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Republic #80

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Rebellion #7 (Empire #47)
The Ahakista Gambit Part 2 (of 5)

Story: Brandon Badeaux, Rob Williams
Script: Rob Williams
Art: Michel Lacombe
Coloring: Wil Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Ryan Sook
Released: 06/13/2007

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/24/2007)


Wyl Tarson encounters some resistance from his potential recruit, an ex-Jedi named Darca Nyl whom he thinks would be useful for his mission. It takes a lot of convincing, but Nyl joins the group and they all go to Ahakista. When they arrive, they find out that the Empire is on the planet to squash a local rebellion. They manage to land at the Daystar Casino, using a landing code provided by Raze, and meet with their contact Sardoth. The Ikotchi casino owner takes an interest in Darca Nyl's lightsaber, wondering if he is a Jedi. But there is also another on the planet who has a particular interest in Jedi, a certain Dark Lord of the Sith who seems to feel a tremor in the Force.

[final cover]

[preview cover]


Last issue left off with the "crew" invading the home of their last potential recruit. Turns out he is a mercenary named Darca Nyl, a character created by Rob Williams and Brandon Badeaux in a four-part story titled "Nomad" (Star Wars Tales #21-24) which takes place about 32 years before this story. He still has his lightsaber and doesn't take kindly to strangers. Dressed like a ninja (was he expecting an intrusion?), he almost kills Tarson, Laynara and Baco Par until Laynara stops him by threatening a whole shelf of statues!? The ploy works, since those hand-made busts and statues of Nyl's dead wife and son were his only passtime over the last few decades and have an enormous sentimental value to him. Nyl happens to know Tarson, and for a reason yet to be revealed they don't trust each other. That's probably why even after discussing for almost an hour, Nyl refuses at first to go along with Tarson on his mission. But something in Laynara's words about Nyl's wife wanting him to live like a recluse must have stucks a cord, because as the crew is boarding the ship Nyl joins them.

Meanwhile, we find out a bit more about the situation on Ahakista. Councilman Bular is outraged by the death of two of his peers, who were killed last issue by Rebel hero Dunlan. Bular tells an off-screen Imperial leader that he should be looking for Dunlan as he is the mastermind and inspiration behind the current uprising. The off-screen characters (who we find out on the last page is Darth Vader himself) is not very happy to be given "Suggestions" but nevertheless sends a few AT-ATs to trample some buildings in the city. Dunlan survives the collapse of his safehouse and realizes the extent of the Empire's cruelty; instead of looking for him they try to flush him out by killing a few innocent civilians. And if one of the casualties happens to be Dunlan, well that would be a bonus. Dunlan gets the message, but is he going to do something about it?

By the time Tarson and his crew arrive, they are met by a whole fleet of Star Destroyers and are given 10 seconds to transmit an authorized landing code or be destroyed. Raze, who is still communicating with Tarson via a comlink implanted in his head, keeps Tarson is suspense until the last second and then gives him the landing code. Raze just wants to remind him that he is still in control and that Tarson always needs someone else to help him. Then we see a continuation of last issue's flashback of his youth where Tarson's brother Ved, whom we thought had been killed during an Imperial attack, rescues him from an incoming Juggernaut vehicle.

The landing code is to land at the Daystar Casino where the crew meets with the owner, the Ikotchi named Sardoth who is the contact whom Raze told Tarson would give him the details of his mission. Sardoth explains to them the local situation with the oppressed lower classes fighting the ruling upper classes. Then Laynara gives him a suitcase and Sardoth tells them to prepare for the mission tomorrow. Her job done, Laynara tells Tarson that she will be leaving aboard the next transport. Sardoth then asks Darca Nyl to join him for a chat, and reveals his interest in lightsabers. He noticed Nyl's lightsaber and asks him if he is a Jedi (which we know he is not) while showing him a huge collection of lightsabers from Jedi that he has "met" before. So, is Sardoth the "Jedi Killer" mentioned on the cover? And is it a tremor in the Force that Vader detects when he looks pensively at the city? Or could Sardoth be a Jedi himself? I hope we find out next issue.

This issue is an improvement over the last one, simply because now we have more information and the story is starting to become clearer and more interesting. But it's still not anything special compared to some other recent stories, although it is still too soon to know for sure. I also want to mention that the two letters on the letters page are by prominent members of the online Star Wars community: one is by Rebelscum.com's Jay Shepard, and the other is by T'bone's Star Wars Universe contributor Sabrina Fried.


Lacombe's art is very dark, with a lot of completely black shadows everywhere. His depiction of characters and facial expressions are very realistic, and makes me wondr if he uses live models or photos as reference. Darca Nyl looks appropriately old and scarred, but the one full page of Darth Vader is not that good. I've said this before, but Darth Vader is a very difficult character to get right, and only a few artists are truly able to represent the angles of the armor correctly. Lacombe is not one of them apparently. What's the deal with the title logo cutting off Vader's head on Ryan Sook's cover? It makes the Dark Lord look like a big black blob with a lightsaber sticking out.


Now we're getting closer to the core of the story. It's getting more interesting.

Rating: 6.5 / 10

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