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Republic #80

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Knights of the Old Republic #15
Days of Fear Part 3

Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Dustin Weaver
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brian Ching, Michael Atiyeh
Released: 04/11/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/02/2007)

SUMMARY:

Zayne Carrick had a vision of the future showing Mandalore nuking settlements on Serocco, a planet where the Republic is staging defenses against the invading Mandalorians. He sneaks aboard Carth Onasi's carrier and is brought directly before Admiral Saul Karath, commander of the Republic's fleet, aboard the Courageous. Zayne came to warn him of the impending danger, but the Admiral doesn't believe him since Zayne is a fugitive wanted by the Jedi Council. On top of that, Karath suspects him of being a Mandalorian spy. So Zayne stands helpless as the Republic witnesses a Mandalorian strike fleet arrive in the system and launch muclear charges towards the surface. His despair is made even greater because his friend Gryph's ship the Little Bivoli was one of the casualties.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

The Mandalorians were slaughtering us by the millions. The millions. You were at Serocco, when they turned the Stereb cities into glass craters. At Duro, when Basilisk war droids rained like meteors onto the orbiting cities, and when the Mandalorians set fire to the Xoxin plains on Eres III - the fires that still burn.
-Atton Rand to the Jedi Exile (KotOR II: The Sith Lords)

Last issue, Zayne begged Gryph to lift off right away after he had his vision. Up until this point, I hadn't realized how much Zayne likes his friend. Their camaraderie and brief misadventures together have helped form a fast friendship for those two unlikely associates. Despite Zayne's warnings, Gryph keeps delaying his departure as long as the cash keeps flowing in. The main action in this issue is inter-cut with sequences showing Gryph (and Slyssk) still on the surface, as Mandalorians arrive in-system, as they launch warheads and up to the last minute before the explosions. Reasons of their delay throughout the day include soldiers ordering breakfast, then lunch, then a second meal to go as they prepare to defend against the Mandalorians, and finally Slyssk informing Gryph that the ship doesn't have enough fuel to lift off anyway.

Meanwhile, Zayne has snuck aboard Carth Onasi's short hauler but is found out right away. Since the two kind of formed a bond last issue, Zayne trusts Carth enough to reveal that he is a Jedi and he needs to go see Admiral Karath. At first, Carth doesn't believe Zayne's claim of having a vision predicting an attack on the surface of Serocco, but Zayne seems serious enough plus they are headed for the Admiral's ship the Courageous anyway. After those 4 pages of interesting dialogue, Zayne then meets with Karath in person. Apparently the Admiral has put the pieces together after their little mishap at mealtime the previous day (as depicted last issue). Like most people in the galaxy, Karath believes Zayne to be a Jedi-killer, but also a Mandalorian spy. He based his theory on various events that happened in Zayne's wake recently. But all Zayne wants is to warn the Admiral to evacuate the surface of the planet to save the people. The fact that he came here voluntarily and is not using the Force to defend himself should be enough to prove his sincerity. When Zayne drops Squint's name as someone who could back up his statements, Karath at least allows Carth to go down to the comm center and check the story.

It's at this moment that the Mandalorian fleet exits hyperspace just out of weapons' range and launches missiles toward the Republic ships. The admiral prepares for defense, but is taken by surprise when the projectiles go around the fleet and head for the surface, just as Zayne predicted. Carth comes back on the bridge to witness several nuclear exposions on the surface of the planet, while the Mandalorians sit and wait. This dramatic moment is intercut with a panel showing Squint and his Master feeling a disturbance in the Force while on a mission on some planet, and another one showing Q'anilia communicating with Lucien from some ice planet and both having the same shock. Despite Zayne's display of worry and concern for the people on the surface in front of the whole bridge crew, Admiral Karath still considers him an enemy. He puts him in a guarded cell until he can be given back to the Jedi Council. This is where Carth pays a crying Zayne a visit and tells him that he managed to warn 17 of the 27 settlements that were hit. There's a chance that some people, including Gryph, might have been able to reach the underground shelters and that gives Zayne some hope. Well, I don't believe poor ol'Gryph to be dead but the issue ends on a down note nevertheless as everything seems lost for our Jedi hero.

This issue marks a dramatic shift in tone, as the casualties of the war become more real to Zayne. And also it shows how much he cares for Gryph (and how much Gryph believes more in profit than in Zayne's hunches, but hopefully this will be a lesson). Carth Onasi has a major role and he is the only one who seemed to believe Zayne before his prediction came true. Because of this, I also think that Carth might believe that Zayne is innocent of the Padawan slaughter on Taris, but because of his low rank and new position in the Republic fleet, under the direct command of Admiral Karath, there is not much he can do. I hope Carth will stick around for a few more issues as he could become a good contact for Zayne. The whole thing is rounded out by another edition of the Taris Holofeed: Siege Edition that informs us of the status of the sector capital during the Mandalorian siege.


THE ART

I'm only going to say that I wish Weaver was the only artist for this series. His style is so prefect, his depiction of characters and ships are amazing, and the way the coloring combines with the artwork perfectly makes it even better. One example of Weaver's great visual storytelling is to see Zayne's expressions as he comes out of his despair when he learns that Carth sent a warning to the surface on the last page. Inspiring work.


CONCLUSIONS

Much like The Empire Strikes Back, this story arc ends with a downer. But all hope is not lost as we prepare for the next story arc.

Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended

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