Lord Odion has got the ultimate weapon, and every one in the sector, Kerra Holt and Sith Lord alike, wants to stop him, before he destroys everyone in the final chapter of Knight Errant: Escape.
The adventures of Kerra Holt wrap up (at least for now) with this week’s Star Wars: Knight Errant – Escape #5 (Profile on DarkHorse.com). Captured by Lord Odion, who is armed with a helmet that channels the despair of others into a weapon of mass insanity, Kerra Holt has been pulled back from the brink of despondence by a final message recorded by her parents, delivered by Odion’s general, Yulan. But now Odion plans to use the Helm of Ieldis on a massive scale, drawing energy from the woe he can cause on his gigantic orphanage to cause the entire sector to fall into rabid beserker destruction.
Using the knowledge that Kerra’s parents discovered in their quest to find the Helm and keep it out of dangerous hand, Odion plans to plunge the children in the Cloister, the Odionate’s mega-orphanage into darkness for the first time in their regulated bubble-dwelling lives, causing them so much fear and hopelessness, to feed the Helm to cause violent madness across the entire region of space. Having witnessed the carnage Odion caused when he first amplied Kerra’s own despair, his own Sith Lord family rallies their fleets to put a stop to him before he can plunge the beings of the galaxy into self-destructive violence. Chained up to watch Odion and his novitiates, Kerra manages to convince Yulan that life has meaning, and that the children in the Cloister matter. While Kerra Holt battles her way to freedom, the loyal general turns to stop Odion’s power source by turning the children’s anguish into joy by restoring the light and freeing them. Odion’s helm overloads from the surge of positive emotions, and leaves him dying. Attempting to bargain for his life with Kerra, he dangles the opportunity to find her younger sibling to her, but Kerra realizes a greater truth about who her real brothers and sisters are, and lets the Sith Lord die, plunging his realm into the grasping hands of his fellow lords. Meanwhile, happy endings for Kerra as Yulan departs for Republic space with thousands of his children, while Kerra vows to rescue as many of their parents as she can in her continuing fight to liberate Sith space.
While it would have been easy for John Jackson Miller to end the story arc with a big battle between Odion and Kerra Holt, and maybe throw in Odion’s brother Daiman and some of the other Lords, Miller gives us the heartstring-puller instead – Odion the destroyer is defeated because he can’t handle the joy of children. Not sure if I can handle the cheese. But that is what Kerra Holt does – she doesn’t defeat villains, she restores hope by making a difference to individuals. Yulan was a loyal general to Odion, but in the past few episodes, Kerra has gotten under his skin to show him that he really does find some meaning in life, in caring for the parentless children of the Odionate, living in isolation in the Cloister. He is redeemed, and with that, he thwarts Odion’s plan to turn the galaxy’s sentients into big free-for-all fight to the death, just to quiet the feelings of others in his head. While the ending action fits well with the character of Kerra Holt, and there is some delicious irony in Odion’s cause of death (aaaah! the happiness of thousands of children), it just seems almost a little overly sentimental for a Star Wars story. It would work perhaps for a Michael Jackson video or Pixar story, but this is Star Wars. Maybe just a little too much, or just that I wasn’t expecting it, especially after all the fighting in the previous issues. Still, plus points for surprising me, and for Yulan’s (not unexpected) change of heart. The symbolism of stopping evil by simply turning on the lights works great, but maybe it was Kerra’s “they’re all my brothers and sisters” that tipped it over the balancing point.
Drawn by Marco Castiello, assisted by Andrea Chella, inked by Vincenzo Acunzo, and colored by Michael Atiyeh, this issue has a handful of iconic scenes. Near the beginning is a great panel of Odion on this throne with his helm in his hand, and Yulan behind him. There’s also a great composite of Kerran and Wayman dueling after she frees herself while Odion’s helm crackles with power. But I think the panel I’ll remember most is Yulan mobbed by happy children, with the caption, “They think.. they think I’m their father.” – Great line, and great artwork.
Overall, I have enjoyed this story arc with Kerra Holt, but for this final issue, I might have to agree with Odion: “The happiness. Too much. Too much.”