the company's Steampunk phase.

At first glance the story is pretty much how the Star Wars movie goes down: An evil empire, in this case, the Hegemonic Crux, oppressing a world lead by an evil being known as Lord Baron (Darth Vader’s counterpart). A resistance trying to stop him lead by Duchess Imoen (Princess Leia’s counterpart), with a few key members such as bounty hunter Hansel Lowe and his furry bear companion, Smokey (Han Solo and Chewbacca’s counterparts). The last of a order of knights known as Quantum Dragoons (the Jedi Order’s counterparts) named Beauregard "Bo" Baron (Luke Skywalker’s counterpart), who use powers similar to Lord Baron and plenty of secrets that tie in with the main characters. There’s also Klesse (C-3PO’s counterpart), General Teft (Boba Fett’s counterpart), Master Yodel (Yoda’s counterpart, although she doesn’t appear in the first miniseries), the hegemonic shock troopers (the Imperial Stormtroopers’s counterparts) and many, many more characters to add to the list.

However the similarities ends in appearances and roles, the story is very much it's own original creation with many of it own twists and of course the setting using many steampunk themes and imagery which makes for a fun read to fans of Star Wars or the sci-fi and steampunk genre in general.

A sequel book, Steam Wars: First Empire followed along with another book, Steam Wars: Bounty Hunters as well as a 2015 Holiday special. The comic also had the honor of being reviewed on Atop the Fourth Wall (albeit under the request of a Patreon sponsor) that Fred himself, who is a fan of the show, even supplied the title card for the episode. In 2017, the Holiday Special was likewise reviewed on the show (again, Patreon requested).

Here's a for page preview from First Empire.

Steam Wars has the following examples

  • Adaptational Badass:
    • Clees, the expy of C3-PO who likes to wield a gatling gun in battle.
    • Also, Imoen, the Princess Leia Expy, is able to use the Steam Wars equivalent of the force and ends up killing the story’s Big Bad later on.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Generals Dolan and Teft are but Red Herrings for the traitor's identity.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • That little white lie Palpatine told Vader about him killing his wife in anger? Lord Baron actually did that very thing.
    • Duke Xenobia, whose Star Wars counterpart would be Bail Organa, turns out to be the traitor.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of Star Wars unsurprisingly, though not a word for word one of it.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Lord Baron to Bo. What little dialogue between the two reveals Bo's mother was the one that started the rebellion when Lord Baron joined the Hegemonic Crux. Baron later on killed her which Bo is rightly cross over.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Smokey who, unlike his Expy counterpart Chewbacca, is actually just a bear.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Bo introduces himself to the rebels by saving them from a ambush attack from Lord Baron's men.
  • Boom, Headshot!: How Lord Baron is beaten. Imoen shoots at him but he uses his power to switch places with him so she takes the bullets. However her latent Dragoon power arc the shot up slightly that it barely misses her head(being significantly shorter than Baron helped, too). Causing the shot to ricochet off a wall and right into Lord Baron's face.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Bo awakens an ability called Quantum Decoherent Vision which allows him to see a bit into the future which is how he managed to save Taft from an ambush and instruct the remaining rebels on what to do next after Imoen's group is captured. However since it's a recent ability, against Lord Baron, whose much more experienced in Quantum power, it's not quite as useful.
  • Cool Airship: The aptly named "Death Blimp".
  • Crazy-Prepared: Bo sets up a drone in the swamps and has it lie in wait to rescue General Taft knowing Lord Baron will likely have his men try to ambush him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Klesse the C3-PO Expy who takes a lot of the danger in stride.
  • Decoy Protagonist: Bo looks to come off as the main character. But it's really Duchess Imoen who is destined to be one of the greatest Dragoons.
  • Future Badass: Duchess Imoen as we see an image of her in full Dragoon gear.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: Bo spells right out that Lord Baron is his father in the first issue.
    • The comic drops small hints that could possibly suggest Bo and Immoen are (half-)siblings.
  • Quantum Mechanics Can Do Anything: How a lot of Quantum Dragoons power work with the main one being supposedly being able to teleport when really it's using quantum power to put yourself in different spots at once.
  • Red Herring: The comic uses its very nature to pull one off on the reader.: In he second issue, the rebels are suddenly besieged by Shock Troopers and the Rebel generals figure that somebody in their ranks must be a mole. the three rebel commanders are General Dolan, Duchess Immoen's father, and General Teft, who happens to be the Expy of Boba Fett. The mole turns out to in fact be Imoen's father and leader of the rebellion, Duke Xenobia.
  • Related in the Adaptation: Bo mentions that he was taught the ways of the Quantum Dragoons by his uncle Jessie. So far, that would make Jessie the closest equivalent to Obi-Wan in the story, yet Lord Baron mentions later on that Jessie is his brother. So, basically, in this universe, Vader and Kenobi’s counterparts are brothers.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The bear being named Smokey
    • CL-335 mentions a "blasted samoflange".
    • Hansel's ship being named the Twentieth Century Fox.
    • Bo himself is one. Being the Expy of Luke Skywalker, his last name is that of a noble title. Another noble title with a fictional connection to the names Bo and Luke? Duke.
  • Spirit Advisor: Master Yodel supposely When she explains to the Dragoon Candidates that she has seen them topple the empire. She briefly let's slip her guise revealing a very decrepit figure implying she's Living on Borrowed Time till the candidates can master the ways of the Dragoon. Once they do, she fades away, her mission accomplished.
  • Steampunk: The main selling point for the story. Everyone uses devices such as muskets, electricity or, of course, steam in their weapons, devices and vehicles rather then hi-tech technology.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: As General Taft starts planning his counter-attack, he shows one of the rebel captains the tape Bo left for him giving him instructions on what to do if they're captured.
    Taft: Weird huh although this next part was a bit confus—
    Wilrald: How did he know!?
    Bo: (on the recording): I'm not sure how myself Captain Wilrald.
    Wilrald Damn!!!
    Bo: I've never experienced a Quantum Decoherent Vision before...But here in the past. I can observe you both in the future.
    Wilrald: And hear us?
    Bo: Yes. I can see you quite clearly, Captain Wilrald.
    Taft: Look...Hold on...I want to see if he still says Fifty—
    Wilrald: All right. What's five times two?
    Bo: Fifty-Two
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass: Imeon in the fourth issue as she begins running around the base and commanding the rebels in order to hold off Lord Baron's army. If it wasn't for her father, the heroes might've been able to escape.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Duchess Imoen comes off this way at the start of the comic even in the face of all the danger they face. She does mellow out by the end of it however.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Lord Baron's main philosophy. He believes power and lack of compassion are the only things one needs to be strong and that things like compassion and friendship are a weakness.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: In the prequel strips, Master Yodel (who here is portrayed as a little girl) tries to teach three Dragoon candidates how to use the Quantum power by simply playing games.
  • We Have Reserves: When Lord Baron's men raid the rebel hideout but are stymied by hallway full of makeshift mines. The commander tries his best get his men through without more casualties. Lord Baron however grows impatient, kills him and orders his men to charge through regardless knowing this. He's not completely heartless though, as he sends the remaining two men for medical attention afterwards and promises they'll be rewarded for their efforts assuming they survive.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Duke Xenobia who tries to surrender the rebellion to Lord Baron when he feels there's no other way to oppose the Hegemonic Crux. It's winds up backfiring horribly when Lord Baron doesn't keep his word to spare his people.
  • You Killed My Mother: In Bo and Lord Baron's first fight, it's revealed Baron was the one who killed Bo's mother (i.e: his wife) when she started a rebellion against him.