[One Year Later] I return to the EU by way of comics; or, I still love John Ostrander

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Mastadge, Jan 21, 2008.

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  1. Mastadge Manager Emeritus

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    Jun 4, 1999
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    That's right. I haven't read any EU in a year. I decided it was time to play catch-up. To that end, I've started reading the new SW comics lineup. In this thread, my opinion so far. Note that I come into this unspoiled and have missed previous discussions.

    So far I have read:
    Knights of the Old Republic #0-19
    Legacy #1-14
    Rebellion #1-8
    Dark Times #1-5

    From favorite to least favorite, then:

    Legacy -- The best of the four ongoing Star Wars titles. At first I was a little concerned -- many of the plot elements seemed a bit too familiar. But they've all been tied together in satisfactory ways. Ostrander's writing is still top-notch, as are Duursema's pencils -- which makes for a jarring transition when art is handled by others. There's not a whole lot I don't like about the series, but Cade's shaggy hair I could definitely do without, not to mention Corde's Cherry 2000 'do. Other things I don't like: I find it kind of silly that all the Sith are going with the red-and-black Maul motif, and I find the names increasingly silly. I keep hoping to find one with an ironic sense of humor. Darth Tuf'Luhv or something. Seriously, why not names that sound intimidating but don't mean anything in basic/english? Say it's a word for something sinister in some other language. . . And the comics depiction of the Yuuzhan Vong still doesn't work well for me. But mostly this is nitpicking. Generally, I love this story. The story feels both personal and epic and unfolds naturally, the characters are fun, the references and homages are good. Is this recurring two-different-colored-eyes motif meaningful, or does it just look cool? Really. A satisfactory follow-up to the Quinlan Vos saga (which, by the way, should definitely be collected in an oversized hardcover Absolute Edition. Just the Ostrander/Vos saga. Not the other Clone Wars stuff. Not Infinity's End.). Now if only the Legend of GrimJack books could come out more frequently!

    Rebellion -- I didn't care much for Empire. The series-of-miniseries thing didn't work so well for me, especially with so many of them written by whitebread writers like Ron Marz, and I pretty much stopped reading after the "Last Man Standing" arc. I have the whole run, though, so I'll probably catch up. Rebellion appears to be another series-of-miniseries, but at least they seem more connected, and also aren't split by one-shots. More importantly, Williams is doing a good job. Nothing groundbreaking, but the writing's at least solid, as are the plots. I really liked Badeaux' art on the first arc, so Lacombe's fill-in issue was a startling and at first unwelcome change, but his style really grew on me and I'm finding it very good in the second arc, so kudos on a good choice there. I especially like his more realistic body designs. His men and women look like men and women, not a bunch of bombshell blondes and hulking bodybuilders. It's nice. I also like Raze. Hope to see more of him.

    Dark Times -- I don't dislike this book, but I don't love it, either. The story's all right, but emotionally it doesn't ring true. I feel like Jennir and Bomo were accepted onto the ship far too easily. I feel like Bomo's reaction to finding out his daughter, whom he'd been hoping to rescue from slavery, had been cooked and eaten was dishonest. I don't know. I guess we can't allow honest emotions to stand in the way of the pretty pictures and the plot. Vader and Palpatine's dialogue didn't really feel right, either. I guess I don't feel really strongly about this book either way. It's not that good, but it's not too bad. I'll probably stick with it, in trades at least, for a little while.

    Knights of the Old Republic -- This, on the other hand, is just plain bad. Poor writing, inconsistent art tending toward the ugly. Yuck. So a bunch of masters have a force vision of a Sith wearing an EVA suit, and since their padawans are wearing EVA suits, the only solution to save the galaxy is to slaughter their padawans. Right. And Zayne's clumsy with the force, except when the plot ne
  2. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    Welcome back! A few words on Legacy, since it's the only one I really care to read:

    I, too, love it.

    You don't think Cade's hair fits his character?

    To be fair in regards to Sith names, Tyranus, Maul, Vader, and Sidious are all names derived from real words, if not already whole words.
  3. Jango_Fettish Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 17, 2002
    star 4
    Wow, someone who doesn't like KOTOR? Thats a first.
  4. Jedi-Sith Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 4, 2001
    star 3
    I love KOTOR, but I have to admit his points on some of the art and the word bubble covers I can understand.

    Especially when compared to some of the art from Legacy and Dark Times.


    But I'm thoroughly enjoying the story of KOTOR....
  5. Jango_Fettish Jedi Master

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    Aug 17, 2002
    star 4
    I consider KOTOR to be nearly on par with Legacy. They both rock.
  6. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    star 6
    Heh. They should do a major artist swap for, like, one story arc each, and just keep shuffling for a while.

    Then again, Jan may end up drawing Zayne in Vector, considering.
  7. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I disagree. I shall refute further.

    This is the last thing I would accuse it of. JJM has plotted this thing out insanely well. He's got all kinds of things going on plotwise, and the characters are as compelling as I've seen. Zayne is a young man without much confidence in himself suddenly cast into the worst situation he could possibly be in and somehow rising to the occasion. Gryph is a hilariously self-interested con man helping him out. Jarael is a fiercely protective strong female character dragged along. Perhaps you could clarify, because I'm not seeing it.

    Well, yes, they change artists. That happens in a series that goes on long enough. Weaver's stuff is utterly gorgeous, so I'm going to assume you're not talking about his stuff. Ching's stuff is also quite good. Tolibao is the weak link, and even his stuff is tolerable and meshes pretty well with Ching's. It's not particularly inconsistent, nor is it particularly ugly. I've seen far worse. If that's what you call ugly, I'd say you'd be hard-pressed to find a comic that wasn't ugly. Now, there's one fill-in issue, from Foreman, that's not great. One issue. He also did one fill-in issue for Legacy. Which you ranked top. So as this obviously isn't a series-killing problem, I'll move on.

    I'm not quite sure how to refute this, so I'll move on.

    Well, I could simply anything that far and make it sound absurd. The fact is, a cabal of Jedi Masters who have dedicated their lives to pursuing visions in order to prevent the return of the Sith see a vision in which the Sith return . . . represented as wearing what their Padawans are wearing at the time. Being a group of obsessive vision fanatics who have been raised from childhood to stop what they just saw happening from happening, they attempt to prevent this. This is in-character for them. You might as well complain that it's silly for Tarkin to think the only solution to the Rebellion is to destroy Alderaan. He sees a problem. Having the character he does, he fixes it as he sees fit. This drives the plot. Just because you wouldn't do it doesn't mean it's bad writing.

    Actually, Zayne has no self-confidence in his own ability to use the Force. When he is removed from an atmosphere in which he is surrounded by people who don't believe in him and they are replaced by people who do, when his life is on the line . . . he starts to gain confidence and his competence increases.

    "Luke's just a newbie to the Force, and he just closes his eyes and blows up the Death Star! Ridiculous!" The detonators were big things that he was levitating and could just throw at the place where they needed to be, job done. The bolts, which I presume you refer to with the "precision work" comment, were tiny things he had to work at without seeing and without anyone else seeing him. They were more precise, and he did the work in a time when his self-confidence was suffering as opposed to Flashpoint, when it was on the uptick. The lightsabers were a matter of being quick on the draw. He grabs them and throws them. They weren't expecting it. It gets him just enough time to run.

  8. The2ndQuest Tri-Mod With a Mouth

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    Jan 27, 2000
    star 10
    First off, welcome back Mastadge. Second off- you're wrong ;) :p

    Havac's already elaborated on most of the points I was gonna make, but I definitely want to emphasise the "you started it" line- I think you made that odd playground comparison for some reason while reading and it stuck with you, but it's an erroneous way to take the line- it's meant to illustrate, in (as Havac put it) a punchier way, that if what they think about him is true, it's their own damn fault for putting it in motion and, perhaps, sew a small seed of doubt and, at the very least, concern amongst the Covenant. I also think it's become of the more memorable/popular EU lines of recent. Just suggesting you might want to consider a different context for how you're reading the line.

    And if it helps any- I didn't find the Moomo Brothers very funny in their first appearance, but their later appearance in the most recent arc had me rolling. So, perhap you have that to look forward to.

    And I better not catch you hatin' on Slyssk!

    (yeep!)
  9. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    Aug 19, 2002
    star 6
    People do this in real life. The reason it's "punchy" and "understated" is because it's juvenile. It's something you learn about when you're little, and it remains true, so people phrase it as such because it's a familiar phrase, and using the familiar phrase underscores the elementary reasoning behind his actions.
  10. QuinineVos Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2005
    star 3
    Fascinating. I, for one find KOTOR to be the best of the four ongoing titles. I enjoy it more, and find it to be more consistent, than Legacy even, with Rebellion and then Dark Times being a more distant third and fourth, respectively.

    Edit: Which should be seen as no slight on those titles by the way. Though Dark Times has been, to me, the least interesting of the four thus far (Rebellion's "Ahakista Gambit" being an excellent story), it is really quite good indeed, itself. Dark Horse never ceases to amaze me.
  11. GrandAdmiralJello Community and Lit moderator person

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    Nov 28, 2000
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    I bet, Mastadge, that you already know my ranking and why. :p
  12. sonnymyson Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Dec 7, 2004
    star 3
    I am going to talk about Legacy because it is indeed the best simply because Ostrander and Duursema are the Gilbert and Sullivan of Star Wars comics, hands down.

    The change from one artist to the others in the smaller arcs was made less jarring by Brad Anderson doing the coloring for all, and tying it in atmospherically that way. The coloring is simply-- juicy.=P~

    Jan did not do the first design for Morrigan Corde, but when she took her over, the hotness quotient of the character went way way up. Her skull is full of hardware, so the bubble 'do makes sense. Jan also let us know that the full body red stuff is tattoos, and they hurt a lot because 'Siths like pain'.

    Since my personal preference in a SW comic is for fabulous art, I really enjoyed Doug Wheatley's section of Dark Times. Weak story logic might sink the series if his successors don't pull out of their design tailspin. They bleached out Chrys Taanzer something awful. Sniffles is buff, though.

    I agree completely with the Mastadge remarks on Rebellion.
  13. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    I can sympathize with art ruining something.

    Thew new Angel series is... atrocious. So much so that I speed-read them for plot and don't worry about art overly much any longer. It's that bad.

    Doesn't make it a bad comic, if you care about story, but it's annoying...
  14. IcePirate Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2005
    star 2
    my guess is that it runs close to mine, for similar reasons.
  15. BobaMatt TFN EU Staff

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    star 6
    Holy...kriffing...

    You know who else likes pain and covers themselves in tattoos? The Yuuzhan Vong. Maybe the Embrace of Pain wasn't the only thing Krayt co-opted for his Sithly purposes.
  16. Carnage04 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 8, 2005
    star 5


    Yeah, what Havoc said about KoToR...

    Only I'd like to chime in on Zayne's force skills. You made a comment about them being poor and most notably the fact that he is not good with "Precision" stuff. To be fair we have seen no evidence to support this fact, only a statement by Zayne himself where he was somewhat mocking Karath and his group.
  17. Nobody145 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 9, 2007
    star 4
    Its not like Zayne's done any superpowerful feats. He's just gone from seemingly incompetent to somewhat competent. Anyway, considering how snide the Taris Masters were, I blame them for Zayne's lack of skills. And Zayne's precision work took several days didn't it? So it did take him a while, but that was a pretty good way to escape.

    I agree that the covers with words aren't really my taste, but otherwise I disagree with most of your KotOR opinions, but you have the right to have you own opinion. I view just about everything you brought up in a different light, so maybe that's why I enjoy it more.

    And in terms of babe, I like that KotOR doesn't have a half-naked lady walking around for most of the first arc. *cough*Darth Talon*cough. Sure, we see Jarael in a few... very appealing outfits, but her default outfit is quite modest, and considering she's mainly a fringer, normal for her lifestyle. Heck, most of Jarael's costumes have actually been somewhat normal, compared to how some of the other babes of Star Wars dressed.

    Its not unheard of for Jedi Masters to act crazy. We've had crazy Masters pop up over the years, and given how chaotic that era (4,000 years ago) was, its not impossible to believe. The fact that Zayne carries on despite everything he's suffered (and how he still mostly remains his normal nice self) shows what a great character he is.

    Or basically, I agree with everything Havac said.
  18. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

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  19. Cull_Tremayne Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 27, 2005
    star 2
    Totally agree. Though Bomo's vomiting scene in the next comic helps me a little, I can't help but feel indifferent about all the characters. None of them seem unique or interesting, even with the less than mainstream species they represent. Maybe it's because I'm tired of the wayward Jedi trying to find himself bit? Or when comparing Jennir to other struggling Jedi, he falls way short? I'm having a tough time caring about Dark Times, even though it was probably the arc I was most anticipating. Hopefully K'kruhk can change all that.

    I have to throw some support Mastadge's way concerning KOTOR. I guess I just don't get it. Zayne doesn't interest me, and for an inept Jedi he's doing some amazing stuff. I can't help but feel bewildered when he stands up to his former masters. He's grown too fast, too easily, and with no explanation, at least in my mind. Maybe it is just like Havac says, and he's gained confidence by being away from his overly critical masters, but I just can't bring myself to buy it. He proved that he was incompetent many times, but when the plot demands it, he has to rise to the occasion. He never seems to be able to pull off Force feats and the like when his life isn't on the line. I just find his improvement to be disjointed and random.

    I guess I never found anything wrong with the plot points. For a somewhat rogue group of Jedi Masters who had a vision of a Dark Jedi in the same suits their Padawans were wearing rip apart the universe, I can't see them having any other alternative. They have been trained from birth to believe in their vision, and just dismissing them from the Jedi seems out of the question. I can't really see any other way they could've handled the situation. Like Havac said, based on their established characterizations, that's what they would've done.

    However, the ending to commencement with the "you started it" line? In no way can you convince me that it was a good line. Maybe it is just personal preference, but the whole scenario just seems incredibly ridiculous. I can't envision Zayne saying that where he is now in the plotline. I sure couldn't envision him saying it then. I mean, really, this is a Padawan learner who was so bad that he wasn't going to make Knighthood. He was lucky enough to escape getting killed. That kind of person does not have the courtesy to make threats. That's the kind of person who keeps their head down and thanks their lucky stars that they're not a corpse like their recently deceased friends. Even if Zayne had secretly hoped to strike back at his Masters, in no way should he be making that statement publicly. Additionally, what is up with the whole, "And if I do end up collapsing the Jedi Order" bit? Melodramatic much? Even if it was in jest, or a fun way to poke fun at his apparent "destiny", I still can't find it in character for a washed out Jedi turned escape artist.

    Just to leave on a high note, kudos to JJM for actually paying attention to Tales of the Jedi. And the offshoot thing? What a fun little plot point. I am really enjoying the backstory for the Arkanians. JJM has really made their culture fascinating. Hopefully even with Adasca dead, they'll return there.
  20. TwiLekJedi Pretty Ex-Mod

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2001
    star 10
    I don't.


    Though I can't stand KotOR, don't bother with Dark Times, have little patience with Legacy and I'm trade-waiting. Sheesh, Legacy will have bloody ended by the time I get Vol.3 (... if I get it)
  21. Quiet_Mandalorian Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 19, 2005
    star 5
    I'm going to have to side with Havac over KotOR as well. Simply the best Star Wars comic we've seen from Dark Horse, IMHO. By contrast, Legacy is competing with Rebellion for the position of worst, with consistent but anemic art, a bland plot that seems to be going nowhere fast and a dull, unengaging protagonist.
  22. Jedimarine Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 13, 2001
    star 5
    Welcome back Mastadge.

