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TOTJ Tales of the Jedi: Redemption #2
Writer: Kevin J Anderson
Art: Chris Gossett
Colors: Dave Nestelle
Editor: David Land

Summary

At the Jedi gathering, Sylar speaks against Ulic Qel-Droma. Isolated Ulic tries to find a reason for living. A neglected Vima Sunrider decides to seek out Ulic to train her as a Jedi.


EnsViews Comic Review
Reviewed 08/26/98

Story
After a very promising first issue, I was anticipating a TOTJ comic for the first time in six or seven years. I'm not sure if it was my high expectations, or perhaps it's problems intrinsic to a second issue -- but I think the momentum built has slowed, if only slightly.

Despite previous young characters, I think this is the first Star Wars comic to display identifiable teen angst. Vima is the talented, but neglected child of a single parent. Her mother is devoted to career to the point of ignoring her, and she longs for a male role model in her life. This may sound cheesy, but I do a lot of work with youth and I've known many teen girls just like her. Most of them decide to (or at least want to) act out in the way the most opposite of their parent's wishes while still holding onto a core desire to gain the parent's approval. What better way than to become one of her mother's precious Jedi under the tutelage of her mother's outlawed ex-boyfriend?

My reading of this issue was colored by Chris Gossett's interview with theForce.net where he spoke about the mythology of Star Wars and how Slyvar's life metaphor will be revealed. I had visions of a subtle theme rising, but this lady is simply irrational vengeance and aggression. I hope she's here for some kind of counterpoint showing what Ulic used to be as opposed to what he'll become. She's anything but subtle here.

Ulic's soul-searching scenes were inevitable, but quite enjoyable. Anderson avoided the trap of using too much wallowing and self-pity. There remained a tone of legitimate desire for purpose mixed with physical helplessness. I liked the use of a 'Ghost Arca', a movie plot device rarely used in Star Wars fiction (probably due to a lack of dead Jedi). I do think that this issue would have been improved by leaving Ulic in the ground, and have the Arca encounter next issue breaking his head out to see a frost-bitten Vima in the next issue. This seems dramatically better than the awkward "but for what" page. I guess we'll have to see how this plays out...

I felt cheated out of some story with two pages wasted on the opening text crawl and the "next issue" teaser page.

Art
The art maintained the nice sketchy quality of the first issue. This character focuses title relies on Gossett to portray a lot of emotion and thought from the characters which is much harder to achieve in a comic than action. Vima, in particular, had a nice range of expression.

Ulic's introspective martial arts on the mountain top was nicely effective in carrying his character preventing the need for a lot of words on the page in the silent moments.

I appreciate an artist who draws a number of members of a non-human species, and they all look different. Each Twi'lek on Ryloth looks like they have their own story to tell.

The best artistic device was possibly the effective use of non-rectangular panels. Check out the uprising cries on Ryloth and the shattered panel around the eye of Ulic's broken spirit.

The weakest part of the art was the inconsistent rendering of Slyvar. She looked different and awkward in many panels. Sometimes she was down right un- feline.

Conclusions
This is a reasonably good book, but it doesn't quite carry the momentum of the first issue. I'm cutting it some slack because the overall arc has strong potential.

7/10. Recommended.

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"EnsViews" are copyright 1997-8 by Paul Ens. They are posted to rec.arts.sf.starwars.misc, emailed to Dark Horse Comics and archived on theForce.net. With the exception of Dark Horse Comics Inc, they may not be reprinted without permission.

Titles, Cover images, Dark Horse Comics, and the Dark Horse logo are trademarks of Dark Horse Comics Inc. and its respective Licensors.

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