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VOW OF JUSTICE

A graphic short story by Jan Strnad, John Nadeau, and Jordi Ensign (2001, Dark Horse Comics)
Bundled with Prelude to Rebellion
67 years before Star Wars: A New Hope

A young Jedi returns to his home-world to take care of raiders on a personal vendetta.

 

 

3 stars

Read on January 26th, 2004 for the second time  
    I liked this tale better than the main story that it accompanied, Prelude to Rebellion. Much of the artwork, especially shots that took place at night, was better, and the story had a lot of meaning.

I like the way Yoda allows Ki to make his own journey. It is not a mission, though he calls it that. Yoda knows that he might use the Dark Side, yet allows him to go anyway, to find his own way through the Force. He has to trust that everything he taught Ki showed him the best way to approach a situation such as this. In the end, Yoda was proven right.

As with Prelude, however, there was altogether too much commentary, telling us about the emotions and intentions of the main characters. I found the authors should have left us to decide what the characters were feeling. This is not a novel -it is a graphic story.  

 

 

3 stars

Read on September 29th, 2001  
    A neat short story that shows how long-desired revenge can have unexpected consequences. But the main character gets to learn something and get his revenge at the same time, which dulls the impact of the story a little.

In a way, this story shows us more about how Ki-Adi-Mundi thinks than the main story did, Prelude to Rebellion. This story was tacked on to the end of the graphic novel, but it takes place many years earlier. 

It starts with Ki being taken by the Jedi because of his remarkable powers. Sure, this seems to go against what Qui-Gon said in The Phantom Menace, that people are found at an early age in the Republic. But Ki is quite old when he is found, and there must have been primitive trade with Cerea, even though it wasn't part of the Republic. While there, the Jedi witnesses a raider come to steal the harvest of this small farm. Ki is hidden because of the special status of boys on Cerea (being born only one out of twenty), and the fact that the raider steals young boys to raise as his own.

When Ki returns to his planet as a Jedi Knight, against the wishes of Yoda, his teacher, he searches out the raiders' camp. He enters, hiding his lightsaber, and challenges the leader. But the leadership has changed! It is now a fierce woman who he must fight, without saber, and with his hands tied behind his back. He is put out of commission in good time. Without the bravado he shows here, he could have easily defeated the woman. But he was so intent on his goal, that he had eyes for nothing else. And when his opponent turned out to be different from his target, he couldn't cope with that, and barely got in a blow of his own before he was taken out. 

In the night, as he is tied to a pole as a prisoner, the previous leader comes to him with a knife to his throat. The man now works as a laborer, pretty much outcast because he lost the challenge to the new leader. But he still has lots of muscle, and can be pretty terrifying. But Ki has had time to think over his mistake, and uses the Force to untie his bonds. He easily deflects the knife, and ignites his lightsaber.

When the raiders' leader comes into the light, he defeats her in a duel, but does not kill her. The raiders disband out of shame and fear, leaving peacefully. A new Jedi has come to Cerea, and with him he brings peace to the farmers of that area. 

This story really shows how the calmness is required for clear thought when using the Force. Ki needs the time through the night to see his errors, that his single-mindedness nearly brought him to ruin. When he is calm, and focused, he can do the extraordinary. 

The fact that he gets out of the situation without killing anybody, without the grief of his first kill, undermines the story a little. He learned a lesson about control, but did he learn that a vendetta like the one he pursued is not the proper way to pursue justice? I don't know. 

I liked the art in this story a little better than I did with Prelude to Rebellion. It seemed a little more dynamic, and even though nothing was shown as background objects, focusing entirely on the foreground character, the details were where they were needed to make it seem realistic. 

Strange for a short story, that it didn't seem to be too short. Normally I feel that stories are rushed, but this one was perfectly timed. And I like the message that it delivered a lot.
 
   

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