Knights of the Old Republic #29
Exalted Part 1
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Bong Dazo
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dustin Weaver
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (07/27/2008)
Following Celeste Morne's instructions, Zayne and Gryph go to the Sanctum of the Exalted on Odryn, which they manage to enter thanks in part to a clever disguise worn by Jarael. Inside, they discover a warehouse where the Covenant has been storing Sith artifacts for years, denying access to the local Feeorin whose leader is Feln, one of its members. Zayne's plan is to gather evidence to take to the Jedi Council on Coruscant to incriminate the Covenant and maybe clear his name. Unfortunately for Zayne, Feln chose the worse possible moment to come back to his Sanctum: right before Zayne and crew were about to leave.
The opening scene depicts Lucien Draay, a major member of the Covenant, accepting a seat on the Jedi High Council on Coruscant. This seems shocking at first, especially since Lucien sounds almost maniacal in his introductory speech, but it is soon revealed that his appointment was helped by Haazen and will allow the Covenant to move their agents more freely. On the Jedi's part, we also see that Masters Vandar and Vrook have their own hidden agendas, although of a more beneficial nature. They plan to keep an eye on Lucien and hopefully discover the truth about the Taris Padawan Massacre.
Cut to Odryn, where the Moomo Williwaw is landing near a native Feeorin city. Last issue, Celeste told Zayne that she was going to take the Muur Talisman to the Sanctum of the Exalted on Odryn, and gave him an access key. Even though they don't actually have the Talisman with them, the crew of the Williwaw came up with an elaborate plan where Jarael disguised herself as Celeste and pretends to carry the artifact inside a heavy suitcase. They are greeted by a group of Feeorin warriors led by Borjak, and discover that only one offworlder is allowed to visit when the natives object to the presence of the Moomo brothers. But with a little "convincing" from Jarael/Celeste, the trio is allowed inside the gates of the primitive village.
Borjak reveals to her that the Sanctum is reserved for the current Exalted one, Feln (another member of the Jedi Covenant), even though he has been absent for years. But since Feln left to study as a Jedi, he has been sending Jedi outsiders to the Sanctum, which was previously not allowed. The fact that the Feeorin never enter the Sanctum (they couldn't even if they wanted to without the key) and actually protect and maintain it makes it the perfect location for the Sith artifact storing the Covenant is secretly doing. This is where Celeste enters with the Moomo brothers, who open the suicase to reveal it contains Zayne and Gryph! Using the key given by Celeste, they enter the warehouse where dozens of Sith artifacts are stored all encased in some clear containment field (called "nullification resin") and individually labelled.
After Celeste and the two Ithorians go back to their ship, Zayne and Gryph spend a day-and-a-half taking pictures of the artifacts and gathering evidence against the Covenant. Their work is only interrupted occasionally by a lone droid who catalogs and stores the artifacts. After they discover a humanoid who is analyzing an artifact (the Helm of Dathka Grausch) and recording its data in a report to the Covenant, the two companions find they have enough evidence and decide to leave. However, they are discovered by Borjak and his men and detained inside the blockhouse for interrogation. We soon find out that Zayne and Gryph are not in any danger, as the questions only pertain to why Jedi would be sneaking out of the Sanctum, although the Feeorins have allowed many in. Zayne reveals to Borjak that he studied with Feln for years, and questions why the Feeorins still consider him their leader even though he never comes to visit. But as soon as Zayne mentions those words, Feln appears before them and reveals that he came to deal with Zayne... permanently.
Writer John Jackson Miller said in an interview that the events of the "Vector" storyline would have a major impact on the lives of Zayne and co. And he was right. Thanks to Celeste Morne's help, Zayne now has a chance to fight back against the Jedi Covenant who framed him for the murder of his fellow Padawans. Alek and Rohlan do not appear in this issue, but they are mentioned. Alek was sent ahead to the Jedi Council to advise them about the Covenant's plot. He is also mentioned by Lucien in the opening scene as being one of the followers of the Revanchist whose pro-war renegade actions Lucien vows to stop. Rohlan is only mentioned as having started training Jarael as a warrior. It's very cool to finally see Zayne have a chance to go on the offensive, but it will be even more interesting to see what happens when he reports the actions of the Covenant to the Jedi High Council only to find out that his former Master Lucien is now a member! As usual, this issue is filled with intrigue and humor (mostly provided by the comic relief Gryph) mixed in with some action, which makes it a very entertaining read.
It's nice to see Dazo return, after working on the "Daze of Hate" story arc (issues #19-21). His style works very well for this series, even though it is not a totally realistic style. He covers all the important bases: the characters are recognizable, the Feeorin and environments are well depicted, and the action is easy to follow. More importantly, this is the first time the Feeorin homeworld is depicted, and Dazo has a chance to contribute his creativity into the desing of the planet (at least to the area around the Sanctum of the Exalted). Michael Atiyeh's coloring work and Dustin Weaver's cover bring a nice sense of consistency with the rest of the series.
The first post-"Vector" story is started. It promises a confrontation between Zayne and another one of the Covenant Jedi Masters.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended