I would like to introduce you to a new robot that I think you'll enjoy here.  He'll be going by GONK (but you might know him as Jawa James from Club Jade).  He's going to be helping with the Star Wars comics coverage.

Today, he's brought us reviews of the Star Wars comics from this week.  Invasion: Revelations #2 and The Old Republic: Lost Suns #3.  As an editors note, I'm excited to hear what he has to saw about Invasion, because I found the first issue bored me to tears.

Without further ado:  GONK:

Review – Star Wars: Invasion – Revelations #2

The members of the Galfridian family continue to have things go from bad to worse as their stories continue during the Yuuzhan Vong onslaught in second issue of Star Wars:Invasion – Revelations. With a story arc like “Revelations”, one can’t help but wonder what will be revealed throughout the tale, and this issue brings the queen’s secret out intothe open, and reveals something about Kaye as well.

Finn, now working with the partially-deranged Jedi Dray, went to stop an assassination attempt on Chief of State Fey’lya, but was caught by a Vong masquerading as the Imperial ambassador. Imprisoned on Coruscant as a potential assassin, Finn gets rescuedby Dray and Finn’s droid, Prowl, newly upgraded, as the Vong spy reports back toTsalock that Finn is a Jedi that can detect them. But this issue is really more about Ninaand Kaye: after learning that the bulk of Artorian refugees have been sent to the Imperial world of Shramar, the queen convinces the local Imperials to not fire on her captured Vong ship, and forces them into letting her land to allow a visit between the Artorians aboard the refugee vessel and those on the planet. Kaye and Arbeloa rescue a refugee girl shot by stormtroopers for attempting to reach the ship. Recovering, the Artorian reveals that the Imperials on Shramar have violently put the refugees into forced labor.

Incensed, Nina calls a meeting with Commander Devry, who reluctantly allows the queen to come for a state dinner. Kaye tries to accompany her stepmother but is denied entry at the palace gate. When Devry refuses to allow the Artorian slaves to leave with Nina’s ship, the queen reveals her Vong face and assaults the dinner party. Devry calls on Tsavong Lah for help against this Vong in human guise, but is killed by the queen, justas her daughter Kaye enters the room, having defeated the troopers outside with her bare hands.

The New Jedi Order era, with the Vong invasion, is a darker and more violent time, and the artwork and story match this well. Colin Wilson’s art focuses more on darker lines and shading, and the ugly imperfections in faces. Tension fills many of the scenes asthe Galfridrians continue their fight to survive. Kaye’s fight with the stormtroopers is probably one of the more grisly scenes depicted in a Star Wars comic in recent memory. But I think my favorite shot is a full page scene of stormtroopers looking up as the captured Vong slave ship Heart of Artorias lands in the background. Couple that with the next scene of Kaye and the giant Arbeloa staring out across a sea of Imperial weaponry trained at them and Tom Taylor’s lines for Kaye: “Yep… I’m feeling the love, too.”

In this Revelations arc, all sides are learning things about each other – the Vong learn that the Galfridians are out there causing unique problems for them, and for their Imperial allies, Kaye learns that her stepmom is one of the invaders she’s been fighting again,and Kaye learns something about herself. Maybe she’ll share that with Nina… maybenot. And Dray wouldn’t mind removing Fey’lya as the head of the New Republic, after the Vong are stopped. Overall, I was very pleased with this issue – the Nina and Kaye storyline slowly ramps up the tension as they deal with their increasingly hostile ‘allies’and explodes into action as they switch over to aggressive negotiations in the end.

Star Wars – The Old Republic – The Lost Suns (part 3 of 5)

The middle part of a story arc in comics usually serves as the build-up to the story’s climax, and part 3 of The Old Republic –The Lost Suns lives up to its role in building upthe suspense. Issues 1 and 2 introduced the characters and threw them at their mission,and in this act, our protagonists learn what they are facing – and that there’s no backingout now: they’re on a collision course with the Sith Empire.

When we last saw Theron Shan, Republic intelligence agent and son of Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan, he had just found his old mentor, the Jedi Master Ngani Zho, on aminor world in the Sith Empire. Escaping with the help of Shan’s prisoner, the criminal Teff’ith, they’ve set off to Vesla, a former Republic world now run by Darth Mekhis. Unfortunately, Zho can’t remember what is going on at Vesla, and so their first stop is Port Nowhere, a criminal haven.

Aboard the orbiting hive of sketchiness, Zho and Teff’ith acquire clearance to enter Imperial space from the black market while Shan hacks and fights his way into gettingsome navigational data to Vesla. The trio sets up a spy telescope on a craggy planetoid and learns what Darth Mekhis has done to the system. As they try to slip out with thedata, they get discovered by an Imperial dreadnought. Meanwhile, Shan just doesn’t get along well with his two partners – he has issues with the Jedi, since though trained as ayoungling, he’s blind to the Force, and the Twi’lek slaver Teff’ith still isn’t too happy about being captured and brought along on this trip, especially since her new friend, old Zho isn’t passing all of his sanity checks.

While earlier arcs of The Old Republic mostly serve as back story to the game, setting up where the game’s storyline will begin, The Lost Suns is an adventure in that galaxy, with the Republic sending a spy mission across enemy lines. With the characters and their relationships introduced in the first issues, this issue mostly drives the plot forward and throws them into harm’s way. The action is pretty light in this part of the story – Theron Shan demonstrates his unarmed combat skills in Port Nowhere, and the gang slices and dices some ambushing predators while camping out on the summit of their chilly planetoid. It’s more about creating tension as our heroes (and the audience) learn what the stakes are, and get caught making their exit.

Sadly, while Theron realizes the dangers represented by what he has discovered, I wasn’t fully convinced off the terror represented by the Sith Empire’s work on Vesla. Is it the destructive by-product of the project or the sheer scope of what they are doing? It is definitely bad news for the Republic, but Shan’s aim in walking

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