||This book was like a movie -it had
great visual style, an actual story, real characters, and a full blown
personal crisis worthy of the Dark Side as a climax.
I much prefer the long, multipart stories
like this one compared to the one-shot short story collections that we
got in much of this series, though many of those turned out well,
regardless. But this one is even more consistent because it has the same
artists and writers all the way through.
The first story, Trackdown, is a
prelude to the big siege of the second one, but aside from the months
that separate it, the two flow together as one. Given the events of
Revenge of the Sith, I can see the plotlines here running down.
Everybody has to end up at the right place by the start of the movie. We
know that Aayla Secura and Quinlan Vos are on different planets at that
time, and we also know that both are acting as generals for the
Republic. That means Vos has to come back from the shadows somewhat, at
least in the eyes of the Jedi.
The story opens shortly after
the Clones, when apparently Dooku defeated Tholme and Sora Bulq,
offering them both the power of the Dark Side. Tholme declined, and was
left for dead in a rockslide, while Bulq unconscious, apparently
accepted, and caused quite a bit of chaos in the Jedi Temple before
officially leaving. I am unaware of this story, as I don't recognize it
from the Republic series. Was there a short story giving this plotline,
or was it actually a comic that I simply don't remember?
We pick up again six months before Revenge
of the Sith, with Vos' obsession with finding the second Sith master. He
upsets the tomb of the senator he killed back in
Light and Dark (was it
really so long ago?), so that he can take the memories from the body. He
then sets a trap for an Anzati assassin, the one who killed Valorum, who
knows all about the trap but shows up anyway. Vos takes the memories
from her, as well, and concludes that the second Sith Lord is Sora Bulq.
He is about to be taken as "soup" by the Anzati, except that Khaleen
shows up in the nick of time and knocks her over. Vos is so far from the
Jedi ideal that it is no surprise that he takes Khaleen to bed and she
ends up pregnant. Like Anakin, and Etain in
Triple Zero, this war
and the restrictions the Jedi place on themselves is causing everybody
to lose track of the long term in favor of love.
Tholme and Aayla Secura, meanwhile,
travel to Anzat to find Sora Bulq. Tholme meets with an Anzati assassin
instructor who indirectly tells him that all the other instructors are
training some sort of Separatist shadow army. Secura tracks down the
former Jedi's ship and encounters a clone of a Nikto Morgukai warrior
she had bested in the past. I really liked Tholme's confrontation with
the Anzati instructor, and his subsequent conversation with the peculiar
Jedi Zao. I don't think Zao has followed the orders of the Jedi Council
to become a general, so I wonder if that means he will survive beyond
the end of the Clone Wars. He is a hilarious character, though, much
like Yoda in the way he spouts riddles.
In the end, Tholme finds the Morgukai
cloning chambers, and remains there to sabotage as much of it as
possible, confronting Bulq once before going into hiding. The Jedi
Council decides that they must destroy this facility at all costs.
This leads us directly into the second
story, The Siege of Saleucami. The siege has been going on now for five
months, for it is now three weeks to Revenge of the Sith. Several Jedi
are committed to the attack, but they can't get at the facility because
of the ion cannon, the particle shield, and the large planetary defense
cannon. It has taken them this long to get in the immediate vicinity of
the place. Now, as Jedi Master Ranciss enters the battle meld, Vos blows
up the ion cannon. Then he and Aayla enter the tunnels to destroy the
shields and the cannon, so the republic gunship can bombard the place.
It is here that Vos' loyalties are
tested. Nobody really trusts him, except the Council and senior Jedi
like Ranciss, because they trust to the Force. The dialog is enough to
show us Vos' seeming indecision. All he really wants is to get close to
Sora Bulq, to destroy the second Sith he thinks the former Jedi is. He
will do anything to get that chance, including betraying everybody at
Saleucami. When asked to find and kill Tholme, who is extracting a huge
vengeance on the cloning chambers, Vos actually thinks he has done it.
In reality, Tholme managed to cut himself off from the Force at the
At the same time, the Separatists set
up several attacks, in order to distract Ranciss so that Bulq can kill
the Jedi Master. Vos returns later, casting a bit more suspicion on him,
but he pretends to read Ranciss' memories in order to pick victory out
of this siege. Meanwhile, he enters the Separatists stronghold again
with Aayla to destroy the shield, and meets with all his old enemies,
including Bulq, and Dooku by hologram. They reveal that Bulq is not the
second Sith, and that Vos has fallen to the Dark Side after all. Thanks
to Secura, however, he manages to defeat the darkest part of himself, as
she projects herself into his thoughts to help him through this last
Outside, when the shield is down, a
Jedi is shot down, but steers her craft into the laser, destroying it so
the capital ship can bombard the place. Tholme, in his five months in
the complex, knows a way out, so leads Aayla and Vos out.
There is so much going on in this story
that it is impossible to describe all of it, and nor would I want to.
The images tell so much of it, showing us so much of the emotion and
setting. The artwork was superb all the way through. I appreciated the
coverage that Khaleen and especially Aayla Secura got, of course. I
especially liked the frames that appeared in the bottom right corner of
several pages, which appeared to have been given a sheen of some sort.
The colors were light and dark, which was a good combination. I find
that because of the gritty nature of the war, some of these comics have
become much too dark. Quinlan seems to be drawn inconsistently, though.
On the cover of the book, he is a hulking Conan-type. In the opening
page, he appears little more than a boy. Throughout, he appears older
and younger at times. And how A'Sharad Hett has changed from
He no longer covers himself with the Tusken garb, and sports interesting
facial tattoos. He, too, appears to have fallen in love with a young
This is a great culmination of the
Clone Wars comics series, and even though it is not the last book, it
makes for a great conclusion. I expect Vos to disappear like Etain, and
train his child in secret, well away from the Empire. It would be kind
of nice to see a Vos heir to appear in some more of the expanded
universe stories in Luke's era. After this story comes
Revenge of the
Sith, so the last story in the series must be cleanup. If it remains at
this quality, I am actually looking forward to it.