Reading this graphic tale for the second time, I was impressed with the epic
scale. Unfortunately, the art did absolutely nothing for me,
and too much of the story was told in narrative squares, which were all over the
The first section of the book looks like it may have been published as a
prequel one-shot, as it contains its own precursor script, and a very different
art style. The story also takes place years before the rest of the tale. While I
am thankful that the artist was different for the rest of the book, there were
things that I preferred from the first segment, like the colors.
The colors in the majority of the book were very subdued, very pale, with no
contrast. The artist used many thin lines to tell the story, showing jagged
features to the characters. This is opposed to the almost non-existent
features of anything in the prequel section.
The story, once it got going, was quite exciting, making me desperate to read
the conclusion to this two-part tale. But first we go through extraordinary
buildup, of both the main characters, and the situation in the galaxy.
On the galactic front, Empress Teta has united the seven worlds of her system
together under one rule. But it was not without devastating damage.
Critically, to the teenaged Gav and Jori Daragon, their parents are killed while
flying a relief mission over one contested area. Orphaned, they take the
remaining ship their parents owned, and went prospecting for new hyperspace
paths, trying to find one that will make them money, while securing a faster
route to other places in the galaxy. It's a pretty cool idea, I think.
The hyperspace routes were charted by somebody, and it was undoubtedly the
risk-takers that did this job, and the few who made it alive got rich from the
task. Aside from Gav constantly saying that once they find a good route that
they could retire, I doubt that would ever happen to these two.
Unfortunately, they are not very lucky. Over the time since their
parents' death, they have discovered one route worth taking, and even that one
is extremely dangerous. When a trader loses a drone ship through that route,
instead of getting a commission, they are nearly murdered.
Thankfully, two Jedi intervene. Unfortunately, it might have been better for
the galaxy had they been quietly killed. For their next actions will precipitate
not only the war that immediately followed, but also the Great Sith War because
Naga Sadow formed the basis for Exar Kun's opportunities a thousand years later.
It was nice to see Odan-Urr, the Jedi who eventually became master of Luke's
holocron, and the first use of battle meditation. It was well-presented,
especially in the way that the rebels' own fears made them retreat and
surrender, making the battle a lot less bloody.
A bloody battle of another kind takes place on far-away Korriban, where a
Dark Lord of the Sith is being entombed, and a struggle to fill the power void
is underway. Ludo Kresh is the logical choice to succeed the dead Marka Ragnos,
because he would likely keep the status quo, with the Sith ruling the Massassi.
But Naga Sadow wants to expand the Sith Realm.
Into that battle Gav and Jori land their ship. I think it was pretty
stupid to land that way, in the middle of a town. No wonder the Massassi
raised arms against them. They didn't even speak the same language!
Sadow uses the Republic citizens as an opportunity to grab power, calling
them spies, the prelude to an invasion, and breaks them out of their cell,
leaving their own weapons behind at the scene, making it look like the Republic
sent in a task force to rescue the two. How nobody could have noticed
Sadow's ships approaching, even in the night, I don't know.
Sadow keeps Gav and Jori separated, at two different bases, and plans to
eliminate Kresh once and for all. Sadow was given status of Dark Lord, but
Kresh led his factions away. Sadow stages a raid to take back Gav and Jori's
ship, leaving evidence that both the Republic and himself were involved.
As he knew, Kresh took the bait, realizing that Sadow is staging the raids in
order to make the Sith leaders think the Republic is a real threat. He and his
allies attack Sadow's base, but are crushed. It is not clear if Kresh
survived, but I think this is the case.
It was a pretty cool battle, even though the art could have been better. I
don't like the contrivance of Sadow having two bases, so that one could be
sacrificed. I suppose it makes sense, but it feels like a cheat. Sadow keeps his
fleet of warships at his secret base, and once Jori escapes back into
hyperspace, he attacks Kresh's forces.
Sadow is of course tracking Jori back to the Republic, and will follow her
when he has what he believes to be "enough" warships. He has also been teaching
Gav, who has Force potential, the Sith arts, and will undoubtedly cause him to
resent his sister. If not her, then certainly the Republic that ignored
In the Republic, the Force sends Odan-Urr a message, which Empress Teta takes
very seriously, but the Senate does not. Teta will be prepared when the Sith
arrive, but what cost will the Republic face for not heeding the warning of a
Jedi? It is strange that the other Jedi did not rally around Odan-Urr.
I guess this is one reason a Jedi Council would be needed.
In another matter, it's pretty funny to see the artist's idea of what the
Senate would look like, after seeing the extravagant Senate created by George
Lucas. I don't think anybody could have come up with something like that!
Instead, in all the novels and comics, the senates that these authors came up
with were pretty dull!
As with most of Kevin J. Anderson's work, the story had such great potential,
but the writing let it down a bit. The art, which can make even a poor
story so much better, did nothing to bring this tale up. In fact, I would
say it brought it down a little, as well.