The Great Prequel Re-Read, part eight

Star Wars

Here we are, then – the long-awaited conclusion to the Quinlan Vos storyline that had begun all those years back! When we last saw him, he was moving his troops to Boz Pity (as we learnt from the movie, too), having finally embraced the position of General within the Grand Army of the Republic. He’s now on Kashyyyk, supporting Luminara Unduli as the Republic helps to defend the Wookiees against the Separatist incursions. The Separatists seem to be bolstered here by Trandoshian raiders, who are after more than Wookiee pelts this time – the promise of secret hyperspace routes has brought an invasion in force, and ultimately leads to Master Yoda himself coming to aid in the defence of the planet.

With the raid on Kachirho as we see in the film comes a fairly significant Republic victory, with no small part played by none other than Vilmarh Grahrk coming back into the limelight. Seems Villie has turned almost noble during the war, as every side has got it in for him. Villie has been running supplies to the Wookiees, and befriended many of them. One of those Wookiees who has accompanied him on a supply run leaked info regarding the routes, leading to the Separatist attack.

However, there’s little time to do anything, as just at that moment, Order 66 is enacted and Luminara is killed. Quinlan narrowly escapes death, with Clone Commander Faie leading sorties into the jungle trying to find him. Quin is able to evade capture, but comes dangerously close to the dark side in the face of the loss of what he thinks is the entire Jedi Order. However, Villie is able to rescue him, and they leave the planet for Nar Shaddaa to get Quinlan the medical attention that he needs.

Eight months later, the two return to Kashyyyk, where Tholme and T’ra Saa have arrived with Khaleen, who has been safely delivered of a baby boy, Korto Vos.

I think, as the end of the whole arc of Quinlan Vos and stuff, it’s a nice story to finish the Republic run. Looking back, it was probably always going to be on the cards for Quinlan to survive Order 66, as otherwise the story would have become far too bleak, if realistic, for Khaleen to have been left to raise Korto by herself, or even with Tholme’s help or something. It does make sense for someone as sneaky as Tholme to survive, and I guess T’ra Saa making it through is reasonable as well. There is a part of me that just finds it convenient though, and if it weren’t for Lucas deciding to kill Aayla off in the movie, I would guess she would have also been in that final all-together-now scene. But schmaltz aside, it was a decent finish.

Part of me does wish that we had the opportunity to see more of the Jedi in hiding in later stories, though that never came to pass of course. Not that he should have necessarily shown up repeatedly in the Dark Times run or anything, but I think an isolated miniseries set ten years later or something might have been nice! Jedi in hiding during the dark times does interest me though, so I suppose I am biased on that front.

Volume 9 of the Clone Wars graphic novel series also features arguably the first story in the Dark Times series. Into the Unknown introduces us to some of the key players in the later ongoing series, such as Dass Jennir, as we see the fallout of Order 66, and learn that the Emperor’s purge isn’t all it was cracked up to be. Speaking of Purge, the final comic in the collection is the one-shot that serves as a bit of a showcase for the new Darth Vader. Several Jedi band together in an attempt to take him down, but with disastrous results. Mostly nobodies, we nevertheless get to learn the final tragic fate of Tsui Choi, who featured all the way back in Jedi Council: Acts of War, as well as Bultar Swan, who was one of the arena Jedi from episode 2.

It feels a little bit emotional at this point, to have finished my Prequel Re-Read of the comics! I think there’s just one more novel on my horizon, and then I’m done, but yeah, what a ride it has been! I’ve missed out a few of the graphic novels that I wasn’t really looking forward to, and now I don’t know whether I ought to have re-read those as well, just for completion’s sake! That said, if I had re-read everything, I doubt it would have been a matter of months to finish this project – more like years!

In checking off the stories on Goodreads, I’ve found it interesting how many of the reviewers over on that site refer to their own personal canon of what constitutes the clone wars, and even more interestingly, many align with my own! I’m glad that I’m not the only one to miss out some of those less-than-stellar storylines.

The Republic run with Quinlan Vos has always been a favourite of mine, though. I think I have especially enjoyed how it broadened out to the high point with the Siege of Saleucami story. That arc really crystallised most of what we as readers had been enjoying for years already, and gave a really satisfying pay-off for having stuck with the series since the beginning. I think the way in which it followed a good number of characters, and interweaved them so beautifully, is worth commending time and again. I particularly enjoyed the four Jedi one-shot issues, which due to their increased size from a regular 32-page comic meant they could cover a lot more ground. They really pulled together a great number of threads, such as Aurra Sing and Dark Woman coming back in the Aayla issue, or introducing big players like K’Kruhk and Jiesel in the Mace Windu book, to have them go on to recur throughout. It was a big cast, but it seemed to perfectly run that line between not being so big as to be unwieldy, and not being so small as to shrink the galaxy.

The story arc has so many twists and turns that it becomes hard to follow at times – just whose side is he on? Well, mostly it seems that the answer to that is “his own”. Having infiltrated Dooku’s camp, and been forced to do some pretty unsavoury things along the way, killing the second Sith is Quinlan’s sole motivation as means of some kind of atonement. He does some very dark deeds, but does he ever go down the dark path? Yoda and others will often say that the dark side will forever dominate you if you so much as give it a toe-hold, but Quinlan is eventually able to fully reject the dark side almost like Luke aboard the second Death Star, and walks away from the Jedi Order as one of the lucky few who survived.

Of course, Order 66 doesn’t appear to have been quite so effective as we all thought, and rightly so, really. It was arguably only ever meant to break the back of Jedi supremacy, and eliminate as many as possible, not all of them. We see plenty of Jedi mystics who roam the wilds of the Outer Rim, and who were never part of the war effort – presumably, all of them survived? I find it interesting that we basically buy into the Empire’s propaganda by believing so many Jedi would be killed when, in reality, probably hundreds of them never went near a clone trooper…

Anyway, I’m getting massively off topic here!

Once I’ve read Dark Lord, I think it might be fun to have a proper look back on my Summer of Star Wars, and write up some more rambling thoughts about the clone wars in general – so stay tuned for that!!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part seven

Hey everybody,
We’re very much getting towards the end now with the Star Wars Prequel Re-Read, and today I have a pair of graphic novels to update you all with!

Clone Wars

Let’s start with Volume 7: When They Were Brothers. It’s basically the five-part Obsession storyline that was touted as the comics’ lead-in to episode III. Obi-Wan is convinced Asajj Ventress still lives, something that Anakin takes issue with since he electrocuted her and tossed her body down a chasm on Coruscant during the finale of Dreadnoughts of Rendili. However, Obi-Wan drags his former padawan away from his leave on Naboo on a hunt across the galaxy to find her. We meet up again with Durge, General Grievous makes an appearance, and we get some first-looks at some of the ships from Revenge of the Sith. While the book ostensibly deals with Ventress, and wraps up her story before the final prequel movie, it primarily seems to exist to show Anakin and Obi-Wan “as brothers”, but after so many stories having missed that opportunity within the run, it does feel a little late to try and establish this relationship. I’ve talked about this elsewhere, but I honestly think the whole prequel series pays a great disservice to this dynamic, and we’re left with a long series of stories where the principal motivation is to show how Anakin can become Darth Vader. As such, he’s rarely allowed to be a nice guy, and his relationship with Obi-Wan suffers greatly for it.

Let’s move on!

Volume 8: The Last Siege, The Final Truth, continues to draw story threads to a close, with two distinct arcs from the Republic run. To start with, we have Trackdown, a two-parter where Tholme heads to Anzat to speak with an old friend about the existence of Anzati-trained Nikto Morgukai assassins. I can remember reading this coming when it came out, and being really struck by just how many story-threads it manages to pull together from just those two things – reaching back into the earlier days of the Republic series, such as Darkness and Rite of Passage. Tholme learns that they are being trained on Saleucami, so heads there and is ambushed by Sora Bulq. Tholme heads into the catacombs of the planet, and the Jedi Council mobilises for war!

The next arc, The Siege of Saleucami, deals with the Jedi offensive as they attempt to overcome the Separatist facilities there. Turns out, they’re cloning Nikto in a very quick-and-dirty way, not breeding soldiers like the Republic “because Count Dooku doesn’t need them to last long”. It’s kinda creepy, and you have to wonder why on earth the Separatists hadn’t tried their hand at it before – Dexter Jettster’s comments about Kaminoans being “damn good cloners” does seem to suggest there are other groups in the galaxy (Spaarti?) who perhaps aren’t as good, after all! The Jedi offensive is led by Oppo Rancisis, who has always been very much a background Jedi for the entire run up to this point, but always with reference to the fact he is excellent at battle meditation. He is co-ordinating the Jedi and clones as they attack the Separatists, and while the Republic forces aren’t making much headway, they are at least continually able to repel the Separatists. Sora Bulq therefore assassinates him to give the Separatists the upper hand, but a showdown in the caverns with Quinlan Vos ultimately turns the tide in the Republic’s favour, as Quinlan finally is able to proclaim the fact that he is a Jedi.

I’ve said it before, but it’s been incredible to follow this arc throughout the larger clone wars, as in many respects Quinlan’s storyline is more interesting than Anakin’s, which is a foregone conclusion, and mostly consists of foreshadowing his fall to the dark side. Quinlan definitely flip-flops between whether he is a Jedi or not – did he ever go over to the dark side, for reals? The story ends with his redeployment to Boz Pity, which of course is mentioned during Episode III, after which he intends to leave the Jedi Order, as Khaleen is pregnant with their child. It’s all feeling very much like it’s being set up for tragedy, but next we’re back to a novel, with another of my favourites: Labyrinth of Evil! I wonder what Mr Bookstooge will think of this one!!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part five

We’re deep into the heart of the Clone Wars now, and we’ve got some of my favourite issues from the Republic ongoing series contained within these pages. Let’s get cracking!

Star Wars: Clone Wars

Volume Four: Light and Dark presents the story of Quinlan Vos’ defection to the Confederacy. We start off with Double Blind (though it isn’t defined as such in the trade paperback), which sees Agen Kolar attempt to bring Quinlan in for questioning, as he has been found selling Republic holocomm codes to the Separatists. It’s all a ruse, as Tholme’s plan was to send Kolar as proof of the fact Quinlan has gone rogue. The Jedi do capture Khaleen, however, who Tholme later releases from prison to act as a go-between for Quinlan to get any Separatist intel back to the Jedi.

Jedi: Aayla Secura is the third of these one-shots, and personally my favourite. We have the main story of Aayla, Tholme, Kit Fisto, T’ra Saa and the Dark Woman (whose name we finally learn) sent undercover to Devaron to learn who has been betraying the government to the Separatists, layered onto that is the ongoing story of Aurra Sing and her vendetta against the Dark Woman, layered over which is Aayla’s anguish over Quinlan’s defection and her determination to bring him back. It’s a truly cracking story, and serves to move the storyline on in so many ways!

Jedi: Dooku was a surprise back in the day – I thought we’d get a different Jedi, but throughout the Clone Wars, Dooku is the suave public face of the Confederacy, of course, and so naturally he never “comes out” as Darth Tyranus. The one-shot serves really as a focal point for Quinlan Vos, however, who is forced to finally choose a side and, when Dooku takes him to Kiffu and confronts Sheyf Tinté about her rise to power, we learn that she basically killed Quin’s parents by giving their lives in payment for Anzati assassins clearing the way for her to become Sheyf. Quinlan kills his aunt, and it seems that he has truly fallen to the Dark Side.

The book ends with Striking from the Shadows, where Quinlan is given the task of assassinating a Republic dignitary who Dooku hints is the Sith Lord he told Obi-Wan about, and the art hints that he is indeed given Palpatine as a target, though it ends up being Senator Viento. K’kruhk fights Quinlan but is unable to stop the murder, and so the Whiphid reports back to the Council, hammering another nail in. For his part, however, Quinlan tells himself that he’s only deeper in the shadows.

The whole book is just excellent, and has got some of the best storytelling from this era. For comic book stories, they are actually quite intense, and that Dooku one-shot in particular is really quite harrowing as we see Quinlan torturing the truth from Tinté. Definitely some awesome storytelling, for sure!

Star Wars: Clone Wars

I’m skipping volume five, which continues the Obi-Wan and Asajj Ventress storyline from the Jabiim volume, and moving straight on to volume six, On the Fields of Battle. There are two main story arcs in here, plus a one-shot that are worth talking about. We start with Show of Force, which is a two-part story about Mace confronting the Crimson Nova chapter of the Bounty Hunters Guild, for having accepted bounty postings on Jedi. Mace confronts the chapter with Agen Kolar, Saesee Tiin, and Kit Fisto, which kinda foreshadows his later confrontation with the Chancellor in episode three. The Jedi basically dismantle the chapter, and learn that Kh’ariss Fenn is the one behind the postings. However, he has used money that had been given to him by Count Dooku for the Separatists plans for Ryloth, so Dooku sends Quinlan Vos to kill him. Mace and the others arrive to find the corpse and a holo-recording, which troubles Mace even further. Tholme, feeling anguish for basically setting it all in motion, tells Aayla the truth about Quin’s defection being intended at first to be a ruse.

Show of Force was written to replace a planned one-shot Jedi issue featuring Barriss Offee, which is partly why the story begins with Barriss and T’ra Saa being attacked by bounty hunters.

The one-shot Armor is told from the perspective of Commander Bly as he observes his general, Aayla Secura, in the field. The devastation of Honoghr is the backdrop for the tale, something I thought was a bit unnecessary really, given that the story that we were told in Dark Force Rising seemed to indicate a different scenario. There is also the description of Rakata temples on the planet, which was weird. Aayla faces off against Quin, anyway, and is able to make him see sense, at least partially, and while they duel, he stops short of actually harming her.

The book ends with Dreadnoughts of Rendili, a truly sprawling epic in three parts. While Obi-Wan investigates a wrecked zoological ship, he finds Quinlan Vos fighting for his life against attack droids. It becomes clear that Asajj Ventress has been sent to bring him in after Quinlan has gone rogue from Dooku’s camp, but he and Obi-Wan manage to escape. They join Saesee Tiin’s battleforce at Rendili, where the Separatists have convinced the planet to leave the Republic. We meet up again with Jace Dallin from The Stark Hyperspace War, and are introduced to Jan Dodonna as a member of the Republic navy. The Rendili mutiny is defeated when Obi-Wan and Quinlan are able to help Plo Koon overcome the ringleaders and bring Rendili back over to the Republic, then Quinlan is taken to Coruscant for questioning. He explains his actions, and Obi-Wan vouches for him with some very common sense – if Tholme’s plan was for Quinlan to act like a renegade to earn Dooku’s trust, then why is anyone surprised that he has acted like a renegade?! His welcome is undercut by Anakin fighting Ventress high above Coruscant’s industrial sector, where he binds her in electrical cables and Force-pushes her off the top of a building, after she gives him that scar over his eye. The book ends with Quinlan getting a message to Khaleen – “tell Dooku that his plan is working”…

These two volumes are two of my favourites from the whole Dark Horse run. True, we do get that kind of ugly leer on Quin’s face that Jan Duursema seems to have become fond of – she would use it time and again on the face of Cade Skywalker during the Legacy series, as well. But the way the story of Quinlan Vos unfolds in these books is just spectacular. There are wheels within wheels, and it’s really awesome that we get this sort of spy/thriller storyline going on for the clone wars, as it tells a fascinating tale beyond the usual ground or space battles. Of course, Dreadnoughts of Rendili shows that space battles are not forgotten, and despite only being told across three issues, there is so much story in that one. With so many callbacks and references, it provides the reader with some really incredible payoffs for having stuck with the ongoing series since Prelude to Rebellion!

One of the things that I love about these comic books is the way in which the stories are able to reach back across the whole of the Republic run, to pluck characters like Dark Woman back from much earlier in the series and continue her storyline, weaving those elements into the clone war narrative alongside the “main” story of Quinlan Vos. When Kh’ariss Fenn was revealed to be behind the bounty postings, it was a mystery reveal that didn’t make the galaxy feel small, but rather made sense given what happened in Rite of Passage.

Having this large cast from which to draw really helps to make the stories flow, and feel part of a much larger story without making the galaxy too narrow in focus. Something that I often berate the Clone Wars cartoon series over was how much Anakin and Obi-Wan feature, with too small a supporting cast that makes the series as a whole feel very small. It really needed to feature the dynamic duo only 2-3 times a season, and use recurring characters to tell some of the stories to help achieve the galactic scope. By using characters like Jiesel, K’kruhk and T’ra Saa as recurring every so often, the comics achieved that sense of scale. Aayla is used for some of the big moments, but otherwise we have Quinlan doing one very specific, very linear thing, and it just works so much better.

We’re not done yet, of course, but next we have some very peculiar, very brilliant stories to come. Next up, then, it’s Hero of Cartao!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part four

Hey everybody,
I’m finally back to reading Star Wars once more, after a bit of a hiatus in the latter half of last month. The Clone Wars have firmly begun, and I’m starting with some comics as we catch up with the galaxy at war.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The Defense of Kamino is the first trade paperback in the original Clone Wars run, which collects predominantly the Republic comics that were released in the realtime break between episodes II and III. I think there were nine volumes in total, and volume one collects issues 49 and 50, plus the Jedi: Mace Windu one-shot. Dark Horse published a few of these Jedi one-shots across their tenure, and they were all united by both showcasing a single Jedi, while also continuing the storyline that kicks off in Republic 49.

When we left Quinlan Vos, he was going to roam the galaxy, following the whims of the Force. Well, in the two years since the Separatist Crisis really kicked off, he and Tholme have been developing a network of secret agents, trying to foil the Separatists. However, given the perceived failure to anticipate the attack at Geonosis, Quinlan feels like this needs to be stepped up. When his agent Khaleen is able to gain knowledge about an attack on the clone world of Kamino, the Jedi feel this is the break they needed to gain the upper hand in the war. Quin, with Aayla Secura, hatches a plan to copy the intel and return it to the Separatists, making them think that the information is safe. However, it turns out that Dooku was hoping for the Jedi to do this, though ultimately the reason is unclear.

The next issue in the Republic series was issue 50, so was a bumper double-length issue, telling three separate stories about the Separatists’ attack on Kamino. There’s a nice story to start about Obi-Wan feeling like Anakin is growing distant so tries to gain his trust by allowing him to fly in the aerial defence of the planet, where it is addressed how Obi-Wan never chose Anakin as his padawan, but rather took him on as a promise to Qui-Gon. It goes some way to explain why they are forever butting heads, though Obi-Wan’s attempt at reconciliation shows he does actually want to try his best for Anakin. The next story introduces the ARC troopers to the mix, who work with Shaak Ti to defend the next generation of clones from a droid attack. ARC troopers are a less-docile version of Jango Fett, and have a lot more of his independence of thought. The final story features a group of Mon Calamari Separatists who are leading the attack on Tipoca City, and introduces the idea that there are actually brilliant military strategists on both sides of this conflict, and even the Separatists have their own version of heroes.

Jedi: Mace Windu is a fairly important piece of the lore, as we have our first introduction to Asajj Ventress here. Of course, this is the Legends continuity so there will be revelations made here that ultimately don’t hold true of the current Canon, but it’ll be interesting to see this develop, I hope! The story involves a group of Jedi who have turned away from the Order following the massacre at Geonosis, a group nominally led by the Weequay Sora Bulq (who was one of those background Jedi on-screen during the arena battle). Dooku uses Ventress to attack these Jedi, during which she claims to have been sent by Mace Windu, so when the Jedi Master arrives to try to bring them back into the fold, they are distrustful, to say the least! However, it soon becomes clear that it was a ruse, hatched by Dooku and Sora Bulq, who has now turned to the Dark Side as one of Dooku’s Dark Acolytes.

This is one of my favourite storylines in the Clone Wars, and I’ve said it countless times before – the story of Quinlan Vos is almost superior to that of Anakin Skywalker, and I could quite happily just re-read these comics for the rest of my days. Not only is it fairly beautifully told, but the artwork is really quite beautiful as well.

Victories and Sacrifices is the second volume in the Clone Wars trade paperback series, and includes three separate stories, one of which is a two-parter. The New Face of War sees a return of Asajj Ventress, and the introduction of the Jedi-killer Durge, an ancient cyborg bounty hunter who has been re-awakened by the Confederacy. We don’t get much more about his back story here, but he’s a character that was designed specifically to menace the Jedi, and reappeared across several media at the time, including the original Clone Wars cartoon. In the comic, Durge has released a chemical gas on one of the moons around Naboo, wiping out a Gungan settlement. When the Jedi investigate, they are initially overwhelmed, but are able to repel Durge and Ventress and prevent them from launching their chemical attack on Naboo.

Obi-Wan, who led the mission to the moon, was nevertheless greatly affected by the toxin, and after some time to heal he went on a mission to find the antidote to the poison, teaming up with four Jedi wanderers who have all arrived at a Techno Union base where the weapon is being developed. Another fight with Durge and Ventress ensues, and the four Jedi are picked off until only Obi-Wan survives to escape with the antidote.

Finally, we have the next in the Jedi series, this time focusing on Shaak Ti. She is on Brentaal IV with Agen Kolar and Plo Koon, pushing back the forces of the Separatist Commander Shogar Tok in order to land reinforcements. Shaak Ti infiltrates the prison fortress Tok from where Tok is commanding his army, using some of the inmates to help (including none other than Quinlan Vos, along with Sagoro Autem, who had previously featured in Honor & Duty, a three-issue arc that I have actually missed out from my re-read!). Despite treachery along the way, she is able to defeat Tok and complete the mission, and Brentaal IV remains within the Republic – but given that the majority of the planet’s population had actually been in support of Tok, this rests uneasy with Shaak Ti.

I can remember eagerly picking these comics up every month in the wake of Attack of the Clones, desperate for more clone wars action, and I can remember being fairly disappointed by the stories overall. I think I had expected some kind of major storyline from the off, with the Republic mobilising against the droid armies and so on. Instead, we get this tiny story of, well, nothing really. It wasn’t until we got to the next arc, which featured the Battle of Jabiim, that it actually felt like a major offensive. I think the way that the story of the clone wars is told, with these small vignettes that always end in stalemates and villains dashing off “until we meet again!” (minus the moustache twirl) grew really boring in a short time. Nothing ever really happens in the stories – it’s just a series of bush fires the Jedi (that is, Anakin and Obi-Wan, because there are very few other Jedi on the payroll, it seems) continually put out. Count Dooku or his agents fan the flames, get a planet to declare its intention to leave the Republic, the Jedi come in and force it to stay in the Republic, and all is well again.

At least we do get to see the cracks in the whole idea of the Republic though, and a lot of these stories do begin to scratch at that itch. The Republic is corrupt and the majority of planets joining the Separatists are doing so because of that. It’s a legitimate complaint that they were not getting their voices heard, and so the Republic responds with overwhelming force and their Jedi to force these planets to tow the line. It’s a wonder why the Jedi didn’t splinter off from the Republic, really. I mean, it’s all well and good Mace Windu saying that the ideals of the Republic are still valid, but if nobody currently in charge is acting according to those ideals, then surely any sensible adult would think it’s time to affect change? A sensible adult who is as powerful as Mace should surely take matters into his own hands? Hm. I know the story needs to lead into the rise of the Empire, but I can’t help thinking that a lot of characters are very stupid, and there is some really lazy writing going on.

The saving grace of the clone wars is the story of Quinlan Vos, for me. As the storyline begins to fall more into the subterfuge of Quinlan infiltrating Dooku’s camp, things definitely take a turn for the better. I’ve said before that this storyline is so much better than the main arc of Anakin’s downfall. That’s in part because nothing feels natural about Anakin, whereas we get a lot of build-up from the earlier Republic comics that allow for us to see how Quinlan’s trajectory is completely understandable.

I’m not going to re-read the third volume, the Battle of Jabiim, but the storyline is notable for seeing Obi-Wan go missing in action, and Anakin leading the Republic troops in a fighting retreat from the world, causing Jabiim natives to curse the name of Skywalker in years to come. Next up, it’s volume four, Light and Dark!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part three

Hey everybody,
We’re on part three of the Great Prequel Re-Read, already! This is well and truly a Summer of Star Wars! We’re firmly in the Republic run of comics now, as well, and after some fairly random and almost throwaway adventures, things begin to pick up the pace a bit with Republic #19, the first issue of the Twilight storyline. No, it’s got nothing to do with vampires. It’s the introduction proper to Quinlan Vos, the Jedi Knight who has lost his memory!

This is going to be a bit of a weird blog of two halves, as I’m going all the way from #19 to #45. The tale of Quinlan and Aayla is told across three arcs, which are interspersed with some other stories. But we’ll tackle Quinlan first.

Twilight begins with Quinlan Vos waking up in a burning building, with no memory of how he got there, or indeed of who he is. He is rescued by Vilmarh Grahk, and the two are pursued through the streets of Nar Shaddaa as others attempt to kill him – it turns out, all for a bet. Quinlan seems to be the subject of a weird kind of Squid Games, where numerous beings have bet on when he will die. Villie only rescues him so that Quinlan will die when Villie bet he would; when that goes wrong, Villie makes another bet that Quinlan will survive to get off-world, but Quinlan is more concerned with finding out why he has lost his memory. He discovers that he can glean images from objects through psychokinesis, and realises that he is a Jedi Knight with a missing padawan.

The story then fills in some of his backstory, with varying degrees of info-dump and also genuine clue-tracking, which is really interesting. Quinlan travels to his home planet of Kiffu, where he learns from his aunt, Sheyf Tinte, that he and Aayla were tracking down a drug trafficking ring, the drug being an illegal synthesis of glitterstim and ryll that, evidently, wipes a person’s memory. On Ryloth, Quinlan discovers that Pol Secura is involved, the uncle of his erstwhile padawan, and has been feeding Aayla the spice to keep her quiet. When Quinlan gives in to his rage and kills Pol, Aayla flees in terror. Quinlan follows the conspiracy to Coruscant, where he unmasks the Senator Chom Frey Kaa who was behind the scheme, and then submits to the Council for re-training.

The next arc, Infinity’s End, is not worth the re-read, so I’ve skipped over it and gone straight to the next Ostrander instalment, Darkness. We begin in orbit over Kiffex, the prison planet, where Aayla Secura crash-lands and discovers a temple with the Anzati Dark Jedi Volfe Kaarko imprisoned in a stasis field. She releases him, and the feral Anzati who have been worshipping at the temple begin co-ordinated strikes against the Kiffar Guardians’ outposts. Sheyf Tinte requests that Quinlan Vos come to investigate, and despite the fact he has been through such an ordeal recently, the Council agrees, secretly dispatching Quinlan’s former Master, Tholme, to watch over him. On the prison planet, they meet Villie once again, and Tholme fills in some more blanks for Quinlan – he has a darkness within him that stems from the fact he psychokinetically witnessed his parents’ deaths by Anzati when Tinte gave him a clan emblem to help with the investigation. Quinlan has previously overcome his fear of the Anzati when he became a Jedi Knight, but since his memories were wiped, he has lost this experience, so must face it again.

Tholme, Quinlan and Villie join forces with the Jedi watchman for the sector, T’ra Saa, and lead an assault on Kaarko’s temple. Kaarko forces Quinlan and Aayla to duel, but Quinlan is able to redeem his former padawan. Kaarko and Quinlan then duel, and while Quinlan almost gives in to his fear, he is able to overcome the Dark Jedi once and for all. Aayla is re-apprenticed to Tholme while Quinlan continues his journey of rediscovery of the Jedi way.

I’d forgotten just how much I like Darkness. There is a lot of history there, and it really sets up a lot of the later Republic stuff with the Anzati stuff. It’s interesting, as well, to learn more of Quinlan’s past, and seeing just how ruthless and, well, nasty, Sheyf Tinte can be!

Finally, we come to Rite of Passage. Tholme and Aayla are on Ryloth to investigate Ro Fenn, part of the ruling council when Pol Secura was killed. By Twi’lek tradition, Fenn must walk out into the Bright Lands, the inhospitable sun-baked part of Ryloth, to die. Ro Fenn is discussing the possibility of escaping his fate with Villie, while Aayla spies on them. She learns that Fenn intends to kidnap Nat Secura, the prime heir of the Secura clan, to blackmail his father Lon Secura into allowing him to live. Tholme is unable to rescue Nat before two Morgukai warriors kidnap him. Tholme stows away aboard their ship, and Aayla follows him to Ord Mantell, where the trail goes cold – but she does find Quinlan.

The two find Villie in a casino, and he eventually tells them of a Morgukai base on Kintan, the Nikto homeworld. Meanwhile, it transpires that Kh’ariss Fenn, the exiled son of Ro Fenn, is behind the kidnap of Nat Secura, and he in turn is being aided from the shadows by Count Dooku. Kh’ariss returns to Ryloth and demands all the ruling councils be dissolved, and instead installing himself as leader of a united Ryloth. Lon Secura almost capitulates, but Villie arrives with news from Quinlan that Nat is safe, so the Fenns are imprisoned, Kh’ariss flees but Ro is forced to walk into the Bright Lands. On Kintan, Aayla and Quinlan face off against the Morgukai warriors and are able to rescue both Tholme and Nat, and together they return the Twi’lek hostage to his father. Aayla is granted the rank of Jedi Knight, and Quinlan that of Master.

I really like this one. Unlike Darkness, which I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed it, I’ve always had a real affection for Rite of Passage – it was new when I started to properly get into the comics (I know, I was a late bloomer!) and it has one of the first appearances outside of episode two for Count Dooku – the comic ran from May to September 2002. Things have begun to feel a lot more joined-up now, and I really love it! These three stories, although particularly the latter two, help to set up a lot of interesting storylines for later in the Clone Wars comics, particularly around the Anzati and the Morgukai. I don’t know why I like the Nikto as a species so much, maybe it’s to do with my love for Return of the Jedi, but having a serious warrior sect like this is just fascinating, and I feel like Ostrander and Duursema have made the universe so much more richer for giving us all of this stuff.

The second batch of stories that intermingle with the “big three”. The Hunt for Aurra Sing is something of a direct sequel to Outlander, really, as we see the Jedi assassin kill some Jedi on Coruscant itself, but leaving a padawan alive, prompting the Council to send Ki-Adi-Mundi to bring her in. The Dark Woman wishes to do so, as we learn she was Sing’s former Master, but the Council think she’s too close to the assassin, and deny her request. However, fate intervenes as some Quarren businessmen enlist Sing’s services in hunting The Dark Woman. Sing is given the co-ordinates of an unsettled planet where she is to be found. En route, Sing crosses paths with Ki and shoots him down – the Jedi is rescued by Senator Tikkes, who is also travelling to the unsettled world, and so everybody meets up just as a meteor storm begins. Sing is unable to kill her former mentor, but when she is confronted by A’Sharad Hett, the young Jedi padawan defeats her but at the cost of skirting too close to the Dark Side. A’Sharad asks to be released from his apprenticeship, but in the chaos of the meteor shower, Aurra Sing escapes.

The Stark Hyperspace War is a flashback tale, told by Tholme, Plo Koon and Mace Windu to Aayla Secura, of a war fourteen years prior to the Invasion of Naboo. After an explosion on Thyferra, bacta production ground to a halt and shipping prices skyrocketed. Iaco Stark, a smuggler and pirate, formed the Stark Commercial Combine to tackle the predations of the Trade Federation, and conflicts regularly broke out in the Outer Rim. Senator Valorum attempted to meet with Stark for a peaceful solution, while Senator Ranulph Tarkin (to distinguish him from his more famous cousin, Wilhuff) argued for the creation of a Republic military. Tarkin forced Nute Gunray to tell him where the summit was to be held, whereupon he intended to arrive in force with his prototype Republic Navy, however Stark had anticipated this and unleashed a hyperspace virus on the back of Gunray’s signal, which scrambled the navicomputers of all Republic ships. With no bacta and no hyperspace-worthy ships, crisis ensued. Plo Koon was able to use his telepathy to read Stark’s mind, providing the Jedi with valuable insight and allowing them to ultimately end the conflict.

It’s a bit daft, this one, I’m not gonna lie. Somewhere in there, there’s a good story, and I like the idea that the bacta shortage was manufactured for profit, but led to a war where the wounded now have scars because of it, etc. We’ve already encountered the conflict in Cloak of Deception, as well, which makes it all feel like one narrative for the universe. However, I think this story could have benefited from more than just four issues. Never mind!

Finally, there are a couple of shorter stories to fill out things. The Devaronian Version is a two-parter that re-tells the story of the Yinchorri conflict from Villie’s point of view, with some hilarious fabrications being told – Villie’s name for Darth Sidious is “Bobo”, who hires Villie to start the war so that he can steal the “secret treasure of the Jedi”, which causes the Jedi Council to break down into tears and fights. He also explains that he was running a scam with Quinlan Vos, and wasn’t the Jedi’s lapdog, as many in the Outer Rim have been suggesting.

Heart of Fire is a tiny, three-page comic that was originally published in Dark Horse Extra, that gives a bit of follow-up on the Jedi padawan Aurra Sing nearly kills during the opening of The Hunt for Aurra Sing, Xiaan Amersu. She meets up with Quinlan Vos in a meditation garden within the Jedi Temple, and offers him a stone called a heart of fire, which he had given to Aayla Secura, and she had passed to Xiaan. These stones retain memories of their owners, and by giving it back to Quinlan, he is able to literally re-live experiences with Aayla rather than read about them as if they are just stories. It’s a very short tale, but goes fairly deep into Quinlan’s suffering following his loss of memory – you get the feeling that it might be a neat story hook, but actually, there is more to the whole thing for him. The story evidently takes place sometime before Darkness, because he is still searching for his former padawan at this moment in time.

So there we have it! I think this is the longest stretch of comics in my Prequel re-read; there are more to come during the Clone Wars, of course, but we’ve got a few more novels peppered in there, so it should be interesting! Up next is Outbound Flight, a novel that I’ve only actually read once, when it first came out. I think there are many ties to the new Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy within that book, weirdly – as if Zahn had left a lot of threads hanging that he could then pick up in a few years’ time. Anyway, stay tuned for that!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part two

Hey everybody,
I’m back with some more Prequel comics in the Summer of Star Wars! This time, we’re making our way through the early days of the Republic series once more, starting with Outlander: The Exile of Sharad Hett.

Ki-Adi-Mundi is dispatched by the Jedi Council to Tatooine, to investigate some rumours of a Tusken Raider uprising that is purported to be led by the wayward Jedi Master, Sharad Hett. Ki is approached by his friend the Dark Woman who warns him that events in the desert will change him forever, especially in this time of the Dark Side ascendant. On Tatooine, Ki is of course double-crossed by Jabba once more as he attempts to secure safe passage across the dunes, and ends up in a krayt dragon den. Luckily for him, though, killing the dragon is the rite of passage for a young Tusken, and the tribe in attendance is indeed led by none other than Sharad Hett. The young Tusken on his final test is Sharad’s son, A’Sharad Hett. Ki explains the Council have sent him to see if the Dark Side holds Hett in its sway, as they fear with the return of the Sith, he could be involved. It is clear, however, that Hett is not a Sith, and so Ki requests he return to the Jedi fold to help in the coming battle. However, none other than the Jedi hunter Aurra Sing then arrives, and manages to kill Sharad Hett before Ki chases her off. With his father dead, A’Sharad returns to Coruscant, where Ki promises to complete his Jedi training.

I do kinda like this one. There’s a real sense of trying to get some world building and some history going on in the days surrounding the premiere of The Phantom Menace, and despite the fact that we’re once again on Tatooine, we still get to see Jedi in action, and all that good stuff! Aurra Sing is one of those background characters who have taken on a life entirely of their own, as she was created simply to fill out the podracing sequence in episode one, and has gone on to loom large in the expanded universe. I think this is one of her earliest appearances outside of that blink-and-you-miss-it cameo, and we get hints of her backstory that are explored further in the next story.

Emissaries to Malastare is a bit like Jedi Council: Acts of War, in that we have a bunch of Council members on a mission. The premise is that the Gran of Malastare have agreed to host peace talks between the Lannik and the Red Iaro terrorist organisation, but they have agreed to do so during the Vinta Harvest Classic podrace, which follows on shortly after the Boonta Eve event that we saw in episode one. Of course, shenanigans are afoot, as the new Lannik crown prince is a waste of space, so the old guard have joined forces with the Red Iaro to assassinate him, and almost take out the Jedi with them, as the assassins fly through the podrace course (cue “hilarity” when Mace Windu et al find themselves hanging onto Sebulba’s pod…) When the assassins try to kill the prince with akk dogs, Mace takes particular offence as these animals are native to his homeworld. He decides to track down who is breeding them for violence, and the search takes him to Nar Shaddaa, and the Circus Horrificus.

I do like this story as well, but man is it weird. It’s almost like there’s too much story here for a six-part miniseries, so many points (like the peace negotiations) are just forgotten about, and it really detracts from the story overall. However, it is notable for several things, not least being the first appearance of the Jedi Knight Quinlan Vos, who bumps into Mace on Nar Shaddaa early into his investigations. We also have a strong suggestion that Mace is helped by Aurra Sing’s mother, and the Circus employs none other than Malakili, who later ends up in Jabba’s employ. Finally, we have the return of Vilmarh Grahk, who like Quinlan, goes on to greatness in the rest of the Republic run.

It’s definitely worth reading this one for the way it sets up a lot of what is to come, though I guess it isn’t exactly essential reading. When you re-read these things now, there’s a definite sense that Dark Horse either didn’t know in which direction they wanted to take things, or weren’t able to tread too close to the films so took a much wider course with things. The invention of Quinlan Vos, however, was almost like storytelling gold, because it gave the comics writers (mainly John Ostrander and Jan Duursema) free reign to tell the sorts of stories they wanted to, without worrying about whether Obi-Wan and/or Anakin could do something, for instance. I’ve said it before, and I’ll no doubt say it again, but Quinlan’s arc throughout the Clone Wars themselves has become, for me, far more interesting than that of Anakin Skywalker… but we’re not quite there yet!

So we’ve had a few weird stories now, but next time things will begin to get into the proper groove of it all, as we embark on the story of the man himself, Quinlan Vos!

The Great Prequel Re-Read, part one

Hey everybody,
It’s time to return to the Great Prequel Re-Read, this time making a start on some of the many, many graphic novels that are on the list!

Jedi: The Dark Side
I remember this coming out, and being really excited for the possibility of a Jedi ongoing series that had the potential to be in the vein of the Jedi one-shots that we had during the Clone Wars publishing programme. The fact that it was set 31 years before the events of The Phantom Menace was almost irrelevant – I think, in my mind, I was picturing a series that wouldn’t necessarily be tied down to a specific time, but could jump around at the whims of the stories being told. In the end, this is the only book that we got and, if I’m being completely honest, I was pretty disappointed.

The story involves Qui-Gon Jinn and his padawan Xanatos, the guy he trained prior to Obi-Wan Kenobi, as they go on a mission to Telos IV, Xanatos’ homeworld. It serves as something of a prequel to the Jedi Apprentice series of YA novels from Jude Watson, as we get to meet a lot of the characters from that series. Having never read those books back in the day (maybe that’s something to look into?) I must admit, I didn’t get a great deal out of this. What might have been enjoyable background for some was just a bit dull, to me. Xanatos as the dark and moody padawan is a bit annoying, at the best of times, and I feel a bit like this is a trope that we see a lot with the pre-prequel stuff, as though giving us a story about a regular serene Jedi is just not interesting. The fact that they’re meant to be serene and stuff makes me wonder, sometimes. I guess it does explain why the Jedi Council didn’t particularly think there was anything wrong with Anakin being churlish though, as it seems to be the case that every Jedi padawan is a moody brat. Maybe we can also put this down to Sidious and Plagueis dampening the Force or something.

At any rate, Qui-Gon and co go off to Telos to mediate the unrest there, and fail to reach any kind of accord. When Lord Crion himself is killed, Xanatos abandons the Jedi, and Qui-Gon goes off to be alone for a while. It’s not exactly something I would consider reading again, but maybe if I were to read the Jedi Apprentice series, I might get something more from it…

Jedi Council: Acts of War
This is something of a classic, for me, going back to those days when I would devour the prequel literature like there was no tomorrow. While the art does seem a little bit silly (Davide Fabbri and Christian della Vecchia, a respected duo, have done quite a bit of work for Dark Horse, and while it does always look a bit cartoon-y, there’s a level of nostalgia to it now, I suppose), the story is perhaps a little bit under-developed (you really need to read Darth Plagueis for the back story on the Yinchorri conflict), it’s perfectly fine as a bit of a throwaway story. I mean, I seem to remember reading the idea was to explain why Ki-Adi-Mundi came to be on the Jedi Council, so we have the character of Micah Giiett, a close friend of Plo Koon and respected member of the Council.

We get to meet a fairly large cast of Jedi in this book, with most of the Jedi Council from The Phantom Menace getting speaking parts. We also get the first appearances of Tsui Choi and K’Kruhk, both of whom would go on to recur throughout the Republic comics and, in the case of K’Kruhk, well beyond!

The storyline tells the fairly straightforward story of Mace Windu assembling a Jedi task force to repel the Yinchorri threats by taking the fight to the reptilians, locating their command base and overwhelming them with a show of force (as the Yinchorri are said to back down when faced with a superior threat). The task force splits in three, and includes Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan because these two seemingly need to be in everything we get from this timeframe. They locate the command centre on a fourth world in the system, and in a fairly rushed ending, the Yinchorri almost immediately surrender when the Jedi arrive.

It’s a bit of a throwaway story, to be sure, coming along the lines of ‘generic border dispute’ that seems to try and instil a sense of drama in the period that is otherwise said to be a time of peace for the Republic. We get some decent Jedi action, both in the Yinchorr system and also back on Coruscant, so it’s always fun to read these sorts of tales. After reading it now, it strikes me as interesting that Darth Plagueis uses so much of this as a backdrop, but I suppose it’s better to use a pre-existing piece of the jigsaw than creating another border dispute for the novel.

Darth Maul
Another classic from the prequel era, this book collects the four issue miniseries that sees Darth Maul go up against the Black Sun criminal organization, in case they foul up Darth Sidious’ plans. We aren’t given any indication as to how that might come about, but the book doesn’t really need that, as it becomes something of an orgy of Darth Maul killing his way through the syndicate. There’s no real need for this as a storyline, other than the fact that it shows Darth Maul in action. The fact that it exists means that it has been referenced by other stuff that is set around this time, and in fact one of the main plot points early on in Darth Maul: Shadow Hunter is concerned with the aftermath of this series.

It’s good fun, and it’s drawn by one of my favourite comics artists, Jan Duursema, so I can recommend it for the art alone!

Prelude to Rebellion
To close, I’ve got the six-part series that launched the Republic ongoing series all the way back in 1999, very shortly before The Phantom Menace hit the screens. We are on the planet Cerea, home to the Jedi Knight Ki-Adi-Mundi. The planet is very well fleshed-out as a peaceful agrarian world, where the eternal struggle of preserving the past wars with the need for the young to progress with technology. It’s a bit bizarre to think of, now, but apparently Cereans just want to live life with wheel-level technology. In steps the Republic, cast in an evil light as they tempt the young with technology from off-world. Ki kinda straddles both worlds, as he is a Jedi from the wider galaxy, but he is also given special dispensation to marry and have kids due to the weird issue of girls outnumbering boys by 20:1 or something, so he kinda lives on-world.

That is, until the tensions boil over at a pro-tech rally and Ki’s lightsaber is used to kill a bystander. The miscreant, who also happens to be dating Ki’s wayward daughter Sylvn, is “saved” by Ephant Mon, who takes all the kids to Tatooine where his buddy Jabba holds sway. Jabba is trying to get a shipment off world, however, so uses Sylvn as a distraction for Ki so that he could do so. Seems there are links to the Trade Federation afoot, and while rescuing his daughter Ki is able to gather some intel for the Jedi Council, prompting them to consider him for the position that opened up following the death of Micah Giiett.

The story is daft, especially when you compare it with the stuff that came out later. But there’s a part of me that has a faint kind of nostalgia for it, nevertheless. I think it definitely strikes me as being the sort of thing where Dark Horse desperately wanted to put out a new title, but couldn’t spoil anything to do with the movie coming out, and so they took a Jedi with about three lines in the film, and made a huge thing out of him. Throw in Yoda in flashbacks, and the obligatory trip to Tatooine, and we have a winning formula. I mean, I really don’t think it’s one of the greatest comics, but I couldn’t resist re-reading it this time around simply because it’s been a while!

Next up, it’s back to novels as I embark upon Cloak of Deception, a book that I love so much, it’s just untrue! So prepare for the bias…

Star Wars: Legacy

Hey everybody,
Well, here we are, at the end of the Legacy run! After the initial 50-issue ongoing series came to an end in August 2010, there was a short gap before the six-issue miniseries War picked up the tale to draw things to a close. Interestingly, the same thing happened to the Knights of the Old Republic ongoing series, which ran pretty much concurrently with Legacy throughout, and was wrapped up by its own War miniseries. But that will be a subject for another blog!

Volume Eleven: War

Darth Krayt has returned! He travels to Coruscant to confront Darth Wyyrlock, and kills him in single combat, taking back control of the Empire to lead a new crusade against the galaxy. Antares Draco, held captive on Korriban, has eventually broken under the torture of Darth Havok, and divulged the location of the hidden Jedi temple on Taivas.

The Sith plot to destroy the Jedi once and for all, and send a combined task force under Darth Stryfe, while also dispatching Darth Nihl at the head of his secret Sith Dragon ships. However, the Jedi launched a defense alongside Gar Stazi and the Fel Empire. Just when the Alliance seemed to come through victorious, the Dragon ships appear and turn the tide, but the tide turns again when several Sith Imperial ships, including Moff Yage, defect back to Roan Fel’s side.

Fearing an assault on Bastion, Fel decides to lead an assault directly on Coruscant. It turns out that Darth Maladi had been captured, and was working with Fel to create a biological weapon designed to attack the Sith. A strike team, led by Cade Skywalker, sabotage the orbital defense network to allow the fleet to arrive in-system. Cade then infiltrated the Sith temple to confront Krayt. During the duel, Cade witnessed Krayt’s vision for the future: Darth Maladi’s toxin is actually designed to kill everyone except the Sith. Seeing this vision, Cade finally knows his place in the galaxy and kills Krayt, declaring himself to be a Jedi.

However, feeling Krayt’s spirit in the back of his mind, Cade knew that the Sith Lord would be able to heal himself once more, and so determines to fly a ship into Coruscant’s sun, destroying them both. However, the spirit of Luke appears to him once more, and urges him to trust in his friends. He ejects, and Jariah Syn picks him up while Krayt’s body is incinerated in the sun.

And with that, the Legacy series comes to an end!

This was a pretty action-packed ending to the series, bringing everything together into a nice (too nice?) package. I’ve glossed over a lot of details here, of course, but there is a lot going on in this book, although I think it succeeds in not feeling too rushed. The book covers a lot of space battle over the hidden temple, living up to the title at least! It’s pretty epic, and I think we could perhaps have seen more of these types of all-out battles throughout the main series.

Cade goes through a bit of a metamorphosis in this one, as well. His creepy leer still pops up of course, but he does become more noble, somehow – I think the death of Bantha Rawk during the assault on the hidden temple has a lot to do with that, but he does give up with his “I don’t want anyone to die for me” to some extent. I talked about the whole Grey Jedi thing in my previous blog, and this miniseries does go some way to mitigate that, by making him follow the Jedi path more consciously, and walking in the Light, etc. I do appreciate the fact that his character has “resolved”, therefore!

Darth Krayt is something of a problematic character for me, though, although I suppose it has been explained to some degree why he has done what he has done. Some of his outbursts, about making the galaxy suffer, and so on, do seem to be a bit inconsistent with the Jedi Master who fought during the Clone Wars, but we learnt that a lot of his world view was shaped by Vergere in the embrace of pain. I guess I compare it a bit with Jacen Solo in the Legacy of the Force novels, and while Jacen’s descent into Darth Caedus was maybe unexpected, it was handled so well by the authors of that series that he never felt like the pantomime villain that Krayt sometimes is.

I should probably re-read the LotF novels at some point – maybe next year!

I’m glad I’ve re-read the series, and have actually read it through to conclusion, because some of the later arcs I don’t think I read back in the day! While some of my affection for this series was probably borne from nostalgia, along with a fair dose of it being so novel when it was first published. Now, though, even given the fact that it’s a Legends series so these things don’t really matter, I do feel that it falls short of the mark, in the main due to the fact I hate the main protagonist!!

But let’s end this on a high – seeing the fallout of the Yuuzhan Vong war was cool, and some aspects of the series, such as the Hidden Temple of the Jedi, were great!

Star Wars: Legacy

Hey everybody,
We’re on the home strait with the Legacy series now! There has been a lot of nostalgia for me in re-reading these comics, but at the same time, it has felt like a bit of a slog, as I’ve not really enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. But we’re getting there, so let’s crack on!

Volume Nine: Monster

This is a very intriguing storyline. Rav shows up again, and offers his erstwhile pirates an offer they can’t refuse. They head to Wayland, one of the first sites of the Ossus Project, and the site where that project first showed signs of failure, but it turns into a trap. We learn (finally!) that the Ossus Project was sabotaged by Zenoc Quah, a Yuuzhan Vong Shaper who believed surrender to be a betrayal. He collaborated with Darth Maladi to sabotage the Project, which led to the Sith-Imperial War that saw the end of the Jedi all the way back in volume one.

Quah captures Deliah Blue and puts her in the embrace of pain, and together with Maladi, they attempt to lure Cade into a trap. Maladi does not trust Wyyrlok, and has sent Darth Nihl to Korriban to see if Darth Krayt is still alive; meanwhile, she is developing a bio-weapon that will keep the rest of the Sith in check, but needs to test it on a Dark Side user, and Cade is a perfect test subject. However, Cade is able to fight his way through, and Jariah Syn kills Zenoc Quah with an amphistaff that he has mastered. Maladi escapes in the chaos, detonating her laboratory, while Cade is able to free Deliah and, using the Light Side for the first time to do so, heals her in the Force.

Meanwhile, the Jedi and the Fel Empire attempt to broker a treaty on Agamar, but word is leaked to the Sith and they attack en masse, capturing Princess Marasiah and taking her to Korriban.

Star Wars Legacy

The storyline for this one was really good, I thought, as it delved a lot into the post-war landscape. We learn much more about the Ossus Project, too, which is something that I’d been wanting for most of the series up to this point! I think the blending of Yuuzhan Vong with the rest of the galaxy works well to provide that sense of distance that makes the Legacy comics feel apart from the New Republic era stories. There is that patois the Mynock crew (and others) use, which feels at times like the attempts to blend in Chinese with English in the Firefly series, but there is very little to otherwise distinguish the era from that of the height of the Empire. Seeing the devastation wrought by the Yuuzhan Vong, who apparently conquered and terraformed millions of worlds, is a nice attempt to give that distance.

