Sunday, August 3, 2008

Dark Side of the Horse V

Been a long time coming, just like Episode I but without an Annie’s or Jar-Jar’s. Time again for anther Dark Side of the Horse where we take a look at the art, stories and flow of the comics that carry the Star Wars legacy. It’s time to enter the Star Wars Universe as seen by Dark Horse. Embrace your fear, embrace your hate and embrace some good reading.

Star Wars: Rebellion #12Star Wars: Rebellion #12 - Small Victories Part 2
Luke and Leia find themselves separated from the main alliance fleet with no hope of rescue from Admiral Ackbar as they are deep within an Imperial ship installation. Where some would see no hope Luke and Leia see opportunity, a chance to destroy a major factory for the Imperials and cripple their ship production. Problem is the Imperials know they are there and capture out well known Rebels. Deena Shan who just has the bad luck to be along for the ride finds herself tasked with completing the mission of sabotage thanks to Luke giving her a window of escape, one that eventually leads her face to face with Rishyk, a bad tempered Imperial who has not just capture in mind when he finds her. There is still hope but first Deena must survive her confrontation with Rishyk.

Small Victories is a good side-story with an interesting look into the life of a Star Wars B … C-Lister in Deena. The art is good but the action in this particular chapter is lacking. Really not too much more to add, I’ll hold out for some Vector tie-in’s with Rebellion, just not steam here.

Star Wars: Legacy #20Star Wars: Legacy #20
With Cade having escaped from Darth Krayt it’s time to take a look back at the current Alliance with some history on Admiral Gar Stazi. With the Alliance in need of a major victory Stazi takes it upon himself to steal the latest Advanced Star Destroy right from under the Siths nose. A plan is hatched Mon Calamari Gial Gahan decides to take the blame for losing the ship when blame goes down. As we learn more about the plot we get a glimpse back at the Battle f Caamas where a young, non-Admiral Stazi takes a bold stand against the Sith that sets in motion his unwanted rise to power. The plan begins only to find that the Imperials know and have set a trap. What is to come next?

Ok, I mentioned a C-Lister above in Deena, so I would put Stazi in as a B-Lister (hey, he’s an Admiral). Learning about his background sets the stage for the second part of this well drawn book. Sometimes we take for granted the rise to power of characters in the Star Wars universe (I do) so it’s nice to see an origin story that has a major effect on the present day settings. More on that in just a minute.

Star Wars: Legacy #21Star Wars: Legacy #21
The trap is sprung, but within a trap is yet another trap as Admiral Gar Stazi does indeed gain the Imperious while at the same time destroying a major dry-dock for the Imperials. Stazi turns the tide on Admiral Valan whose out for revenge on Stazi, but he messes up bad as he lets Stazi get the upper hand. As Stazi prepares to cover the tracks of his troops and sacrifice his life in the process Captain Jaius Yorub steps in to keep the Admiral alive. A major battle is gained for the Alliance, but at what price?

At first glance this seems like another victory for the Alliance with not too much fallout, but all is not what it seems. Continuing with the same art and story flow as the previous book Legacy #21 does not hint at the wrath to come. All seems well, until Legacy #22, which makes 20-21 very worth the purchase. Talk about setting the stage well.

Star Wars: Legacy #22Star Wars: Legacy #22
Do not betray the Sith, a lesson Darth Krayt teaches in spades to the Mon Calamari. The entire race, no matter their value as ship builders, is put on genocide notice starting with the public execution of Gial Gahan and every other Mon Calamari in attendance at the trial. The Sith are pure evil and the price Stazi and the galaxy pay is incredible, but strange alliances begin to form. Imperial Knights, not long friends of the Alliance find themselves serving the true emperor by aligning with Stazi as well as helping the Mon Calamari underground. Imperial Knight Treis Sinde allows Knight Sigel Dare and others to escape as he takes on Lord Azard then himself goes underground. The slaughter is on and it seems Krayt’s act of murder may just backfire.

Ah, now this is a story. Sad thing is the art in this book was off, just does not have that impact needed and seems very, well comic-ish. Not a ton of detail in a story that is really getting good. Cade is nowhere to be seen but when you get the Imperials in full motion and alliances forming with old Imperials and the Alliance, well it’s game on time, one game that is most def worth the read even with art that’s not on par with other Star wars books.

Star Wars: Dark Times #9Star Wars: Dark Times #9 - Parallels Part 4
Two stories, one of Bomo the other of a former Jedi. As he’s tortured Bomo Greenbark makes his escape and teams up with Crys to free the rest of their friends. As a result of Bomo and his groups actions Master K’Kruhk and his hidden padawans must face a crash landed foe looking for repair and some bounty. As both Bomo and K’Kruhk make plans to free their friends a story is set to come to an end.

Loose ends is what Dark Times is about. There is no hope, just sorrow at how far good people fall during the dark hours and years when the Empire establishers it’s rule Bomo finds he must embrace a side of himself while Master K’Kruhk does the same light-years away. Both beings must come to grips with their actions and realize that times will never be what they were, nor will they. With two different art styles, two styles that work very well, these tales of Dark Times gives insight into the Star Wars Universe no fan should pass on. There are not always happy endings and sometimes scars are not on the surface to be seen.

Star Wars: Dark Times #10Star Wars: Dark Times #10 - Parallels Part 5
Parallels ends, and it’s a bitter ending. Jedi Master K’Kruhk does what is required to save the young ones, but they will never look at him the same way again and Bomo unleashes a fury built up inside since the Clone Wars. Where once Bomo thought he was lost, always to be an outsider he is accepted by the crew of the Uhumele, to continue his journey and find some peace in his existence. K’Kruhk meanwhile must retreat into further isolation as he will never be seen in the same light as he once was. So are the Dark Times in the Star Wars universe.

An ending to a sad story. There was never going to be a good ending for Bomo, but it’s nice to see him find peace. This set of side-stories just gives the Star Wars Universe more life, more realism as it’s not all about the main characters in the movies; the war is bad and never ended for some. These books also had some of the best art I’ve seen in a Star Wars book even with the dual artist. Good story, worth the purchase when this hits as a collection.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #26Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #26 - Vector Part 2
Seems Zayne Carrick just can’t catch a break. Now he’s on a Mandalorian ship headed to Taris which just happens to be full of enemies and Pulsipher has the Sith talisman. The Mandalores are drafting outsiders into their army, an invasion fleet bound for Alderaan … and there’s a virus turning everyone into Rakghouls. Just another day for Zayne and Gryph.

First things first. The art in KOTOR is just, well interesting. It’s not bad, but there is something that just bugs me about it. Sometimes it works others not so much. The story is getting good as Vector picks up steam. Just how do the Jedi of the past touch the future? We are finding out and Zayne is a very likeable character to travel with. KOTOR is fast becoming one of my favorite series as it fleshes out the real history of the Star Wars movies we love.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #27Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #27 - Vector Part 3
As more and more Mandalorians are turned to Rakghouls its Zayne who risk his life to warn off planet foes of the danger and to try to prevent the invasion of to contain the virus. As he reveals his true nature it’s Celeste Morne who begins to doubt herself, her mission, as a servant of Lucien. The Muur Talisman is evil incarnate and as it makes a play to control Zayne it’s Celeste who steps in and is taken over, and thus gains control over the Rakghouls. Just what is this power and how does it tie all time together? That is what Vector is about, and what we will find out.

Yup, art again is hit and miss, but the story finally begins to tie the past to the future. There is a lot of action as Zayne is here and there, but it’s Celeste and her choice that makes me anticipate the next issue. Man, can Vector get any better … I’d say yes.

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