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Republic #80

The new series of the Sith Wars

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Purge

Story: John Ostrander
Art: Doug Wheatley
Coloring: Ronda Pattison
Lettering: Michael David Thomas
Cover: Adam Hughes
Released: 01/05/2006

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/11/2006)

SUMMARY:

Darth Vader is obsessed with finding his former master Obi-Wan Kenobi. When reports of a Jedi gathering on Kessel reach his ears, he disobeys Emperor Palpatine and travels to the planet. He walks into an abandoned mine alone to confront eight Jedi who were summonded here by Master Shadday, who lured Vader to their meeting without their knowledge. Shadday is hoping to destroy Vader, thus crippling the fledgeling Empire. Although they feel betrayed by Shadday, the Jedi do not have time to discuss and must defeat the Sith Lord in order to survive.


[final cover]


[preview cover]


THE STORY

This story takes place a month after Revenge of the Sith, but after the novel Dark Lord: The Rise of Darth Vader because in that book Vader kills his first Jedi with his new red lightsaber. In this one-shot, he kills eight more. Well nine, if you count poor Dama Montalvo who is tortured to death on Coruscant when he refuses to reveal the location of Obi-Wan to Vader. Following that scene, Palpatine instructs his apprentice to not concern himself with the Jedi and especially Obi-Wan. Of course he disobeys as soon as he gets a report from a trooper of the 501st about the Jedi gathering on Kessel, where Obi-Wan is supposed to attend.

Cut to the meeting where Masters Tsui Choi and Bultar Swan (fresh from Eriadu) are just joining. A Jedi woman named Shadday arranged the meeting and after introductions, she mentions that she is "expecting one more." At this point we believe that Obi-Wan might actually be here, but two pages later Shadday reveals her true motive. The Jedi were gathered here to confront Vader, whether they want to or not. They are given no choice as the new Sith Lord walks in the room, screaming for Obi-Wan. Shadday is so sure of herself, but even with her cortosis blade she finds out how wrong she was. The other Jedi do not survive, but if they did they probably wouldn't forgive Shadday for her betrayal.

It might surprise some readers that none of the Jedi appearing in this comic, aside from Shadday, are entirely new (although Shadday appears in one panel of Republic #80, probably because artist Wheatley was working on that story around the same time.) All of them had previous appearances, although some of them are given a name for the first time here:

  • Tsui Choi, of course, is a favorite of mine. The diminutive Aleena first appeared in the Jedi Council: Acts of War series, then during the Clone Wars in Republic #50 and in Jedi: Count Dooku. I still say there is no way the Yoda vs. Dooku battle in Attack of the Clones wasn't inspired by Tsui Choi.

  • Bultar Swan is a character from the movies, having appeared in Attack of the Clones as one of the Jedi fighting in the Geonosis Arena. She since had a small role in Republic #59.

  • Koffi Arana was also in a one of the movies. He was a background Jedi played by musician Gervais Koffi that can be seen in the Jedi Temple. He was also illustrated by Joe Corroney for a Republic HoloNet News article in Star Wars Insider #84, although he was not named. Furthermore, like Shadday, he also had a two-panel appearance in Republic #80 where he is just walking in the background near the Jedi Temple.

  • Dama Montalvo first appeared in Jedi: Mace Windu. He was the second and most recent Padawan of the Duros Cei Vookto and was attending his Master's funeral.

  • Roblio Darté was first seen (unnamed) in Republic #61. He was debriefing his failed mission on Parcelus Minor to the Jedi Council. He still has his facial scar from that battle.

  • Sia-Lan Wezz was a character introduced in Wizards of the Coast's Star Wars Roleplaying Game. She was one of the "template" characters in the original rulebook and the Invasion of Theed Adventure Game. This is not her first comic book appearance however. She, and her template friends, starred in a 3-page preview comic by Mike Stackpole and Daniel Veesenmeyer that was included in the boxed Theed game. The reason for her inclusion here is because she was designed by Adam Hughes for the game back in 2000, and when he put her on the cover for this comic the writer decided to add her in the story.

  • Ma'kis'shaalas is also a character from the roleplaying game, although more recent. A member of the Nikto species and ex-Morgukai warrior, he is described on page 89 of the Geonosis and the Outer Rim Worlds sourcebook.

  • Jastus Farr seems to be based on a blue-skinned, double-bladed-lightsaber-wielding alien Jedi encountered in the Jedi Temple mission of the Revenge of the Sith video game. There are several of them in the game, so maybe one survived Anakin's assault on the temple. (Click here to see a concept sketch from the game.)

    In the ensuing battle, Sia-Lan is the first to go, easily stabbed and disarmed while charging Vader on her own (the aftermath of which earned a spot on the cover!). The other Jedi don't make the same mistake and fight together by surrounding their opponent. Vader takes Koffi out of the fight with a Force push, then slashes Ma'kis leaving him open to a back injury from Jastus Farr. Then Vader leaps as Koffi charges back into battle, when Tsui Choi joins them. Shadday goes after Vader with her cortosis blade which deactivates Vader's lightsaber, but he easily snaps her neck and appropriates her own weapon. He attacks the Jedi but Choi succeeds in cutting of Vader's hand, thus disarming him. At this point, Vader is powerless against his foes. That's when Koffi decides to take Bultar Swan's saber, and has to kill her when she resists. Embracing the Dark Side, which he believes is his only chance to survive, he charges Vader but is stabbed by the cortosis blade still held by Vader's severed hand which Vader conrols with Force telekinesis. Three Jedi remain and they coordinate their concentration to bring the ceiling down on Vader. Darté and Farr are killed due to the timely arrival of Vader's stormtroopers, who were send by the Emperor (who no doubt has "foreseen" that his apprentice was in peril.) Tsui Choi dies with a surprised look on his face as he is held in mid-air by the Force and then shot down by troopers. Then, after recovering from his wounds and having his armor repaired, Vader meets again with his Master.

    All this incredible action, and a cool framing story with Palpatine, makes for a great comic. Although very simple, the story by Ostrander is compelling, as are most of his stories. Aside from the plot about Vader, the confrontation itself is extremely well done and coordinated. Vader appears very powerful, yet he takes a lot of damage from the eight experienced Jedi. Realistically, Vader wouldn't survive a fight like this. One thing that helps him is the Jedi's weaknesses and overconfidence. There is a reason not many Jedi are around by the time of A New Hope. Even after surviving Order 66, Jedi still make errors in judgement. This story is appropriately named Purge, which of course refers to the Jedi Purge, but also refers to Vader having to purge Anakin Skywalker from himself by fully embrace his destiny and forgetting about Obi-Wan, his last link to his former existence. Although Vader disobeyed him, Palpatine uses the event to his advantage by exagerating the report of the massacre to 50 dead Jedi, thus making Vader more fearful to the rest of the galaxy.


    THE ART

    I'm sure I am not the only one to say this, by I really love Wheatley's artwork in general. In this comic, he truly handles all the action and the characters like a genius. If you loved his work on "Darklighter" and the Revenge of the Sith adaptation, you must not miss this issue. The last shot of Vader's helmet having received damage on one side from a rock is just too cool for words. He portrays the characters from different sources very faithfully. The coloring by Ronda Pattison is also amazing and creates a sad and foreboding mood with dull gray backgrounds. As mentioned before, Adam Hughes is the cover artist (click here to see his amazing prodution sketches for the cover).


    CONCLUSIONS

    A very entertaining and action-packed story for all Vader fans.

    Rating: 8 / 10 Recommended

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