Volume Ten: Extremes

The series comes to an end with the three-part Extremes arc! All hell breaks loose here, as the storyline attempts to live up to its name. Cade and his crew are on the trail of the Sith scientist Vul Isen, as they try to track down “the Butcher of Dac” and hold him accountable for his crimes. They travel to Daluuj, but are ambushed by a group of Sith who are clearly waiting for them – but Cade is able to easily escape the trap. Isen had maintained a laboratory there, which they destroy, but the trail goes cold until the Hutts – mainly fan-favourite Queen Jool – inform Cade they have lured Isen to Utapau.

It’s nice to see movie locations revisited like this, though sometimes they appear to be carbon-copied from the movies, as if time has stood still. That feels like the case here, sadly, and even the port administrator of Pau City recalls the previous holder of that title from Revenge of the Sith!

So Vul Isen is attempting to poison the world and kill Gar Stazi, who is currently based on the planet, but Cade thwarts the scientist’s plan with the help of his old master, Wolf Sazen. Additionally, Antares Draco leads a strike force to Korriban in an effort to rescue Marasiah from the hands of Darth Havok, and he learns that Havok is none other than Eshkar Niin, a former Imperial Knight who killed the wife of Roan Fel as part of his fall to the Dark Side. Part of me feels that this would have had more impact if the Fel Empire had had more exposure than it had, but I feel that throughout the series, it has always been in the background, with little development overall. Meanwhile, still on Korriban, Darth Nihl arrives to discover that Darth Talon is guarding an empty stasis chamber – Darth Krayt has disappeared! Nihl pursues Talon into the Valley of the Sith, where they both discover the resurrected Krayt, who sends out a psychic message to all Sith to inform them that he has returned…

The arc ends with Cade having a disturbing vision of the future: Darth Krayt reborn, then nothing.

Star Wars Legacy


It’s a series that I remember enjoying a lot, back in 2008-2009 when I was initially reading them, but one that has now somehow felt much less so. I think I’ve possibly come to expect more from my Star Wars, of course, but a lot of the core storyline that follows Cade just feels really bad, like Ostrander and Duursema wanted to write about pirates and bounty hunters, but also wanted to involve the Jedi. I think if this had been a series about Cade purely as a bounty hunter, it could have worked much better. Maybe he’s angry and bitter because the Force has passed him over, despite being the heir to such a strong Skywalker tradition, and so on?

Grey Jedi are of course a thing at this time in Star Wars publishing, and I suppose that was the thing they were going for. It’s an interesting spin, but the execution tends far too much towards the frat boy jerk that I find myself cringing so much throughout.

The Imperial intrigue, around Nyna Calixte and Morlish Veed, was quite interesting for a time, and seeing the completely different take on the Empire under Roan Fel was quite refreshing. The Imperial Knights are an interesting blend of the Royal Guard and the Jedi, with a martial tradition of their own, and I think it could have been developed more if we weren’t always being treated to the soap opera of Antares Draco and Marasiah Fel!

The wider galaxy did seem to go unexplored, however, and I am quite sad about that fact. We visit plenty of worlds, don’t get me wrong, but a lot of the story is told from the galactic fringe, and part of me would have liked to have seen more of what the galaxy was like prior to the Sith-Imperial War. Of course, I guess a lot of this is left unexplored simply to allow room for further storytelling, as no doubt the writers couldn’t show something to be true, only to paint other authors into a corner if they chose to follow up the Legacy of the Force series, for instance. Instead, we get the vague “Galactic Alliance” that was almost entirely wiped out at the start of the war, leaving Gar Stazi as the sole representative of the former New Republic. The main interest seems to come from the split Sith Empire and the Fel Empire, and Cade’s group, with occasional help from the Jedi remnant. It feels somewhat lacking – much like The Force Awakens, we take a leap forward in time and have very little context to hang the story on.

So there we have it, ten trade paperbacks later, the Legacy series is at an end! For now, at least. Following the initial 50-issue run, there was a four month break before the six-part Legacy: War miniseries capped things off from December 2010. But that’s for another blog!

Star Wars: Legacy

Hey everybody,
I’m getting close to the end of the Legacy series now! I’ve made it into the final third now, which to me form something of the nadir of the series. Let me explain…

Star Wars Legacy

Volume Seven: Storms

The seventh volume is comprised of a couple of two-parters, which takes us back into the wider galaxy with Fight Another Day, where we follow the Sith extermination of the Mon Calamari people. Fighting alongside the Mon Calamari Rangers is the Imperial Knight, Treis Sinde, who is recalled by Roan Fel but decides to go against his orders and help the Mon Cal people, especially when it is discovered that the Sith have unleashed a creature of legend, the Sith Leviathan, upon the world. I’m not a big fan of the artwork in these issues, although it does take me back to some of the Republic / Clone Wars era comics, which I seem to remember were enjoyable back in the day!

Of course, I thought the same about the Legacy series, and so far I’ve not been all that favourable this time around!!

The next two-parter is the eponymous Storms storyline, where Cade and co travel to Kiffu, where he hopes his uncle Bantha Rawk can help with healing Azlyn. Cade goes off the rails in this one, and the whole storyline is a bit bonkers if I’m honest. He tells Bantha and Droo that Azlyn wants to survive, despite the fact she has made her peace with death, and alienates Droo by putting his desire above that of the patient. He and Jariah Syn then go into town and get into a drunken brawl, and he comes very close to killing his own cousin, who is working for the local law enforcement.

Meanwhile, Darth Wyyrlock assumes control of the Empire as the mouthpiece of Darth Krayt, and bestows the title of regent on Morlish Veed, although Nyna Calixte is suspicious of the Sith’s motives, fearing that Veed will become the face of the Sith atrocities throughout the galaxy.

If ever there was a storyline to make me hate Cade, this is it. He drifts so far from the path of the Jedi it’s unreal, and he becomes such a reprehensible human being that it’s now hard to feel anything except distaste. He’s always had the look of the douchebag about him, but his scumbag leers are really just too much this time, when coupled with what he actually gets up to. I thought the Ossus storyline was supposed to see him hit rock bottom, then pick himself up again, but here he’s just an absolute dick.

Volume Eight: Tatooine

Cade & Co have started pirating Black Sun, who are themselves pirating the Empire’s supply lines. You know, as you do. Realising that he’s still public enemy number one, Cade goes to ground on Tatooine, though he is pursued by Anzati bounty hunters working for Black Sun. Nyna Calixte sends her daughter Gunner Yage to bring Skywalker in, going herself as Morrigan Corde once more. Turns out the Imperial Moff on planet is as corrupt as any Moff based on Tatooine, and was working with Black Sun to profit from letting Imperial shipments fall into criminal hands.

This one should have been a much more enjoyable storyline, as we get to visit a classic movie location – Cade even holes up from a sandstorm at the Lars Homestead – but it is once more a bit of a let-down, as Cade continues to prove that he’s the galaxy’s cheapest skank. The scumbag leers abound, and his seeming efforts to flirt with his half-sister are just cringeworthy.

Star Wars Legacy

Somewhere in here, though, there is a storyline that was fairly decent. The war profiteering by Moff Nieve Gromia was a nice mirror to the old days with Prefect Talmont. I can’t recall if I mentioned this in previous books, but I find it quite interesting that Black Sun is still a going concern in the Legacy era – criminal empires that long-lived would strike me as being a rarity?

At any rate, we’re approaching the end now, and hopefully we’ll see things pick up as we reach the finale! I’m pretty sure, when I first read this series, I didn’t get further than the Tatooine arc, so it’ll be interesting to see how it all ends!