Back in the 80s, we had to rely on Newsagents for our comic book fix. At some point, our local shop decided to just stop stocking the Star Wars comic, without telling anyone about it, so that was it for me. A couple of years later, when the title was changed to tie in with the release of Return of the Jedi, the comics started appearing again, so for a long time there was a big gap in my readership of the series. As a result I learned the true identity of Shira Brie, before even finding out who she was, or had been, or had been pretending to be. Yes, the latest love interest for Luke Skywalker was an Imperial Agent, and ended up as an evil, Force wielding Vaderette.

Like most women in comics, Shira was sexy, but unlike many of them she was always fully dressed. Even though she didn’t make that many appearances, she always came across as a strong personality and it’s easy to see why Luke fell for her. I guess he was just beginning to realise that he had no chance with Leia, what with her preoccupied with finding the carbonite frozen Han Solo at the time.

Before Jedi came out I always thought the issue was finding Han, and that’s the way the comics played it too. I suppose the line about rendezvous-ing on Tatooine should have clued us all in to the fact that they knew exactly where he would be, but it certainly didn’t with me. Marvel on the other hand had three years worth of comics to fill, and only much later would retcon it with a throwaway line like “we went to Tatooine and Boba Fett hadn’t arrived yet so we decided to look on every other planet in the galaxy”.

So Shira got blown up (but not killed) and Luke went off to investigate her, only to learn that she was a special agent trained by Vader to infiltrate the Alliance. Flashback on Coruscant alert! In that regard (and in terms of appearance) she was a clear precursor to Mara Jade, although much less of a Mary Sue type (She’s a smuggler! She’s a spy! She’s a Jedi! She can kick everyone’s ass!).

Luke never had much luck with girls. Later in the series he would hook up with a cute, but unscience fictionally named Mary, who was not only inappropriately dressed for a revolutionary, but also got killed as they were on their way to have sex (that’s my interpretation of the plot anyway). Interestingly (and yes, I am fascinated by this below par issue), in a page that didn’t appear in the UK reprint, Luke muses that Mary reminds him of Leia. Yep, even after the events of Return of the Jedi, Luke still kinda wants to fuck his sister.


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