Thursday, January 19, 2012

3643-3641 BBY: The Old Republic: Lost Suns

The Old Republic: Lost Suns was an enjoyable read from Darkhorse and Bioware.  It was not the best comic series I’ve ever read, but at least it wasn’t as bad as Threat of Peace; however, there was one moment it came close.

The most notable aspect of this story is the origins of its protagonist, Theron Shan, who happens to be the “secret son” of Grand Master Satele Shan. What makes Theron special is that he’s not. Unlike his mother the Force is not strong with him.  He’s just a simple man trying to make his way in the universe.  His wookieepedia page can be found here, and interestingly, there is no mention of his father.  The obvious lead for Theron’s father is Harron Tavus from the comic Threat of Peace.  He and Satele had some flirtatious interludes within the confines of that story.  What is more, his name reflects well with Harron’s, and Satele could have named him in honour of his secret father.  But I have another theory.  After reading the Journal of Master Gnost-Dural I think that Jace Malcolm could be Theron’s father, since Satele Shan mentions him more than once in her addendum to Gnost-Dural’s words.  Recounting her experience while in orbit of Korriban at the time of the Sith’s onslaught of the Republic (the events of Bioware’s cinematic Return) Shan comments: 

“Not long after I arrived, an unknown freighter landed on Korriban’s surface, and Master Kao and I were sent to investigate along with a Republic officer I have come to respect as much as any Jedi in the Order – Corporal Jace Malcolm” (The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, 20).

Admittedly Shan also effuses praise on Nico Okarr and his ability to fly a freighter; however, she mentions Malcolm again later on.  Recounting her experience at the liberation of Alderaan she comments:

“Somehow, in the midst of the Imperial attack, these soldiers had formed a small resistance force under the command of a respected trooper with whom I was familiar – Captain Jace Malcolm…Despite the overwhelming odds against them, Captain Malcolm and his men had taken out more than three times their own number on the Imperial side when I arrived” (The Journal of Master Gnost-Dural, 70-71)

Her words regarding this Republic commando offer praise and respect for the man, but it was the use of the term “familiar” which piqued my interest.  Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but as I said, I headed to Theron’s wookieepedia page to find mention of this and was surprised to find nothing at all.  I’m sure other folk may have tried to connect this dot as well, but since it has not been officially stated my assumption lies on the field of speculation.  As with any theories I proffer in this blog, I’m not married to it, I’m simply pointing out my observations.

I’ve tried to nail down the age of Satele Shan in this comic, and I think she is somewhere between 50 and 60.  She was a Padawan when the Sith attacked Korriban in 3681, and Lost Suns takes place circa 3643-3641 making it a span of nearly 40 years.  If we assume she is somewhere between 15-20 when the Sith attack, that would make her approaching 60 when we engage with her at the end of this series. (I’ll comment on that shortly).  As it is, she looks good for her age.  In the Black Talon flashpoint in the Old Republic MMO, you can engage with Shan.  As an imperial, she appears in a holoimage and orders your party to stand down or face the consequences.  I mention this because he does not look like a woman approaching 60 in the holoimage.  She still resembles the heroine from the Old Republic cinematic – a nubile young woman.  Even in the final pages of this comic she does not look like a woman in her 60’s.  It’s almost like a powerful woman cannot be shown as old, lest she be considered weak.  The same cannot be said of men, who if are portrayed as old must necessarily mean they are more powerful.  It’s an unfortunate double standard in our culture.  Basically what I’m trying to say is this: if indeed I have my math correct, and by 3641, which this comic and the game are set in, Satele Shan is a woman either approaching her 60’s or in her 60’s then depict her as such.  The desire to appear young is an indication of vanity, and I doubt vanity would be a trait found in the Grand Master of the Jedi Order.  By the time most women reach their 60’s they have wrinkles and gray hair – which is fine, such is the truth of life, and there is a dignified beauty in such an image.  Why are the artists at Darkhorse and Bioware backing off from the presentation of Satele Shan as an older woman?  I’d like to know.

Moving on, what I also found of interest in this comic was the character of Darth Mekhis.  She was a scientist and Dark Lord of the Sith who sat on the Dark Council. She reminded me of Darth Scabrous from Red Harvest, which would have been a contemporary of hers.  Like Scabrous, Mekhis brought the dead to life with the creation of her Sith Knights – captured Jedi who refused to turn to the darkside and were then “corrupted by her power” and surgically made in to mindless cyborgs, kind of like when Captain Jean Luc Picard was captured by the Borg and turned into ‘Locutus of Borg’ (such a great series of episodes btw).  She used her science to gain power, and developed a piece of machinery that could harvest the energy of a star in its entirety, and transform that nearly endless energy into super weapons of mass destruction for the Empire. 

It’s this aspect of ‘harvesting nature’ that I find intriguing about the Sith – capitalism to its logical conclusion.  It recalls Sidious’ speech to Anakin and his story about Darth Plaguies the Wise: “The darkside of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural”.  The Sith have always corrupted nature.  It was the catalyst to the Hundred Year Darkness schism in the Jedi order. A schism brought on because of Jedi using their Force abilities to manipulate animals into horrific monsters that could be controlled.  Scabrous attempted eternal life, which is itself such a deeply unnatural pursuit.  And of course, the Sith Emperor is the epitome of unnatural life.  The sun harvesters in this story fit in well with what we know of the Sith Emperor.  It is clear at this point in time that the Sith Emperor does not want to take over the galaxy; he wants to consume it like a Darth Nihilus to the power of ten.

Even though the Sith Emperor is never mentioned in this story, Lost Suns still tells us something about his character.  He is one of those men that simply wants to see the world burn.

Lost Suns was an enjoyable read (including the title’s neat play on words), but it was almost derailed at the end with the apparent death of Darth Mekhis.  In a movement worthy of Rob Chestney, Darth Mekhis was apparently killed by a non-force sensitive Republic spy with a dart gun.  Such an embarrassing death recalls the assassination of Grand Master Zym at the hands of some no-name bounty hunter in Threat of Peace.  What is it with Bioware titles and their super powerful characters being killed by equally non-super powerful characters?

For my next post I’ll be working myself out of the Old Republic era yet again, and back into the Draggulch period with Knight Errant: Deluge.  Soon enough I’ll have worked my way out of my chronological deficit and back to the year 33 BBY.  Until then my friends, may the Force be with you.


  1. I got the feeling that Theron tricked Darth Mekhis into lowering her guard. Darth Mekhis probably had her guard at a normal level at first, not as high as she would have for a Jedi but high enough for a spy. However, when Theron mentioned his ancestry, she raised her guard for obvious. But when she realized he wasn't a Jedi her arrogance got the better of and she dropped her guard completly, probably thinking something along the lines of "I was worried about this talentless hack?" However that moment was what Theron was waiting for and he took advantage of it. Like he said sometimes you have to hope the hunter makes a mistake and he tricked her into making a big one.

    Then again it is possible I am reading too much into that scene. In any cause I would like to hear your thoughts on said issue.

  2. I like your interpretation of events because it at least saves the narrative. It works well with his comment about the hunter making a mistake.

    Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog. I'd like to read your thoughts on any of my other commentary.

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