Star Wars Gamer #3
Bane of the Sith
by Kevin J. Anderson
Published by Wizards of the Coast
Scott's Rating: 3 out of 4
This short story was published in the Star Wars Gamer magazine. It takes place hundreds of years before Episode I.
A huge battle has just wiped out all but one of the Sith and many of the Jedi. Darth Bane is the only Sith survivor. As he races across the galaxy in his ship, he is haunted by the spirits of his dead masters who chide him for fleeing. However, Bane has another agenda. He intends to reform the Sith into a new order. One master, one apprentice.
His ship crash lands on a dangerous jungle planet. Bane eventually makes his way to a hidden tomb of the Sith Lord Freedon Nadd. There he finds a Sith Holocron which contains all the information he needs to become a master. However, he is also attacked by barnacle-like creatures which painfully attach to his body. They also happen to create a living armor which strengthens him. He then begins his search for his first apprentice.
When George Lucas created Episode I, he changed the rules on the Sith. This unfortunately seemed to undermine the lore established about the Sith in the books and comics. However, with this story, Kevin J. Anderson bridges that gap. This is an essential piece of Star Wars lore and gives one of our first glimpses at Darth Bane, the originator of the current incarnation of the Sith.
This short story ties in nicely with the Dark Horse comics and is a fun little sequel. It's also interesting to see more of the dynamics between the Sith masters and apprentices. It's also interesting to see how Sith ghosts haunt their apprentices while Jedi ghosts seem to be more helpful guides.
This story was a little too short. I honestly think an entire comic series or novel could have been devoted to the story of how Darth Bane restored the Sith order. Instead this important piece of Star Wars lore is reduced to a short 6 page story that many fans won't see.
I also didn't get a sense of why Darth Bane was a bad guy. Why was he strong enough and mean enough to be the cornerstone of the Sith order? That's not really explored in this story. All we see him do it fight one creature in the jungle.
On another note, I hate it when Star Wars authors flip real world names to make Star Wars names. Like a drink named "coffiene" or an animal called a "whaladon". But in this story KJA flat out calls a creature a "panther". Another creature is called a "barnacle". Another is called "pterodactyl-like". It kind of ripped you out of this alien universe. On the other hand KJA doesn't have to waste time explaining what the creature looks like. You instantly get a mental picture of what it is. Even Alan Dean Foster said Luke Skywalker had a dog on Tatooine in the ANH novelization, so I guess there's no room to complain.
The barnacle things on Darth Bane not only sounded ugly, but painful. I bet he's a real beauty to look at.