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A comic series by Pat Mills, Raul Fernandez, and Vickie Williams (2001, Dark Horse Comics)
Republic comics #23-26
31 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

A Jedi operative is sent to Dathomir to stop the Force-witches from unleashing a powerful ancient weapon.



1+ stars+

Read on August 19th, 2007 for the second time  
    I read this story together with Starcrash, and like that one, there is little explanation for anything here. I want to know who was controlling the infinity wave as it swept over the planet Ova. I want to know why it took an hour for the wave to get from the realm of Dathomir to Coruscant, yet ten minutes to get back. If the wave was going to destroy all of Ova or Coruscant, why was it small enough that it only destroyed the control room on Dathomir, with no other effects that might be visible decades later when Luke shows up? If the primitive descendants of the powerful species bred worms (plural) to protect the control room, then why was there only one in this story? If the infinity wave was used by these beings to travel to other planets, why is the wave so destructive? And finally, shouldn't there be many more of them for the return trip, or did they travel only to Ova?

I think I enjoyed the story a little more than the previous time I read it. The artwork, on the other hand, did absolutely nothing for me. There was enough action to keep me mildly interested, but the story kept bugging me. We don't know the "why" of anything! All in all, a forgettable comic arc.



1+ stars+

Read on July 13th, 2003  
    Another standard tale, with little depth and little character. It is rife with inconsistencies and unlikely situations. Nowhere in the tale is it shown that Quinlan Voss is really interested in the Dark Side, as we will be led to believe in Darkness -yet he seems to be completely cured of his affliction from Twilight.

The setting is Dathomir, where The Courtship of Princess Leia set the second half of its novel, and where we are told that the Emperor feared these women. We are also reminded that Yoda lost 14 Padawans when he went to rescue a downed ship there decades in the past. So it is surprising to see how easily Voss deals with these women when he finally gets tired of his slave disguise.

The women also don't act like witches. They seem to know what they are doing with the Force. They don't need chants to apply it, and they seem to have mastered several tricks that we haven't seen before, like a disappearing act. The women are drawn like sex objects, but without the sexiness. In other words, they all have huge breasts, popping out of their skimpy uniforms, but they don't have any sexuality, and they appear to have masks similar to that of Darth Maul.

It seems that the witches have discovered an ancient artifact in a temple that they have excavated. I'm not really sure what this device is supposed to do. What coincidence is it that a planet with a similar temple has disappeared just when the witches uncover theirs? Did they set it off? They had no access to it until the end. The device had some large worms as guardians, at least that is what we are told, but we only ever see one, and it seems pretty impotent.

Voss is able to get himself transferred to another area, where the witches have a man cutting the paws off of native species, which have apparently devolved from the ancient race who used to operate the star gateway. Where did these guys come from? Was there any mention of them in The Courtship of Princess Leia? I don't remember, but that doesn't mean there wasn't. But they are not in my Encyclopedia.

There is a sub-plot concerning Ros Lai, the (apparently) ugly daughter of the leader of the tribe of witches. She is teased and poorly treated by the scantily clad women, but in reality, she is just as "beautiful" as them. Voss discovers this by the end of the second part of the story, but she is out for revenge for her murdered father, who can still exist like Obi-Wan in the afterlife. Sigh... nobody ever has mothers that they want revenge for...

Voss, Lai, and a Givin who was also a slave, manage to steal an excavation ship and give chase to the heart of the temple, where the leader has activated an infinity stream towards Coruscant. Yawn... whatever that means. For some reason, his pursuers think his ship exploded because "nothing could have survived an explosion like that", yet the ship is still intact right ahead of them! Don't their sensors pick it up?

Lai betrays Voss, however, and the Givin is killed. But having been entrusted with the protection of the star gateway (Stargate?), Voss now has the powers to control the infinity stream, which he redirects to destroy the control room. Somehow, he makes it back to Coruscant soon after the stream has disappeared, even though it was to take over an hour for the stream to reach the planet- because Mace Windu is a talking about it as if it just happened this moment. That's some pretty fast traveling!

For some reason, Voss saves Ros Lai from her death, and brings her to the Jedi Temple. His explanation is cryptic and confusing. But by that time, I really didn't care much.

From what I read in Darkness, Voss must have gone perilously close to the Dark Side of the Force in this chapter, but I didn't see him even get mad. He got annoyed at one point, and was subjected to some nasty Dark Side powers (which oddly seemed much stronger than the Light Side, since he couldn't counter them), as well as a nasty bug that started burrowing up his arteries, but didn't kill him -and he was cured by a potion of Ros Lai's blood. Right.

Now I really wonder why the authors didn't make Ros Lai to be a good girl, to oppose her kin, and start a tribe similar to the "good" one that Luke encountered in The Courtship of Princess Leia, turning the ideology of the planet around. That could have made some interesting sub-plots.

The artwork was actually pretty good. Very little caught my eye, though, and I'm not sure why that is. It certainly wasn't bad, and there was plenty of background action in many of the scenes. The colors were vibrant, and showed off the darkness of the characters, with a moody atmosphere. Still, I missed seeing those "special effects" that I have enjoyed in previous issues.

There was little dialog through most of the story. Most of the narration came from mental notes from Voss himself, which provided something a little more interesting than in Twilight, but were still annoying because of the small grunts that we got, like "I must do this..." or "they managed to do that...".

Still, there have been worse stories. This one was just a little uninspiring, and boring. I am glad that some of the future ones in this series got a little better.


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