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Decades after his last confrontation with Celeste Morne, Darth Vader is once again determined to get his hands on the Muur Talisman. When Vader sends a platoon of Stormtroopers down to the planet Celeste is stranded on, they find, unfortunately, Celeste is alive and well. Using of the power of the Talisman, Morne turns the Stormtroopers into mindless Rakghoul minions.

After loosing contact, Vader assumes the worst. Seeing the opportunity of wounding the Rebellion by exposing them to the Rakghoul plaque. Vader tells Wil Tarson, a captive of the Empire, to plant information about an abandoned Imperial superweapon on Celeste’s moon into the Rebellion spy networks. With any luck, the Rebellion will send an army down to the surface, and have them killed by the Rakghouls.

The Rebels jump at the chance of finding an Imperial superweapon, and a commando group lead by Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Princess Leia is launched. Apon arriving at the crash site of the afflicted Stormtrooper’s landing shuttles, the Rebels are attacked by an army of Rakghouls. The troops are either killed or evacuated back out in the Rebel’s landing ship, and in the fray, Luke and Leia are left behind on the moon.

This was a great issue! This is what Rebellion should have been from the beginning. Cool stories, original characters, great art.

Weaver drew this issue in his more inked, cartoony style, comparable to his art in KOTOR 21-24. When I saw some scans of the art on Dustin’s blog prior to the release of the issue, I was a little disappointed he didn’t decide to do the art like his pages in Knights of the Old Republic: Flashpoint, or one of his more realistic-style issues. But after seeing the art colored by Wil Glas, I can’t see him doing it any other way. The art is perfect for this issue. His portrayals of original trilogy characters are spot-on, and he perhaps draws the best Han Solo I’ve ever seen drawn in a Star Wars comic book. This issue proves yet again that Weaver is a highly talented, highly adverse artist who can create a painting-like cover for Legacy and then turn around and pencil and ink a comic book featuring OT characters.

The cover by Travis Cherest is, as always, great, but I wish it had been somthing more relevant to this issue. Karness appears only on the last page of the issue, and Celeste is seen very briefly in the beggining of this issue attacking the Stormtroopers. I would have rather seen some OT characters on the cover.

Great issue. It does make me wonder, and I say this a lot, how will they wrap this up in one more issue? Dark Horse’s writers continue to amaze me. I can’t wait to see what they do.

While Celeste Morne duels Darth Vader, Captain Heren and the crew of the Uhumele make they’re escape. While Muur Karness’ spirit attempts to convince Darth Vader to use the Talisman, Celeste finds a way control the Muur Talisman’s power. After Celeste the Clone Troopers accompanying Vader into Rakghouls and orders them to attack they’re former commander, Vader flees.

As the Uhumele’s crew approach they’re ship, Crys Taanzer falls under Talisman’s plague and turns into a rakghoul. Heren guns the rakghoul down as they escape aboard the Uhumele, leaving the planet and yet another devastating ordeal behind.

In the aftermath of the dramatic events of Dark Times #12, we are left with a very bored Celeste Morne controlling an army of Rakghouls and a very dead Crys Taanzer. I can’t really see Vader fleeing so easily. The death of Crys was just more un-needed tragedy in an already depressing comic book. In Parallels, we see the possibility of a reunion between Crys and her son, who was with  K’Kruhk during Parallels.

This issue’s art proves one of two things: either Dark Horse wanted to somehow give Dave Ross some pages in Vector, or Doug Wheatly is incapable of finishing comic book art by a deadline.  I really do hate it when the art switches back and forth between artists in a single issue. That aside, both artists do a superb pencilling. Wheatly draws the best Darth Vader I’ve ever seen in the comic books, and Ross’ panel of Vader wielding the Talisman amidst a sea of Rakghouls sent chills through me.

I’d say this was a good issue, and it is. I just wish Dark Times wasn’t so depressing. I guess they don’t call it that for nothing.

While I unfortunately did not get the opportunity to attend the Midnight Madness toy release for the new Clone Wars toys, yesterday I headed off to Target with hopes of finding the toys and a wallet full of cash. Target has completely re-done the Star Wars section, giving it more shelf space and two end caps full of Clone Wars goodness. The Legacy Collection looks promising, but the only thing I’m collecting this year are the movie figures. Hey, it’s a movie year. We don’t get many of those. And from the figures I saw, the Legacy Collection was a bunch of re-packaged Saga Legends figures.

While I’m sure I’ll end up buying them all, I had limited funds last night, and I was out to pick up some main characters. So Obi-Wan and Anakin were musts. Of course, we can’t not get one of those awesome animated clones. And because I like figures in even numbers, I picked up a Trade Federation battle droid. All these figures are great, my favorite being the Obi Wan with removable helmet. While at first I didn’t like the Jedi’s mix of partial Clone armor and jedi robes, it’s really started to grow on me. The Clone looks great, and the action-feature missile launched actually looks pretty cool on the figure. 

 Hasbro ingeniously made these figures for the adults and the kids at the same time, with the action features being removable accessories. We all remember some of those horrible leg-squeezing action features the Revenge of the Sith figures had. So, hats of to Hasbro for the idea of removable action accessories, which allow for the older audience to have a movie-acurate, fully-articulated figure.

These are some of the coolest figures I’ve seen in a while. It seems a movie year brings out the best in Hasbro.

Bannister Station is exploding. The rebels commandeer a Lamba-class shuttle and save Deena Shan from the burning wreckage of a fuel tank that fell down to the planet bellow the refueling station. Imperial reinforcements arrive to try and re-capture the Rebels. Dagger Squadron, flying experimental B-wings, arrive just in time to take on a legion of Tie-fighters, allowing the commandeered Lamba-class shuttle to make a getaway.

Back on the Rebel One, our heroes recover from the suicide mission that should have meant certain death. We finally see Han Solo, who complains about not being asked to join the rescue team. Dagger Squadron prepares for a mission to Ansion, and we see the beginning of something that may lead to Deena Shan becoming a romantic interest for Luke Skywalker.

Overall, this was a pretty good issue. A mix of fist-fights and starfighter dogfights make this issue’s action more interesting a diverse than the last issue’s frantic brawls. We finally get to see Dagger Squadron in action. Colin Wilson does an excellent job illustrating the B-wing vs. Tie-fighter battle, which is the highlight of this issue. The cover for this issue is pretty good, leagues better than the last one.  

As I said in the short synopsis, we finally get to see Han Solo, who was been doing who-knows-what during My Brother, My Enemy, the Akhista Gambit and now Small Victories. The mission to Ansion is either a set up for the next Vector story line or a way to get rid of Dagger Squadron for the next story, I’m not sure which.

This was a decent issue with good art, and it ended the way Small Victories had to end. I’m not sure I’d go as far as saying it redeemed the entire, four-part series for me. Overall the arc has disappointed me greatly, and I’m glad Rebellion will be moving on to Vector.

Things aren’t looking good for the Rebel strike team on Banister Station. Luke and Leia have been captured and taken prisoner by the Imperials. Deena Shan, tasked with taking down the station by herself, runs into Captain Rishyk. Deena escapes, and ends up throwing a single detonator into one of Banister’s large fuel tanks, starting a chain reaction that blows the tank and catches the station on fire.

The Rebels escape captivity and start a frantic battle with the stormtroopers and officers holding them. Back aboard Rebel One, Dagger Squadron plans a rescue mission to retrieve the Rebel strike team from Bannister Staion. 

This issue was rather uneventful. Deena battles Imperials and drops a detonator, then the rest of the Rebels escape and start fighting. This is going to leave a whole lot to wrap up in one issue. Colin Wilson’s art, in my opinion, usually translates better into cover art. He has a very dark, inked style, which is either really, really cool are really, really bad when he draws interior art.

Why I say “usually” about Wilson’s covers is because the cover for this issue is horrendous. I’ve liked the other covers for Small Victories, but really, what happened? Deena Shan is looking like a man. I could understand why someone would want to emphasize the characters by having no background; but the characters are so badly drawn on this cover, I wouldn’t really want to emphasize them.

As a singular issue, Rebellion #13 was not a very good issue. Hopefuly Small Victories can redeem itself in issue #14.

“I name you the Sword of the Jedi. Always you shall be in the front rank, a burning brand to your enemies, a brilliant fire to your friends….”.

 The epic battle between light and dark ensues in Invincible by Troy Denning, as Jaina Solo begins her hunt to find and kill Darth Caedus. Caedus begins his ploy to unite both the Galactic Alliance and the Imperial Remnant under his command as he directs the Remnant fleets to attack Nickel One, a Verpine asteroid base under the protection of Boba Fett and the Mandalorians. As Fett and the Mandalorians enter the fray, Jaina finishes her training with Fett and leaves Nickel One for the Jedi’s secret base in the Transitory Mists to plan out how she’ll kill Jacen with the Jedi Council.

The council agrees that it’s time to stop Caedus. In an attempt to learn Cadeous’ location, Ben, Jania and Leia go undercover on Corascant to meet Captain Shevu. After telling Ben that Cadeous is on Nickel One, the three are ambushed by Galactic Alliance Guard troops. Ben and Shevu are captured, and Leia and Jaina escape back to the Jedi base to plan how Jaina will kill Caedus. A mission is planned in which Jaina will be inserted into Nickel One’s captured command center using a drop suit. Once inside the base, Jaina will hunt down Caedus and, with her new set of skills, kill him.

After being successfully inserted into the captured Verpine command center, Jaina accidentally runs into Boba Fett’s granddaughter Mirta and a squad of mandalorians on a mission to kill the Imperial moffs. When the Mandalorians attack, Caedus shows up to defend the Moffs, and the Mandalorians are killed. Jaina engages Caedus in a lightsaber duel while Luke, high above Nickel One in a starfighter, projects an image of himself ove Jaina’s body. During the duel, when Luke’s projection falters and reveals that Jaina is the attacker, Caedus hesitates for a moment, leaving himself wide open to a lightsaber strike by his sister which severs an arm.

Caedus retreats, and Jaina escapes Nick One. On Corascant, Ben and Shevu are tortured for the location of the hidden Jedi base. Tahiri, now Caedus’ apprentice, accidentally kills Shevu while trying to presure Ben into giving her the information. Ben takes the ensueing confusion as an advantage and escapes the GAG base. With the help of the Hapans, Ben travels back to the secret Jedi base in the Transitory Mists only to find that Caedus has found the base using a blood mark implanted on Jaina.

As the epic battle between Caedus’ fleet and the Jedi begins, Jaina infiltrates the Anakin Solo on a mission to kill Caedus and rescue the captured Prince Isolder. After finding Isolder dead, Jaina engages her brother in a final duel to the death, in which Caedus is finally killed. Without a commander, Caedus’ fleet is defeated by the Jedi and forced into retreat.

In the following days of Caedus’ death, a treaty is proposed between the Galactic Alliance, Imperial Remnant and  Confederation to unite in one single government, a treaty that is agreed apon by all factions. Admiral Dalaa is appointed the chief of state. Han and Leia adopt Caedus’ daughter, Allana, who will undergo Jedi training at the Jedi Academy.

This being the final book in the Legacy of the Force series, this was how it had to end: with the death of Jacen and the end of the war. That being said, I did not enjoy this book. The story seemed to take the plot aspects from other LOTF books, tweak them slightly, then replay them. Denning kills off characters that don’t need to be killed, just for the sake of trying to make a chapter even darker than it already was.

I expected more resolve earlier in the book. I didn’t get it. Instead, three fourths of the book focus on Jaina’s first failed attempt to kill Jacen. Then, in the last part of the book, we get a rushed battle between Caedus and the Jedi, and then twenty pages afterwards talking about how depressed Jaina is. Personally, I would have liked to see more of the government reform taking place between the factions of the war.

Denning also has the habit of creating a plot point and then abandoning it for half the book. After Ben and Shevu get captured, we don’t hear from them for chapters. Random things like Jacen’s ability to use the shatterpoint force technique are brought up as important for short periods and then abandoned. After reading Jaina’s fight scenes, I really can’t sense any of the Mandalorian training in her, making the last book in the series, Revelation, look rather obsolete.

Some good aspects of the book include the first chapter, in which Boba Fett, Jaina and the Mandalorians defend Nickel One from stormtrooper landing parties. Even though the overall story might not be that great, Denning always writes a superb fight scene, as demonstrated in the near none-stop action of Invincible.

Reading this book seemed more like a chore than a pleasure to me. I thoroughly did not enjoy this book, but for people who have been following the series, well, there’s no turning back now.

2008’s groundbreaking Star Wars comic book crossover Vector continues in Dark Times #11, Vector part 5. Aboard the Uhumele, the contents of the mysterious cargo crate are revealed, and Captain Heren gets the crew into yet another bad situation, this time involving stormtroopers, Celeste Morne and Darth Vader.

When Heren decides it’s time Bomo learned what was in the crate, we are told the story of the mysterious Jedi Box, which was found under a kilometer of ice on Jebble and fought over by antique collectors for centuries. Now, with the artifact aboard the Uhumele, Heren has set up a meeting on Aridus with someone wishing to buy the artifact.

When the buyer turns out to be Fane Peturri, a historian in league with Darth Vader, things take a turn for the worse. After being taken prisoner, the crew watches Darth Vader and Fane Peturri open the box to find Celeste Morne, a Jedi Knight who has been in stasis for more than four thousand years. After awakening, Celeste learns how long she’s been in stasis and is told  the Sith have taken over the Republic. Learning that Vader is a Sith, Celeste attacks Vader in a lightsaber duel, vowing to kill him.

Dark Times #11 was a great issue. Not only does it have an interesting story with great art, but it goes back an explains some missing story points of Dark Time’s second arc, Parallels. We now know why the mysterious box is so important. Doug Wheatly does a fantastic job pencilling this issue, and I enjoy seeing his renditions of Celeste, Zayne and Gryph (Gryph and Zayne appear in a hologram talking about the box).

Overall, this was a really, really good issue. I’m interested in how they’re going to tie this all up in just one more issue.

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