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Republic #80

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Dark Times #5 (Republic #88)
The Path to Nowhere Part 5 (of 5)

Story: Welles Hartley
Script: Mick Harrison with additional dialogue from the novel Dark Lord by James Luceno
Art: Douglas Wheatley
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Douglas Wheatley
Released: 10/10/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/12/2008)

SUMMARY:

The crew of the Uhumele are on Esseles to find Bomo Greenbark's daughter Resa, who was purchased by a local slave owner. When they attack the man's villa, the crew find the answer the were looking for although it is not what any of them expected or hoped for. At the end of the road, two friends have a disagreement about an act comitted by one of them, and they go their separate ways.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

As pointed out in the story credits, the opening scene is excerpted directly from chapter 9 of James Luceno's amazing novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader. (more precisely p.53-55 of the hardcover edition). There were scenes with Vader and his Master throughout "The Path to Nowhere" and they now seem irrelevant since none of the main characters ever interact with the Sith Lords either directly or indirectly. But it's still a very cool way to intertwine the story with the novel; at least it shows that someone along the line has done his/her homework. We see one more page towards the end with Vader pondering about the future on the bridge of a Star Destroyer, probably returning to Coruscant.

After that short intro, we find the crew of the Uhumele in the city of Calamar on Esseles where they came to find the slave owner who purchased Bomo's daugther. They are enjoying a meal outdoors in the beautiful city's streets, until Dass Jennir returns from investigation. He informs the group that Dezono Qua is a rich man who lives inside a well-defended villa protected by an army of droids. Dass suggests that he should go alone with Bomo, but the crew all volunteer to help them as well. The crew land the Unhumele right outside the villa's walls, blow out the front gate and come out blasters blazing. They quickly dispatch the security droids while Ratty locates and fries the central computer which controls the droids. The group comes face-to-face with Dezono atop the villa's landing platform where his ship awaits.

When Jennir and Bomo threaten him with their blasters, Dezono reveals to them the fate of Bomo's daughter, and it is a most horrible thought: he simply ate her. This revelation makes the earlier scene of Dezono complimenting his cooking droid E-10 about his last meal an air of extra creepiness. Bomo is shocked with anger and rage, but Jennir acts first by blasting the slave owner three times in the chest. This enrages Bomo even more, since Jennir has just robbed him of his vengeance. Despite assurances that Jennir did it to save Bomo from loosing part of his soul, this creates a rift between the two friends that will probably not be forgiven anytime soon. In his anger, Bomo pushes Jennir away and curses at the Jedi. This is the first time the rest of the group hear what Jennir's former profession was, and they are surprised at first.

The Uhumele departs Esseles, leaving Jennir behind with his thoughts and Dezono's ship. I don't think they are separated permanently, since Mezgraf mentions to his captain that it might not be bad to have a Jedi among the crew. I think Jennir stayed on Esseles to give Bomo a break and to acquire the dead slave owner's ship (and his pilot droid H2 who survived the attack on the villa). They will hopefully all join back together later on. The central characters of the story are clearly Jennir and Bomo, and each had an arc to their stories. Bomo suffered the loss of his wife but still was determined to find his daughter, only to feel betrayed after discovering her fate. And Jennir wanted to renounce his Jedi training after commiting some immoral acts, but learns to accept that he did them for the greater good. This is a very satisfying, although very dark, ending for this story arc. It's a more personal story about a group of people trying to make a living in the post-Order 66 galaxy, a nice change from all the Jedi/Sith or military-oriented stories. We learned a bit about the crew which accepted Jennir and Bomo as members, but there are still a lot of things to discover (including a hint that Crys Taanzer has a bounty on her head?)


THE ART

Once again, Wheatley's art is very rich and detailed. Contrary to some other comic books, the artworks feels like a major part of the enjoyment of reading this series. The exterior scene in Calamar is just amazing. The panels are populated with tons of detailed structures and passersby. There is also some humor in the acts of some characters. Is it just me or did Jennir use a mind trick on a local male official to make him attracted to another male? It's interesting to note that the treaded security droids protecting Dezono's villa have the arms and head of IG assassin droids. On top of all that, all the characters have very expressive faces and maneurisms, and Vader's depiction is flawless!


CONCLUSIONS

Probably the best Star Wars comic this year. The ending is very dark and depressing.

Rating: 9 / 10 Highly Recommended

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