Sunday, October 26, 2008

Dark Side of the Horse VI

It’s been a while, but time for another look at the Dark Side of Dark Horse with some analysis of Star Wars comics. There are times I find myself getting behind on what I want to chat about which makes it all the more enjoyable when I finally sit down and put my thoughts and impression on virtual paper. So I hope that my joy and relief comes through in this latest chapter of Dark Side of the Horse.

Star Wars: Rebellion #13 - Small Victories Part 3Star Wars: Rebellion #13 - Small Victories Part 3
The side story continues as Luke and Leia must free themselves with the hop that Deena Shan can assist their escape. Meanwhile Admiral Ackbar finds himself with a tough decision, leave two of your greatest assets in the Imperials hands or send the non-battle tested B-Wings to the rescue. The answer, a little B-Wing action, clone trooper named Able and some good ol’ Jedi type luck for Deena.

This story takes place on the Imperial Bannistar Station, a refueling depot that is the lifeline of the Imps in this sector of space. Unlucky to be captured, Luke and Leia take a backseat to the real stars of this book, Deena, Able and the B-Wings. Seeing how new, well known, Star Wars ships first get into action is a treat, as is seeing an older clone trooper, Able, in action with the original trilogy stars, ties the trilogies together in more ways (also makes you wonder how the hell Obi-Wan got so dang old). The art in these books is some of the best in the Dark Horse Star Wars line; the story is interesting, a nice side-story, but not much more. Worth the pickup if you’ve already started this series, but I’d wait for trade paperback.

Star Wars: Rebellion #14 - Small Victories Part 4Star Wars: Rebellion #14 - Small Victories Part 4
The fight continues as, having escape here assailant, Deena manages to take out an entire Star Destroyer with one little detonator, something Luke compliments her on later. The resulting explosions, confusion and arrival of the B-Wings all tie into on sweet escape for Luke, Leia and the rest of the survivors. Our heroes are safe, the B-Wings have been battle-tested and it’s time for the next story arc.

Not much more I can add here than what I said for Part 3 above. Really good art, action packed story and characters more secure in their spots in life … Deena folks, I’m talking about Deena.

Star Wars: Legacy #23Star Wars: Legacy #23
Fresh from the Sith Temple what is Cade Skywalker to do … clear up some debt and get a ship back of course. A visit to former colleague Rav, who happened to issue a bounty on Cade, is visited by his intended mark only to see a more stern, Force wielding Skywalker smack him down, force him to swear a blood oath as well as release the Grinning Liar from it’s debt. With ship in hand it’s time to head to safe harbor, which just happens to be under attack by the Black Sun.

So earlier I stated that Rebellion has the best art, well only slightly ahead of Legacy. Legacy carries a more realistic style, where even Luke looks like his silver screen self as opposed to the more action oriented Rebellion. The story, it’s a transition story, common in comics and manga. We just finished with the Sith Temple story arc and it’s time for Cade to lay low. Some loose ends are tied up here, but not much else.

Star Wars: Legacy #24Star Wars: Legacy #24
Black Sun disposed of, Cade, Deliah Blue and Jariah Syn all settle in for some good food and relaxation on the Rawk’s Nest. Not all is fun and games as a bounty hunter has tracked our young Skywalker and there is a confrontation brewing as Cade questions is Uncle Nat about his mother, and why Nat abandoned being a Jedi himself. There is also the lecture from both Cade’s Father and Luke, guess dead Jedi just can’t leave the living to themselves. That bounty hunter we touched on, it’s Azlyn Rae, an old friend of Cade’s and one who touches off the next story arc in our adventure.

As the Imperials show up to question the confrontation with the Black Sun , Azlyn proves her trustfulness by convincing the Imps all is well and to leave the planet. As Nat and Cade come to the realization the nest is no longer safe, they conclude it’s time to get packing and the decision is made to head to a secret Jedi location, temple, hidden from only those who helped discover it, including Nat during his days as a Jedi. Unknown to the group a cloaked Imperial Knight ship is following them. The story, it speaks for itself, it involves the Sith, Empire, Imperials and a Skywalker. Jedi on the run with great art, this is a good book and a great jumping in point for anyone new to the book.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #28 - Vector Part 4Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #28 - Vector Part 4
Celeste Morne comes to realize the power she now contains within her as the amulet looks to exert it’s power. She makes the choice to have Zayne seal her in a chamber which will contain the Sith power so that he may transport her to a planet full of Sith relics and a solution can be found to the Rakgoul powers she now carries. Before Zayne can transport Celeste the Mandalorians in orbit decide to decimate the planet from orbit, sealing Celeste fate and setting in motion events that will ripple across generations.

This fourth part of Vector is just the beginning as Celeste now will become part of the future, and Zayne will move onto his next path of action. These two paths, one that will keep you with KOTOR, the other following Vector, both offer enjoyable reads are Zayne is just a small fish in a grand story, very refreshing, while Celeste is about to become much larger than the chess piece she is in KOTOR. The art, worst of the lot. Very, very cartoony, like Cartoon Network tweens action hero tooney, but with body proportions that just don’t seem right. Good story, great cover at, but inside is a mixed bag.

Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #29 - Exalted Part 1Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #29 - Exalted Part 1
To avenge Celeste and reveal the secrets of Lucien, Zayne and crew head to a secret storehouse of Sith artifacts. The storehouse is hidden on the home world of the Feeorins where one of Zayne’s murderous masters, Feln, commands. Using a guise of Celeste to gain admittance Zayne and Gryph spend days cataloging the artifacts for proof before making their exit … where they are promptly captured.

While the art does improve the story takes a hit as there is very little action. The bit of excitement we get is the conclusion which leads to Zayne’s facing off with one of the Jedi Covenant, Feln. The best thing about this book is it’s lead into the next chapter.

Star Wars: Dark Times #11 - Vector Part 5Star Wars: Dark Times #11 - Vector Part 5
Bomo and the crew of the Uhumele, having faced many losses, choose to sell As Bomo and the crew of the Uhumele decide to sell the package they so dearly paid to obtain. Seems things can never go right for Bomo as the crew is yet again betrayed as Darth Vader is there to claim the package for himself, a package which contains Celeste. As she awakens and the plague begins to spread again the amulet senses a dark presence, one more powerful than Celeste, Vader himself. Vader sees an Old Republic Jedi, who serving with him can overthrow the Emperor. Battle begins and Bomo must work fast to escape.

Excellent art, very realistic mixed with great action as we learn what happened to Celeste, how her package has been passed around through the ages and as she awakens she must deal with her new, harsh reality and a confrontation with a Sith. Great story and fight that leads into the next issue.

Star Wars: Dark Times #12 - Vector Part 6Star Wars: Dark Times #12 - Vector Part 6
The fight continues as Celeste decides to pass on Vader’s offer and to prevent the amulet from claiming a new host. As she resigns herself to a new fate of isolation and Vader leaves the planet the crew of the Uhumele must deal with another set of losses and just where their path will take them.

The story, Vector, is moving along very nicely, and this chapter in Vader’s past is very interesting as it draws parallels to The Force Unleashed in that Vader was always looking for an apprentice to use against the Emperor. The title is so proper as Bomo has nothing but dark times and you wonder what keeps him going. The real gem is the further indoctrination of Celeste into the Star Wars universe, something I for one am very interested to see continue. The art takes a turn for the simpler, but not on the level of KOTOR. As Bomo and Vader leave the planet there is also a very real sense of hopelessness as Celeste is isolated on planet with only her Rakgouls.

That does it for now, and there is more to come. Dark Side of the Horse is one of my favorite pieces to prepare and write for, but it takes time. So let me get cracking on the next part and May the Force Be with you (cheesy I know, but so cool).

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