Wednesday, August 11, 2010

3653 BBY: The Threat of Peace

Galactic domination takes longer than one thinks. Even the Sith emperor, with his best laid plans, didn’t think taking control of the galaxy would take this long. Since the initial onslaught of the Sith Empire, 28 years have passed, essentially making the Great Galactic War a generational war. We’ve moved ahead 7 years in Star Wars history, since the destruction of the Mandalorian blockade. The opening lines of Threat of Peace testify to the stalling experienced by the Sith Empire: “The Sith have seized control of the outer rim but their efforts to penetrate the core worlds have been unsuccessful.” In order to consolidate their gains, the Sith empire has proposed a treaty with the Republic – but everyone, of course, is distrustful of the other.

Written by Rob Chestney and penciled by Alex Sanchez Threat of Peace is a slightly complicated story with many characters, plot lines, and nuanced details. I’m not sure this story’s telling was appropriate for the comic format, as I felt that there were many gaps in its telling. Even though the story jumped from scene to scene rather quickly, I managed to keep up with its events – but just barely. I think the real weakness of this story was its art and the way it was organized. After reading through Threat of Peace it seemed like it was written by a committee of writers, all wanting to make sure it revealed just enough about the game, but also trying to make sure some cohesive story was present. I don’t think the comic’s pages were enough to covey the size of the events. This tale was bigger than a comic, and was restricted by the genre it was presented in.

In my opinion Threat of Peace falls short. It was a good story with interesting characters that needed to be flushed out, perhaps in another medium.

But it wasn’t a poor piece of Star Wars history – not by a long shot. Threat of Peace contained some epic details around important events in Star Wars history; namely, the sacking of Coruscant.

I still can’t get past the boldness of the Sith Empire’s move. The manner in which they attacked Coruscant was ruthless, especially their invasion technique of the Jedi temple. While I watched Master Orgus battle Lord Angral outside the temple, a Sith transport crashed into the Jedi’s sanctuary, unleashing a buzzing furry of Sith acolytes, red sabers drawn. This dramatic moment in Star Wars history is dramatized so profoundly in the cinematic trailer Deceived. I think every Star Wars fan has watched this 4 minuet clip countless time. And still, each time I watch it I’m awed by it.

I even found this scene somewhat unsettling – it reminded me of the terrorist attacks in America on September 11th 2001. Not only was the episode of the Sith transport crashing into the temple disturbing, but the scene which bothered me the most was when Master Orgus was meditating beside the ruins of the Jedi temple, being told by Master Zym that the senate would not spend the money to rebuild the temple. Master Orgus then says to Zym “Perhaps that’s for the best. My padawan was in there.” That scene really saddened me, as it brought to mind bodies still buried in the rubble, and the thought of Master Orgus’ young apprentice’s body still buried by rock. It really did make me hate the Sith.

Distressing thoughts notwithstanding, I thought the character of Satele Shan highly enthralling. At the end of the story, Lord Baras says to Satele: “If Darth Revan’s blood flows through your veins you belong with us”. This line brings with it a litany of questions and speculation. Did Revan and Bastila parent a child? Disclaimers of the word “if” aside, it seems that from Lord Baras’ comments they did. If so, who was this child? What was the child’s name? Was this child a Jedi as well? There are so many intriguing questions here. Most likely these will be addressed in the MMO. But until then, they are fun to think about and speculate on.

What is more, Threat of Peace did offer some interesting plot twists: a bounty hunter working for the Republic named Braden, a Wookiee working for the Empire, and a Jedi Master bent on making war with the Sith at any cost. In a very fascinating plot twist, Master Dar’nala was the one who instigated the violence. This instigation made the words of Lord Baras ring with truth: “We knew you Jedi couldn’t really accept peace. We knew the treaty would reveal your hypocrisy…your hate”. At the conclusion of this story the Sith come off as actual protectors of the treaty, and in a weird reversal, as protectors of the peace.

At the end of the story Master Dar’nala was shown with one of her eyes as orange. I wonder if this was to indicate her falling to the darkside, or if it was simply injuries sustained while faking her death. I have a feeling it was the former.

Threat of Peace was an interesting story which further flushed out some of the important history of this era, but was not a comic I enjoyed. That being said though, I do look forward to coming across the characters from this bit of chronicle again.

For my next post I’ll be examining the first galactic timeline released by Bioware, The Treaty of Coruscant. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

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