Lit The 181st Imperial Discussion Group goes Read Squadron: Tales of the Jedi!

Discussion in 'Literature' started by Grey1, Jan 1, 2013.

  1. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    Yeah, that does seem to fit in with the Jedi training philosophy of KJA-verse. I did notice that Vodo at least makes a half-assed attempt to save Exar when he's getting crushed in the tomb- in that case Freedon Nadd actually has to intercede to prevent Vodo from successfully aiding his erstwhile apprentice.
  2. JediAlly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 4
    I don't know about Veitch, but being an RPG fan, starting with the Freedon Nadd Uprising, Anderson added quite a number of Force powers to the pool in the novels and the comics. Some of these prove to be quite flashy, like the power Ommin used to capture Arca in the FNU and Exar Kun's initial experiments in alchemy. But we also have the more subtle approaches - battle meditation, illusion, short-circuiting the droids. I don't know if the artwork had any influence in this arc, but then again, the artwork is extremely different from what we've seen in more recent comics. The two recent Boba Fett comics, for instance. Your reference to a precursor to flow walking... At first, I thought you were exaggerating things and it was a case of seeing into the future. Or that combined with the Sith spirits exerting some influence in the physical realm. But now that I think about it.

    The characters KJA created were also interesting in their own ways.

    I do admit that I liked how one could make a clear connection between these comics and the JAT. That's a whole lot more preferable to the tangled mess that the Clone Wars continuity is in right now.

    Like I said in my previous point, this story, along with FNU and the next one are key points in the continuity because the RPG computer games that take place during this time period rely heavily on these comics for the backstory. As such, having a six-issue arc proved to be necessary. There were two main stories in this arc. One focusing on Ulic, and the other focusing Exar Kun. Either story could probably last four comic issues. However, since both of them occur concurrently and eventually join together at the end, the longer arc became necessary.

    Don't know what you mean about the dramaturgy, though.

    We have two Jedi falling to the dark side in this arc. First, there's Ulic. I agree that the Sith poison contributed to his fall, but he was already heading down the path before that happened. He hates the Krath for their murdering Arca. However, he also blamed the Jedi in general for not being more proactive in stopping the Krath before they became a huge problem. He blamed himself for Arca's death. He wanted revenge, and that's understandable. But his revenge became an obsession. He became like Captain Ahab, and the Krath were akin to Moby Dick. He didn't care what he had to do or who got caught in the way. He knew what he wanted, and he didn't care about what he needed to do to get it. Unfortunately, after he was affected by the Sith poison, his rage became unfocused. He wanted more and more people to feel his pain. That was when his fall to the dark side became certain.

    Now we have Exar Kun. He came off as an arrogant elitist. Don't know if his bigotry was real or a case of taunting Crado and Sylvar. However, regardless of this issue, he was definitely overconfident. He felt he was prepared for something but he wasn't. He was caught floundering in a churning sea and he was drowning. He was so desperate for help he was willing to accept anything that came his way, heedless of the consequences. And that's where he fell to the dark side. Only thing was it wasn't clear if he realized he had fallen to the dark side, or if he knew he had fallen, but didn't want to acknowledge it.

    In both cases, both chose to take the actions they did, regardless of whether or not they considered the repercussions.

    As for the Ulic/Nomi romance - at first this was a good thing. With Nomi becoming an important part of his life, Ulic probably began to calm down and think rather than jump ahead. As for Nomi, the growing romance was another step in her establishing a new life for herself. Unfortunately, Arca's death derailed everything. There was a parallel between their relationship and Anakin's/Padmé's - regardless of how much Nomi/Padmé loved Ulic/Anakin, neither were able to break through the veil of rage that had consumed their beloved. Also, we know that Anakin was afraid for the welfare of Padmé. Ulic could similarly have been concerned for Nomi's safety, but in his case, I don't think the concern was as deep-rooted as Anakin's.

    As for the affair between Ulic and Aleema, that was initially a case of Ulic using Aleema to achieve his goals. However, as we soon saw, Aleema was actually using Ulic as a means of gaining power from her brother Satal.

    I agree - considering how much of an impact would have on the events to come, Arca Jeth's death could have been executed better.

    As for how the Jedi Masters seemed to have given their students a greater degree of freedom, while on one level that might seem to be a good idea, on another you're practically inviting a disaster. Then again, the Masters offered their wisdom and warnings to the students, but the students chose not to heed them. Makes you wonder if these were cases of a Jedi Master having a bad student or a student having a bad Jedi Master. In Ulic's and Exar Kun's cases, I don't see Arca Jeth and Vodo Siosk-Baas as bad Jedi Masters, but Vodo seemed to have been more proactive in trying to convince his student not to walk the dark path.
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    There is one thing, well counting Gossett's artwork, two things I will always greatly like Dark Lords of the Sith for and that's this:

    Korriban!

    OK, yeah, I don't think the Eu has really gone on to use it that well but at the start? It was frigging awesome. The idea of a dark side planet that had been so for millennia and holds the tombs of the dark lords, hell yeah. Gossett portrayed it in a wonderfully creepy fashion while the script paid full heed to SW pulp aspects - undead guardians, torture devices, it's all here. And why haven't we seen a story where a Sith Lord kills a Jedi and imprisons their spirit in a crystal to torment for all eternity or Jedi attempting to free their imprisoned fellows?

    TOTJ followed in the line of DE which itself mined the films: That the dark side is a mix of choice and coercion intermingled, so yeah, both Ulic and Exar choose what they become, but not without pressure from the dark side's agents towards its preferred option. Basically, the dark side's idea of freedom is to mess around with and roll dice, loaded dice naturally.
  4. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    The art style actually works pretty well in the Korriban scenes, IMO. It's interesting- Dark Lords of the Sith simultaneously contains some of the best and worst artwork in the entire series.

    And now, instead of poring through Roman epigraphy to find sources for my capstone paper, it's time for TALES OF THE JEDI AUDIO DRAMA, PART THREE!

    -When we last left off, Nomi was using the Force to navigate to Ambria in order to apprentice herself under a Triceratops, and the Ketos made a random-ass cameo for no reason whatsoever.

    -Anyhoo, opening crawl time.

    -Wait, this episode is 45 minutes instead of the usual 35? :(

    -Err, I mean :D

    -And the opening crawl is discussing the Freedon Nadd Uprising? Hmm, come to think of it we've already covered issue 1 of Nomi, so this will probably bleed over into the Freedon Nadd Uprising.

    -So we open with Nomi staring out into the wastes of Ambria and dumbfoundedly proclaiming that the planet is, indeed, a wasteland. Man, having a Jedi Master operate out in the middle of a barren nowhere is a very original idea. Veitch is so very original.

    -"Why here? Why this desolate place?" Because Veitch and Anderson positively breathe the movies, Nomi. If I can deal with it, then so can you. Anyways, Nomi and Vima set off to find the mysterious Jedi Master. Nomi probably should have left Vima under the care of the droid back at the ship until she found the Jedi Master, but then we couldn't have any scenes where Nomi acts as a wildly irresponsible parent! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay characterization! Nomi just intends to drop off the crystals then go home. I'm sure that is exactly how this will play out.

    -SWISHING TRANSITION!

    -Yes, I'm going make note of that every time it happens.

    -And now we shift to the Qel-Droma brothers. Ulic gives us a quick recap of the events on Onderon, then whines about how boring the planet has become. Cay gives us some expository dialogue about King Ommin being alive and assembling an army under the city. Cay's reliable source for this information is a nebulous "they", prompting Ulic to make a snarky comment about "they, they, they", which ends up sounding just like my old AP World History teacher. He then reminds Cay that there are four Jedi currently guarding Onderon. What could possibly go wrong with the Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Master Arca Jethro guarding the city?

    -An explosion at the palace, that's what! BOOM!

    -SWISHING TRANSITION!

    -And now Nomi is randomly narrating about how she feels like she has left her old life behind, while Vima whines about how thirsty she is. Didn't Nomi pack any food? Water? Anything?

    -Anyways, there's a convenient lake nearby, but it's all foul and bubbly-looking and suddenly I'm reminded of The Land Before Time. Uh Oh! I hope there aren't any sharp-tooths nearby!

    -Nope, just voices talking to Nomi, who is once again weirdly narrating. The voices urge Nomi to turn back, but are counteracted by some gravelly voice that Vima can also hear. This is punctuated by what sounds like an elephant. Nomi then comes across what seems to be a herd of Triceratops. I don't quite know how Trikes sound like elephants, since they lacked the trunks and all that, but whatever. Nomi continues to monologue about how her past is fading away, which would be much more effective if anything was happening.

    -Vima sees a little house on the prairie, then notices a "yellow man" riding a great big something. Could this be the mysterious master Thon???

    -Nomi can sense that the "yellow man" is a Jedi. She then tells the audience that she could feel the light in him or some crap. He somehow knows that this is Nomi, by the way.

    -SWISHING TRANSITION!

    -And now we return to Onderon, where Tott full-name Doneeta is trapped under a pillar. Huey and Dewey try to extricate Louie as he explains that dark siders attacked the palace. Dewey tries to use his mechanical arm to lift the pillar by himself, but this doesn't work out. Master Arca, of course, is nowhere to be found. The Qel-Dromas use the Force to lift the pillar off of Tott, after deciding that just hacking away with lightsaber might just be a bad idea. However, the palace collapses just as they pull Tott from the rubble.

    -And now we return to Ambria, though thankfully there isn't some stupid transition sound. 3D is manning the home front from the LightSide Explorer, when an unidentified vessel begins to approach. Because I've been watching way too much Battlestar Galactica lately, my first thought was a Cylon Raider, but then I realized that was stupid. Anyways, the UFO is moving in attack profile at breakneck speeds, which alarms 3D, because all droids that aren't either murderously humorous assassins or spunky astromechs must be flighty 3PO rip-offs. The computer then informs 3D that the ship's profile matches that of Bogga's vessel, just as an explosion rocks the ship.

    -MAKE WAY FOR BOGGA THE HUTT!

    -Bogga speaks English, because I guess it's hard to convey subtitles without a screen. Anyways, 3D heroically resists when Bogga demands the Adegan crystals, and gets a blaster bolt for his troubles. The criminals then decide to, quote "peel open this ship like a can of nerf gizzards". I can't make this stuff up, kiddos.

    -And now we return to Nomi, who is explaining to The Yellow Man how Andur died. Ah, so the previous narration sections were her explaining all of this to the Jedi. Neato. She also notes that this Jedi allows the Triceratops to sleep in the house. I hope it's potty-trained; Jurassic Park taught me that it would be rather difficult to clean up after a Trike with a pooper scooper. In any case, Nomi recaps the last episode, because this is the same quality of writing as YJK and apparently people must be jumping into this story midstream. Our friendly Jedi warns Nomi that a Jedi can be undone if he is distracted. Nomi then explains that she saw her husband's ghost and went into rage mode. Nomi then informs The Yellow Man that she is looking for a Jedi, to which he replies "found one, you have". Just kidding. She just assumes that he is Thon, but he tries to disabuse her of that notion. Before Oss Wilum can explain that, no, he's not the Jedi Master she's looking for, they are interrupted by the herd of Triceratops panicking, as they are under attack by "someone of evil intent".

    -Apparently Bogga the Hutt has stooped to cattle rustling.

    -Oss Wilum calls Bogga a "Hutt Worm", then whips out his lightsaber. All of the thugs open fire on Oss Wilum, who cockily informs them that they should just put away their blasters right now. Someone clubs him in the back for his troubles. Nomi freaks out, and the Triceratops charges off to save the Jedi. And charge he does.

    -The Triceratops runs down some of the Hutt thugs, because dinosaurs are awesome. Mysteriously, none of the thugs can land a shot on the dinosaur, because they are all rolling natural 1's or something. Which is what happens to me whenever I play Risk, so I can sympathize.

    -Oh no wait, the blaster bolts are just bouncing off of him or something. Which is pretty cool. Anyhoo, the thugs flee.

    -The Triceratops chides Oss Wilum about rushing in with a lightsaber, which is when Nomi finally learns that, yes, Thon is the great big green thing with horns.

    -SWISHING TRANSITION! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    -And now we jet back to Onderon, because whoever wrote this audio drama is more ADHD than 6-year-old me. Arca informs Ulic that there are fires all over the city, because dark siders are appearing out of nowhere to attack. Cay laments that, despite their searches in the catacombs, the Jedi have thus far failed to find Ommin. Hmm, those catacombs actually could have been a neat addition to KotOR II. Delving into the dark past of the city and all that.

    -SWISHING TRANSITION!

    -*****************, can they not stick with one setting for 5 minutes? Seriously?

    -Apparently Nomi has just been ignored by Thon for the last few weeks, which must be depressing. Vima is just playing with animals, because she gets to anticipate Jacen's critter-fu by about 4000 years or so. Wait, is she seriously playing by the dark side lake? No wonder Thon doesn't trust you with Force training, Nomi. You can't even be arsed to keep your CHILD OUT OF HARM'S WAY. Predictably, some dark side dragon things pop out of the lake and try to eat Vima. Nomi then puts a mind-whammy on the dragons with her mind, which is rather convenient. I'm sure that this power will be rather useful during the upcoming Sith War (SPOILER ALERT!). Nomi then whines at Thon that he does nothing but growl at her, because the thought never crossed her mind that he can't speak Basic or anything. He has probably been trying to instruct her this whole time, but she's just blown him off.

    -And suddenly Nomi understands Thon, because it's plot-convenient. Apparently, Nomi's mopiness prevented her from paying attention to what Thon was saying or something. Anyways, Thon informs Nomi that she just used Battle Meditation. Thon drops some hints that there's going to be a war soon, and that the Jedi are going to use her to coordinate their attacks. So there's that.

    -SWISHING TRANS- oh you get the idea.

    -"Welcome to Republic City! The only city on Coruscant (pronounced Co-ru-SCant here) that covers the entire planet!" CAN WE NOT STAY IN ONE PLACE FOR 5 FRAKKING MINUTES. Seriously, this constant jumping back and forth hampers the narrative thrust of the audio drama. Seriously, jumping back to the Ketos at random just makes the story choppy. And oh my god, Satal has the most annoying, nasal voice in this audio drama. I always imagined him having a deeper voice that didn't sound like he was constantly pinching his nose. He whines at Aleema about being recognized or something, and then some more about how he hates visual aids.

    -It seems that Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum are here on Coruscant to visit a museum of dark side artifacts. I'm sure that this is just idle curiosity, and that surely they lack any nefarious plans for these artifacts.

    -....Did they seriously just do another swishing transition? IT HASN'T EVEN BEEN TWO MINUTES SINCE THE LAST SCENE ARE YOU KIDDING ME. WHO IN THE HELL THOUGHT THAT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA IT'S WORSE THAN FORCE HERETIC II: REFUGEE

    -

    -Ahem.

    -And now we are back on Ambria, where Oss Wilum is fixing up 3D and chatting with Nomi. She's taking the afternoon off from training. Maybe Lando will take her gem-hunting over Yavin IV? Oh wait, wrong series. Anyways, we learn that Ambria's bleakness frightens Nomi, and 3D drops a line about Oss being near his delicate servos, which was done much better in the KotOR games with HK-47. God, they aren't even trying to hide that 3D is a blatant C-3PO expy.

    -Oss informs Nomi that he is leaving soon, and Nomi thinks that "Twi'lek" is a personal name, rather than a species. And of course it's none other than Tott full-name Doneeta! We learn that Master Arca is requesting help from Thon, who is an old friend of everyone's least favorite Jedi Master. And then out of nowhere we go right back to the Keto kids at the dark side museum on Coruscant, where they are talking to an extremely pompous and caricatured docent. Apparently the museum is opening a Dark Lords of the Sith exhibit! Exciting! Star Archaeology! Apparently the Jedi have asked that the collection not be displayed until the renovations are complete and a proper security system in place. Man, I hope no one tries to steal some dark side artifacts. That would be just awful.

