Thursday, September 12, 2013

Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi: Prisoner of Bogan review


    I admit, I was underwhelmed with Into The Void but Force Storm has proven the Dawn of the Jedi setting has great potential. I was eager to plow into the Prisoner of Bogan arc as soon as I finished its predecessor.

    The heart of this story is a trope I'm surprised we haven't seen more of in Star Wars. Basically, someone sees a vision of something bad in the Force and starts taking actions which may or may not make it come about.

    It's a classic plot from Greek mythology, most notably the story of Oedipus, but it isn't limited there. Troy Denning attempted to retcon Jacen Solo's fall into having elements of this but I'm not sure he succeed. I like to think Kreia's fall in Knights of the Old Republic 2 had to do with her farseeing skill revealing the devastation her apprentice would wreck.

No, that's not evil Jimmy Smitts with a mullet and a lightsaber. It just LOOKS like it.
    The unlucky seer in Prisoner of Bogan is Daegen Lok. He saw a vision of the Rakata destroying Tython and its people. Daegen Lok found no receptive ears in the Jed'aii Council and ended up getting banished to the moon of Bogan for it.

    Banishment for darksiders was a punishment first introduced in The Courtship of Princess Leia but we haven't seen much of it in the EU. It's cool to see it revisited with a guy who may or may not have actually been corrupt before his banishment. Unfortunately, for our heroes, years of focusing on his vision have driven him crazy. Well, perhaps not crazy, ruthless and obsessed may be a better description. After all, he's lost a lot of time to prepare for the Rakata's now-imminent invasion.

    We get a bit more backstory on the Jed'aii and what they've been doing for the past few decades too. Much like the Mandalorian Wars broadened our understanding of the Jedi in Knights of the Old Republic, so does the Despot Wars do the same for the Jed'aii here. The Barons of one of the settled worlds in the Tython System rose up to destroy the Jed'aii only to get themselves annihilated as a result.

The comic has excellent action throughout.
     The losers, having been massacred in the battle, justifiably hold a grudge against those who crushed them. It's a surprisingly realistic source of Anti-Jediism. After all, people usually don't think of themselves as bad guys when they're defeated in a war and these Jedi are pretty ruthless.

    I admit, I also liked Daegen Lok's causal description of how he defeated the rebels. The Jed'aii are efficient and don't mind getting their hands dirty. I'm fairly sure this method brought a swift end to the war, which might have otherwise devastated the system, but it caused me to put my comic down for a second. I have no doubt the other Jed'aii would have done the same as Lok and that makes them dangerous.

    Xesh's journey continues in Prisoner of Bogan and I'm intrigued by where its headed. The dark-sider is less than thrilled at the Jed'aii's treatment of him as a walking bomb, even if that's close to what he is. The Jed'aii's awe over his lightsaber is also cool, highlighting the monumental moment it is for them to find it.

    There's something fascinating about the fact it was originally not only a Darksiders-only weapon but something used to oppress slaves. The Jed'aii fact the took it, made it their own, and used it to defend the galaxy for 20,000 years is awesome in its symbolism.

    Much of the comic is set-up for later events in the saga but the escape of Daegen and Xesh from Bogan provides an excellent story to keep us occupied until the payoff. Daegen has no hesitation in harming his fellow Jed'aii and that brutality makes us fear for our heroes. The action and emotional conflict is Star Wars at its best.

Clearly, the Rakata are fond of Image comics.
     If I had one complaint, it's a small one. I'm not fond of the character design of newcomer Trill. She looks like a rock album cover and it kind of undermines her role as the harbinger for the Infinite Empire. This is a small complaint, however, and I enjoy her story. It's a nice deconstruction of the "Morality Pet" trope as you can't pin all of your hopes and dreams on a single person. Because, no matter how good they are, you're bound to be disappointed.

    We get some more information on the Rakata, Jed'aii, and Blue Desert People. I'm kind of disappointed the Blue Desert People's past as "godlike precursors" is being linked to Tython as I was never particularly fond of the retcon they were sentient beings. It seemed to undercut Luke Skywalker's lesson to Isoldor that animals think--even if they don't think like regular beings.

    Still, watching the Jedi learn the history of the Rakata was worth the issue price alone. I will say, in a storyline filled with varying motivations of intricate complexity, it's interesting to learn the Blue Desert People's explanation for why the Rakata went bad boils down to, "they were a bunch of murderous bullies." You have to wonder why they gave the Blue Desert People gave them super-technology and Force powers. You'd think they'd have noticed this quality.

    Oh well, great trade. Buy it.

10/10

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