    Legacy has kept my hope in Star Wars afloat.

    While I haven't been disdainful of the other comic titles...having never been a voracious comic guy myself, I haven't been enticed to purchase them with regularity.

    I'd say of the other 3, KOTOR is only one I try in earnest to follow the progression of...but only by means of the quick comic shop read-through.
  23. Kenobi_Kid Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 5, 2005
    star 4
    I also support KOTOR as being the best Dark Horse title. John Jackson Miller's faced-paced and engaging writing has made the title a must-read since the beggining, and the fleshing out of the galaxy behind the two KOTOR games is always worth my three bucks a month. But it's not just these more obvious things that make the title great. Legacy offers similar incentives; a chance to look into the future of the GFFA, a chance to see the all-awesome, all-new Sith and Imperial Knights, a chance to wonder at why things are the way they are. It's artwork beats KOTOR's three out of five times, but that doesn't mean that the look is supeirior. KOTOR has fantastic design work; from the intricate robes of Master Q'Anila to the Art Deco beauty of the Draay mansion on Coruscant, to the awe-inspiring majesty of the Republic warships. Don't get me wrong, I love Legacy and I pick it up as faithfully as I do KOTOR, but you have to admit it is an uglier galaxy that we're reading about. KOTOR's clean, high renaissance meets WWII aesthetic is just much more appealing. That and it has Gryph, Slyysk and the Moomo brothers.
  24. rogue_wookiee Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Apr 24, 2004
    star 6
    I honestly have to say that my opinion of the comic lines are a total inverse of your's Mast.

    I feel KotOR captures that classic Star Wars feel incredibly well. I think Havoc covered it well, but I'd like to add that Zayne's adventures remind of A New Hope where Luke and Han get on and off the Death Star despite the fact that they are complete amateurs at such things. I'm still reading TPBs for the series and am a bit behind, but thus far that's the vibe I get and I love it. I will say that I agree with you on the art point however. Changing artists mid-arc is jarring and annoying. It's especially a problem in Commencement. Though in my opinion Weaver's issues are my favorite artwork in any Star Wars comic and Ching is also very solid artist who seems to be improving since his work on Republic, which I liked.

    Dark Times and Rebellion are a toss up right now. I haven't read enough Dark Times to give an opinion on the story, but having Wheatley as a primary artist is a huge point in it's favor as he tends to draw species and behavior we don't normally see in SW comics.

    With Rebellion I'm loving all the cool things they are adding to the Rebel Alliance and I'm hoping they keep it up. Like KotOR the artwork changes in the middle of an arc is extremely jarring, but I love Badeaux's work.

    And Legacy. Legacy, Legacy. You are way off about Legacy. It had so much promise, but so little of it was realized. The main Cade is just a boring character. He isn't dark. He's just angsty and angst is getting old. Ostrander and Duursema had me excited when they first revealed him, but then I read the first few issues and he wasn't even a bad guy. He was just a Skywalker version of Quinlan Vos hooked on deathsticks. If they wanted me to be interested in the character he should have been ruthless, brutal and seemingly irredeemable like the Boba Fett of old, I'm talking Tales of the Bounty Hunters here rather than the Traviss teddy bear. But now I know exactly how his tale will play out because I have it on my shelf in the form of the Quinlan Vos saga. The ties to Republic seem silly and contrived. I watched the OT recently and I couldn't help but make jokes that Yoda was referring to K'kruhk when he said Luke wasn't their last hope. Duursema's art is the same as Republic, excellent, but way to damned faux dark with the shadows and the poses. However Legacy does improve exponentially the farther away from Cade that it gets. Any comic where Cade doesn't make an appearance is excellent.
  25. The_Pantless_Wookiee Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2007
    star 2
    Havac has already said everything I wanted to say about KotOR, so I'll just add that it's my favorite SW comic title because, IMO, it's something that hasn't been done before, at least not in SW anyways. Zayne is one of favorite characters, I love having a hero that isn't uber-powerful and the relationship between him and Gryph his great.
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