    -The docent believes that these artifacts are useless old books and medallions, which couldn't POSSIBLY be used to take over the galaxy. The foreshadowing is so thick that a machete wouldn't make a scratch in it. Dr. Brody then goes on to explain that the ancient Sith were Jedi who fell to the dark side, which actually was the case with the original Dark Lords. A convenient com call draws the museum administrator away, giving Nic Cage the chance to steal the Declaration of Independence Satal and Aleema the chance to steal some dark side book and make a quick getaway.

    -And of course we get a frakking swish-transition, because terrorists are holding a gun to Veitch's head and threatening to kill him if he doesn't cut from one scene to the next every 2.74 minutes. Of course we end up back on Ambria, where please god something happens. We get "treated" to Vima singing about bantha cubs. And apparently Jedi training is very tiring for Nomi. Thon just kind of strolls into Nomi's tent uninvited and tells her to go build a lightsaber. I'm surprised that it has taken this long for the audio drama to reach the "get Nomi to pick up a lightsaber" subplot. Nomi is still haunted by killing the thugs who killed her husband, and refuses to take up another saber. Nomi tries to use Thon's inability to use a lightsaber as a point in her favor, which... well he's a Triceratops. He lacks opposable thumbs, of COURSE he can't use a lightsaber. Thon of course is insistent upon her using a lightsaber.

    -"You will take up a lightsaber, or dieeeeeeeeee!"

    -Thon then says that he has to take her and Vima up to the hills for some ceremony, which, coming on the heels of his last statement, sounds vaguely ominous.

    -Transition, once again. It really is this ridiculous. I wish that I was just making this up, but I am not.

    -....But we are still on Ambria with Thon and Nomi? Thon just asked Nomi to climb onto his back, so this is literally NOT EVEN 5 MINUTES LATER IN REAL TIME WHAT THE HELL. 3D thinks that Thon looks rather angry, which elicits a growl from Master Triceratops. They climb on Thon, but Nomi is unsure of if she is coming back. Man, this just gets more ominous by the minute. Thon doesn't help the matter with this weird cackle, which transitions into Bogga's laugh.

    -Bogga orders his thugs to prepare another expedition to Ambria. If at first you don't succeed and all that. Bogga lends his thugs some Mandalorian Manacles with which to restrain the Jedi and oh god another transitional SWISHING sound. It has been literally less than 2 minutes since the last transition.

    -And there's randomly a caribou in the background? Whatever. Thon monologues about the conflict between light and dark and all that jazz. Anyway they go and look into some pit, which is dangerous and somehow symbolizes the Force? Thon makes her stand on the edge to understand the balance between light and dark. Um, okay. Thon starts harping on the lightsaber thing again. Thon gives Nomi his lightsaber, which doesn't go over well with her. She just wants to go home, Uncle Thon!

    -Pirates show up to attack Ambria once again. Thon knew that they were coming, but didn't say anything because he wants to force Nomi to fight them, which just reeks of Hollywood psychology. Thon just kind of uses himself as bait to convince Nomi to use her lightsaber. Nomi refuses, so Thon tries to get her to use Battle Meditation. Nomi wimps out, while Thon runs off to surrender to the pirates. Thon gets captured and the pirates demolish Thon's house, and the pirates have cut off Nomi's escape! Oh noes! What will happen next!

    -The pirates argue over who gets credit for capturing Thon, and thereby subjecting us to their crappy voice-acting. At least we haven't had a swishing transition in the last 4 minutes or so. Nomi reveals that she's using her Battle Meditation to mind-whammy the pirates. And then she charges in swinging!

    -"What's that?"

    -"That's a Lightsaber, scum! And I'm a Jedi!" -over the sounds of screaming and mangled limbs. I'm glad she's not overdoing it or anything.

    -Anyways, Thon and Nomi tag-team the remaining twelve thugs, and of course they run away with their space-tales between their legs. Thon tells Nomi that it's time for a road-trip to Coruscant, because it's time to address the Galactic Senate. Yay Space Politics!

    And that's a wrap for episode three. Gods, that was disjointed. I can't even begin to describe what a chore it was to get through that crap. The constant cutting back-and-forth between the stories massively undercuts the coherence of the story, not to mention the listener's patience.
    Gorefiend likes this.
  5. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    In regards to the "SWISHING TRANSITION," I have no problem with that and I have a transition "Sa-WHOOSH!" sound that I happen to like. In audio, transitions can be rather difficult to do, so a swoosh usually works as a quick and easy transition. And for listeners who are newer to audio, it's an obvious enough sound that clues them in to a scene change. However, they should be used sparingly, or at the very least, make sure the scenes are long enough that the transition doesn't drive the audience nuts.
  6. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    I mean, it sounds kinda cheesy, but my biggest beef with it is how often it gets used. And sometimes they just throw in the scene breaks randomly. It's a structural problem as much as it is a sound problem.
  7. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    Then the problem lays in the adaptation from comic to audio, as the author could have taken a few liberties and moved some scenes around. Rather than cut to another scene in the middle of the current scene, and then cut back, join two related scenes. If it does not hurt the flow of the story in any way, shape or form, the author should feel free to take some liberties with the adaptation, rather than have a transition ever minute or two. Even better if characters in one scene know about characters in another scene; you could have a character say "I wonder how So-and-so is doing..." which would cut to So-and-so lamenting sarcastically during a sticky situation on how "Such-and-such would be jealous--we're having a blast!"
  8. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

    VIP
    Member Since:
    Nov 21, 2000
    star 4
    Swishing transition to...

    Chapter the Fifth: The Sith War!

    - The general complaint I've heard about this and TOTJ in general is that the Sith War doesn't have enough scope. But was it really meant as a huge conflict all across the galaxy? The Sith Wars, if you like? I think the text even hints at the fact that Kun and Qel-Droma are to be stopped before things turn too bad.

    - If there's one thing that this Sith combo is bad for, it's the Jedi. Some get converted, some get killed, Ossus gets destroyed.

    - ...by the way, Ossus being destroyed by some supernovae somewhere? Why did I miss this precedence for the nonsensical Abrams Trek supernova?

    - Yeah, the Jedi. While we really do not know how big the galaxy is at this point and how far such a war could spread, the real devastation by this war is the fact that almost everyone ends up dead. Does this make the story extra harsh? SW didn't use to end in this much carnage on the good side, it's only comparable to ROTS. Back then, nobody had to sacrifice themselves. Neither Ackbar, Wedge or Lando, and especially not Han, did have to die to round off the trilogy. So what's your reaction to the war the Sith War ends, with several masters, the B-cast of the young Jedi and especially Cay dead?

    - RC, did you do a little dance when Cay got his arm hacked off before getting killed (third time's the charm)? :p

    - In that regard, when did all of you read this comic book? Havac already said that these books too often get a pass because they are products of their times. I must say that the story really had some impact for me back then, and maybe because the end game really does its best to not be a happy ending. If you've just discovered this story later on, maybe because of the omnibus, and especially "just" as KOTOR backstory, is the epic drama even special for you? Or are we more used to epic change-the-board endings that leave you with mixed feelings and really change the landscape for potential sequels? Pirates of the Caribbean and Firefly come to mind, as do final episodes/final seasons of genre TV shows.

    - Kyp not going on trial for his crimes under Sith influence has been a contested point in KJA's work. Here, Ulic roughly gets the same treatment, although it's all off-screen and we do not know for sure (until it's confirmed in Redemption). Seeing how Ulic was invented as a mirror of Luke's Dark Empire journey (or Luke was possibly sent through Dark Empire because Veitch didn't get his Ulic story greenlighted at first), did KJA change that and make Ulic into another Kyp figure? Exar Kun does get a few Jedi under control here (through an exploding holocron, brilliant), so there's a parallel; even if Ulic wasn't under his control, he still gets the "dark side made me do it" card; and both Kyp and Ulic kill their brothers. Veitch wanted to have Ulic end up as some unredeemed dark side warlord, didn't he?

    - And finally, to get the discussion going: Mandalorians. Go.
    Last edited by Grey1, Jan 28, 2013
  9. TrakNar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 4, 2011
    star 5
    I think this is the point where my oft-mentioned "bone ships" really start to enter the story. Where the design aesthetics take a turn for hulls that are so lumpy, that they look like they were made from mud. I could be mistaken, though, it's been a long time since I've read the comics. But, if I recall, it was around this point where the ship designs started to get really bony.
  10. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    The shift from Gossett to Carrasco's more superhero-style aesthetic didn't help the series.

    Despite that there's some good moves made:
    • The duel between Ulic and Mandalore
    • The confrontation between Odan-Urr and Kun
    • The sense that the galaxy is spiralling into chaos
    • Ulic's attack on Coruscant and capture by the Jedi
    • Kun's double-bladed saber duel with Vodo following his gatecrashing of Ulic's trial
    • The destruction of the Cron Drift nebula and Ossus
    The debate around the quality of KJA's writing is never going to end, but in terms of comics-book EU collaboration, this is done quite well, what happens to Kun? We know what happens to Kun, he takes on Skywalker's first class of students, wins a couple of battles but has his arse utterly kicked in the war's finale.

    Things are resolved a bit too quickly, Ulic snapping out of the dark side after he's killed Cay, Nomi then severing him from the Force and his betrayal, cue a Jedi holocaust being unleashed on Yavin IV is all a bit too neat. It's why I quite like KOTOR's expansion of it into a much more major conflict.

    The theme that the dark side doesn't really trust free will continues here, with Sith possession featuring, this time from unleashed holocron spirits.

    Ultimately the book is very much of its time, in the mid-90s who knew if the EU was going to last? Yet, at the same time, doing 6-issue mini series was also very ambitious! Most superhero stories, while ongoing, were told in monthly stories, there was little of the writing for the trade accusation, not least due to there being few trades! Now, if this were to be done, it'd probably be a more in-depth and expansive 30-issue epic! Back then? 12 issues and that was it for what was initially proposed as Dark Lords of the Sith.
  11. Zorrixor Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Sep 8, 2004
    star 6
    When did I read Sith War? Hmm... I'd put it at around 2000, but it may have been nearer to AOTC than I'm giving my memory credit. I'm fairly sure I went on a buying spree not long after TPM though.

    But I do distinctly remember buying the Freedon Nadd Uprising on Amazon. Did Amazon exist back then? (Although I also know it took years for Amazon to source my copy, so maybe I got the others a lot earlier from some other source.)

    Anyway, history lessons aside, I suppose TOTJ and DE were basically the first comics I ever read, so that could well have been why I was so receptive to them. Before that, the only comic I'd followed had been the UK Sonic the Hedgehog comic back when I was really young, so it's not like I'd really developed much of an artistic standard when it came to graphic storytelling.

