Knights of the Old Republic #34
Vindication Part 3
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Brian Ching
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brian Ching, Michael Atiyeh
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/11/2009)
Haazen, aide of the Jedi Covenant leader Lady Krynda and teacher to her son Lucien, launched a coup against the Jed High Council just as the Jedi assaulted the Kraay estate. This happened in the presence of Zayne Carrick and Gryph, as well as Lucien who realizes that his mother's aide is insane with power. Now Haazen offers all of them to become followers in his new Sith army as per his own interpretation of the Prophecy of the Five, naming himself Darth Hayze in the process. Meanwhile, sensing that Krynda is in danger, Q'Anilia ruches to her Lady's chamber only to find her inside a crystal coffin cutting her off from the Force. Gryph follows Q'Anilia and before she dies from self-inflicted poison he reveals to her that the Rogue Moon Prophecy was never about Zayne. Gryph then takes Krynda out of the oubliette and brings her downstairs to her son, to whom she expresses her horror that he killed the Covenant's Padawans. She then dies, and Lucien turns his anger toward Gryph.
A lot of prophecies from previous issues are addressed here, and a couple of important supporting characters die. After the events of issue #32 (last issue was a flashback), Lucien, his former student-turned-nemesis Zayne Carrick and Gryph are now in a devastated Draay Estate under attack from both the Jedi High Council and the Republic fleet. They just discovered that Haazen has dispatched a whole plan to take over the Republic and has followers infiltrated key locations on Coruscant. First of all, we discover that the attack from the orbiting Republic ships was not ordered by Admiral Karath, as Haazen led to believe. Rather, he explains that his Covenant followers bought the company Vanjevalis and had their starship command link installed in the Republic ships with a special direct access to himself, a sort of override code that give him total control of the ships in the fleet. Then Lucien discovers (the hard way!) that Haazen has also in his possession some of Sith relics acquired by the Covenant, including the Gauntlet of Kressh the Younger (a reference to Ludo Kressh from Tales of the Jedi) which repels anyone who tried to touch its wearer.
Haazen easily dispatched some attackers from the Jedi High Council with lightning and his lightsaber, then gives a speech to his new "followers": apparently, the Prophecy of the Five (seen by Krynda in issue #24) is about Haazen, Zayne, Lucien, Gryph (!) and Q'Anilia and NOT about the First Watchcircle of the Covenant as was first thought. Whether these events were controlled by Haazen for all these years or this is Haazen's own interpretation of it (and it's about 5 different people) is not clear to me, and I like it that way. As such, Haazen has gathered all of them here and wants them to become his followers as he makes himself the true ruler of the Covenant and a user of both Sith and Jedi powers.
As leader of this new army, Haazen would name himself Darth Hayze. His "one for the darkness" Lucien would become Darth Luzion or Sion and train the Sith armies. Notice here a hint: Darth Sion is one of the main antagonists in the video game Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords. Lucien could very well become him in the future, much like Alek "Squint" Squinquargesimus will become Darth Malak of the first game.
Q'Anilia wakes up a this moment from under a pile of rubble, and rushes upstairs to Lady Krynda's chambers feeling that she is in danger. Lucien lets Gryph follow, but not Zayne. Gryph sees some dead guards outside the chamber, and inside finds the Miraluka Jedi with her hood and blindfold removed crying over Krynda's inert form having lost her connection in the Force. He also discovers that Q'Anilia already ingested some poison drink and only had minutes to live. She tells Gryph that the Rogue Moon Prophecy is now fulfilled, that Zayne Carrick killed all the members of the WatchCircle, which was the whole reason they killed their Padawans in the first place (to prevent it from happenning). But Gryph confesses to her that it may not be the case; many people had worn the red spacesuit, and Zayne never wanted to kill them at all. With that, Q'Anilia expires and Gryph realizes that the clear box in which Krynda lays ressembles the Sith oubliette they put Celeste Morne in back in issue #28, part 4 of the "Vector" storyline. So he correctly deduces that she must still be alive and he takes her out and brings her downstairs to her son Lucien.
The duel between Lucien and Zayne is interrupted as Lucien rushes to his mother's side. This is really Krynda's first appearance in the series. Prior to that, we've only seen her in flashbacks. Here she reveals that she has been placed in the stasis box by Haazen ever since she had a vision of Lucien and his Covenant Circle killing their Padawans, so that dates back to the beginning of the series! In her dying breath she reveals to him that the vision is what killed her. She still can't believe that her son would be responsible for the slaughter of innocent children. Krynda apparently had a stroke then, was racked with headaches and couldn't move, and Haazen didn't want to let her die so he put her in stasis inside a prototype Sith oubliette. Gryph certainly doesn't feel he caused her death by taking her out of the oubliette as she was already dying before. But Lucien feels otherwise: at the sight of his dead mother, he directs his anger to the one he sees most responsible. Feeling the danger to come, Zayne tells his friend to run while he holds Lucien off as long as he can (meaning that their duel will resume next issue.)
I see this issue as having 3 acts: the Haazen part, the Q'Anilia part, and the Krynda part. They all blend perfectly into another, and form the middle part of a longer story (I count last issue not as Part 2 of "Vindication" but more as an interlude or prequel). For some reason, I don't take anything Haazen says seriously. I think Miller did a good job in depicting him as a disillusioned insane character and it's hard to interpret whether what he says is true or not. While I do not care too much about Force prophecies and such, I do appreciate that Miller acknowledges them in a Jedi-heavy story and knows how to handle it well as a plot device. I do love the characters he created, with their quirks and smart dialogue, and it makes reading the series highly enjoyable. And almost every issue offers an unexpected twist or revelation, including this one.
The cover is pretty cool when you realize, as per Jackson Miller's notes, that it can be considered the final panel of the comic. The last page ends with Zayne preparing to hold Lucien off, and we see what happens next right there on the front. Ching is not one of my favorite artists, but I love the little details he shows off in this issue, like Lucien's scorched hands after he is stricken by Haazen's Sith sorcery, and a guest appearance by Ninebeedee (from issue #9).
Another great chapter is an overall great series. This one contains extremely important revelations, so it must not be missed.
Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended