||Surprisingly affecting, in terms of
story, dialog, and artwork. How they constantly misspelled Anzati,
though, is beyond me!
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
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
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
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.