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TWILIGHT

A graphic novel by John Ostrander, Jan Duursema, and Rick Magyar (2001, Dark Horse Comics)
Republic comics #19-22
31 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

A Jedi who has lost his memory goes in search of his missing Padawan, helped by an untrustworthy ally.

 

 

1+ stars

Read on May 6th, 2006 for the second time  
    Since I started reading this series, Quinlan Voss has appeared in many of the stories, and I have gotten used to him. Strangely enough, I have also gotten used to Villie, so that he is not quite as annoying as he used to be.

The story doesn't do much, having Quinlan roam between Nar Shadda, Kiffex, Ryloth and Coruscant trying to recover his memories. His memories are mostly returned by the end of the story, though the fact that he needs retraining says that he is not quite recovered yet. Just by holding his lightsaber, he regained much of what he once knew.

The segments on Nar Shadda had Voss running away from bounty hunters. I have never been a large fan of the Star Wars underworld, so these scenes do less for me every time I read one. And here, it takes up a large section of the book. The sections on Kiffex are the shortest, but I like the anti-Jedi sentiment displayed, which is overruled by family ties. This animosity will cause the great-aunt's ruin during the Clone Wars, in Light and Dark.

Family ties get Voss into trouble on Ryloth, when he trusts somebody from his clan who tells him they used to be intimate. Since we never knew this woman, we have no emotional investment in her when she dies. More turbulent is the relationship between Master and Padawan, especially since neither one remembers the other. Aayla Secura has not reached her beautiful phase in this book, her first outing. She is here only a mediocre-looking Twi'lek, even though Villie calls her "yum-yum".

The Coruscant scenes really just tie things up, but never really get to the top of the conspiracy. Nobody even knows that there is somebody manipulating the Senator. I like the way that Darth Sidious is keeping his eyes out for a new apprentice even as he has Dooku -just in case. He is obviously testing all of the Jedi who lurk close to the Dark Side.

I am glad that Voss' character grew on me, because he is in so many of the stories. I can't say that I ever liked him much, even as a character. And this story is just not that great, especially as an introduction to a major character. There also seem to be a number of errors with past and future continuity, but that's minor. It just felt uninteresting, and the artwork mainly uninspired. But of course, things get worse (Infinity's End) before they get better (Darkness).

 

 

1+ stars+

Read on May 12th, 2002  
    Fairly uninteresting, as it didn't do much for me, either in art, story or character. It wasn't a bad book, but it didn't stir any emotions in me either, aside from the very annoying sidekick.

I don't often come out of a story with no impression, but that is happening more and more with the comic series these days. I would prefer interesting stories even with bad artwork, rather than the ho-hum stuff we are getting these days. Even something that I dreaded reading, like The Yavin Vassilika, with its campy artwork, had an exciting story. This one went through the motions, but without so much as a whimper.

The fault is perhaps that of the main character, who I can see appears in many future storylines. I suppose I will have to get used to him. Quinlan Voss has had his memories repressed, because he was about to discover something big, and the people in charge decided that removing his memories was better than killing him. His body remembers his Jedi training, however, and he is able to escape his pursuers with the help of a wily Devaronian.

Vilmarh Grahrk, Villie, must be the most annoying character in Star Wars. More than any Ewok, and certainly more than Jar-Jar Binks. I never had a problem with Jar-Jar, but I can see how people would dislike him. I found Villie to be infinitely worse. Perhaps it was the way the authors tried to make his speech close to that of the Gungan's, but it didn't work in this format. I could also never match his speech pattern with his body. It just seemed wrong!

Villie is slippery. He was shown at the end of Emissaries to Malastare as a cheat, and here, that trait comes through without a doubt. Somehow everybody knows that the Jedi has lost his memories, and Villie and others have bet that he will die at a certain time. Villie saves Voss from the others in order to win the bet in his own homestead. But Voss outwits him, as well as others that attack Villie in his home. Villie continues to place Voss in compromising positions that are undoubtedly supposed to make the readers smirk. I didn't. And he is constantly betting on Voss' life.

Voss has the neat ability to read images and emotions from the objects that he touches, a trademark of his species. He sees his Padawan, Aayla Secura, who was shot and from whom he was separated. And he sees Bib Fortuna, knowing that this Twi'lek was involved in his brainwashing (literally "washing").

I have trouble with the existence of Bib Fortuna here, the same way I had trouble with Sate Pestage in Cloak of Deception. Neither one is smart enough to survive in a relatively peaceful galactic state. Neither one would survive the civil war. Fortuna was thrown off Jabba's dais after admitting Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi. Other mistakes were inevitable. There is no way he could have survived so long. I realize that the people who made The Phantom Menace referred to this Twi'lek as Bib Fortuna. However, I can only believe that they were mistaken, or that this is a different person with the same name (or a clone?). Moreover, in Tales from Jabba's Palace, we learn that Fortuna had been plotting the overthrow of Jabba for a long time. If the plan had been in the works for 40 years, it's really too bad it didn't work. If not, why would he serve so long before starting to make those plans?

Anyway, Voss confronts Fortuna, but doesn't get any answers, and the Twi'lek escapes after his security detail arrives and starts a firefight with Voss and Villie. The Devaronian has made a bet that Voss will escape Nar Shadda alive, and helps him in this, getting through security by stealing his own ship back from his creditors.

They travel to Quinlan Voss' homeworld, where they learn that the Twi'leks have tried to merge the spice ryll with the glitterstim that the spice spiders of Kessel produce. Glitteryll is the new spice, and it can erase memories. Voss' grand-aunt is happy to see him alive, though not happy that he continues to lead the Jedi life. She does not like the Jedi, because they take children away and never return them. While this is partly true, and I know that anti-Jedi sentiment exists in Attack of the Clones because of this reason, it has also been stated elsewhere (most prominently in I, Jedi) that the Corellian Jedi are very loyal to their homeworld. So why wouldn't others be?

While Voss is away from the ship, Villie makes a deal with his cousin to set up the Jedi for capture. But when they arrive on Ryloth, home of the Twi'lek, Villie learns all that he can from his cousin, then kills him, being loyal to the Jedi instead. Voss visits his Padawan's uncle, who also has no information. Nobody seems to have any information. An intimate friend shares some memories, but betrays him when they find the spider layer, but is killed by a spider herself. Somehow, Voss and Villie manage to kill all the spiders. This seems impossible, by the way they were losing in the beginning. Then again, the spiders stopped their attack long enough for Voss to say goodbye to his friend, so maybe they obliged him by standing still while he chopped them up.

Before dying, however, his intimate tells him that Aayla's uncle was responsible for his mind-wipe. He finds Aayla as a slave-girl in her uncle's establishment, but she doesn't remember him. Foolishly, he thinks that by holding his lightsaber, she would remember more. She is not the same species as you, Quinlan! When Quinlan gets angry and holds Aayla's uncle in the air with Force lightning, Aayla stops them both, effectively killing her uncle by letting him fall to the ground.

Forced to escape, Voss and Villie flee to Coruscant without Aayla, in search of Senator Chom Frey Kaa of Ryloth, who gave Aayla's uncle the orders to kill the Jedi. Villie stuns Voss, though, and is paid the bounty by the senator. He then reveals that Mace Windu is in the eaves, and gives Voss back his lightsaber. Voss wants to kill the senator, but Windu forbids it, and wins the duel. Quinlan Voss agrees to return to the temple for retraining. Although he asks Mace to bring Aayla back to the temple, I think another story is in order, so that Voss himself can bring her back.

The character of Quinlan Voss didn't impress me in the brief glimpse we got of him in Emissaries to Malastare, and I was even less enthused about him here. He did nothing to make him an interesting character. Skirting the Dark Side might have made him interesting, but that didn't last long enough. I wonder, though, if it was the dialog that left me cold. I was annoyed from the very beginning, as he thought stupid thoughts, which were way too wordy. His dialog didn't get any better as the book went on.

I was also confused as to when his memory was wiped. Voss obviously had his memories when he helped Mace Windu on Nar Shadda in Emissaries to Malastare. But if his memories were erased on Ryloth, they would have had to ship him back to Nar Shadda after doing it. Why would they do that? If they didn't want to kill him, sending him there was a death sentence anyway, so why bother? If they did want to kill him, why go through all the trouble?

As for the art, it was uncomplicated, which is not a good word when I talk about it. However, it was nicely dark and moody, and seemed to fit the situation perfectly. There was little depth to it, but it fit very well with the situations, and I found myself enjoying it anyway. I particularly liked the way the artists put familiar species in the backgrounds, especially the ones that we have just recently learned about, like the new aliens in the Star Wars special edition cantina sequence, or the pit droids.

But that is pretty much all I can praise the book for. The rest of it left me with not much of an opinion, which is not a good thing. There are better graphic novels out there; this one is not really worth reading, especially since it doesn't continue any existing plot thread. Though I suppose it starts another one, and it might be advantageous for the rest of the series...
 
   

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