Dark Times #14 (Republic #97)
Blue Harvest Part 2
Script: Mick Harrison
Art: Douglas Wheatley
Coloring: Dave McCaig
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Douglas Wheatley
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (02/27/2010)
On Telerath, Dass Jennir meets with his employer Ember Chankeli in secret and she pays him half of his fee to get rid of the slave gang. When Jennir inquires about another gang known as spice runners, Chankeli seems evasive and insists that he only deal with the slavers. Chankeli gives him a room at her establishment and advises him to lay low for a few days, but Jennir has a job to do and wants to find out about the spice runners. After stealing a knife from one of the Changrian slavers, Jennir goes in secret to Telerath's second moon where the spice runners are based. The Jedi discovers that the T'surr Ken-Giree is also a slave owner, and decides to kill two birds with one stone by wiping out the whole outfit, freeing the slaves, and leaving the blade he stole from the slavers as evidence.
The sub-plot concerning Vader continues in the two-page opening scene. He is still handling the uprising by miners on Bandomeer, all the while reflecting about why his master informed him of Jennir's existence but not assigning him to kill the Jedi. Then it's back to where we left off last issue, with Jennir having purchased a sword now that he's learned of the local "sword law" imposed by the slavers that runs the town of Noua. He still has his guide, Fish, on retainer and stops at an establishment named "Ember's Fire" to get a room for the night. It's not spoken out loud but by Fish's remarks and the demands of the only patron inside, it is strongly hinted that this is some sort of brothel. Anyway, Ember's Fire is owned by Ember Chankeli, the woman who hired Jennir to come to Telerath and deal with the slavers (now we know what she meant by the slavers ruining her "business" by driving off tourists). He doesn't seem surprised to see her refer to her "girls", which would make Ember some sort of madam. She brings him to her "office" and they discuss the events from last issue in which Jennir interferred in a tryout duel led by Mors Demanna, the Chagrian slavers' enforcer. According to Ember, Jennir did pique Demanna's curiosity but his men are not happy that one of theirs had to be killed because of the Jedi's actions. This is confirmed later in a scene between Demanna and Boss Musori where they agree that Jennir should join them or die.
Anyway, Jennir is told to lay low for a few days until Demanna manages to reason with his men not to kill him. During the discussion, Ember gets very elusive and nervous when Jennir asks about the spice runners that he heard about from Fish (but that she neglected to mention). She just says they are on the planet's second moon and Jennir should not bother with them. He was hired to deal with the slavers only. And to remind him, she pays him half of his payment in advance. On the way to his room, Jennir is met by Nikollane, one of Ember's "girls," whose son Dado was injured during the tryouts. Jennir himself saved the boy's life, but witnessed the boy's sword-arm being cut off as punishment. Now the boy is resting, and Jennir offers to do something to help him heal. Although what he does is left off-panel as the attention then focuses on H2 in the hall outside seeing Ember walk out wearing a hooded cape. H2 has had suspicions about the lady, and it seems they are proven true when we see her meet with a T'surr named Ken-Kiba who inquires about the man she hired. Apparently, Ember has an association with the spice runners and even hired the thugs back on Cato Neimoidia to fight Jennir. She also brings Ken-Kiba a slave as a gift. More on that next issue I guess.
Meanwhile, Jennir never makes it to his room. He sneaks out and tackles one of the Chagrian slavers to steal his sword. Then he goes back to his ship aboard Fish's boat and flies off to Telerath's second moon without Ember's knowledge. Jennir was probably not expecting to find slaves at the spice runners refinery, but when H2 points out some Nosaurians he knows something will happen. (H2 has a very funny line when he says "I'm going back to the ship. Let me know when you've killed them all.") Jennir makes short order of the T'surr, his desire to remove an evil from the galaxy greater than his morals of not using blasters to kill. He frees the Nosaurian slaves (and one Chubbit among them) who recognize him as the General who fought for them on their home planet. Jennir tells them to leave the planet with the slavers' ships, then imbeds the stolen Chagrian knife in one of the T'surr corpses, probably intending to start a gang war. After all, this is what he was hired for and Ember told him to do "whatever you have to do to get rid of the slavers." It's going to be interesting to see what happens when Jennir finds out she is friends with the spicers. But what is Vader's role in all that?
Doug Wheatley is hands down the best artist comic book, never mind the best Star Wars artist. I don't really mind that his intricate work delays each issue by several months. I'd rather see his final product than the editors hiring another artist to meet deadlines. You have to see to believe how each panel is a complete work of art, with an incredible amount of details and some even have some mini-stories happening in the background. It's amazingly realistic, I'm sure he must use live models to create the poses and expressions that are on every page. I noticed that the first 2 pages and the last 11 are inked, as opposed to color over line art (both styles are still incredible). I don't really mind the inconsistency, the art is just perfect any way Wheatley creates it.
Dass Jennir vs. two slaver gangs
Rating: 8.5 / 10 Highly Recommended