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A graphic novel by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, and Ray Krussing (2002, Dark Horse Comics)
Book 7 in the Republic comics
30 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

Quinlan Vos battles the Dark Side of the Force when he finds his amnesiac Padawan in a rage on a prison planet.



4 stars

Read on December 15th, 2002  
    Surprisingly affecting, in terms of story, dialog, and artwork. How they constantly misspelled Anzati, though, is beyond me!

Since this book continues the plot thread started in Twilight, I was not expecting to enjoy it at all. It stars two characters that I didn't like there, but who really surprised me in this installment.

Since Dark Horse decided not to publish Infinity's End in graphic novel format, I do not know more than a little about what happened there, but it obviously involved Vos, and a major encounter with the Dark Side, on Dathomir. For that reason, the Jedi would not send him into a situation where he would be tempted by anger or the Dark Side- unless they didn't know until it was too late, which is what happens here.

In the prologue, Vos' Padawan, Aayla Secura, the Twi'lek who lost her memory in Twilight, arrives on the prison world of Kiffex. She finds some sort of temple, and releases the man who is held in a stasis field.

I have a couple of questions about this Dark Jedi, Volfe Karkko, and his imprisonment. How did the prison allow only Jedi to enter -what kind of magic is being introduced to the Star Wars universe here? My main concern, though, was why he wasn't killed. Surely the Jedi have seen enough encounters to know that anybody who was imprisoned can escape. Karkko was too much of a threat, even for being such a powerful Jedi. Karkko was an Anzati (not Azanti as spelled here), one of the species who seeks sustenance from people's spirits, their "soup". One of these guys was in the Cantina in Star Wars, and his story, the quest for Jedi "soup" through Obi-Wan Kenobi or Luke Skywalker, was chronicled in the Tales from the Mos Eisley Cantina, and the Tales from Jabba's Palace.

Quinlan Vos is sent to Kiffex to investigate the sudden takeover of a Guardian outpost on that world. Since it resides in Vos' home system, he agrees to go. There he discovers that the Anzati have attacked, through his ability to reconstruct the memory of inanimate items. He meets the Devaronian, Villie, who arguably saved him numerous times in Twilight.

Villie is actually a very strong character in this book. He actually does know his way around the city-scapes, and is smart enough not to go into known danger. I loved the way he become indignant when shot at outside the city walls ("hey, it's Villie!")!

I also loved the way Jedi kept popping up on Kiffex. First Vos' former master, Tholme, helps him defeat the Anzati. Then, in the midst of a brawl at a local cantina, and just before another Anzati attack, the mysterious Master Zao appears, not really knowing what he is doing there, only that the Force led him. Finally, the Jedi watchman for that sector, T'ra Saa arrives, helping Quinlan get free after he is captured by the Anzati (is she one of those species that evolves into a tree, like the one who saved some knowledge in The Sith War at Ossus?). Only together, using their combined powers, could they defeat Karkko.

Vos is really tempted by the Dark Side here, mainly because of his fear. Through his ability to experience memories through objects, he lived through his mother's death when he was young. It took incredible effort to come to terms with that fear, and he lost that with his memories. This is obviously another test for him.

There is another fear on Kiffex, however, and that is for his Padawan. Aayla is found leading the Anzati, helping bring people to be used as "soup" for their master. It takes a great battle of wills to stop Aayla from killing him. Finally, Vos simply stands like Obi-Wan did in A New Hope, believing that if she killed him, she would lose her anger, and would regain her former life. She doesn't, however, as her memories return.

The face-off between Vos and Karkko was great, as he tries to scare the Jedi, but is repelled by the aura that Tholme, Zao and Saa give to Vos through meditation.

What really made this book shine was the artwork. As per the title, the art was mainly very dark. But the emotions were so well depicted, the backgrounds terrifically enhanced, that I enjoyed it even more than the story. The artist amazingly depicted Villie's salesman smile and his disgust, as well as Aayla's sharp teeth and the fearsome guise of Karkko. The battle between Vos and Karkko was awesome, with Force lightning and a stand-off that can only be described as tense. Quite impressive.

The artwork also had some neat stylistic features. I especially liked the blur when something was moving fast, like Vos' foot. Flashbacks were handled in various ways from the "polarized" effect of having the image split into many horizontal lines, some lighter, some darker, or for Vos' visions, turning them a reddish hue. The holocron images were treated in a similar manner, just a little hazy. Finally, there were some scenes in the Jedi Temple tower that felt over-exposed, like there was too much light, giving the impression that Mace Windu was a little washed out. That was a very interesting effect.

In the end, Aayla goes back to the Jedi Temple for retraining, where she will eventually make her way to the arena fight in Attack of the Clones. Vos, however, decides to deal with his darkness on his own, traveling as a leaf on the winds of the Force. We will undoubtedly be seeing more of him, something I wouldn't mind, given the strengths depicted here. I am surprised to find that I wouldn't mind seeing Villie more, as well. He had some successful humor this time around; seeing as he has agreed to drive Vos around, I expect he will play a part in the future as well.

I don't think it is required to read Twilight before this one. We were not given much backstory on the characters there, and what we need to know for this story is given here, with previous events neatly summarized. This tale has given me back some faith in the comic series. I just hope they can continue on this kind of a high in the future.


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