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…

The Conqueror Worm

For whatever reason, back when my blog was 5 and I featured Hellboy during Birthday Week, I neglected to get to the fifth trade paperback in the series, The Conqueror Worm. Which is weird, because my goodreads profile tells me that I did read it back then! When I had first got into Hellboy, this was as far as the series went, and I had wanted to relive the early 2000s with my birthday feature, but never mind – let’s correct this oversight now, in fact let’s do so twice!

Firstly, let’s talk about the comic. Back at the start of 1939, the Nazis had attempted to commune with the elder beings floating around in space, sending up a dead body for one of these monstrosities to inhabit, but the plan failed before they could recall the rocket. Well, the rocket has been spotted in 2000 and the BPRD are dispatched to investigate! Hellboy and Roger are led to Hunte Castle in Austria by a local police officer, who later turns out to be Inger von Klempt, granddaughter of Hermann von Klempt, the Nazi scientist who led the experiment in 1939. Lobster Johnson, something of a Captain America figure from the WW2-era, and believed dead when the original Nazi plot was disrupted, reappears and teams up with Roger to destroy the castle’s power generators, while Hellboy is initially tortured by von Klempt and his cybernetic Kriegaffe (war ape).

The rocket lands and a gas comes out, transforming everybody present into frog creatures. Inger has been protected against it to some extent, but when the Conqueror Worm itself emerges from the capsule and begins to devour the transformed mutants, she asks her grandfather how he could possibly hope to control the beast. Hermann tells her, after the failure of so many projects to bring about Nazi domination, he just wants to watch the death of the world as the Conqueror Worm will awaken the Ogdru Jahad. Roger is able to kill Hermann, and Lobster Johnson then uses a lightning rod to attract a massive jolt of electricity to kill the Worm. After his experiences with the BPRD, Hellboy decides to quit, and travel to Africa.

In an epilogue, Rasputin’s ghost is taunted by Hecate, who herself is inhabiting the body of Ilsa Haupstein still contained within the iron maiden. Rasputin’s plans to release the Ogdru Jahad will forever come to nothing, as the only force capable of releasing them is Hellboy’s stone right hand. Rasputin screams in defiance, to the point where his spirit shatters; Baba Yaga collects a fragment to wear in an acorn around her neck.

The book is quite glorious, I have to say. Some of the panels have such a gothic imagery that it really speaks to the search through the lower depths of Hunte Castle, and the sense of foreboding and dread as if the gargoyles are watching Hellboy’s progress. There’s something of a 90s feel to some of the panels, as the Conqueror Worm goes about his business – a lot of the colours and shading brings to mind the Dark Empire series, for me. The story is just exactly what I think of when I think of Hellboy – crazy Nazi scientists with their doomsday plots, it’s all delightfully over the top. The epilogue though, is really quite eerie – there’s a sense of the evil puppet masters, behind the scenes going over their plots, and so on. I especially liked the addition of Baba Yaga at the end, as well.

All in all, very creepy, and exactly what I like in a Hellboy story!

Secondly, I played with the Conqueror Worm expansion for the first time not too long ago, and I was really quite impressed! For years, despite having the graphic novels, Hellboy to me was Big Red going up against the Nazis and their Project Ragna Rok, thanks to the movie portrayal. While the frog monsters make sense within the board game universe, it’s still really quite special when you get more into this side of the Hellboy universe. The expansion features five types of Nazis, plus the eponymous Worm himself, as well as new scenery and rooms, and the associated card decks, along with two new playable agents: Lobster Johnson and Roger.

I’ve played The Cold Shoulder scenario, and I found it to be really thematic for this particular storyline. I’ve talked about it before, but there are very few “big” stories within the Hellboy comics – for the most part, two parters are as long as things get. So it’s nice to see a big story like Conqueror Worm get the big expansion treatment here. The game starts out with the agents exploring the hallways of the castle until they come across a point of interest, which (spoiler alert) reveals the laboratory where the Nazis are containing the Worm itself. With this tile placed, the Confrontation begins, and in order to win you’ll need to place charges in specific rooms and blow the castle up. While the Worm only has a move characteristic of 1, that miniature is huge, and it’s really quite frightening to see it coming across the board at you! As it happens, I somehow managed to block it in a chokepoint with a piece of terrain, not sure if that was played correctly, but it did slow it down enough that I was then able to move through and place the remaining charges to rig the castle, and get out before it all went boom. Poor Lobster Johnson did actually almost give his life for the cause, though I was able to heal him enough before the final showdown so that we all made it through!

