Knights of the Old Republic #16
Nights of Anger Part 1
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Brian Ching
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Colin Wilson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (09/05/2007)
Camper is wounded, and he needs treatment that can only be found on Arkania. Unfortunately, the company who holds the best chance of having the information, Adascorp, is also the one that has been searching for Camper for years. Jarael decides to go alone, but as an Arkanian offshoot she is not allowed in Adascopolis where the medcenter is located. But with the help of a local girl named Zadawi and a clever disguise, Jarael manages to sneak into the medcenter and get someone diagnose Camper's condition using his bio-readings. Apparently, someone recognized the information as some guards arrive and try to detain Jarael. Later, when Lord Adasca's ship the Arkanian Legacy captures the Last Resort in its tractor beams, Camper feels betrayed as Jarael contacts him by hologram alongside Adasca himself.
Adascorp was first mentioned in issue #12 as one of the consortium of companies that own Zayne's father's bank (along with Czerka and the Draay Trust). Then in issue #13, we saw a Duro named Eejee Vamm contacting Lord Adasca to inform him that he found the person he has been looking for: Camper. I kind of deduced from that that Adasca and his Corporation were the ones Camper was running from, as hinted in the "Commencement" story arc. In this issue, we find out that Adascorp is a medical company based on Arkania, which actually makes sense. Unfortunately, this is also where Jarael has to go to find medication for Camper, since no one else has information about Arkanian physiology and the Mandalorian Rohlan has done as much as he could with his limited field medicine skills. (Camper is in such bad shape since he was attacked by the assassin droid HK-24 aboard the Last Resort in issue #13.)
As soon as Jarael lands on the planet, which is the first time for her even though she is Arkanian, and after being greeted by a hologram of Lord Adasca, she gets a taste of the local social hierarchy. When she tries to board the shuttlebus that goes to the medical center in Adascopolis, she is recognized as an offshoot and placed inside another shuttle that goes to an old mining camp where offshoots live. Along the way, she meets a young Arkanian offshoot girl named Zadawi who brings Jarael to meet her grandmother. Through them, Jarael learns all about the politics of Arkania: how "purebloods" treat offshoots now that they don't need them for the gem mines anymore and this was the reason they bioengineered them in the first place; that offshoots can't go to university or even work in the same cities as purebloods; that Adascorop sell medicines across the galaxy but won't even help the offshoots who have lesser resistance to illnesses; and that Lord Adasca himself is not the one responsible for this whole situation but rather the people who work for him. But more importantly, she learns that there is a way to sneak into Adascopolis by changing her skin tone and hair color. Zadawi and her friends have been doing it for years.
The next day, a disguised Jarael gives Camper's blood sample and bio-readings to some medical supervisor in order to get them analyzed and find a diagnostic for his condition. But when the supervisor comes back after a while and tries to stall her, Jarael becomes suspicious. I think she should have expected that Camper's readings would be in a database somewhere and would be detected right away, but apparently not snce she's surprised to see some guards rushing toward her. She fights back with all her usual ferociousness, but someone grabs her from behind. Then it cuts to Camper waking up from his delirium aboard his ship just outside the Perave system where Arkania is located, only to see a huge Adascorp ship appear out of nowhere. The Arkanian Legacy belongs to Lord Adasca himself, and not only is Camper panicking because the company has finally found him, but the sight of Jarael being with them is enough to overwhelm him. Camper passes out, making for a very thought-provoking cliffhanger.
Personally, I don't think Jarael would ever betray Camper like that. Not after everything she did and said she felt for him in previous issues. I prefer to believe that what Zadawi's grandmother says about Adasca is true and that he will "put an end to our bad times." When she contacts Camper from Adasca's ship, she tells him "Trust me. He can help." and I think this will prove to be true. The last story arc was more about Zayne and Gryph, so it's very nice to have a Jarael/Camper tale for a change. The last time we saw them was in issue #14 after they separated from Zayne and Gryph and were attacked by the droid, as mentionned previously. In this issue, we get to learn more about Jarael. We learn that she wasn't born on Arkania, that she is not a "typical" Arkanian offshoot, that she was born Edessa which means "triumph" in the old Arkanian tongue, and at one point Zadawi makes a remark about Jarael's pointed ears but she brushes the subject aside. I also get the feeling that we will learn a lot more about Camper as well over the following issues. I didn't care too much about Zadawi, her grandmother and he father (who appears for two panels), but the writer does a very good job of delivering all the expository dialogue about Arkania through them. This issue mostly sets up the story and the location, not much action so far but I'm sure there will be a lot more in the following issues.
What about that creepy image from the cover, where Zayne seems to command his dead Padawan companions to get their revenge? Well this is a vision Raana Tey has at the beginning, where she sees herself as a young Jedi forced to look into the future by Zayne and the others in the abandonned Temple on Taris. Then she wakes up, and he medical droid says that she's been having a lot of visions lately and not enough sleep. It seems that after they left Taris, the Jedi Masters have gone their separate ways probably hunting for Zayne. We've been seeing some of them here and there in recent issues, and I'm sure this will lead to a face-off of some kind.
Brian Ching is the mainstay of this series. He was the one who started it all and has done the most issues. But my favorite is Dustin Weaver. Ching is good at depicting backgrounds and starships and such, but I don't think he's as good with characters. I think the faces are too pointy and the eyes look weird. But at least Rohlan looks great when drawn by Ching, and it's very cool very cool to see Arkania again, which hasn't been in comics since 1993's Tales of the Jedi series. And the coloring by Atiyeh is incredible, as usual. Not a big fan of that cover by Colin Wilson however.
"Nights of Anger" is off to a great start, slow build-up but great cliffhanger!
Rating: 7 / 10 Highly Recommended