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Star Wars Tales #24

[Also available in photo cover.]

Art Cover: Brandon Badeaux
Photo Cover: Richard E. Jones
Editor: Jeremy Barlow
Released: 07/13/2005

Reviewed by: JF Boivin (07/19/2005)


The final issue of the series. It's the fourth of the new "revamped" Star Wars Tales and the first of these to have four stories instead of three. These stories are: a Darth Maul story, a Kevin Rubio parody, another KotOR tie-in, and the final installment of "Nomad".

[art cover]

[photo cover]

Story: Rob Williams
Art: Cully Hamner
Coloring: Will Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler

Shortly before the Battle of Naboo, Sith Apprentice Darth Maul is sent on a mission by his Master Darth Sidious. He is to find the source of a disturbance in the Dark Side of the Force that originates from a planet in the Outer Rim and might disrupt his Master's plans for the future. Maul discovers that the source is an alien arena fighter who uses his limited powers in the Force to make money fighting opponents. Maul takes the challenge, and uses his fear to conquer the enemy.

This story brings back memories of the 2000 Darth Maul miniseries (which I just reviewed a few days ago). In fact, it starts out with a similar scene, with Maul practicing with some droids. Maul has his Sith Infiltrator, so it must take place after the four issue series, and could in fact be the "new task" that was mentioned at the end of it.

The similarities end there, however. in this short story, we find out a bit about Maul's past: when Sidious found him, and when he gave him his tattoos. It's also kind of a reverse Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan story, with Sidious teaching his apprentice a lesson about using fear to his advantage. Fear can be control and make one strong, and is a trait of the Dark Side.

Maul's oponent Silus seems hardly worthy of his skills. If Maul could have used his lightsaber he would have made mince meat out of the alien. But the arena is surrounded by a "nullifier field" which prevents the use of energy weapons and makes the fight a bit more even. Maul shows Silus a message from Darth Sidious who says he's looking for a new apprentice, and Maul is distracted by the thought that his Master is abandoning him.

These clever plot points make the 12-page story interesting, and it is a fitting tribute to the good old The Phantom Menace-period comics. It is a lot better than Williams' Wedge story from last issue, and comparable to the writer's "Nomad" series (see below).

Although nothing compared to Jan Duursema's style from the Darth Maul series, oddly enough Hamner's art reminds me more of Lucas Marangon in some spots. Which doesn't mean it's bad by any means, it's just more abstract. I love the expressions on the character's faces, such as when Maul get's angry or afraid. It matches the tone of the story very well, as do the colors by Will Glass.

"Fett Club"
Story: Kevin Rubio
Pencils: Roger Langridge
Coloring: Will Glass
Lettering: Michael Heisler

Two friends respond to an ad that promises to test their ability to become Mandalorians. They join dozens of others, and they all learn the rules of "Fett Club" the hard way form the best Mandalorian himself: Jango Fett.

A return to the Infinities label from bygone days. This story is in the "Star Wars meets..." genre, much like Rubio's previous TROOPS movie and "Force Fiction" (Tales #7). But I don't think it's as good or funny, maybe because I haven't seen Fight Club (shame on me) I might be missing out on some of the jokes. It's basically Fett killing off one candidate after another while using the 9 rules of Fett Club as an excuse for them to not fight back. I'm not sure if he's making them up as he goes along, and maybe that's supposed to be funny, but I do understand the ending which shows that Fett was just another candidate but he was smarter and created this whole "Fett Club" thing to be the last man standing and win the contest for Darth Tyrannus.

I am a fan of Rubio's work, especially "A Death Star is Born" (Tales #4), but I don't think this one is his best work.

This is a comedy, so the art is suitably cartoony. Much like in Rubio's past stories, this one has some visual gags such as recognizable background characters like Big Boy and a Dalek from Dr. Who (I think Rubio puts those in his script for the artist). The concept of horses, elephants and ewoks waring Mandalorian armor might sound funny, but it wears out pretty quickly. The style reminds me of a mix between Herb Trimpe and Sergio Aragones. I can't say anything bad about this cartoon art.

"Unseen, Unheard"
Story: Chris Avellone
Pencils: Dustin Weaver
Lettering: Michael Heisler

The Miraluka colony world Katarr is ravaged by a Sith Lord. The last survivor is taken aboard the Sith's ship.

The title of this story appears only on the index page. It is very short at six pages, and doesn't have any dialogue aside from a narrative. It is told from the point of view of Visas Marr, a Miraluka character from the Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords game. It basically tells her backstory mentioned in the game of how she was chosen by Darth Nihilus as an apprentice. It's fun to read, and makes a perfect mini-comic companion to the game.

I think we have a first in these page, a story in black and white. The art by Weaver is stunning. From the planet's peaks and architecture, to the starship and characters, the style is almost like a painting. I think it would be great if Weaver got to draw a whole series based in this period, or any period for that matter. (A KotOR series has been announced at Comic-con, but it will be by a different artistic team.)

"Nomad" Chapter Four
Story: Rob Williams
Art: Brandon Badeaux
Coloring: Dan Jackson
Lettering: Michael Heisler

Darca Nyl finally catches up to Lycan, and reveals to him why he's been pursuing him. This leads to the final confrontation, and the peace Nyl was looking for.

I liked the series up to now, but I not as much as this final installment. Mainly because it finally answers the questions about Nyl's background. All those flashbacks in dreams that we've been reading about are answered. I'm not a huge fan of waiting for almost a year to read the end of a story, but such is the nature of multi-chapter stories in anthologies.

So it comes down to the fact that Darca Nyl is not a Jedi, he was given a lightsaber from one so he could track down a dangerous Force-sensitive prisoner. The fact that Lycan killed Nyl's son only added motivation. Nyl realizes that it's only revenge, but along the way he did a lot of justice to strangers (in parts 1 to 3) and feels rewarded by this. He has a very tragic past, and I think it's a nice change. He's a flawed character, just a regular ex-mercenary who want to avenge the only thing he had left in the galaxy, his son.

So knowing how the story started, it incited me to re-read the whole story again from the beginning. This will be a good addition to the sixth and final collected volume of Star Wars Tales, especially without the wait between each chapter.

Badeaux is truly a unique artist. He is really good at illustrating characters and places of his own creation. He and Williams have just been announced as the artistic team that will create the upcoming Rebellion series, so we'll see if he can illustrate established characters as well. But the "Nomad" series will be remembered as his trademark because his style is such a big part of it.


That's it, the final issue. Although the weak point of this issue in my opinion, the addition of the Rubio story makes the series come full circle since the first 20 issues all had at least one of these parodies. It turns out that the most popular story ("Shadows and Light", Tales #23) inspired a monthly Knights of the Old Republic series. Too bad we won't find out what happens to Nas Ghent ("Walking the Path That's Given", Tales #21), but the year ahead promises a lot of great things. I think Tales was a great series, and too bad the continuity stories only lasted for 4 issues.

Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended

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