Dark Times #9 (Republic #92)
Parallels Part 4 (of 5)
Story: Mick Harrison
Art: Lui Antonio (p.1-4, 10-13 & 17-20), Dave Ross (p.5-9, 14-16 & 21-22)
Coloring: Alex Wald
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Zack Howard, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (03/02/2008)
Inside the crimelord Haka Hai's base on Mimban, Bomo Greenbark frees himself and plans to rescue his friends who are also prisoners. Meanwhile on another planet, Master K'kruhk races back to his camp to rescue a clan of Jedi from raiding pirates but arrives too late. He then prepares himself to mount a rescue.
As in the first three parts of "Parallels", we have two "parallel" stories going. First, on Mimban, Bomo manages to free himself from his chains on the torture rack and fool his captors led by the crime lord Haka Hai that he escaped into the swamps. In actuality, Bomo is hiding inside the base where he meets another prisoner Crys Taanzer, and together they plan to rescue the rest of the Uhumele crew. But first, they have to arm themselves so they go to the bandit base's armory. But they meet some resistance in the form of a large guard and a locked blast door. Nothing that cannot be overcome though.
At the same time, we follow K'kruhk's story on an unnamed peaceful planet. Haka Hai's second-in-command Lumbra and his crew have crashed on the same planet, and go investigate the site of another ship in order to gather some spare parts. The other crash site happens to be where K'kruhk, Chase Piru and a clan of Jedi Younglings (including Kennan Taanzer) have made their home in the past weeks. K'kruhk is away, but he noticed the pirates arriving and is rushing towards the camp to help his protégés. But he arrives too late: Lumbra and his men have captured all the Younglings and left Piru for dead. Fortunately, K'kruhk is able to heal Piru with the Force, and they plan to rescue the Younglings even if it means taking the pirates' lives. "Next: K'kruhk and Bomo Go To War!" is a fitting end blurb, as this issue's events lead up to an explosive finale.
This chapter is very suspensful, and shows a lot of planning on the characters' part. There is a nice balancing act between the parallel storylines, and Harrison is able to cut from one to the other at appropriate moments. The charscters act intelligently, even though Piru makes the mistake of using the Force to save a young Twi'lek Jedi thus revealing their identity. But she was acting on pure instinct. Young Kennan bravely tries to defend his friends but is met with the butt end of a blaster. In the other story, Bomo also shows a lot of bravery, first breaking his metal shackles then sneaking around Haka Hai's base. This issue is also the first to showcase the Legacy of the Force Miniatures ad by Jan Duursema.
More alternating between the artists, each covering his own storyline (Antonio the Mimban scenes, Ross the K'kruhk scenes). As I mentioned, I don't like Antonio's style. He draws exagerated bodies: Crys has the anatomy of a porn star, and the small Bomo looks too much like a heavy-weight bodybuilder (especially on page 4). Plus, all the aliens aside from Haka Hai are complete fabrications, as opposed to established species. That takes away from the flavor of the series, which so far has been rich with the lifeforms, technologies and planets of the Expanded Universe. Compared to that, I have nothing bad to say about Ross' art and the promise of having him as the sole artist for next issue (in the letters page) makes me look forward to it even more. The only other gripe I have is with the mute, monochrome coloring and the weird palette of colors.
At last we see some hope ont he horizon, some light at the end of the tunnel. The story is great but the art makes it lose some points. Keep reading!
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended