Dark Times #6 (Republic #89)
Parallels Part 1 (of 5)
Story: Mick Harrison
Art: Dave Ross
Coloring: Alex Wald
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Zack Howard, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/13/2008)
While on a stopover at the Jedi training academy on Bogden Three, Masters K'kruhk and Jeisel survive an attack by their own troops. At a different time and place, the crew of the Uhumele depart Pizkoss fleeing from stormtroopers, but leave one of their members behind.
This first issue of "Parallels" is split in two parts: the first one, 16 pages long, takes us back to 2.5 days before Order 66 on Saleucami. We find out what happened to Masters K'kruhk and Jeisel after they parted ways with Quinlan Vos and Aayla Secura at the end of Republic #77. However, the scene is different than the last part of "Siege of Saleucami." The dialogue is different: in Republic, Quinlan was asking forgiveness to Jeisel for something he came up with during the battle, While she and K'kruhk walk away. Here, K'kruhk reveals that he is going to Mygeeto with Jeisel, while Quinlan says Aayla is leaving for Felucia and himself to Boz Pity for a refit (referring to Obi-Wan's claim that "Master Vos has moved his troops to Boz Pity" in Revenge of the Sith), then to Kashyyyk (and the events of Republic #81-83 "The Hidden Enemy"). Also, K'kruhk didn't have his straw hat in Republic, and Quinlan was Khaleen Hentz and Master Tholme. The setting of where that last meeting takes place is also different: in Republic the Jedi were alone standing beside a crater while the sun was setting. Here, they are on a landing field in the light of day, while clone troops are bustling around them boarding starships and vehicles. This almost led me to believe they were two separate incidents, but it is hard to imagine the four characters saying goodbyes twice.
Anyway, back to the storyline. I always love seeing stories set during the Clone Wars, especially the ones showing how some well-known Jedi survived Order 66. Here we see that K'kruhk and Jeisel's shuttle suffers some damage from an ambush attack by a Separatist cruiser and has to divert to Bogden Three for repairs. Turns out the Bogden moon is the home of a previously-unrevealed Jedi training facility where Master Du Mahn is training the younglings of Soaring Hawkbat Clan. There follows a touching scene where K'kruhk is reminded of what peace is like after years of war, and the younglings are delighted to see real soldiers. It makes it feel even more tragic when Order 66 comes. As soon as K'kruhk sees one of the clones draw his blaster, he is on to them. He jumps them, lightsaber blazing and dispatches many of them while Jeisel protects the younglings by deflecting blaster bolts with her own saber. Despite this there are several casualties, including Master Hahn, at least two younglings, and Jeisel who sacrifices herself to stop the troopers with a thermal detonator. K'kruhk manages to reach the not-completely-repaired shuttle with the rest of the younglings and their caretaker Piru. What happened and where will they go are questions left unanswered for now, at least until next issue.
The story jumps to two months later for the second part where we find the members of the crew from the Uhumele on Pizkoss. Bomo Greenbark and Meekerdin-Maa "Ratty" are running in the busy city streets, fleeing from a group of Imperial stormtroopers. They manage to reach the ship and depart, but not before knocking down Janks the Phindian who gets arrested. This part happens so quickly, we don't know why they were running or whether they intend to go back to rescue Janks. That will more than likely be the subject of the rest of "Parallels", as will K'kruhk's story meaning that the story might jump back and forth in time until the two groups eventually meet. This would give some significance to the title.
It's hard not to compare Dave Ross' work to Doug Wheatley's, since the latter left such a big impression on me with "The Path to Nowhere" storyline which introduced most of the characters. Like Wheatley, Ross inks his own pencils and has a realistic, detailed style. What differs is that Ross is probably not as familiar with the Star Wars universe as Wheatley is. In terms of quality, I like Ross' artwork very much. K'kruhk looks really bad-ass when he's fighting off the clone troopers, and the characters from the Uhumele are very faithful to their previous depictions. What I like less is Alex Wald's coloring work. While it offers several shades of each color, giving some life to the drawings, it just feels kind of bland sometimes and I don't agree with a lot of color choices. But like Ross, it must be hard to follow the very high standards that were set by the first five issues of the series.
We find out how K'kruhk survived! And the crew of the Uhumele are on the run from the Empire. A very tight-paced first installment to a promising story.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended