Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic #13, #14, #15
(Dark Horse Comics, 2007)
Writer – John Jackson Miller
Artist – Dustin Weaver, Brian Ching
Colors – Micheal Atiyeh
I first saw Return of the Jedi sitting next to my brother, with my little sister screaming at the top of her lungs when the Rancor monster tried to floss with Skywalker sinew. As if that wasn’t enough to cement my love of the Star Wars franchise, I was recently in a comic shop and looked over to see a quiet, unassuming man perusing the boxes. “Do you read Star Wars comics?” The owner asked me. “My son is totally in to them”, I said to him. He pointed to the quiet guy and said, “He writes for Dark Horse.” It was then that I met the author of this story, John Jackson Miller. I talked to him for quite some time, and he recommended this story arc to me as one of his favorites. (That the shop had in stock) But Star Wars has become such a vast universe with so many nuances, how would I take to a story that I had no knowledge of? It’s similar to Dr. Who. Where do you get on the train?
Zayne Carrick, thought by the Jedi to be the one to unleash the Sith on the galaxy, is in hiding with a con artist named Gryph and two Arkanians, Camper, an inventor, and Jarael, his protector. Camper and Jareal leave with the droid Elbee and are then attacked by a bounty hunter before they leave orbit. Zayne and Gryph pick up a stolen ship, secure a life debt from the thief, and are in orbit when they find that the ship is the Mess Ship for a Republic Navy Convoy that is in orbit.
There is an artist change in issue 14, which is jarring if you’re reading the book s all together. The art is still good, it’s just different, a more realistic rather than cartoon style.
The Bounty Hunting droid is put out of commission, and a Mandalorian soldier is introduced, and we don’t see Jarael or Camper again in this arc. The ship that Gryph bought was a stolen mess ship for the Imperial Navy, and he has taken on the thief as a cook and made a thriving business at the front. The thief is a good cook and among the Jedi’s many skills is a deft hand at washing dishes.
Zayne is introduced to an Imperial Navy Pilot named Carth Onasi. He is Solo-esque; there is a recklessness to him that makes him a comfortable fit to the story. Zayne has a vision about the complete destruction of the planet’s cities; he decides to warn the Navy, even though he is a wanted man.
Zayne stows away on board Carth Onasi’s ship, and is taken to Admiral Karath, the man in charge of the “defense” of the planet. He is brought before the Admiral and summarily dismissed and arrested, being recognized as a wanted man. The Mandalorians arrive and Zayne’s vision does indeed come true, but not before Miller throws a twist into the story, which I won’t spoil here.
The panels are nicely done, and help move the story along. There are some genius bits of work here. In issue 15 there is a panel that has Zayne in his cell, the shadow of the man in the doorway, and the window in the background has the fleet. Mr. Weaver’s use of space and the detail he puts into his drawings make it just as much fun to look at as it does to read.
My thanks to Mr. Miller for turning me on to these books. They brought me back, capturing the feel of the Star Wars universe while expanding on the original idea with new and interesting characters. So how do I answer the question, “Where do I jump on to the train?” The answer is, wherever you come upon the series. If it’s something that you’ve liked in the past, or something that someone you trust recommends you get on the train where it stops. You can always backtrack if you need to, but you’ll never know if you don’t get on, and you could be missing some really great stories.
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