Monday, March 14, 2011

44 BBY: The Stark Hyperspace War

The Stark Hyperspace War was a trade paperback that’s been on my radar for a while, mostly because of the character Quinlan Vos. From my perusing of Star Wars forums he’s a character that has garnered much interest, and from what I gather from other fans, it’s because he’s a rouge type character that has “much darkness in him”, as master Yoda puts it. Also, he’s directly mentioned in Revenge of the Sith, and has an awesome appearance in The Cone Wars. It was this appearance in The Clone Wars that piqued my curiosity even more for this TBP because Steve Mitchell and Craig Van Sickle have him quoting The Dude: “Well, that’s like, your opinion man”. Anytime anyone can work a Lebowski quote in anywhere I laugh.

From what I know of Vos from my periphery understanding of the EU surrounding him, he’s a Jedi who falls to the darkside, but manages to turn back to the light – this type of story is always an interesting and fun read – disgrace and redemption. I’m curious to find out if the Vos we meet in The Clone Wars is a pre-fall or post-fall Vos.

Regardless, his time in The Star Hyperspace War was relatively short, but Ostrander, the writer of this TBP, did well in establishing the relationship between Vos and Kenobi. Again, referencing the episode Hunt for Ziro in The Clone Wars, the dynamic between these two Jedi was amusing. They are the Jedi version of the odd couple. Aayla Sercura even mentions that one of the most unfortunate things in Vos’ memory wipe was the loss of his remembrance of his friendship with Obi-Wan. I’m looking forward to seeing this friendship unfold, and how Aayla came to be in her current predicament.

Beyond Vos there were a bunch of other things I enjoyed about this TBP. Firstly, kudos to Ostrander for some really good writing in this comic. The dialogue was great and the plot moved along at a steady and logical pace. After two poor comic series from the writers of The Old Republic (Threat of Peace and Blood of the Empire) it was refreshing to read something actually good. Secondly, kudos to Davide Fabbri for some excellent art and scene depiction. Comic art is more than simply the ability to draw; it’s also how an artist sets up the scene to depict the action of the story. Fabbri did well on both fronts here.

What I enjoyed most about The Star Hyperspace War however, were the many characters which made their first appearance in Star Wars history. From Iaco Stark to Master Tholme, every character in this tale has a deep and rich backstory. It’s this depth of history which makes Star Wars so great, and keeps fans like me coming back for more. The character I enjoyed most was Iaco Stark. Any character that uses the phrase “Capital idea!” is tremendously cool in my book. He and Hylo Viz are the Robin Hoods of the Star Wars universe. Though with that being said I’m not really sure Stark is ‘giving to the poor’, but I’ve always loved a bandit who knows how to ‘rob from the rich’. I’ve always enjoyed the rouge with a heart-of-gold – one who knows how to get going when the going gets tough. Iaco Stark is the type of character I had fun RPing when I played WEG’s D6 role playing game.

Some great Jedi history was flushed out in this source as well. It was neat to meet Master Tholme, and watch him in action with his padawan Vos. I really felt the generational sense of the Jedi order in this text: Qui-Gon with Obi-Wan, Tholme with Vos, Tyvokka with Plo Koon as an apprentice, all framed by Secura talking about her master, and referring to Tholme, her ‘master’s master. Also, the history of Plo Koon with his master Tyvokka was very cool as well. If I’m not mistaken (and correct me if I’m wrong) I believe this is the first time both characters enter Star Wars history, and it’s the first time we’ve come across a wookiee Jedi. His lightsaber was cool looking – a wooden handle with a yellow blade. I wonder if a wookiee Jedi would use a great-saber instead of a lightsaber. It seems Tyvokka’s was a lightsaber, as it states on his wookieepedia page, but I think a wookiee Jedi could get away with using a lightclub.

I’m glad I covered this source at its flashback date, as Plaristes was correct regarding the majority of its narrative being at 44 BBY. But still, I felt out of the loop with regards to the framed story of Aayla’s and Quinlan’s memory loss. It’ll be good to fill in some blanks when I get to this couple’s back story.

Though I enjoyed the story behind The Star Hyperspace War, it seems that, like the last narrative I looked at, the notion of conspiracy theory crept into Star Wars history again. What’s interesting about conspiracy theory narratives in the Star Wars universe though, is that they’re all completely true! After all, at the end of the day the galaxy was taken over by an evil wizard.

At the beginning of the story, it’s Tyvokka who proffers the idea that there is no bacta shortage at all, and it’s all a conspiracy by the Trade Federation to run up the price of the much needed resource. Logical Valorum then says to the Jedi Master: “That would imply that both (sides) are willing to cause untold deaths and risk galactic war to reap short-term profits. Have you any proof of this Master?” Master Tholme provides the needed proof later on: “On Thyferra, Quinlan and I had already determined that the “disaster” that had supposedly caused the shortage was faked. The questions were – who, why, and how? A secret meeting between the Trade Federation and Xucphra, then and now one of the leading bacta producers, seemed a good place to find answers”. Like Legacy of the Jedi, this TBP was written in 2003, a time when 9/11 conspiracy theories were reaching fever pitch. In this particular narrative, replace the ‘bacta disaster’ with the WTC, and the ‘bacta shortage’ as a reference to the control of oil, and you may have the political climate of the day influencing Star Wars story telling.

Humans love a good conspiracy theory.

Again, like with Watson I’m not claiming Ostrander is a conspiracy theorist, I simply think it’s interesting how the political climate of the day can affect the creation of fiction.

All-in-all I really enjoyed The Star Hyperspace War and I’m looking forward to Ostrander’s other contributions to Star Wars history. For my next post I’m going to look at a few pages from Jedi vs. Sith, and then move on to Jedi Apprentice #9. Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.

1 comment:

  1. Definitely look forward to more Ostrander. While good, the Stark Hyperspace War is tame when compared to the awesomeness of his Clone Wars and Legacy stories.