Wednesday, December 30, 2009

3963 BBY: Vector Volume 1

KOTOR volume five (which is also Vectors volume one) was much more entertaining than KOTOR volume four. The story was action driven and moved at a good pace. Also, Marn Heiroglyph was more of a presence in this volume, and his comic relief, and comedic interaction with Zayne, is always welcomed.

KOTOR volume 5 featured many points of conversation, and some ‘firsts’ with regards to Star Wars chronology. My points of discussion for today’s post will centre upon the lineage of Zayne Carrick, the introduction of Jedi shadows, the character of Celeste Morne, the ancient Sith Lord Karness Murr, Neo-Crusader armor, the naivety of Zayne Carrick, and Darktimes volume three.

With regards to my first point, the cover of Vectors volume one features Darth Vader (Anakin Skywalker), Luke Skywalker, what appears to be Cade Skywalker, and Zayne Carrick (there is also a scene in the comic with the four of them appearing together in a vision held by Q’anilia, one of the Jedi consulars) Three of the four characters mentioned here are of the same bloodline, the one that is the obvious question mark is Zayne Carrick. Now, if it was mentioned somewhere in all the sources I’ve read thus far for the SWCP that Zayne is somehow a progenitor of the Skywalker family tree, then that point of vital importance managed to slip by me. I’m not sure that he is. If Zayne is in any way linked to the Skywalkers as a great-grandfather, then he would have to be the great-grandfather (to the power of who knows) of Shmi Skywalker, Anakin’s mother, for reasons obvious to any fan of the movies. Shmi’s lineage, (as far as I know, yet I haven’t looked at Wookieepedia) is not elucidated, so the chance of Zayne being her ancestor is a possibility. If this is the case, I find that very interesting. I think Zayne being a predecessor of Luke is pretty cool.

Secondly, this is the first time in Star Wars chronology the idea of Jedi shadows is given a spotlight. Jedi shadows were mentioned in some of the earlier sources, in and around 5000 BBY, before the breakout of the Sith war, but there was never really any ink spilled about them. They were mentioned with regards to the Star Wars RPG. Jedi shadow was a playable class for a campaign set in 5000 BBY, and any back story about Jedi shadows were contained in the character write-up. Anyway, I always wanted to play a Jedi shadow if I were to even participate in a campaign set in that era. The idea of the lone soldier of light, seeking out and destroying the dark always appealed to me. Oddly enough, it was this kind of idea that attracted me to the notion of becoming a priest when I was in high school. The movie The Exorcist both frightened and spoke to me, because I liked the heroic depiction of the priest in that movie – the lone soldier of light facing off against the terrible forces of darkness. This, to me, was the Jedi shadow.
In KOTOR volume 5, Lucien Draay turns to his network of Jedi shadows to continue his hunt for Zayne Carrick. Shadows, he says, were once Jedi who have had their identities erased. They now work for the Covenant, seeking out and destroying any sign or memory of the Sith. As Lucien is deciding which shadow he needs to call upon he pulls up a screen of the possible shadow candidates at his disposal. What struck me in this particular scene was the plethora of shadows he had to choose from. There were no less than 30 possible operatives he could call. One of them was even of the Kamino species, which struck me as slightly anti-canonical (however, I’m sure there is a reason why such a possibility is not anti-canonical). He eventually settles upon shadow by the name of Celeste Morne, due to her proximity to Zayne.

When speaking of Celeste, Feln, the Feeorin Sage Master and one of the five Masters responsible for assassinating the padawans, says of the shadow that she: “Destroyed the last copy of the epistle of Marka Ragnos, retrieved Jori Daragon’s amulet and the eye of Horak-Mul”. When speaking of Celeste’s exploits Feln talks in awe of her accomplishments. This description of her endeavors only furthers the notion for me that Jedi Shadow are tremendously cool.

Even though Celeste is responsible for destroying or making safe Sith artifacts, there are still many Sith trinkets in existence to disturb the balance of the Force. One such trinket is the Murr talisman, which belonged to Karness Murr, an ancient Sith Lord who enters Star Wars chronology for the first time. At this point in Star Wars chronology his origins are not made precisely clear. What I did find intriguing though, was at the beginning of the story; Karness Murr was seen standing in front of another Sith with a red lightsaber, implying the Rule of Two, one master and one apprentice.

As the story progresses, the Murr talisman releases the Rakghoul plague on the Mandalorian forces, transforming the Mandalorian warriors into rakghouls – spiked creatures with large teeth. Not only are these creatures powerful, but now that they have transformed the Mandalorian warriors, they are now more intelligent, and armored. As Celeste is attempting to dispatch these creatures, her saber bounces off the neo-crusader armor of the transformed Mandalorian warriors. I was impressed with the strength of this armor, as I was under the impression that a saber could cut through Mandalorian armor as other armors. But I remember reading somewhere that Mandalorian armor contained a special metal in it that was impervious to lightsaber strikes, which explains why the Mandalorain forces could give the Jedi they encountered a run for their money in combat. A Jedi’s saber strikes would have to be well placed indeed to stop a fully trained and armored Mandalorian warrior.

As I’m reading the KOTOR series, I like more and more the character of Zayne Carrick. What I like about him the most is his consistent ethic of life, and his absolute trust in the Force. He was truly grieved when the Mandalorian forces nuked the planet of Serroco, nearly wiping out its indigenous inhabitants. He also attempted the warn Cassius Fett of the Rakghoul plague. When Fett questioned him on his motives, wondering why Zayne would attempt to help the Mandalorian forces, Zayne replied with: “You’re people”.

Celeste, under the orders of Lucien Draay, is commanded to kill Zayne at her first opportunity. As Zayne is kneeling over a transmissions device, attempting to contact Cassius Fett, Celeste is given her opportunity for assassination. With his back turned to her, completely pre-occupied with his task, Zayne fails to notice Celeste raise her saber, only to drop it again as her conscious gets the better of her. Zayne’s naivety in this circumstance saves him, as Celeste understands that naivety is a trait that is lost to one who has lost themselves to the darkside of the Force.

My final point of discussion and observation with KOTOR volume 5 is that it is actually a cross-over comic titled Darktimes volume three. The fate of Celeste Morn and the Murr talisman is continued four thousand years in the future, where she crosses paths with Darth Vader. I look forward to examining the continuation of this story, but as it is, I won’t be getting to that segment for quite some time.

For my next post I’ll be discussing KOTOR volume six. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

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