Friday, March 11, 2011

Star Wars Comics: Old Republic and Lost Command

Both of these titles have been out for a few months, but my curiosity finally got the better of me, and since I began hosting a Star Wars: Saga Edition game, I figured I may be able to find some inspiration in them. 

Star Wars: The Old Republic #1: The Threat of Peace (Rob Chestney, Alex Sanchez, Michael Atiyeh)

Taking place after the events of the Knights of the Old Republic 1 and 2 games, The Old Republic is the era in which Bioware’s upcoming MMORPG is set in. The book was released to expand on the back story of the game and it smacks of product tie-in.

It covers the story of the Jedi/Sith ceasefire on several planets. On Coruscant, the Sith invade and hold the planet hostage to give them a stronger negotiating position. On Dantooine, two bounty hunters, one Sith employed and the other Republic, are after each other. Then Korriban gets two pages of intrigue and Nar Shadda gets one page. The story is disjointed and spread thin, and even though it has more pages than an average comic, it doesn’t set up any cohesive story. The book ends almost in the middle of a thought. Not even a “To be continued” on the last page. Plus, the art isn’t very good. Somewhere along the lines, a digital component went completely haywire causing a pixelated effect and half of the characters look like they need a telethon.

This story would probably read better in a trade, but nothing caught my attention enough to make me want to follow this series.

Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command #1 (Haden Blackman, Rick Leonardi, Daniel Green)

Lost Command opens up to an idyllic setting on Naboo, with Anakin Skywalker discussing his future with his pregnant wife. It’s underscored by the use of uninked pencils, giving it an ethereal feel.

This is however, a dream, and it contrasts quite forcefully with the next page:

The Jedi have fallen, the Emperor is in command, and Vader requires routine maintenance to survive. This issue focuses on Vader’s orders to subdue the Atoan system and recover a missing Imperial officer. It’s great to see a fully armoured Vader leading Stormtroopers and using force powers to capture a city. Using the force to cause a blizzard that blinds snipers? Certified radical.

Notice anything different about these three pages? I don’t know if it’s the artist, inker, or colorist, but someone had the initiative to make an artistic decision regarding the space outside the panels. The use of different colours for background makes a significant impact on the mood of the scene, and I’m glad to see a book pay attention to that.

The issue ends with a twist that comes out of nowhere, but it’s intriguing, and the art is enough for me to want to see the outcome of the story. I’ll most likely pick up the trade when it’s out.

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