Knights of the Old Republic #35
Vindication Part 4
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Brian Ching
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dan Scott
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/12/2009)
The confrontation with Haazen at the Draay estate ends. Lucien Draay and Zayne Carrick join forces to get close to the former aide of Lady Krynda and penetrate his defenses. Using Haazen's own starship control device, Lucien calls down a hail of blaster fire on him ending his new Jedi Covenant reign short. At the end, Zayne and Gryph are exonerated and rewarded by the Jedi but remain in business together as partners. Meanwhile an injured Lucien retires to a secluded moon where he hopes to continue his father's legacy.
Lucien and Zayne are dueling over Gryph: Lucien wants to kill the Snivvian whom he blames for killing his mother, Zayne wants to protect him. But Zayne manages to reason with his old Master: the real enemy is Haazen. They just have to look around them. Haazen is destroying the estate and the surrounding area with constant bombardments from orbiting starships. And having received the Jedi High Council's cache of Sith artefacts, Haazen kills his own followers and plans to destroy the Jedi building. Without letting Gryph in on it, Lucien and Zayne form a plan to convince Haazen to let his guard down. Pretending to continue dueling outside the estate, Zayne seemingly kills Lucien by making a statue crumble on him and then finishing him off with a coup de grace. Seeing the Dark Side in this, Haazen (whi is quite insane with delusions of power at this point) invites Zayne to kneel before him. Seizing the opportunity, Zayne rips out Haazen's cybernetic arm that was holding the Kressh Gauntlet. His Sith defense broken, Haazen is now vulnerable and Lucien chooses this moment to reveal the ploy. He Force-pushes Zayne and Gryph away to relative safety, then confront Haazen one-on-one. The Sith gauntlet also contains the control bypass to the orbiting ships, so Lucien directs all fire on the estate, Haazen and himself.
Some days later at an outside ceremony on Coruscant, Gryph is reunited with Jarael. They catch up some loose ends from the rest of the series, including mentions of the current situation with the Covenant Padawans' families, Alek/Malak and the Jedi Crusaders, Rohlan the Mandalorian defector, and even the Moomo brothers. Then Gryph finds Zayne, and seems to feel bad to loose his friend and associate. But Zayne reassures him that even though the Jedi have offered to "take him back", he wants to remain a businessman with his long-time associate, as long as they can become equal partners. Gryph is happy to hear this and immediately comes up with a name for their business: CarGryph Capital Management. Even though Jarael mentions that she wants to help Rohlan who is stuck at the spaceport, I have a feeling her path will remain entertwined with Zayne's and Gryph's.
The final scene is very interesting. It shows Lucien having survived the bombardment but not without suffering injuries. Now that he has lost his entire family estate, he retreats to a moon that he purchased some time before. A few Jedi live there, and Lucien realizes that he was touched by the Dark Side and thinks about his future as "Lord of Pain." He wants to continue the his mother and father's tradition and form a new Covenant. This is another hint about Lucien possibly becoming Darth Sion. I mean, the Lord of Pain!
I love the pacing of this issue. It encapsulates everything the series is about: action, storytelling, fascinating characters, humor and drama. And lots of Jedi and Sith. This issue really does feel like the end of a long chapter. A lot of things are resolved that have been set up along the 35 issues so far. It is a very satisfying ending especially for readers who have been following these characters from the beginning. I would feel sad, if I didn't know that there are even more adventures to follow. But what will Zayne be without the menace of the Covenant looming over him? The near future will tell.
Atiyeh's coloring work really shines in this issue (as always). Some of the highlights are the lighsaber clash full-page on page 1, the full-page oribtal bombardement on page 14 (the clouds look fantastic!), and the colors of the sky and orbiting planet on the last 3 pages. Of course artist Brian Ching also has his moments but I cannot get used to the depictions of Zayne and Gryph in particular. They just don't look realistic. Jarael doesn't look bad though, and I like the last page full-page shot of Lucien with a bandage over his eyes and burned hands, and walking with a stick. While he doesn't look anything physically like Darth Sion, it is still fun to ponder.
The closing of a major chapter in the series. Nothing seems to be set-up except more fun stories. If you haven't done so, I urge readers to go get #1-34 and start reading!
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended