GONK reviews this week’s batch of Star Wars comics: the finale to The Old Republic: The Lost Suns (#5), and the continuing Vong plot in Invasion: Revelations #4.
GONK! It’s time to power up with this week’s Star Wars comics. This week, I am reviewing Invasion – Revelations #4 and The Old Republic – The Lost Suns #5. I’m going to try to not spoil too much of these comics, but be warned anyway.
Star Wars: Invasion – Revelations #4
The story of Invasion – Revelations boils over into battle with issue #4. As a mixture of forces called together by Queen Nina Galfridian to defend the world of Shramar starts battling a Vong invasion fleet, Finn confronts Chief of State Fey’lya over his decision to not send military support to Shramar and the Artorian refugees. Holding the New Republic’s leader at saberpoint, Finn argues for the taking the Vong threat seriously, but is forced to escape when Kopri, head of palace security charges in. The pursuit takes to the air, with Finn riding on his droid Prowl and the Twi’lek security chasing with her flutter pack. Over on Shramar, the New Republic admiral who defied orders to call for a defensive position for the planet learns the truth about Nina’s nature as a Vong, and has to trust her as she reveals what she thinks the Vong want the planet for growing Vong biotech. The battle shifts from the skies to the ground when the Vong soldiers land and take on the Imperial units and Kaye Galifridian’s ragtag troops defending the evacuation. Back on Coruscant, after Kopri catches Finn, he convinces her that he’s not an assassin, and that the Imperial ambassador is really a Vong in disguise. As they confront the ambassador, a second Vong grabs Kopri as a hostage. It turns out that Finn, with his unique ability to sense Vong in the Force, is wanted by Tsalok, and that the Vong don’t want to assassinate the cowardly Fey’lya after all – but someone else crashes the party with a revelation of their own.
The revelations keep on coming in this storyline. We see a bigger picture of what the Vong were up to with their Imperial collaborators on Shramar, and we also discover that things are not as they seem on Coruscant. Tom Taylor does a great job of balancing out the story on Shramar with the developments on Coruscant. While most of the story’s action takes place on Coruscant, a good chunk of the pages showcase the battle of Shramar. Kopri, Finn’s nemesis from last issue, turns into an unlikely ally as she is more concerned about the Vong threat than her boss, Chief of State Fey’lya, and those flutter pack wings are awesome (think dragonfly wings in a backpack), yet kinda whimsical for a galaxy where personal flight is more commonly done with jetpacks. She and Finn make a good team, and there’s a funny awkward moment (with some well done facial expressions) when Finn’s master, Dray, makes a lecherous comment over the comm.
The battle scenes ooze with action and danger, especially once the Vong hit the ground with their amphistaffs. The storytelling device of a journalist reporting in on the battle works well to recap the story so far, and gives the hulking Arbeloa a hero little moment in the midst of combat. If you like seeing AT-ATs and X-Wings in action, Colin Wilson gave a lot to please you in these scenes – imagine the Battle of Hoth, but with Rebels and Imperials on the same side against an even more dangerous foe.
Overall, I’m excited by this issue – it brings the epic scope of battle on Shramar, but it also keeps the focus at the personal level with Finn dealing with Borsk Fey’lya and confronting the Vong on Coruscant. While there is action galore here, there’s also a little bit of humor here, and good tension, both of which add to the proper feel of Star Wars. I’m really looking forward to the next issue, and kinda wish that this story arc won’t end soon.
By the way, the cover art for this issue is pretty sweet – takes me back to the starship action covers of the X-Wing series of novels and comics. Thumbs up to Chris Scalf!
Star Wars: The Old Republic – The Lost Suns #5
And now, the thrilling conclusion of The Old Republic – The Lost Suns (Issue #5). If you’ve read my reviews of the series so far, you’ll know that this story arc hasn’t been a hit for me. I like the characters of Theron Shan, super agent; the addled Jedi mentor Ngani Zho, and the Twi’lek criminal Teff’ith well, and their dynamics, but the storyline just wasn’t doing it for me. At least in this issue, the storyline wraps up, and in typical Star Wars style, the superweapon gets destroyed, the villain is defeated, and the young hero now has to continue on without his mentor.
What I enjoyed most about this issue was Theron’s encounter with the mastermind of the Sun Razer project, Darth Mekhis. While we know that Shan is no Jedi, he produces Zho’s lightsaber and challenges the Dark Lord to duel against him as the son of the Grand Master Jedi who once fought Mekhis, and Mekhis falls for the bait. The result is unexpected, creative, and totally in line with his character – he’s not a Jedi, but a sneaky Republic spy. While Zho gets his own hero moment as he and Teff’ith cause the diversionary cover for Shan’s attack, his demise seemed nothing new. After their adventure, Teff’ith appears to have decided to seek a Theron Shan-free life, and while it does seem original to have the criminal thrust into this war to not have a change of heart to join the fight, it doesn’t say much for our sense of entertainment – if the main characters don’t want to hang around each other, why do we as readers?
While this story arc continues to set up for the game, I think perhaps it spend too much time in the post climax denouement – we do learn a little more about Theron as he visits with his boss in the intel service, and when reporting in on Zho’s fate to the Grand Master. I think this could have been shortened a bit to either make the final action scenes a bit more dramatic (after defeating Darth Mekhis, Theron manages to dispose of the elite guards around him in like two panels), or give some resolution to Teff’ith’s story. A lot of the art in the middle of the issue felt a bit rushed – Theron’s face looks odd in a couple of the big scenes where he takes action. The artwork in the beginning of the issue, such as when Ngani Zho gives his saber to Shan have more feeling and detail to them. Likewise, some of the panels at the end with Teff’ith and Shan in the ship are both more detailed and provide good emotion. Overall, while I am intrigued a bit by Theron Shan, I’m not sure he’s good enough to carry an ongoing story on his own. While the destruction of the Sun Razer project might be a key story to have told to set up the storyline for The Old Republic MMO, I think the story could have been made a bit more interesting overall.