I have always thought of this book as the best of the Tales of the Jedi, and
I always remembered Nomi Sunrider's part to be the better half of this tale. But
upon reading it for the second time, I have to reverse my ideas. This may be the
best of the tales so far -reading them in "chronological" order- but Ulic and Cay's part is much
Ulic's trial is very passionate. I like him, even if he is headstrong
and reckless- modeled on Luke or (one would think) Anakin, I'm guessing. He's convinced
that he knows everything. When asked to lead his brother and Tott Doneeta into a
peace mission, he readily agrees. When the Queen of Iziz asks him to defend her
city, he agrees without even asking his colleagues, without even hearing the
other side to the story. His brother pays with his arm for that. He is
impulsive, which will get him into trouble later on in this series.
two Jedi don't get much to do, except to show off that Cay has a talent for
mechanical things, like Jaina Solo will, and Tott has a talent for creatures,
like Jacen Solo. Ulic has neither of these, but the power to lead people, and to
control them. While I am not a fan of single-talent people, this was done well,
as we didn't dwell on it. But Master Arca has to intervene by the end, because
Ulic went in head-first, and didn't pause to feel the Dark Side at work. Cay and Tott felt something amiss, but being the younger and less experienced ones, they
couldn't place it. Master Arca displays the technique of Battle Meditation,
where focusing on the desired result can turn the tide of a battle, as described
in Golden Age of the Sith, and
The Fall of the Sith Empire.
Ulic and his Jedi
follow attacking raiders into the wilderness, and find the kidnapped Princess
Galia. But because they didn't stop to hear the warlords' point of view, they
now realize that they have made a mistake -Galia wants to stay with her love, a
leader of the warlords named Oron Kira. She knows that her mother and father
have fallen under the spell of the Dark Side, and wishes to escape it.
time they return, the Queen has gathered her Sith magic, and refuses to even
hear of a possible marriage between the two peoples. In an all-out battle, the
beast-riders have the advantage, but the spirit of Freedon Nadd, an ancient Sith
Lord, turns the tide of the battle. Fortunately, the arrival of Master Arca
turns the tide once more, and the forces of the Queen are defeated. The last
battle takes place on the plane of the mind as Arca defeats Nadd's spirit.
The art was very impressive in this section as well. I liked the beasts, which
didn't seem to have head or tail -how did the riders know which way to mount
them! The planet of Onderon, the city of Iziz, and the wilderness, were very
impressive. And the characters were drawn in a manner that portrayed their
characters, as well -somehow, Ulic even looked impatient. And there was one
scene, where the Jedi storm the feast before the wedding, where Galia was drawn
to perfection, so beautiful.
If this section was
the entire graphic tale, except for its short length, the marks would be higher
for this installation. But I found that the section dealing with Nomi Sunrider
was a little slow. I understand the trials that Nomi had to go through, and it
is not the waiting that bothered me.
I found that watching the dealings of
Bogga the Hutt and his pirates rather tedious -and I wanted to get back to the
planet of Master Thon. Bogga wants the adegan crystals that Nomi is taking to
Thon, so he kills her husband (the real Jedi), and stages two raids on her and
Master Thon. Those were fine, but I didn't think we really needed to see the
interaction and blackmail of the pirates. I understand that Finhead was stealing
from a Hutt, and that he really didn't want to try and kill a Jedi, and it
develops his character to see the circumstances in which he found he had to
comply. But I just didn't find it interesting -perhaps if he had some dealings
like Jabba did in his graphic story.
But I did enjoy the interlude that Nomi
has, trying to get over her grief at losing her Jedi husband, and taking on the
mantle that he left behind. And Thon doesn't rush her. He lets her grieve, until
he sees forces at work beyond his control, after which he tries to start her
I can see that the authors were trying to make Thon sort of
Yoda-like in that he didn't reveal his presence to Nomi right away. I liked
that, but found that it went on for a little too long. He reveals that he is a
beast only after his abode is attacked for the first time. His apprentice, Oss
Willem, who is wonderfully drawn, is a species that I don't recognize, but I
liked him right away.
Nomi uses Battle Meditation as well, only she doesn't
know how to control it. She turns dark-side crocodile creatures against each
other, thus saving her daughter, Vima. And she does the same thing to save Thon
at the end when the pirates attack in greater force. I like the way the battle
meditation is not used to win a fight, but to turn the creatures, and then the
pirates, against each other -use their fears, not force.
development comes in the form of realizing that she killed people with a
lightsaber. Not having killed before, she is appalled, and terrified that she might have to do
it again. So she refuses to take up a lightsaber again, even with Thon in
danger. But she finally realizes that she must, for her own sake, for Thon's,
for Vima's, and for the sake of the memory of her dead husband.
They have a
long road ahead of them, and it will be painful. But at least Nomi will help
keep the light side of the Force in the lead.
The art in this chapter was hit
and miss. The first section of it looks like it was done by a different artist.
Nomi and Andur, and everybody else, look like they have been through a slave
driver. Their hair is stringy and thin, and they just look run-down. But after
that, when Nomi arrives at Thon's place, things look better. Her hair gets rich
and thick, Vima starts to grow up, and Thon and Willem were magnificent. I
always enjoy the way the flashbacks, in this case of Nomi's old life with her
husband, are dealt with in a diffuse color, black and white or a sepia. Here, I
liked seeing her loneliness, and the colors reflected that.
The stories in
this installment were more localized, which is why I'm sure I liked them better
than the past two stories. They didn't deal with overwhelming odds or
galaxy-spanning conflicts. We had two sets of Padawans trying to pass the tests
that their masters put before them. Some pass, others failed. Both sets grew up
in a hurry, and learned some interesting lessons. And that character development
is what makes these stories so interesting to so many fans. But the war is just