This was a passionate story filled with characters who require much healing after
suffering such great loss. The art varied between good and not-so-good,
but on the whole, it was likable.
This graphic story picks up ten years after The Sith War ended, with Exar
Kun banished to the temples on Yavin 4, and Ulic Qel-Droma stripped of his
Force awareness by Nomi Sunrider, his love.
Ulic wants to get away from everything, so he hires a freighter captain to
take him to an isolated spot where he can die in peace. He has imprisoned
himself for his evil deeds as a Sith master. But the past haunts
him. The freighter captain is a big fan of the Jedi, and finds Yavin 4 a
great place for Ulic to retire (because he doesn't know this man is the one behind the Sith War)
. The shades to the past that form to Ulic's mind were a great
summary of what happened in the past. We see Exar Kun, and the Massassi,
as well as shadows of the people he killed here, and of the space battle that
took place. It was a great reminder of what went on here.
But it is too much for Ulic. He has the freighter captain take him to
a more distant place, the ice world of Rhen Var, where he will live out the
rest of his days in the ancient fortresses of the civilization that used to
reside here, before the glaciers came. Ulic falls into a crevice, but
refuses to die after he has a vision of his master, Arca. He realizes that he
has betrayed everything and everybody, so he must remain alive to atone for
that. But how he is atone for it is beyond his knowledge!
Whenever we see Ulic, the art becomes shady, very unfocused and it looks
unfinished. I was not fond of the artwork here, but it was effective in
some places. Whenever Ulic sees visions of his past, whether it is on
Yavin 4 or on Rhen Var, they are haunting because they look unfinished.
Unfortunately, on an ice world, there are only various shades of grey and
white to play with, so the colors can't help the artists out.
Back on Exis Station, which is where I believe Nomi Sunrider lost her
husband in a bandit attack, and where she decided to become a Jedi herself
(thought I can't confirm this), Nomi has called for a gathering of the
Jedi. They are still restless, and have need of direction. Nomi
has become powerful, both as a Jedi, and as a stateswoman.
Unfortunately, it has been at the cost of her relationship with her daughter,
Vima has grown into a beautiful young woman, with bright red hair and fiery
eyes. Because she has grown up in her mother's shadow, and because her
mother is so busy, she resents her life (and her mother). Vima is shown
as sprightly, with a twist to her features that make her look a little like Han
Solo! Sometimes, though, she looks far more like Princess Leia. She
wasn't drawn very consistently, though. From afar, sometimes she has
long, stringy legs that make her look like an awkward young teen, and at other
times, she is made to look like a young child, short and squat, with no
feminine curves. But when drawn in her elegant dress, she is more
properly proportioned. But that doesn't draw away from her personality, which
is as strong as any of the other young characters we've met over the
years. She has that youthful impatience of Luke and Anakin, the desire
to be her own woman, like Tenel Ka, but she also has a playfulness that hasn't
really been explored successfully in others.
After an ill-fated thrill ride, Vima stows away in the freighter that took
Ulic to Rhen Var. She goes looking for him to train her to be a Jedi,
because he was the greatest, even if he did turn to the dark side. Ulic
rejects her at first, but saves her from a freezing snow storm. Even
though he has no access to the Force, he finally agrees to teach her about it
anyway. He shows her how to levitate objects, how to build her own
lightsaber, and they spar together. We see Vima's playfulness after Ulic
gets serious with her, warning her against overconfidence. She throws
snowballs at him, and he gets into the spirit of the event, too. After
he finds that there is nothing more he can teach her, they work on a sculpture
together. Vima sculpts her father, whom she only knew in hologram form,
and Ulic carves Master Arca. The sculptures are huge, and are truly works
of art, though they begin to melt in the sunshine.
The only problem that I have with this part of the book is that I didn't
get a sense of time passing. It seems that Vima was only with Ulic for
days, yet they accomplished so much. The external reference points
should have reflected a much longer period.
For Nomi, of course, is worried about her daughter. Vima sends word
about her training with Ulic, which gets Nomi very upset. After some
soul searching, Nomi decides that Ulic could be a good teacher for her
daughter, but eventually decides to go rescue Vima from the potential Dark
Side teachings. She doesn't know where they are, but I suppose she uses
the Force to find him, which is an incredible feat. But I guess she is
bonded in a way to Ulic, and can perhaps sense him even across the
In any case, they meet, and I'm not sure Nomi can bring herself to take
Vima away, after she sees all the good that has come from the teachings,
especially in the sculpture of her husband of so many years ago.
The final person who needs healing is Sylvar, a lion-like woman who lost a
mate when he joined Exar Kun's Sith Empire. She blames Kun and Ulic, and
believes that Ulic has not paid the fair price for all the damage he
caused. He still roams free, which is inexcusable. What she really
grieves for is her lost love. And she has let her hate smolder for ten
years... she is on the verge of the Dark Side. She nearly incites
the people of her friend Tott Doneeta's village on Ryloth to seek retribution
from their enemies. Doneeta rectifies the situation with negotiations,
but this is a catalyst for Sylvar to recognize the path she is on.
The go back to Sylvar's homeworld and she goes on a blood hunt, which does
nothing to sate her anger and her hunger. She eventually meets up with
the freighter captain who brought Vima and Ulic to Rhen Var, and ends up with
a lightsaber to Ulic's throat. At the last instant, in a terrific
scene that was charged with emotions, Ulic refuses to fight. It is a
scene reminiscent of Luke's refusal to fight the Emperor in Return of the
Jedi, but with much more power. For Sylvar forgives him, realizing that
her mate chose the dark path for himself, and that she was near to choosing
that path herself.
But in that instant of forgiveness, when Ulic has been forgiven by both
Sylvar and Nomi, and has earned the respect of his student Vima, the freighter
captain shoots Ulic, and he dies. Incredibly, he disappears, like Ben
and Yoda. This means he has become one with the Force, because, as Vima
points out, he understood the Force better than anyone, and so in death, he
was reconnected to it.
All the scenes on Ryloth and Cathar, the home planets of Tott Doneeta and
Sylvar, were exceptionally well drawn. Sylvar's blood hunt, which
resulted in a massacre of the insect-like monsters, and the firestorm on the
day side of Ryloth, showed so much wonder and excitement in such short spans
of pages. The characters were able to grow, even they were only
supporting ones, and that is what I read these books for.
I don't know why Ulic has such a goofy face on the cover of this
collection. It seems that he is at peace, which he only achieved in
death. But he also looks like he would stand up and say "duh?"
at any time.
In any case, I liked the way the characters sought peace in their own ways,
and finally ended up forgiving each other. This could not have been
achieved without Vima, who was not old enough to know the violence of Ulic
during the Sith War, and she was just rebellious enough, and just impatient
enough, to seek her own self-centered solutions. She went from being
self-centered (or maybe just rebelling against the perfect daughter she was
supposed to be) to truly caring about others and their way of
I wish we could have had a greater sense of the time that Vima's training
took, but that is a very minor point. She becomes a very young Jedi,
which is an indication of how strong she could become, like her mother.
Sylvar reaches a turning point in her life by learning how to forgive, and
Nomi learns what it is like to love again, both her daughter and Ulic, whom
she then loses again, forever.
The book was full of passionate characters doing what they have to do to
come to grips with the events of ten years past. I like the passion of
them all. The art was hit and miss, as some parts seemed very rough, and
others were bright and very sharp. If only all the stories could be this
passionate and so insightful.