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

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

  1. JediAlly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 4
    This issue was definitely the best in terms of artwork. Guess this is because the quality of the artwork had improved in the years that passed between TSW and this arc.

    Granted, after the two epic-scale arcs, the idea of a character-based arc seems like a let down. Then again, I liked Nomi's arc better than the Beast Wars of Onderon arc. And I liked this arc as well. I'll get to that in a little bit.

    Now, onto Ulic. In your previous post, you raised an issue of how those who fell to the dark side don't seem to go through a trial and so forth, first off I don't know what Veitch was thinking. As for your issue, on one level I agree with you. In the case of Oss Wilum and most of the other Jedi who joined Exar Kun, they were possessed by the Sith spirits that were released from the Holocron. One could argue a case of "not of sound mind" for Oss Wilum. The galaxy and the Order might be able to forgive him, but he needed to seek self-forgiveness. As for Kyp and Ulic, things aren't as lenient. In Kyp's case, yes Exar Kun tempted him with power, but Kyp could have chosen not to accept. But he did accept. He knew what he wanted, and he knew what he was doing. In Ulic's case, he knew that he was taking a dangerous path. Doesn't matter if he was filled with grief, rage, or desire for revenge because of Arca's death. I don't recall who said it in the real world or the literary world, but this line held true for Ulic: "When you think like the enemy, you become the enemy." Of the two, we see a clearer sense of punishment administered upon Ulic than upon Kyp. Stripped of the Force vs. a life sentence of community service, so as to speak.

    Brainwashed into being a Sith lord? While there were external influences, consider the path he took to get into Aleema's good graces.

    As for his redemption. I don't see it as a case of making it up to the galaxy. At first, he was intent on spending the rest of his life in exile. It's only because of Arca and Vima that he saught the path of seeking self-forgiveness and earning redemption from a few individuals. Particularly those who had been greatly affected by the war - Nomi and Sylvar in this case. I can see a parallel his redemption and death and Dinobot's from Beast Wars. Both wanted redemption from those who were important to them. As for the rest of the galaxy, as Dinobot said, let them hear their stories - good and bad. Then let them judge each of them accordingly.

    This arc also served as a way for the readers to see how some of the main characters from the story have fared since the war. We have Ulic, Nomi, Sylvar, Thon, and Tott Doneeta. Thon and Tott Doneeta are the only ones who seemed to have changed the least.

    Nomi's situation, in terms of her being a parent, seemed to paralells Leia. Both had so many obligations that they had very little time to spend with their children. And in both cases, their absences seemed to have affected the girls more than the boys. I know that Nomi had no son, but I'm disregarding that for the moment. I don't want to come of as being against women in the workplace, and I'm not a parent, but I think both Nomi and Leia made serious mistakes in being in the roles they did. Personally, the moment someone becomes a parent, taking care of the child should become that individual's first priority. Everything else, including work life, comes second. I never had a problem with Leia being Minister or Chief of State, but as we've seen she wasn't able to find the balance between her obligations at work and her parental obligations. She spent more time at the former than the latter. She could have served one term as Chief of State, then step down. She could still have had a job working for the NR government, but it would have been a job that would have allowed her to be a part of her children's lives. Once the children reach adulthood and go away to college, so as to speak, she could have become Minister of State or Chief ot State once again. It's akin to someone in the medical profession having a child and decide to shift from being on call at a general hospital, with it's irregular and long hours, to taking up a private practice and have a regular 9 to 5 workday, five days a week. Once the child is 18, the parent could choose to return to the hospital. I doubt that what I'm suggesting seems either unreasonable or unfair. But those are my opinions.

    Sylvar's a complex individual. I think she became "unbalanced" over the course of the war. When I speak of balance, I'm not speaking of mental health or light vs. dark. The balance in this case is the ability for one to be both a Jedi and an individual. This is tied in with a Jedi's allowance to love and have a family. I feel that the Jedi in this time period had a balance within them that allowed them to be Jedi while having families. The PT Jedi didn't have that, and I think that played a key role in their downfall. It definitely had a key role in Anakin's fall. Luke's order is trying to find that balance, and for the most part, I think they have. As for the Legacy Jedi, I hold the PT survivors responsible for the return of the "old ways" so as to speak. I think Sylvar was like Anakin in that neither had been able to make peace with themselves over their personal losses. Ulic managed to help Sylvar find peace with herself and regain her balance. That only happened to Anakin at the very end.

    As for Vima, she definitely represented the future of the Jedi order at the time. As for what else she had to offer, she played a key role in Ulic's redemption. She knew his story, but she believed there was more to him than what her mother and others had told her. She believed in him more than anyone else at the time, including Ulic. She believed that there was still good in him, just as Padmé and Qui-Gon believed that there was still good in Anakin after he had fallen to the dark side. Just as Luke believed in his father. Ulic wanted to redeem himself, but he didn't know how. Vima showed him the way and proved that despite everthing he did, everything he had done, he had the heart of a Jedi.
  2. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    But do the Jedi of this timeframe really have this balance? Sylvar goes mental because she's never going to have a family, she's forbidden to start over now that her partner is dead. Ulic goes rogue over his surrogate father Arca's death, feeding something that clearly becomes revenge later on. Nomi is pretty complicated, because her husband's death nearly drives her dark and makes her very unsure of herself; later on, her relationship to Ulic makes everything complicated. Her friendship to Cay and Ulic results in her losing her temper and seperating Ulic from the Force. Then she can't find the Jedi leader/parent balance. Cay is on the edge when it comes to his brother - he's still good at heart, but he can hardly put Jedi needs over his family feelings. Instead of helping at Ossus, he gets himself caught in a game of tag with Ulic that ends in him getting shot down.

    And on the other side, you have Exar who arguably doesn't care much about other people. Even though there's glints of him liking Crado or Ulic as buddies, even if those are shaded by his Sith Lord persona - remember, who do not really know how "evil" Exar was before Nadd's spirit screwed him over.
  3. Jedi Ben Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jul 19, 1999
    star 6
    Probably more accurate to say Kyp thought he knew what he was doing but how many 16-year-olds really know that? Lots of teenagers think they know exactly what they're doing but ask them in 10 years about what they did, you'll get the answer that it was a load of screwed up stuff, that they were a teenager.

    Second, it is the nature of the dark side to ensure those who come near to it never know the true nature of the deal!

    Third, there is a possession element to Kyp too! He was possessed by Kun. So if the possessed Jedi, who also willingly went with Kun are eligibly for possession as a mitigating factor, then it applies to Kyp too.
    Last edited by Jedi Ben, Feb 3, 2013
  4. JediAlly Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 31, 2000
    star 4

    In regards to the third point, I find myself more in line with Corran's views and explanations from I, Jedi as to whether or not Kyp was possessed. Exar Kun having an influence over him - yes. Controlling him like a puppet - no. And Corran's best evidence for that was that if Exar Kun had control over Kyp, he would have had Kyp kill Luke afte Luke was defeated and left comatose. But that didn't happen because Kyp didn't want to kill Luke. Out of the way, but not dead. We can debate about this, but I don't think this is the thread for that. What I want to know is that now it's February, what's next for the discussion threads?
  5. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    I was just about to answer that! I didn't put that up yet since we were still busy in here, but maybe we can keep both going for some time?

    But regarding Kyp and Ulic, whether Corran's/Stackpole's opinion is correct or not, would all of you agree that both of them mirror each other? I'm intrigued by the idea that Ulic was meant as a Dark Empire Luke variant, and then KJA took over and made made him into a variant of the other young Jedi that was to be seen in his material connected to the TOTJ era.

    In that regard - would Redemption do for the character of Ulic what that one short story did for Kyp? The short story KJA didn't write?
    Last edited by Grey1, Feb 3, 2013
  6. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    I don't want to sound like a broken record, but Redemption . . . is overrated. It's still the best thing KJA's ever done, but it's just not that good. KJA takes a very basic, elemental plot that hundreds of people have done -- regret-laden hero finds redemption by training a bright young pupil -- executes that part with minimal competence, and then adds on a bunch of crappy elements. The parts of it that aren't Cliche 101 are kind of awful. Nomi comes off pretty much as awful as ever, Sylvar is even dumber, and Hoggon is obnoxious. I like Vima, but really, that whole plotline doesn't exactly have a ton of depth or resonance; it's just a good, solid cliche we're all familiar with, onto which we can project a lot of emotion because we know Ulic's story, executed by the numbers but never really stepping up to surpass the cliche. It's simply not the transcendent work it's credited as.
  7. _Catherine_ Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    Stop being dead inside.
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  8. Havac Former Moderator

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 7
    Search your feelings. You know it to be true.
  9. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    You are a horrible person.

    And we weren't even testing for that.
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  10. _Catherine_ Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    Would anyone even like Redemption that much if it had the same crummy art as the rest of the series? It's the art that elevates KJA's script into something special, fact.
  11. RC-1991 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 2, 2009
    star 4
    The art is definitely a critical factor.
  12. _Catherine_ Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Jun 16, 2007
    star 4
    I kinda feel like Redemption works better without all the prior TOTJ arcs weighing it down. I remember flipping through the TPB at Media Play when I was really young and picking up on a bunch of story threads that I assumed came from those other books, then reading the whole series years later and realizing that they really didn't. Like Redemption was written the same way it feels like KOTOR and Lost Tribe were: someone wrote a Great Sith War-era story using an outline or summary of the war and characters, not the reality of them as shown in the comics. Ulic has visions of his brother and other soldiers fighting on Yavin 4, despite that never happening. His relationship with Nomi is portrayed as this kind of epic tragic romance, despite it being kind of a non-starter in the other comics. Ulic himself is this immensely tragic figure consumed with remorse for his sins, even though he was basically brainwashed into being evil and abandoned by his friends. Then there's the motif of Ulic's ring/pendant, the significance of which is never stated but is made clear by how important it is to Ulic... even though I'm fairly certain it was never shown or mentioned prior to Redemption. Basically Redemption reads like the conclusion to a much better series than the one that actually exists.
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  13. Grey1 Host: 181st Imperial Discussion Group

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    I have to agree with Havac that Redemption is overrated. It's just so good because it finally gives 400% more depth to everything, even if that's still not much.

    Sylvar going on two killing sprees after messing up with the miners is really bad. It might even have been enough to just show her approach Ulic as a ghost of vengeance or something like that, but I can see where the idea basically came from. It's Sylvar's redemption as much as Ulic's, and as I suggested above, I'm pretty sure Ulic's simply proving that he's the most decent guy under his former aggressively proactive personality, and that he only ended up as the second worst person in the universe because of that poison. Stripped of the belief that he's a powerful hero-type guy, and that having power is good, he turns into a saint (and eventually vanishes into the Force). Sylvar, on the other hand, shows us all that's wrong with the Jedi and gets set on the right path. But couldn't it have been done more believably? No, it's still "I can't condone your actions but whatever, you're an adult, and as a Jedi I'm not obliged to prevent or stop harm to living things."

    My favourite bit that gets sugar-coated by sweet emotions, though, is the ice sculpture thing. "I'm like a painter who can't see the colors anymore", says Ulic. "Then make a sculpture instead of painting", says Vima. Apparently not understanding the way metaphors work, Ulic, Vima, and Kevin proceed to make actual sculptures. Which only makes me want to see those paintings Ulic apparently did back when he could still feel the Force (Thrawn probably has them).

    And I agree, Catherine, it seems like an epilogue to a better series. Ulic and Nomi? Han and Leia have about three crucial moments that tell you that those two should be together forever. Anakin and Padmé, as much as everyone is critizising it because it's not a realistic romance movie but a romance subplot in a popcorn action movie, was also done well - you get the idea of who's showing what kind of interest in which situation. With Ulic and Nomi, it's just there because that's the way these things are in such stories. It's almost as if KJA came in and thought Veitch had done the setup for the romance subplot so he could just go ahead with the after-the-affair scenes we find from the middle of DLOTS onwards.

    Funny bit: Ulic returning to Yavin in the beginning is probably a mix up. Since he'd already been to Yavin in the epilogue of TSW, it makes little sense for him to go there again and not reflect on that. It's obvious that this should have been devastated Ossus - Cay's spectre would have made sense then. Also, the Jedi's battle over Yavin never was a battle. It's almost as if someone who barely knew TOTJ was trying to give exposition for those who'd never read it at all.

    In that regard, it was interesting that in Germany, the publisher who published DLOTS, TSW and the Golden Age stuff (after taking the story over form the other publisher active in the field of SW comic books back then) abandoned the license before they reached Redemption. The next publisher to take on Star Wars (starting in early 1999) finally put out Redemption at a time when you couldn't get the other arcs in stores anymore and probably already had that nostalgia thing going on. So I guess a lot of Episode 1-based fans got their first (and maybe even last) glimpse of Ulic through Redemption.
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