Thursday, August 14, 2008

Knights of the Old Republic.

I've recently been reading the Knights of the Old Republic series by Dark Horse and I am really enjoying it a lot. I think about a year ago at the Star Wars Celebration, Chris' brother Andrew let me read some of the comics he had with him when we were waiting in line, and one of them was the first issue of the series. So then I bought the first trade paperback off of Things From Another World for well under ten dollars because it was in their "Nick and Dent" section. I read it and thought it was pretty good, so I kept a lookout for the second trade, and a couple of weeks ago it popped up in their Nick and Dent section so I scored it for six bucks.

It was the second trade that really got me hooked.

I just bought issues #14-25 off of eBay and they arrived yesterday, so I'm just starting to catch up the rest of the way. I bought some back issues to fill some holes and then had to make a purchase at to fully catch up.

If you're unfamiliar with the series, it actually takes place in the same time line as the video game series, but it's set about eight years before the events in the first game. So if you know what happens in the game, I think eventually this series will set that up rather nicely. At least I hope it will. They've introduced a couple of characters that were major characters in the games, so that's why I say it will eventually fill in the details to setup the video game.

It's a pretty cool series and it takes a lot of the themes that have already been beaten to death in the Star Wars Universe and kind of flips them on their head. Without giving too much away, the main character is named Zayne Carrick and he is not your typical Jedi. Normally, Jedi are strong, confident and in charge. Zanyne...well, he's really not like that at all. He was basically about to fail out of the Jedi Order when he was betrayed.

Speaking of betrayal, that is another theme with a twist. Normally in the Star Wars Universe, betrayal involves a student betraying a Master. In this series, the Masters betray the student(s). Zayne survives and he is forced to become a rogue Jedi. I read something online about how the writers always wondered what would have happened if Luke had become a smuggler and traveled around the galaxy with Han and Chewie getting in and out of trouble. And that's really what it feels like when you read it. It really does have an Episode IV kind of a feel to it.

So, one of the other things it really has going for it is that Zayne has to figure out on his own how to be a Jedi. With every issue they keep developing his character and he slowly gains more and more confidence in his skills. He has a great group of friends and they are always getting involved in some kind of caper; there's always some comedy mixed in with the action, which I always think is a good thing. There's also the mystery behind the group of Masters that betrayed him that is slowly being revealed, so there's a little bit of a detective/mystery vibe going on. I think it all mixes together into a great formula for success. This series debuted in 2006 and it was part of a couple of comics that Dark Horse had released that year to try and breath new life into a 20-year-old series that had grown very stale and repetitious. I personally really enjoy the series and want to catch up quickly so I can read the new issues each month. So check it out if have the chance and definitely try and pick up the back issues. I think they're just getting to release the fourth trade, which collects issues #19-24 in September/October. I highly suggest seeking this one out, especially if you're a Star Wars nerd like I am.

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