Star Wars #34
Darkness Part 3 (of 4)
Scripting: John Ostrander
Pencilling: Jan Duursema
Inking: Ray Kryssing
Coloring: Dave McCaig
Lettering: Steve Dutro
Cover: Jon Foster
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/17/2010)
Quinlan Vos, Tholme and Zao are fighting feral Anzati in the settlement of Deadend on Kiffex, when the creatures' leader reveals herself: Aayla Secura, who has lost her memories and only has hate for he former Master. The creatures escape on flying bathwas to return to their master, but Quinlan insists on pursuing them having sworn to find his lost Padawan. With skycycles provided by Vilmarh Grarhk, the Jedi pursue the Anzati into an ambush but are rescued by another Jedi named T'ra Saa. T'ra Saa reveals to the others that she was sent to warn them of the escape of a dangerous Dark Jedi named Volfe Karkko, and they deduce Aayla must have released him and be under his influence. Meanwhile on Coruscant, believing all their Jedi envoys dead, Mace Windu, Plo Koon and Adi Gallia are sent ahead of a Jedi task force to prevent Karkko's escape from Kiffex at all costs.
The fight started last issue in the cantina gets resolved here. The degenerate Anzati capture a bunch of local denizens but not Jedi, as Aayla was probably not expecting to meet three experienced Jedi. Quinlan is completely surprised to see his former Padawan of course, having searched for her to no avail for months. Once the Anzati are satisfied and leave, Quinlan insists on pursuing her despite the protests of his own former Master Tholme. This whole story deals with the "darkness" inside of Quinlan and how this mission turns out exactly like something he should totally stay away from. Unfortunately, the Jedi Council found out too late about the existence of Volffe Karrko and they immediately sent the nearest Jedi, the sector's Watchman T'ra Saa, to warn Quinlan. The title "Darkness" also refers to the ancient evil of Karrko himself, whose origin is revealed here by T'ra Saa and confirms clues that have be laid out in previous installments. Karrko's darkness also influences the vulnerable Aayla Secura, who has lost her memory along with her Master Quinlan, but has been separated from the Jedi for too long and they have been searching for her ever since. It was just bad luck for the galaxy that she ended up on Kiffex and fell under the control of Karrko.
Once the Devaronian smuggler Villie provides transportation, the Jedi decide to go along with the determined Quinlan and follow the Anzati. Villie has more of a comic relief role in this issue, not bringing much to the story but he has very funny moments (my favorite: when they leave he says that he must say a proper hello to crime lord Zaga and his men, then says "'allo" everytime he shoots one of the them). Aayla sets up an ambush in the giant trees and when the Jedi are attacked they are joined by T'ra Saa. She was sent last issue by Mace Windu, but this is her first appearance. She has a tree-like appearance and seems to be pretty close with Tholme. Together, they fight off the Anzati and then T'ra Saa explains the reason of her presence here. Last issue, it was revealed that a Holocron in the Temple was activated as warning for an ancient danger. The cause of the warning is revealed here, and the Jedi are informed of the existence of Volfe Karrko. His fall from Jedi Knighthood to the Dark Side is plausible, while the reason why the Jedi would accept an Anzat among their ranks in the first place is not.
Karkko's existence is such a danger that Mace Windu tries to gather a strike force to stop him and volunteers to go immediately to Kiffex along with Plo Koon and Adi Gallia, while Saesee Tiin tries to gather as many Jedi as possible to follow them. Windu also seems to believe Karkko dangerous enough to have killed Quinlan, Tholme and T'ra Saa (of course he doesn't know about Zao). Meanwhile, Mace's suspicions that Karkko is trying to leave Kiffex are confirmed when the Anzati himself reveals to Aayla his intent of feeding on the Jedi's "soup" and escape the prison planet (it's a good thing T'ra Saa's ship was damaged beyond repair by the Kiffar Guardians). Like any good servant, Aayla offers her own essence for Karkko to feed on since she failed on capturing the other Jedi but he intends on making her his queen. To be continued.
Wow. The art is once again simply unbelievable. Karkko looks very sinister, even in his younger flashback days, as does Aayla with her eyes filled with darkness. Action scenes and character concepts (including T'ra Saa) are beyond cool, as are the flying creatures bathwas. I only have one quip: I found a bit annoying the fact that the skycycles (a term expected of Villie, but Quinlan also uses it) are supposed to be cobbled together from leftover ship parts but they look like perfectly manufactured Aratech 74-Z speeder bikes. But this has more to do with the scripting that an artistic choice. The coloring is also amazing, creating a whole feel to the planet's various environments.
More and more Jedi are gathering to stop the evil Volfe Karrko.
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended