Greetings fellow Star Wars fans. Welcome to my own personal column on all Star Wars-related sequential media. As a lifelong lover of the Star Wars series in all formats, when it came to my attention that Dark Horse was giving us here at CBotMP early access to future issues of their ongoing stories, I jumped at the chance to tackle anything to do with the Force. So keep your eyes on our page for all the latest reviews of your favorite Star Wars comics. This week I'll be discussing the first two issues of the newest arc of the Knight Errant series, "Escape."
"Escape" marks the third arc in the Star Wars: Knight Errant series, which replaced the Knights of the Old Republic series in August 2010 and takes place in the Old Republic era 1000 years before The Phantom Menace. The two previous arcs, "Aflame" and "Deluge," followed Jedi Kerra Holt in her mission to infiltrate the Sith, who greatly outnumber the Jedi and are pushing the Republic to its breaking point. Their lust for power and superior number though has led the Sith to internal strife between the different factions, and it is Kerra's job to take advantage of that.
With "Escape" being my first foray into the series, I was unsure if I was going to know what was going on. Admittedly, there are a few plot points that are confusing at first (like how Kerra came to be working for Sith Lord Daimon for instance), but they aren't dwelled upon, which makes it easy to fall right into the story. Writer John Jackson Miller's first issue in this arc moves at a pretty quick pace. Just as you're starting to get an understanding of what's going on in one scene, it moves onto the next. Personally, I think Miller just wanted the arc to hit the ground running to kindle the readers' interest, because the pacing slows down to a more even level in the second issue, making it easier to digest. Marco Castiello's art also benefits from a second issue. While the art in the first issue wasn't bad by any means, it just didn't quite pop. Environments lacked detail and each location just kind of blended into each other. In issue #2 however, each location is easily distinguishable from the others and there is rarely a panel where they splash a random color in the background in lieu of drawing the surroundings, which plagued issue #1.
There are a few stand out characters. Miller's villain, Lord Odion, takes a cliché evil goal like the destruction of all life in the universe, and gives it a believable motivation. Through his connection to the dark side of the Force, Odion is caused pain by the existence of all other life forms. And so it is not out of hatred or malice, but merely his basic instinctual desire to make the pain end that he needs you and everyone you love to not exist anymore. It's nothing personal, okay? Odion's first in command, General Yulan is also enjoyable because of his absolute dedication to the idea that all of Odion's soldiers should be eager to end their lives in service to Odion, even if that would require running face first into a wall of fire, on the off chance you live to do battle with your enemy on the other side. Why not, right? Putting out said fire first would take time and effort, and there's always another soldier to take your place.
And then there's the main character, Kerra. I can't tell you where she's been, but I can certainly guess where she's going. At the end of issue #1, she finds out that something she once thought long gone may very well not be gone at all. This discovery leads her to start thinking less of her duty and more about her personal desires. Does she put her mission before her personal interests, or does she become the very thing she was sent to infiltrate and destroy? It's that kind of character dilemma that has me very interested to continue on with the series, because if any of us were put in the same situation, what would we do? What price do we put on our own happiness? It's questions like that that have me very excited to read the next issue and discuss it with you. But until next time, may the Force be with you.
Also, for more Star Wars comics goodness, be sure and check out this bit of Dark Horse Star Wars news from io9.