||This set of stories, while more
continuous than most of the Republic compilations, is also more hit and
The first story,
Double-Blind, continues the arc started back in Sacrifice, which
opened The Defense of Kamino. Featuring Quinlan Vos, a character who I
am not overly fond of, it didn't have much going for it. It felt much
like the middle part of a story, and barely had a proper conclusion. I
liked the artwork very much; these characters have a lot of details, and
there are lots of shadows that give it great perspective. Quinlan gets
to face off with another Jedi, who is trying to bring him in for arrest
to the Jedi Council. They capture his curvaceous assistant, Khaleen, who
seems to be drawn in especially expressive positions that highlight all
of her curves, and much of her skin. Personally, I like her hair and the
tattoo around her belly button (though not exclusively, of course...)!
The trick here, is that Vos is in a double-blind position. At no cost is
he to reveal that his not a traitor. He is supposed to do what is
necessary to convince Count Dooku that he could be an asset to the
Separatists. He is well on the road to the Dark Side, however, as he
kills the one who apparently set him up and betrayed him to the Council,
even though he likely knew that this was part of the role he was
expected to play.
My favorite story among this collection
is the Jedi: Aayla Secura story. There is just something to this
Jedi that I like. She is not only beautiful and sexy, which is what the
artists are obviously trying to showcase, especially as she seems to
wear the least clothing of all the Jedi. Aayla is also extremely smart
and resourceful, and a great fighter. She also added something to the
artistry in this book, because she is blue-skinned, giving the dark
pages some badly needed color. Really, it's no wonder George Lucas
decided to put her in Attack of the Clones and
Revenge of the Sith. She
has gained a lot of confidence since her ordeals in
Rite of Passage, and
her last meeting with Vos in Sacrifice. While Vos is not in this story
except as a hologram and in flashbacks, another of my least favorite
Star Wars characters is a major player in this story: Aurra Sing. I
never thought this was an interesting character, and recall being quite
bored and in disbelief at her efforts in The Hunt for Aurra Sing. Still,
I loved her presence here, because Aayla Secura takes her on, frustrates
her, reads her emotional state correctly, and eventually defeats her! I
nearly cheered at that. Her mission takes place on Devaron, so I was
surprised (and mostly pleased) that we didn't see Villie. Aayla poses as
the daughter of a wealthy Twi'lek, taking the last name Doneeta, as in
Tott Doneeta from the Knights of the Old Republic. Their cover is blown
by a traitor in the Devaronian government, but her host gives her
information about a Separatist base in the mountains.
Meanwhile, Master Tholme and the Dark
Woman are caught in a trap while hunting for that same Separatist base,
and are covered by debris. Although we have not seen much of the Dark
Woman before, we now get some insight into her character, about how she
lost Aurra Sing as a Padawan, and her attempt to refrain from any
attachments at all, as per the Jedi code. A nice counterpoint to that is
Aayla's relationship with Kit Fisto. Since they both have head-tails, he
can read her emotions. There is nothing romantic going on, but I wonder
if they survive Revenge of the Sith if we will see something develop.
That would be an interesting development. My favorite part of the story,
however, comes when Aayla fights with Aurra. Although Aurra is clearly a
better fighter, she fights with anger, and so lacks clarity. Aayla
delves into the emotions of her opponent and defeats her neatly by
cutting off her antenna, which feeds off the fear of others. Aayla and
Aurra share a similar heritage after several of their separate
adventures. While Aayla came out of them stronger, Aurra came out full
of hatred. While the character arcs here were what I mostly enjoyed, the
Separatist base was also destroyed by Kit Fisto and the clone troopers.
In Jedi: Count Dooku, we return
to Quinlan Vos' storyline, and his infiltration of Dooku's council.
Dooku tests Quinlan's allegiance by sending him on three missions, all
of which a Jedi would have trouble with. Indeed, Vos does things
differently from what Dooku asks. Instead of killing a freighter captain
who has been siphoning funds, he terrifies the man into submission.
Instead of keeping a dictator in charge of the Ishi Tib, Vos recommends
killing the man, as proof that the Separatists will take unjust matters
into their own hands. In this case, Vos doesn't seem to have any trouble with killing
people in cold blood. In the third mission, however, to his home planet,
he reveals his true allegiance, when he fails to kill his matriarch as
she refuses to allow a Separatist base on her planet. I don't see how
Dooku can call that devotion to the Republic, though. Vos might want to
end the conflict another way. Always with Dooku it's kill them, kill
them. Word must get around sometime... When confronted by Dooku, though, Vos
succumbs to anger as he finds out that the matriarch killed his parents,
and so he kills her. Although Vos doesn't think he has gone over to the
Dark Side, there can be no doubt, now.
My problem with the Separatists is how
anybody can consciously join them, when they see the methods employed.
The Empire is started right there, with murder of anybody who disagrees
with them, and destruction of property to give lessons to the populace.
How could any planetary monarch even think of going over to the
If somebody like Vos really did change sides, shouldn't he at least show
Dooku some sort of conscience? Since Dooku was revealed to the Jedi to
be on the Dark Side, I suppose that he has no trouble now trying to
tempt others to the Dark Side openly.
Striking from the Shadows
concludes Vos' trip to the Dark Side, even though he still thinks
differently. Dooku tests him once again, making him think that he was
being sent to kill a Sith on the Senate. In fact, Dooku merely switched
topics in the middle of the conversation! First, he was talking about
the Sith, pondering how an apprentice could become a master (through
assassination, of course), then he gave Vos a target to kill, someone
who was again playing both sides of the conflict. Vos starts the story
on Korriban, home of the Sith Lords in Dark Lords of the Sith, obtaining
a holocron for Dooku, and it is here that he truly turns to the Dark
Side, terrorized by nightmares of killing his matriarch. Khaleen, who
might have even become his lover here, joins him on his visit to the
senate; they disguise themselves as a dead senator from Vos' planet, and
a companion. We even get to see Mon Mothma and Bail Organa. Vos kills
the senator, battling a Jedi in the process, but escaping while he has
the chance, to avoid killing his opponent.
The artwork in the last two stories was
good, but nothing struck me as standing out. They were full of dark reds
and browns, with lots of shadows. A little more color would have been
nice, though I'm sure the artists were going for a Dark Side theme.
I suppose I'm just not a fan of Quinlan
Vos, though I could do with more of Aayla Secura.