This was my first game with three agents, and I think it definitely helped, as I was able to do a lot on my turns, and the game overall felt like it went much faster for having those increased options. Of course, I’m not sure if I’d always want to do that because the game does scale up for more agents being on the board, but still, it was a lot of fun, and I thought this was perhaps the first time when I felt like the game was a real co-op experience.

The Hellboy board game is truly shaping up to be one of my favourites here, and in recent weeks I think I’ve now doubled the number of plays with it. I think it helps that we’re in that season when it’s good to hunker down with a game, and despite all of my rantings and ravings about Kickstarter games here on the blog, there is something quite exciting about opening up a massive box that is choc-full of trays and trays of miniatures. The Hellboy theme is just the icing on the cake, really!

I do have Hellboy volume 6, and I think I may have investigated one of the stories in there, but I’m soon going to be in uncharted territories with the comic book series. I’m hoping to increase the library there soon, branching out into the BPRD series as well, to see what that’s all about. As for the board game, I definitely want to see more of the BPRD Archives expansion, and start putting together my own case files, as well as trying out more from the core set. The only thing that kinda gives me pause on that is just the sheer amount of frogs… Having all of the Kickstarter goodness does make me feel like mixing things up with some of those other miniatures for some variety, you know? There are suggested rules for that, as well, so I’ll have to take a look into the wider game and see just how I can bring that about. I have clearly been spoiled…!

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!

Star Wars: Legacy

Hey everybody,
We’re back with the great re-read of the Star Wars Legacy series!

Star Wars Legacy

Volume Six: Vector

The Vector storyline was a year-long event in Star Wars comics publishing, back in 2008, where each of the four ongoing storylines – Knights of the Old Republic, Dark Times, Rebellion, and Legacy – would be touched by an ongoing crossover event. Given that more than 4000 years separates these lines, in-universe, that was quite the prospect at the start! However, it was effected really well, with the Jedi Celeste Morne being kept in stasis following the initial four-part storyline in KotOR, and being awoken by Darth Vader thousands of years later.

By the time we get to the Legacy part of the story, Morne has a star destroyer full of rakghouls floating in deep space, where Cade and his crew come across her and hatch a plan to use the rakghouls and the Muur talisman to destroy Darth Krayt and the One Sith. They travel to Had Abbadon, where Krayt and his inner circle find them and do battle. Roan Fel, hearing of the talisman, sends his Imperial Knights to collect it, thinking he can use an army of rakghouls to defeat the Sith and reclaim his throne.

Azlyn Rae manages to land the killing blow on Krayt, and his body is Force-pushed off a cliff, however she herself is mortally wounded. Karness Muur is disappointed that Krayt has been taken out of the picture, but he senses the darkness within Cade and attempts to bond his spirit with Skywalker’s. Cade, however, uses his Force power to shatter the talisman, destroying Muur for good.

The storyline concludes with Darth Wyyrlock collecting the body of Darth Krayt, only to discover that he is clinging to life – and so he uses Force-lightning to finish him off.

Dun dun dun!

Star Wars Legacy

It’s a strange one, this, because it forms something of an end-of-act storyline for the Legacy series, as well as the finale to the Vector storyline, but it does so quite well, if I’m honest. Putting aside the strangeness that we see from having a Jedi from the Old Republic era surviving for so long, and the whole thing with Roan Fel thinking it would be okay to unleash the power of the Dark Side on the galaxy if it gets his throne back (to say nothing of Antares Draco’s thoughts on getting the talisman as a way to get Marasiah into bed), the story was interesting in bringing together a lot of the major players once again. Definitely felt like an “event” storyline!

I still find myself bored by Cade forever coming across as a bad-boy type while also having these noble ideas of killing off Krayt and removing the threat of the Sith from the galaxy. It almost cheapens that threat, really, if they can be taken out by a Jedi drop-out like Cade. Remember, this is the Sith that removed the entire Jedi Order that had been rebuilt by this point. It just doesn’t ring true and I find myself having to really suspend that sense of disbelief that is normally pretty strung out with Star Wars, anyway!

Star Wars: Legacy

Hey everybody,
The great Legacy read-through continues!

Star Wars Legacy

Volume Four: Alliance
After the dramatic events of the previous book, we have a swift change of pace now as we look to the wider galaxy, and catch up with what’s happening with Admiral Gar Stazi of the Galactic Alliance. The Empire attempts to trap Stazi by presenting him with an irresistible target, a new Star Destroyer being built at the Mon Calamari shipyards, the Indomitable. Stazi doesn’t disappoint, and the Empire think they have him in their clutches only to have the tide turned on them, and the Alliance makes off with the ship. In retribution, Darth Krayt personally initiates the mass-genocide of the Mon Calamari people. Stazi decides it might be time to once again pursue an alliance with Roan Fel.

There is also a one-shot issue that follows Darth Wyrlock as he attempts to find answers from the holocron of Darth Andeddu to help him deal with his master Darth Krayt’s impending doom.

To begin, I just want to say that the artwork in this volume is not my cup of tea. At times it was far too cartoon-y and stuff, and I really didn’t appreciate it overall. In addition, I wasn’t a huge fan of the storyline – I can remember reading this one back in the day and enjoying the fact that we were getting to see what was happening in the wider galaxy. I found there to be several missing links in the history that I wanted to see resolved, but now I found that I was just getting confused by things. There are a lot of flashbacks to the earlier war between the Galactic Alliance and the Empire, but nothing seemed to be really explained, which left me with a sense that the war was simply there as a device to have the galaxy in the state that it currently is. I can’t remember if there is any more detail to come, but I am a little deflated at this point in the timeline, trying to work out what on earth the backdrop to these events was supposed to be!

Volume Five: The Hidden Temple
We’re back to Cade and Co for the fifth volume in the series, as we catch up with the crew of the Mynock after their escape from the Sith Temple on Coruscant. Deciding to lie low for a while, they head to the moons of Iego and Cade’s uncle, Bantha Rawk, formerly Jedi Master Nat Skywalker. Bantha has left the order following the Ossus Massacre, and has established a life for himself with his family. When they arrive, however, Black Sun have been attacking the retreat and the Mynock is instrumental in fighting them off. It turns out that there is a bounty on Cade’s head and a lot of people have been looking for his known haunts to see if they can get ahead of him. Unbeknownst to everyone, however, someone else has arrived at Rawk’s Nest, Cade’s former fellow Jedi apprentice, Azlyn Rae. When the Empire turns up looking for Cade, the crew of the Mynock realises that this isn’t safe, so Bantha agrees to lead them to the Hidden Temple of the Jedi to see if they can help.

However, Azlyn is serving new masters these days, and helps to lead the Imperial Knights to the Temple in an attempt to broker an alliance between the Jedi and Roan Fel. Cade further expounds his plan to assassinate Darth Krayt, in the hope that the One Sith will fall in on themselves and eliminate that threat. The Imperial Knights feel this could well work in their favour, also, as it would allow Fel to reclaim the throne. Princess Marasiah stays behind at the Jedi Temple while Antares Draco and Azlyn Rae accompany Cade and his crew to the deep core, with Shado Vao also coming along to keep an eye on Cade.

After the previous volume, it felt good to be back to what seems to be the main storyline, seeing Cade, Jariah and Deliah going off on their adventures. We also get further backstory on Rav and his pirates, learning more about Jariah Syn and his hatred of the Jedi along the way. More character development is always a good thing, of course, and as the story moves along we see Cade embracing a little more of the fact that he can use the Force.

Star Wars Legacy

Jedi-wise, Master K’Kruhk is back, and it’s also really nice to see T’ra Saa from the Republic series coming back here. Of course, it is somewhat arguable that bringing back so many Jedi from these previous stories makes one question how effective Order 66 really was, but also it serves to show how the Jedi were able to come back in such force so quickly after the fall of the Empire. So I guess there are multiple sides to that.

I can’t help feeling as though the story is feeling a little rushed at this point, though, with Cade having gone from being the fringer nobody to suddenly thinking he has to solve the galaxy’s problems. True, he’s doing it to stop the Sith hunting him, but it all feels just a little bit like there should have been more reconciliation between his character at the start of the series, and how he is now. But maybe I’m expecting too much?

That said, though, I think the story moves along much better when it has this focus on Cade & Co, as if Ostrander and Duursema are much more at home telling the tale of their team, rather than trying to hang that story in the wider galactic context.