Knights of the Old Republic #30
Exalted Part 2
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Bong Dazo
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dustin Weaver
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (08/27/2008)
On a personal mission to expose the Covenant, Zayne and Gryph are captured on Odryn by Feln. The Jedi Master was coming to the Sanctum of the Exalted to examine the Muur Talisman that was supposed to be brought by Celeste Morne, but instead he found Zayne and suspects him of comitting Dark Side acts. When Feln comes to execute the prisoners, the local Feeorin, led by Borjak, remind the Jedi that they must fight in unarmed combat. Zayne takes the opportunity to flee but Feln catches up to him. What saves Zayne next is the arrival of the Moomo Williwaw in the system, prompting Feln blow up the Sancum in order to protect the storehouse within from being looted. But the explosion, augmented by many Sith artifacts being destroyed, also burns away the entire village and injures several inhabitants. With the Sanctum gone, the laws of the Rime Feeorin no longer apply and the villagers turn against Feln, killing him for his dishonorable actions. Meanwhile at the Draay estate on Coruscant, the remaining members of the Covenant sense Feln joining with the Force. Lucien sends Xamar to join Admiral Karath in his ship Swiftsure and track down Zayne, a traitor to the Republic.
Once again, Zayne finds himself in a dire situation. But Miller finds fun ways for Zayne to escape, first by having the villagers enforce the law of honorable, hand-to-hand combat. They won't let the young unarmed Jedi get killed mercilessly by lightsaber. But the fact that Feln was ready to do it proves something about the Covenant, and justifies the way the other Feeorin see him. As long as the Sanctum stands, the Rime Feeorin has to be followed and even if Feln is the Exalted leader he also has to respect it. Of course Zayne's survival instincts take over and he jumps on Feln, pulling his tendrils and then running away as fast as he can. This only enrages the senior Jedi, however, and when he catches up to Zayne he is prepared to crush his chest with his powerful foot. Then, another turn of fate saves Zayne: Someone announces to Feln that sensors have detected a ship arriving in the system. Thinking that Zayne's friends are coming to loot the Covenant's storehouse, Feln follows Lucien order and executes Option Ossus which is to blow up the Sanctum. Big mistake! The fact that Feln does that so willingly is another factor that influences what's coming to him (plus the fact that Borjak was present when Lucien gave the order via Holonet at the beginning).
The explosion is bigger than anyone expected (Gryph theorizes that it may have been amplified by the destruction of Sith artifacts) and the village and the Feeorin in it are also blown up. Of course, Feln blames Zayne for making him do it and he's now out for blood (if he wasn't already!) Once again, the Force is in Zayne's favor as the villagers now make a move on Feln. The factors mentioned before make the Jedi a traitor and with the Sanctum no longer standing the law doesn't apply anymore, including the one about unarmed combat. The Feeorin no longer have to follow the Exalted's orders and they punish him for his actions. Thankfully, Zayne has kind of convinced Borjak of his intents, so as the new Exalted he doesn't see him and his newly arrived friends as a threat. Gryph is very depressed that their mission of recording evidence against the Covenant has gone up in smoke, but fortunately Jarael announces that the Moomo brothers have stolen a few Sith "weapons" so some hope still exists.
In this issue, there are references to Raana Tey's death in issue #24: first when Feln throws a major punch to Zayne's stomach he proclaims "that was for Raana Tey." The second time is when the Covenant come together at the Draay estate after feeling Feln's death, Q'anilia realizes that half of the watch circle is now dead, with only herself and Xamar still alive. In a way, Lucien is responsible for Feln's death being the one who ordered the destruction of the Sanctum against Haazen's orders (he makes a holo-cameo in the opening scene) but there is no hint if he feels any guilt. So is Lucien the red-armored Sith from the seers' vision back in issue #5? All Lucien wants is revenge, and he announces to his two peers that he has already convinced Admiral Karath to find Zayne using the lie that the young Jedi now works for the Mandalorians. Lucien orders Xamar to go with the Admiral, and when Q'anilia reminds him that their vision told them he is the next to die, he declares that he has another option. This will probably be the subject of the next story.
There is much to be said about a series that keeps up interest after so many issues. So far, I have been entertained and suprised in every issue, and looking forward to the next one. In this one as usual, Miller writes a great character piece with a lot of humor (mostly from Gryph who has a few funny lines), drama and action. This issue also features a fitting death for a major series "villain". Somehow, Zayne is always present when members of the Covenant die yet he is never directly responsible. There is also a nice exploration of Feeorin customs and laws, at least on Odryn which may or may not be the Feeorins' homeworld. This issue also offers an example of when the inside cover blurb adding some new information: the beast that Feln was riding in the last page of last issue is called a Khadarok. And assistant editor Freddye Lins corrects a wrong that was comitted way back in issue #2 where Brian Ching was credited for the cover instead of Travis Charest. Better late than never!
Dazo's art is a bit exagerated, a bit caricaturesque, with characters' facial expressions showing a lot of clenched teeth. I'm not saying it's not good to look at, just a unique style. And artists should have their own style. The action is the centerpiece here, not character likenesses, and the artist delivers in that respect very skillfully. One scary thing is that Xamar reminds me of Great Cthulhu with his long mouth tentacles. And whoever doesn't think the cover by Weaver is impressive, send me an e-mail. I'm sure I won't get many.
Very grim, intense drama, and the death of another Covenant member. An issue not to be missed.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended