Friday, December 18, 2009

3963 BBY: Knights of the Old Republic Volume 4: Daze of Hate, Knights of Suffering

With this being the last day of classes before Christmas, and things slowing down at school, I wanted to get a post in before the madness of the holiday season, and my two week “vacation” (where it seems I actually become even busier, and grow even more tired)

I wanted to make a post about Xim week, and the recent stories released on hyperspace which, by virtue of their in-universe dates, makes them the earliest pieces of Star Wars history, but I’m still struggling with how I’m going to fit them into this project. I commented to Plaristes that I would post a write-up about them in a comment field from one of my earliest posts, but I just might give them a post on their own – but I don’t know. I haven’t quite figured out why to do with them. So, until I do, I’m going to continue down the road of Star Wars chronology.

There are five areas I want to comment on with regards to KOTOR volume 4, the first being the change in artistic style.

Firstly, I enjoyed the earlier artwork of the KOTOR series, and I missed it in the first half of this trade paperback. I did not really enjoy the art of Bong Dazo in the first half of this book, but he did the pencils in the second half and the change in style was dramatic – which basically confused me. I’m not sure what was trying to be achieved here, but the “cartoony” artwork at the beginning took away from my enjoyment of the story. The art in the second-half of the book seemed more crisp, and by extension, so did the story. Crazy observation, I know. What I’m trying to say is this: I did not like the artwork at the beginning of this story, and I’m glad it stopped.

Secondly, Mandalore the Great seemed a little less like a warrior in this volume, and a little more like a conniving politician. I’m sure that this was Miller’s intent here, as he’s probably setting up Mandalore for a fall and an accusation from one of his underlings as “going soft”. His line on Politics being another form of warfare seemed very un-Mandalorian to me. Admiral Krath of the Republic calls him out on this, to which Mandalore replies: “Politics is simply the continuation of war by other means”. Very Machiavelli of him, I thought. I also think that Machiavelli, though the quintessential Renaissance man, was a bit of a wuss.

Lucien Draay continues to be a villain I miss when he is not in the story, and I always welcome his return. Through the events of the story, Lucien Draay finds himself tied, literally, to his former padawan Zayne Carrick. I enjoyed the dialogue between the two in this scene. What I most liked was Lucien’s ability to quickly spot the darkness in others, yet fails to see his own. As the two Jedi are tied together, Lucien says to Zayne: “Look at yourself, just now. Your fear led to anger. Anger to hate. You know what’s next”. Zayne replies with: “No thanks. You can keep the darkside yourself”. Lucien’s response is telling of his blindness: “Why would I be exposed to the darkside?...”. He does not even question his actions. What is more, later in the tale, as Zayne and Onasi realize they must save Jarael from Adsca, Lucien replies with: “Ah. We wouldn’t have to save her, then. We’ll just kill her.” This takes Zayne and Onasi aback. Jarael’s murder, for Lucien, would solve a lot of complications. He offers her death very matter-of-factly. Lucien continues to be such a compelling character because he does not realize the depth of his own darkness, and actually confuses it for light.

My one critique of this volume, and indeed with much of Star Wars dialogue, is the inclusion of modern colloquialisms. Camper, when speaking of Zayne, says to Jarael, “He’s good people”. This, or course, is what someone would say of a friend in modern day North America circa 2008. I’m waiting for some Star Wars writer to include in his or her dialogue ‘fo’ shizzle my nizzle’, or ‘that’s what she said!’. I truly hate it when a writer can’t place themselves outside of their own language context. It shows a lack of creativity, and a lack of nuanced understanding of the universe they are dealing with.

Lastly, I enjoyed the death of Jedi Master Ranna at the hands of Shel, and then subsequently, Marn. I always enjoy it when the villain gets his (or her) comeuppance.

For my next post I’ll most likely engage with the hyperspace exclusive Interference, or, I might circle back to a new, and earlier Star Wars source, and engage with the Despotica. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. If you didn't like Dazo's art, then just wait until you get to the KOTOR part of the Vector storyline. Hepburn's art makes Dazo's look great by comparison, which is unfortunate, since the story is really cool.

  2. Dazo's art was hit and miss. The first half had too many thick dark lines, but the second half (which was Dazo's work as well), was, in my opinion, much better.

    Funnily enough, I didn't mind Hepburn's art too much. I thought the representation of Celeste was A-symmetrical, (her jaw line was always a little off) I thought that this was on purpose, part of her physical characteristics, until I glanced at Darktimes Volume 3 (after KOTOR 5) and noticed that this weird jaw line was not a part of the character. In that respect, Hepburn could have been a little more careful.