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Archive for June, 2008

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.

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Book Review: Invincible

“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.

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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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Knights of the Old Republic’s chapter of Vector ends in Knights of the Old Republic, issue #28, Vector part 4. In an attempt to escape Karness Muur’s dark influence, Celeste Morne locks herself inside Lord Dreypa’s Oubliette, a device which will imprison Karness’ spirit and disable the Talisman while holding Celeste in stasis. Before closing the Oubliette, Celeste tells Zayne to travel to the Sanctum of the Exalted and ask the artifact researchers there to help remove the Muur Talisman from her.

After locking Celeste inside the Sith stasis tube, Zayne is rescued from Jebble by Jareal, Alec, Shel and Rohlan and taken aboard the Williwaw. As they reach orbit, the Mandalorian fleet arrives at Jebble and, heading Zayne’s warning about the spread of the Rakghoul plaque, bombard the planet from orbit.

Aboard the Williwaw, Zayne plans on traveling to the Sanctum of the Exalted to confront the jedi Covenant. Unknown to him, Celeste Morne is still alive inside the Oubliette, which has sunk to the bottom of Jebble’s oceans after the Mandalorian’s planetary bombardment.

While Knights of the Old Republic #28 was a little less epic than I had hoped it would be, it was an overall good issue. The story ended how it had to end: with Celeste getting inside of the Oubliette so that she can live on to Dark Times. I absolutely loved Scott Hepburn’s pencils in this issue, especially seeing his renditions of Rohlan, Jareal, Alec and Shel. Michael Atiyeh, as always, does a fantastic job coloring.

Overall, this was a pretty good issue with good art, and a very fitting end to Knights of the Old Republic’s slice of Vector.

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