Knights of the Old Republic #17
Nights of Anger Part 2
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Harvey Tolibao
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Colin Wilson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/15/2007)
After being taken by Adascorp, the company he has been running from for years, Camper is taken away to quarantine aboard their ship the Arkanian Legacy to be treated for Balniquar's virus. Lord Adasca convinces Jarael that she did the right thing and that Camper will be cured. But Adasca secretly has other plans for the pair and their Mandalorian companion Rohlan. Meanwhile aboard the Courageous, part of the Republic fleet fighting the Mandalorians near Serocco, Zayne Carrick is free from captivity and helps Admiral Karath and Lt. Onasi to escape while the ship is being boarded.
So why was Camper hiding from Adascorp for all these years? We don't find out just yet as he is unconscious for most of the issue. But when he wakes up, we do find out that they need him to finish some "secret project" that he started before he left. At first, Adasca and his Lobot-like cyborg aide Eejee Vamm (a Duro first seen in issue #13) seem very nice and happy to help. But unlike Jarael, if you remember that Camper was attacked by a HK droid in issues #13-14 shortly after Eejee located him and you put 2 and 2 together...
After Camper is taken away for treatment of what Adasca calls Balinquar's virus, Jarael gets the grand tour of the Arkanian Legacy, Adascorp's aptly-named cultural starship. Adasca convinces her that he only has good intentions where Camper is concerned, and since he was exposed to the virus during his employment with them Adasca feels that he is responsible for his condition. When Jarael shows concern for Rohlan when the Mandalorian is taken to the brig, Adasca assures her he will check on him later (and he actually does, freeing Rohlan and giving him free escorted access aboard the ship). He even puts the moves on Jarael but she sublty refuses his advances. However, we soon find out that Adasca and Eejee have been putting on a show when Camper wakes up, all clean-shaven, and confronts Eejee.
Turn out the "Balinquar" thing was all a scam. Camper was in bad shape simply because of an allergic reaction to the Last Resort's dirty ventilation system. But Adasca needs Camper to finish his project, and Eejee has the HK droids to convince him to do it. It is also implied that Jarael might be used as a "insurance". Adasca also recruits Rohlan to take part in the project, although for what reason is not revealed yet but I assume would be for a muscle job. The only question I have is this: when Camper confronts Eejee why did Camper wait until after the Duro cut his communication with Jarael? He could have come in earlier and give her a sign that something is wrong. And why is Eejee sweating all the while, as if Camper was threatening him?
Let's not forget our other hero, Zayne Carrick (no sign of Gryph in this issue) whose story continues in the center pages of this issue. The last time we saw him, Zayne was a prisoner of Admiral Saul Karath aboard the Courageous during an attack against the Mandalorian fleet. Now that the ship is being boarded, all non-essential personel board the escape pods and all prisoners are let out...except one. As the Admiral, Morvis and Onasi fight off the invading Mandalorians, they are backed up into a corner which happens to be the brig. But it's not the dead end they think it is. Turns out that Zayne has been working on an escape, and after making sure Karath will take him with them, Zayne removes a wall panel inside his cell that he pried loose using the Force. On the other side of the wall happens to be the cargo bay and Onasi's ship the Deadweight. What a coincidence! Zayne might be useful to the Republic after all. But that's where Zayne's segment ends until next issue.
I'm really starting to love these characters and the stories, and I find myself looking anxiously forward to issue after issue. What is amazing is this series has pretty much stayed on course so far, with only one writer, a couple of regular artists and continuing story arcs uninterrupted by fill-in issues (like most other series). This is an important plus for me, to have continuity and consistency in the stories. Jackson Miller writes very intelligent dialogue which feels so natural I don't even notice I'm reading. It just feels to me that these characters should be saying these things. This issue in particular is a good mix of action, humor and intrigue. You keep writing, Mr. Miller, and I'll keep reading.
Harvey Tolibao takes over from Ching for parts 2 and 3 of the "Nights of Anger" story as he did in issue #12. For me this is a positive as I am not a huge fan of Ching's. In my opinion Tolibao's style falls right in between Ching's and Dustin Weaver's, but slightly closer to the latter (who happens to be my favorite artist in this series). It's simple but realistic, with just enough information to show what is going on. At last we see real Arkanians with pupil-less eyes (unlike Camper and Jarael who are "offshoots"). Not only that, but Tolibao gets creative with some of the panels. For example, there is a 1 and 1/5 page spread on pages 4-5, a panel where characters are cut off like busts on page 3, and a cool stylistic insert panel of Karath on page 9 over a full page depictation of a space battle. Just looking at the arrangement of panels and the wider-than-standard spaces between them is fun. One artistic choice I don't agree with: the R2-looking droid in Jarael's quarters when Astromechs shouldn't even exist (although Miller explains in his trivia notes that it is not). One that I like: Jarael's "comfortable" dress...
A nice mix of action with Zayne, and intrigue with Camper and Jarael.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Highly Recommended