Thursday, September 2, 2010

Circa 1500 BBY: Star Wars Visionaries: Prototypes

After much discussion with Plaristes, I almost skipped past this source in Star Wars history. Though not a terribly huge part, Prototypes, the story found within the pages of Star Wars Visionaries, is the origin story of the bounty hunter Durge – a character featured in the Clone Wars Cartoon Network animated series.

The story Prototypes does not itself directly indicate a date of 1500 BBY. It’s merely a speculative date, taking into account the mention in other source texts that Durge is over 2000 years old, and this being the story of how Durge attained his bounty hunting equipment. It’s generally accepted to focus upon this date because Durge’s page on Wookieepedia has an image of him from this comic, and it is labeled at 1500 BBY. That, and Joe Bongiorno’s timeline has this story listed at circa 1500, and Joe’s timeline is a fairly regarded chronological history by Star Wars fans.

Star Wars Visionaries is an interesting text, with a few very strange stories. One of the stories I’m looking forward to covering is a comic-short titled ‘Wat Tambor and the Quest for the Sacred Eye of the Albino Cyclopes’ How’s that for a header? However, today my focus is Prototypes.

The art in this particular piece is not the best I’ve ever come across, but it has about it a certain appeal. Drawn with thick black lines, shadow and darkness becomes one of the main characters in the story.

In the story, Durge, with his master Jaing, head to a scientist who will infuse into their bodies the latest in destructive weaponry. All we know of Jaing in this story is that he’s Durge’s master, and not much else is given. Wookieepedia flushes out more details on his backstory, stating he was a former Mandalorian who survived the Mandalorian Wars. The source of this information is found in Star Wars insider #80 – The History of the Mandalorians (which I think I own), The Complete Star Wars Encyclopedia, and The Star Wars Galaxies trading card game (something I’m completely unfamiliar with). Sources I look forward to coming across in the future.

One of the more interesting things which came of this transformation of Durge and Jiang, is the scientist’s comments to Durge regarding his healing capabilities: “Your unique physiology presented some challenges…it kept trying to heal over my work. It’s quite a gift you have.” Durge is a Gen’Dai – a nearly immortal species living up to 7000 years old. Apparently as a species there are rather peaceful – Durge being the exception to the rule. Though not immortal in the strictest sense, as Gen’Dai age, their minds weaken and become vulnerable to mental illnesses.

What also places this text at around 1500 BBY, was the mention at the end by the scientist of “The grand and long-overdue war between the Mandalorians and the Sith”. This era of history, when one begins to research it, is convoluted at best. I had originally thought that this era of Star Wars chronology was fairly empty, but I was sorely mistaken. From between 2000 BBY, and 1000 BBY, there is not much textual evidence to examine (by that I mean original source text), yet there is a plethora of events, wars, people, and places mentioned, as is indicated by Wookieepedia. If one is interested, look here at the New Sith Wars to get a feel of the depth of events in this time period. It’s my impression that the events spoken of in that article are alluded to somewhere in the pages of the Bane trilogy, and in the TBP Jedi vs. Sith, and through my examination of these sources, I’ll get an idea of the thousand year history between the Dark Lords Darth Ruin and Darth Bane.

Back to the source text of Prototypes, I have to say it was an interesting read. After the operation, Jaing and Durge enter into battle with a human/droid clone creation belonging to the scientist. After nearly destroying each other, the scientist stops the three combatants, and asks Durge and Jiang from defending him from a Mandalorian tribe he slighted. This is a required action on the part of the bounty hunters – payment for their operation.

The story ends with the Mandalorians defeated, and the birth of an even more ruthless Durge.
For my next post I’ll be looking at Drew Karpyshyn’s novel, Darth Bane: Path of Destruction.

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