John Jackson Miller serves up a double helping of fun with Zayne Carrick in this week’s other Star Wars comic: Knights of the Old Republic – War #4.
Zayne Carrick loves it when a plan comes together – even though he knows that with his luck, for every step forward, there’s going to be a step back. And this time in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic – War #4, he’s got himself a doozy of a plan: work with his frenemy, Captain Morvis, to hijack a Mandalorian ship in order to stop Mandalorian Jedi Kace Dorjander from kidnapping the Jedi younglings on Dantooine. Morvis isn’t happy about Carrick’s plan, especially since it is more subterfuge than blasting their way from captivity, but understands the stakes. And Kace has a ruse of his own to catch Dantooine defenseless: he’s masquerading as a Republic vessel with Morvis’ ship, the Reciprocity.
But what’s all this got to do with this creepy cover? This is where John Jackson Miller’s creativity shines and the fun begins (and I really don’t want to spoil the fun for you). Miller also gives us some greater insight into some of the other characters: Kace and Morvis, as well as the Mandalorian warrior Sornell, who is sympathetic to Zayne. Plus we get to see Zayne ham it up with the Force a few times, and even the former Jedi knows that that the universe has a perverse twist when it comes to Zayne making headway. And finally, Zayne gets to put Morvis in his place… with some unexpected results (though one panel of angry Carrick reminds me a lot of Gerard Butler’s angry face in 300 – “For tonight, we dine… on stew!!!!”.) We also get a glimpse of some of the everyday Mandos at the beginning with some of the Mandos conversing – helps build a bigger world.
There’s some lovely shots in this issue by Andrea Mutti – I wasn’t a big fan of the shadowy shots on Halthor, but some of the panels of Zayne confronting a Mandalorian field marshal were rather sweet (almost a Magneto homage?), and the final shot, a full-page panel, of Kace and his Mandalorian Knights has an epic feel. One of the great things about this series is that you never know which way things are going to go. Some comics have a build-up to the finale that feels like a middle issue build-up, but Miller builds this story up with an enjoyment of its own – while the characters know there’s going to be a big showdown, they’ve still got problems to deal with on their own here and now, and that leads to some smart thinking on Zayne’s part. Like Macguyver eschewing violence, Carrick has to be creative with his self-imposed limitations and the fact that he’s a jinx to achieve his ends while trapped between two armies, and that keeps this Star Wars adventure fun and unpredictable. This power droid gives another thumbs-up!