Tag Archives: Rakata

Review: “Star Wars–Dawn Of The Jedi Vol. III: Force War” by John Ostrander & Jan Duursema

Title: Force War
Story & Script: John Ostrander
Story & Art: Jan Duursema
Series: Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi Volume III (Issues #11-15)
Rating: *****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 2014

Here we go again, diving one last time into the ancient history of the Star Wars universe. Obviously, this will contain spoilers for the previous volumes of the series, Force Storm and Prisoner Of Bogan.

Jumping forward a year from where we left our heroes, we find the Tython system embroiled in  full-scale war. The Rakata have arrived in force, capturing several of the outlying planets before being turned back by the combined forces of the Je’daii and the other Tythans under the command of Daegan Lok. Wielding Forcesabers modeled on that carried by former Force Hound Xesh, the Je’daii walk a fine line in the Force, drawing increasingly on the Dark Side to power their weapons and carry them through battle unscathed. Despite the endless battles facing him and his friends, Xesh is finding himself increasingly in balance as he learns to touch the Light Side of the Force as well as the Dark, helped in no small measure by his growing relationship with Shae Koda. Fighting together the Tythans have managed to stymie the Rakatan advance, but at heavy cost. What they don’t know, however, is that the Rakata want far more than just Tython. They want the Infinity Gate buried beneath it, an ancient piece of tech that would unlock any and every world in the galaxy for conquest….

As with the previous entries, I absolutely loved this one. The one-year jump forward glossed over a number of events that I would have enjoyed getting to see, but given the timing of the license shifting to Marvel, I suspect that this was the only way to get to the conclusion Ostrander & Duursema envisioned before running out of time. I’d love to have a lot more of this series, obviously, but given that events didn’t allow that to happen, this was an incredible conclusion to the series. I would enjoy seeing how the Je’daii evolve into the order we see at the start of the Tales Of The Jedi comics, but that is naught but a pipe dream now that all the relevant media has been relegated to Legends status.

CONTENT: Some violence. Mildly explicit sexual content. Mild to no profanity.

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Review: “Star Wars–Dawn Of The Jedi Vol. II: Prisoner Of Bogan” by John Ostrander & Jan Duursema

Title: Prisoner Of Bogan
Story & Script: John Ostrander
Story & Art: Jan Duursema
Series: Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi Volume II (Issues #6-10)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 2013

Continuing my project to work through the backlog of Star Wars comics I’ve yet to read (or haven’t read for a long time,) we jump once more into the ancient history of the Galaxy Far, Far Away….You may recall my review of the first volume way back when, but here’s a quick recap. Over twenty thousand years before the rise of the Empire, the Je’daii and their descendants inhabit the Tython system. Instead of the polarized Light and Dark alignments seen in later eras of the timeline, the Je’daii strive for balance in all things. When the Force is out of balance, the planet itself rises against its inhabitants. Elsewhere in the galaxy, the Rakatan Infinite Empire spreads across the stars fueled by the Dark Side of the Force, finding worlds rich in the Force and stripping them for their own use. Their Force-sensitive hunters have seen a vision of Tython, and Force H0und Xesh was dispatched to find this world and guide his masters there. Xesh’s craft inexplicably crashed on arrival, killing all but the Hound himself and triggering a massive Force Storm. Now with his memories clouded by amnesia but still immersed in darkness, Xesh has been banished to Bogan until he can find balance in the Force. Also on Bogan is Daegan Lok, a mad Je’daii obsessed with a vision of invading armies carrying blades of energy and strengthened by the Dark Side of the Force. In Xesh, Lok sees proof of his vision’s veracity. The council won’t see reason, so he’s going to have to force them to take him seriously….even if he has to conquer Tython to do it!

Again, the team of Ostrander and Duursema is one of my absolute favorite in comics. I will read anything with their names on it, and have never yet been disappointed. This series is no different. Everything is fresh and different, yet you can see the future looming over the (distant) horizon at times. It’s fun to see some meat fleshed out on the bones of Star Wars‘s prehistory we’ve been given glimpses of before–the Rakata, the Kwa, etc. The similarities to other eras are fun, but even more interesting are the differences. The Je’daii are just as worried about being too in tune with the light as they are the dark, and if it takes channeling some anger to ignite a Forcesaber, well, they really want that energy blade to work. It’ll be interesting to see how this all wraps up next volume, as I suspect that the vision for this series was cut short by the impending move to Marvel. There were a few minor inconsistencies though. It was implied early on that only certain species were visited by each Tho Yor, and that there were a limited number of these ancient vessels. This volume, we have members of other species in the Tythan system. Not a problem, per se, but how? Also, Hawk Ryo seems a bit ambivalent on what he saw in the Rift. At times he admits to sharing Lok’s vision, then other times denies it with a passion. A relic of a rewrite forced by the impending loss of their license? Maybe. Without giving spoilers, the first scene here with Trill and her Rakatan boss is inconsistent with the revelation near the end of the book. Again, I suspect a shift in direction mid-series to accommodate the shorter run.

CONTENT: Some violence. Mild profanity. Mild sexual innuendo, including scantily clad females of various (mostly humanoid) species.

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Review: “Star Wars–Dawn Of The Jedi Vol. I: Force Storm” by John Ostrander & Jan Duursema

Title: Force Storm
Story & Script: John Ostrander
Story & Art: Jan Duursema
Series: Star Wars: Dawn Of The Jedi Volume I (Issues #1-5)
Rating: ****
Publisher/Copyright: Dark Horse Comics, 2012

This…this is not the Star Wars you grew up with. This is a tale set in the far distant past of the Galaxy Far, Far Away–over twenty-five thousand years before the films, in fact. (For comparison, the earliest stories prior to this series starting happened five thousand years pre-films.) Force-sensitive beings from across the galaxy have been gathered in one place on the planet Tython, and over the course of ten thousand years have colonized the entire system. The Je’daii themselves live on Tython, an unpredictable world rich in the Force but dangerous for those without access to its power. Those without the Force have retreated to the other nearby worlds, but the entire system is cut off from the rest of the galaxy (this is pre-hyperdrive–they’re still playing with that one twenty thousand years later.) Outside the Tython system, the Rakatan Infinite Empire has embarked on it’s conquest of the stars, seeking Force-rich worlds to strip and enslave. Now one of their Force Hounds has had a vision of a world somewhere in the Deep Core, rich in the Force and ripe for the taking…. On Tython, three young Je’daii have a vision of impending darkness that will affect the three of them individually as well as having consequences for the whole planet…. The coming of Xesh the Force Hound will set off a Force Storm of unprecedented fury. Can the Je’daii survive?

So, this is just another era in the Star Wars history, right? Well, yes…but this one brings to the table quite a paradigm shift. Still nearly twenty millennia before the schism that results in the foundation of the Sith order, the Je’daii strive to maintain balance–tipping neither too far into the light or the dark. That’s the biggest difference, but Ostrander and Duursema enjoy pointing out other things that have changed over the millennia, such as Tatooine being at this point in time a “lush” world with blue seas instead of the arrid wasteland Luke Skywalker will eventually grow up in.

I absolutely love Ostrander & Duursema’s Star Wars comics. Legacy was one of my favorites, back when that was running, and I really enjoyed a lot of what they did together on Republic during that book’s run. Compared to Legacy and some of their previous works, this one hasn’t quite hit it’s stride yet. There are just a few too many characters jammed into a bit too short a tale to be fully satisfying, but then again this isn’t the end. There’s two more volumes of this series to go before all is done, plus a tie-in novel and a couple short stories. There’s still time for this to live up to it’s potential, but not a lot. The passing of the Star Wars comic license from Dark Horse to Marvel next year is destined to cut this series short at only three arcs. I’m hoping Ostrander and Duursema follow the license to Marvel as part of that deal, but I fear I’m to be disappointed.

CONTENT: Mild language, as per Star Wars guidelines. Violence, not too disturbing. Some flirting, and some mildly provocative dress on the part of the female characters, but this is a comic book. What else is new?

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