Friday, April 24, 2015

Star Wars: Legacy (hardcover) volume 2 review

    Star Wars: Legacy is no longer canon thanks to the old Expanded Universe being removed from continuity. It's still one of the more coherent and well-crafted stories of the Legends universe, however, which means I heartily recommend it to people who are looking for an enjoyable alternate continuity Star Wars tale. I see no reason why you can't enjoy the Star Wars Legends stories anymore than the Marvel Ultimates series.

    The premise of Star Wars: Legacy is the Sith have returned one-hundred-and-twenty-years after the death of Emperor Palpatine. Led by the diabolical Darth Krayt, they have managed to seize control over the galaxy and install a ruthless draconian dictatorship over the whole of the universe once more. As before, a Skywalker may be the universe's last hope, but Cade Skywalker is the only one left alive and he's a drug-addicted bounty hunter who wants nothing to do with heroism.

The attack on Dac is the first real victory of the new Rebellion.
    In my review of the first hardcover, I mentioned how I wasn't very fond of Cade Skywalker asa a concept. I've never been a great fan of Chosen Ones in fiction and Cade is kind of an insult to his forebearers. Luke Skywalker wasn't a hero because of his high midiclorian count, he was a hero because he wanted to fight the Empire and make the galaxy a better place. The fact the central premise of Legacy is that Cade Skywalker is the only person capable of defeating Darth Krayt caused me extreme distress.

    Thankfully, this volume makes up for it in numerous ways.

    Cade Skywalker gets plenty of development, don't get me wrong, but the series takes a moment to step away from him by giving some focus to other characters. Whereas Cade Skywalker wants nothing to do with being the galaxy's savior, there are plenty of other people who do.

    My favorite of these characters is Gar Stazi, a Duros Admiral of the fallen Galactic Alliance, who is waging a never-ending campaign of resistance against the Sith-controlled Galactic Empire. Gar Stazi is an unquestionably heroic character and contrasts strongly with morally ambiguous characters like our current protagonist.

Darth Krayt proves himself a true monster, equal to Palpatine in evil, if not skill.
    Another character I liked was Cade's uncle, Nat, another Skywalker who has chosen to abandon the Jedi way. Unlike Cade, he hasn't allowed himself to sink into debauchery and depravity. A committed family man, he's a far more admirable figure even if he's decided saving the universe isn't for him. Still, I would have been much happier if there were Skywalkers who were interested in saving the universe.

    That would defeat the need for Cade, though.

    A third character I came to enjoy was Azlyn Rae, Cade Skywalker's former lover and a Jedi padawan who left their order to become an Imperial Knight. She is a reminder of the better times of Cade's life while also a person who inspires him to be better. The fact she's a strong female character who chooses to do what's right over what's practical also helps cement her place in my fanboy's heart.

    Plus she's a ginger and they're a superior species (at least according to my wife).


    The moments spent between Cade and his uncle are some of the best in the series, in my humble opinion, and go a long way to humanizing our antihero protagonist. Nat gives him firm but practical advice about his situation as well as directs him away from the Dark Side without being condescending. Cade is never more likable than when dealing with his uncle and we get some hints as to how he became the way he did. Cade, much like Anakin, simply wishes people to live and his struggle to keep his loved ones from leaving is his greatest flaw rather than his drug use. I'm never going to like Cade but, after this volume, I understood him.

Azlyn Rae is awesome. What happens to her? Well, you'll just have to see but her story goes in surprising directions.
     We also get the set-up for the central conflict of the Legacy stories in the massacre of the Mon Calamari. Long champions of freedom and democracy, they badly underestimate how deep Darth Krayt's madness goes. When the Mon Calamari population is set for genocide, the rest of the galaxy can only look on in horror at the pure evil on display. As with Alderaan, the event galvanizes Darth Krayt's enemies to unite against him too. Some of my favorite moments from this volume are centered around the Mon Calamari defense, like watching Imperial Knight Treis Sinde choose his loyalty to the Force over his service to Emperor Fel.

    In conclusion, Star Wars: Legacy volume 2 is an excellent continuation of a great series. While I don't much care for its lead, the setting is evocative, the art is beautiful, and the characters are fascinating. While the storyline can be a trifle depressing, I think anyone who likes their Star Wars a bit edgy will enjoy this.


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