    Having said that, to this day I still enjoy the principle behind having a condensed narrative. Don't get me wrong, I love KOTOR and Legacy, but I sometimes wish we would still get stories like DE and TOTJ that felt more like "films" which, like the OT, just provided a " snapshot" into an era that could later be expanded upon further. We don't get stories like those anymore. Everything is always trying to be totally comprehensive from the get go, but I'm not always in the mood for that. It's one of the things I actually dislike about DOTJ, as I was expecting a story more akin to TOTJ and am actually not that interested in all the background fluff currently -- I often prefer my main story first, and my expansion later when something gets revisited, rather than setting everything in stone up front.

    That's what I enjoyed about the OT: Lucas wasn't Tolkien and didn't bog audiences down right away, but left things up to people's imaginations, rather than spelling it all out up front.

    Which is not to say I want pointless one shot tales like Blood Times or the Maul Brother comics, but simply that I feel the 90s approach seen in tales like TOTJ and DE that were understandably compressed back in an age when nobody knew how big the EU would get are nevertheless still examples of a kind of narrative I'd happily see utilised more often.

    And back then it used to be, too, with novel adaptations like the Thrawn Trilogy comics. But the very Idea of a story in comic form that told the tale of the whole of LOTF? These days it's ruled out because people think it'd need 50 issues, whereas back in those days they'd have just done an abridged adaptation, not unlike the radio dramas, but in this case in comic book format. In recent years, the only thing close I can think of is the TFU comics.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 28, 2013
  12. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    I think if I weren't going for the wacky undertone, I should have called the arcs Episodes instead of chapters. Because that's what they are, and it's at the same time pretty ambitious as well as pretty economical telling a story this big in this format. Oh boy was it funny to read Legacy and here every odd issue that "the series up to here was the ANH episode", with "here" being updated quite generously everytime someone realized that little of importance had happened in the basic character arcs.

    With TOTJ, we somehow have too much and too little happening at the same time. Biggest mistake, in my opinion: having all of this go down in a very short timeframe. It's the same thing that went wrong with the Caedus story. You build up a mega-Sith but have the Jedi come to their senses before that Sith takes over.
  13. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    KJA WORKED AT NASA. And he still had an instant supernova. It travels what's got to be at least four or five light-years, minimum, in about fifteen minutes.

    As for when I read it, I'd been familiar with the story since I started reading Star Wars with the Essential Guide to Characters, which covered TOTJ pretty extensively. I think I read a little here and there, but I didn't bother to read through the whole series until the Omnibuses came out. Boy, what a letdown. The concepts of the story, just related as they were, were solid enough to be intriguing even if you could tell there were some sillier bits, but the execution just does not hold up to the summary version.
  14. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    When you put it the other way round, that's exactly how it worked when you read it back when the EU was still some kind of wilderness: The execution doesn't look like much, but you realize that there's some intriguing concepts in the whole package. Memory decay may help in subsequents decades.
    Zorrixor likes this.
  15. JediAlly Force Ghost

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    I forgot to add last time that the scenery of Korriban definitely made an impact. You could understand how one wandering through the valleys on the planet would get the feeling that the place wasn't as abandoned as they might think.

    I admit that at first, the Sith War seemed to have been limited in scope, even though it involved the Republic. You'd think that the scope of this conflict would be akin to the conflict the New Republic had against the Yevethans. It's only later sources that helped expand the scope and made the conflict more wide-spread.

    Aside from the death of the Chancellor, the conflict didn't seem to have that much of an impact on the Republic. The Jedi, however, were a different story. Many Jedi, including several prominent ones, were killed. Ossus was devastated by the supernova. The losses had repercussions that lasted for decades or even centuries. I have to admit that of the Jedi who were lost in this conflict, I think the one I missed the most was Shoaneb Culu. I think she was the one who had the same potential as Nomi Sunrider for additional stories. I see Shoaneb Culu in the same light as Tionne.

    I remember reading these comics back in the 90's, long before the PT and the NJO came around.

    I think I'll wait until we get to the final arc before I discuss Ulic.

    I think this was the first official debut of the Mandalorians, and I have to admit that they definitely made an impression. You have to admire their senses of loyalty and honor, though it's a shame as to whom they gave those qualities to.
  16. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    Agreed. I suppose TOTJ is very similar to SOTME in that respect, as it's the sort of story that works better without spoilers and its best attributes are based on what the reader doesn't know or expect in advance.

    Take something as simple as Exar Kun's double bladed lightsaber. Back when I read TOTJ, that blew my mind. A lightsaber... with two blades!? OMG. But obviously, like Palpatine shooting lightning in ROTJ, if you watch things out of their original sequence they'll lose their intended impact. (Would the Emperor have anywhere near the same presence when he "first" appears if someone had seen ROTS first?)

    I think sometimes TOTJ is unfairly picked on in this respect, though, as most EU stories lose some of the appeal they originally have after they're mined for ideas and replicated everywhere else. Look at Legacy. When it came out, we all loved it, but will it be seen the same way to fans now coming to it after reading FOTJ or playing TOR? Or will they sigh and think: "I've seen this before"?

    Which is why I don't really find the way TOTJ has "aged" as anything unique, really. On the contrary, I've always felt the fact it's had its ideas used everywhere else is a sign of just how successful it was, as the EU could very easily have gone "This comic is lame" and never mentioned it again.
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 30, 2013
  17. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Err... ;) The way I see it, a lot of people forced themselves through Legacy until it became some kind of cult around the time it ended. This whole "I'll sell my collection because Dark Horse dared cancel my precious Legacy" really glossed over all those feelings of "Oh great, another arc in which Cade shows resistance to character growth". When War came out, nobody questioned the grandeur of Ostrander's and Duurseema's genius, and this carried over to DOTJ, making it an instant classic just because of that creative team that does a lot of world building and, in my opinion, overrated stories and characters. So from my point of view, Legacy is exactly like TOTJ. But I don't want to start a war over that, so I'll keep quiet now. ;)

    Yeah, it's a strange kind of success, as I said in the opening post. We have our double bladed lightsabers, we have our KOTOR games - taking their titles directly from that one TOTJ subtitle - and the online game on top of that. Plus Korriban and all kinds of other stuff. Even Onderon on the TV show.

    Seeing how the war was retconned into something way more expansive and thus way more dramatic - do we feel like we needed that retcon? If this had been a harsh, but ultimately small fight for dominance in the esoteric majesty over the galaxy, would it be less interesting than the KOTOR backstory of a huge war that is still in people's minds? Because, thinking about it, the most important element is funnily enough the fact that the Jedi suffered so much during the Sith War that the council is wary of proactive, Ulic-like behaviour. Which makes sense because the Jedi suffered heavily under Kun's short reign. Other than that, the huge devastation during the KOTOR era comes from Revan's high times; and TOR is mostly about fallout from the TOR-exclusive backstory. The KOTOR comic also puts the Jedi angst front and center. So, did we need a huge military conflict between Jedi and Republic on one and Sith, Tetans, Massassi Mutants and Mandalorians on the other side?

    Do you think that the comics were a different experience back then, JediAlly? Not only because you might have changed, but mostly because SW and entertainment in general have changed a bit?
    Last edited by Grey1, Jan 30, 2013
  18. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    I've actually found it quite popular among casual fans. In my TOR guild, for instance, there's tons of people who despise the EU and are largely in the "EU isn't canon" crowd, but who all ate up Legacy because of all the lightsabers and other cliches.

    Equally, they all love Karen Traviss's work for Star Wars and elsewhere, and are annoyed she isn't writing Star Wars anymore, so there's very different demographics out there who aren't anything like most of us in Lit. :p

    Bringing that back to TOTJ, it actually touches on what I think TOTJ's success was: the very fact it was so corny. In its day, I suppose it was very similar to TCW, being that kind of campy action adventure that didn't require readers to think much (and as this thread's observations show, it's better if you don't think too hard about it :p) but which the masses will happily consume.

    "Naga Sadow wields a Power Sword like He-Man?! AWESOME!"
    Last edited by Zorrixor, Jan 30, 2013
  19. Lugija Force Ghost

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    And it had running gags!

    "ULLIIIIICCC! They cut off my ARRRMM!"*
    "Unnh! MY ARM!"
    "MY ARM!"

    *I checked the spelling
    Last edited by Lugija, Jan 30, 2013
  20. JediAlly Force Ghost

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    I agree that the comics, and novels for that matter, today have changed from back in the 90's. Part of the change is due to how certain issues that were kept behind closed doors back in the 90's are more apparent today. Furthermore, some of the stories deal with issues that aren't clearly black-and-white, but rather involving shades of gray. ROTS is a perfect example. We see the entire issue of people losing confidence in democracy and actually embracing the totalitarian regime of the Emperor. We also see why Anakin turned to the dark side. He was scared of losing Padmé. That in and of itself wasn't a bad or evil thing. It's how he reacted and what he did that contributed to his turn to the dark side. Yet at the same time, we cannot help but feel somewhat sympathetic and understanding towards him.
  21. Havac Some Guy Who Moderates Lit

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    I wouldn't say it's an aging issue. The story was bad when it was made and it's bad now. The thing is that it only had novelty going for it, and without novelty it's easier to pick up on how bad it is. That's different from something good having its ideas used elsewhere and appearing less distinctive in retrospect. I wouldn't mix up the cases of good things not seeming as good because they've had imitators (but still holding up as good under scrutiny) and bad things being mistaken for good because they're fresh and then being shown to be bad under scrutiny.
  22. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    Just one thing I'd like to clarify for myself - has there really ever been any large lobby for TOTJ? All I can remember is that people were talking about its bad aspects.

    Back then, with the few people I talked to before the internet, it was very unpopular because it changed the setting/era (one of my brothers even disliked the idea of prequel movies being made until he found out while watching the first trailer that they would feature the same characters, and not go back millennia). It was also unpopular because of the art; while Dark Empire is also a love-it-or-hate-it thing, it's at least coming from an artistic angle. Speaking for myself, the first three arcs were just there; the Anderson arcs were more interesting because they tied into the novels and actually seemed to have more story. At least they moved around the galaxy more. And they told a kind of epic story, other than, say, the Boba Fett one-shots, Droids adventures, or endless novel adaptations that came out back then, so that's the main reason why they stayed at the back of the mind.

    Afterwards, I feel like KOTOR effectively glossed over the era by making universally praised games that looked nothing like the comic books. And all I hear these days is how fantastic that one KOTOR issue set during the Sith War was compared to the actual Sith War series, and how a Sunrider novel would be a great idea to finally flesh out the era. I guess most interest today comes from people who finally got the omnibus to find out where KOTOR et al originated.

    So let me get this straight - there's a few things that are entertaining about these comics, but they were never seen as great. Nevertheless, it's fascinating how much impact these no-one-read-them comic books have, starting with the very idea of having different eras in the EU. Beyond that, have you ever seen a TOTJ fan club?
  23. Zorrixor Chosen One

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    In the XvT and XWA gaming club I was in, the player teams were named after TOTJ characters, does that count? :p

    I'm unsure how much I agree with @Havac though about TOTJ having just been privileged to have had imitators, as I still feel the fact it has had imitators is a sign that it was clearly considered more successful than, say, this random dude once mentioned in an old Marvel comic and never seen again, or this guy from a WEG sourcebook who sounded all cool but whose story was never developed.

    Take, for instance, Darth Ruin. I love the guy, and am desperate to see someone, anyone, actually do something with his story... but it's just never been picked up. But the events if TOTJ? They keep getting revisited, even years after their significance has been diluted by establishing them as not as important as they were first made out to be. So why do things like the Lost Tribe still get written into Naga Sadow and the Great Hyperspace War? Why not somewhere else? Or something totally new?

    TOTJ came "first" and could be said to have just earned its legacy by default, but it could just as easily have just been forgotten and retconned into complete insignificance -- but it hasn't been, and the EU keeps developing it further, in a way Dark Empire hasn't been, despite the appearance that Dark Empire remains more popular than TOTJ.
  24. RC-1991 Force Ghost

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    Well, you know what they say- if at first you don't succeed at killing off a terrible, one-note character, try, try again :p

    The scale of the "Great" Sith War definitely feels too small and too fast-paced- and of course, the Essential Atlas retconned in a much larger war than what we see onscreen. Despite the lack of scale, it's easy to see how devastating this war was for the Jedi. Numerous Jedi fall on Coruscant, while numerous masters ( @Trip once proposed that the masters were members of the informal council that existed prior to the KotOR era, which would make that scene even more devastating for the Jedi) are assassinated by their students. Ossus itself is devastated- and all of this is at the hands of some wayward Jedi apprentices who were able to enlist the help of Sith cultists and Mandalorian raiders. I don't particularly mind the extended scope of the war outside of the comics- I kind of like it, actually. And the later canon has, to some extent, seized upon the events of The Sith War as the impetus for Jedi centralization. Within 10 years we see Nomi Sunrider calling a convocation at Exis Station to discuss reform within the Order, and within 40 years we see a highly formalized Jedi Order with a council, a centralized headquarters on Coruscant (though satellite academies haven't been phased out yet), much greater restrictions on attachment, etc. Clearly they saw this arc as a failure of the old methods of Jedi-ing.

    MANDALORIANS. First of all, the visuals associated with the Mandalorians. What's interesting is how KJA provides a clear visual link to Boba Fett's Mandalorian armor, in the form of Mandalore the Indomitable's mask. It's one of the few parts of the comic where the artists provide a clear visual link with the movie era. Mandalorian culture in this phase is nothing special- KotOR and History of the Mandalorians are the sources that truly flesh out the ancient Mandalorian culture into something that literally worshiped war. I'd also like to note that I see no particular conflict between the portrayal of the Mandalorians in the Old Sith Wars era and Traviss's take on them- while certainly divergent, it's not like this culture would remain totally static over the course of 4000 years.

    I'll try to post more thoughts tomorrow.
  25. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    I hope we can keep chatting in here for a bit even though the new month has started. Especially since we still have...

    Epilogue: Redemption! Also known as The Redemption Of Ulic Qel-Droma! But it's not just about Ulic, is it?

    - This is often cited as the best arc, at least in the discussions I've seen. Do you agree, and why or why not?

    - Maybe it's because after a lot of stories that were so epic in scope, we get a character-based story again? I guess this is closest to Nomi's three issue arc.

    - What do you think about Ulic's redemption? Does he have to make up for all the bad stuff he did, and training Vima and "healing" Sylvar is a way to make amends towards the Jedi and the galaxy? Or is it more about him and everybody else realizing that he's a good person that was basically brainwashed into being a Sith Lord? Are both cases presented with a good "moral to the story"?

    - Ulic?

    - Nomi?

    - Tott Doneeta (full name)? Does he have any characterization mileage left in him, or is he still the same quiet anchor that he was on the frist page we met him?

    - Sylvar... is she the final remainder, the essence of what was wrong with the pre-Sith War Jedi? A Jedi unable to take in moderation from the outside? Who is so entangled in her construct of personal history, cultural and racial identity, and egocentrism that she's barely functional as a Jedi? She almost seems to be more violent than Sith Lord Ulic ever was. Her strategy of "killing stuff until I feel better" is funny foreshadowing of TOR's slaughter quests, but why does she do it in the first place? Is she just so messed up from The Sith War that we better skip to the next generation of Jedi and try to phase out the scarred veterans? Or is there lots of stuff in her that's always been "inappropriate"?

    - And what about Vima? Do you think she could and should have been a bridge into a new era if there hadn't been the Sunrider controversy, and if KOTOR didn't have to build the era from scratch? Factoring in how a novel about her was already cancelled - might it be too late to really give her a good position in the history between the comics and the games? And I don't just mean some background story article stuff, I mean building her up as a really strong protagonist that people refer to when thinking of the era. Between Ulic, Nomi and Kun on the one side, Revan, Bastila (arguably Vima 2.0 and therefore Nomi 3.0), and the arguably toned-down Exile (now that she has a canon name and a canon fate) on the other, and all the personal heroes of TOR led by Satele Shan (arguably Nomi 4.0) on the far side - what does Vima Sunrider have to offer beyond the fact that she exists?