Knights of the Old Republic #19
Daze of Hate Part 1
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Bong Dazo
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Chris Warner, Michael Atiyeh
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (12/31/2007)
Lord Adasca receives some important representatives aboard his ship, the Arkanian Legacy, where he plans on selling his destructive space slugs to the higest bidder. He is surprised to discover that most of them already know each other. But he did expect all of them to have reservations about the last one to arrive: the leader of the Mandalorians against which the Republic is at war. Plus, Zayne Carrick and Lucien Draay find themselves in a bad situation together.
This issue starts shortly after the last one, but after Adasca's revelation Jarael now has a very different feeling about the man. She now knows that Lord Adasca has been forcing Camper to work on this project, and that he sent the HK-24 who attacked them in issues #13-14. But just like he controlled Camper by menacing to harm Jarael before, now Adasca forces Jarael to obey him otherwise he will injure Camper. He wants her to serve as his escort and greet his guests aboard the Arkanian Legacy.
Last issue, Lord Adasca invited a few key people to the Omonoth system and bid on his secret weapon: a veritable fleet of dormant, gigantic remote-controlled space slugs (called exogorths, but misspelled "exorgoths" in both the front page summary and the Adascorp report at the end) that can eat their way through entire planets. Anyone who had posession of this "plague" would surely have the upper hand in the ongoing war, Adascorp would greatly benefit and Arkania would reclaim its status as the technological center of the galaxy. This creates a lot of reunions, some happy, others awkward, and one very unhappy. The first guest to arrive is Republic Admiral Saul Karath, recently escaped from the Courageous which had been under attack by Mandalorians, and carrying fugitive Jedi Zayne Carrick as a prisoner. So when Zayne gets aboard, Jarael shows him exactly how much she missed him with a very passionate kiss that she uses as a diversion to inform him that Camper is a prisoner.
Adasca was expecting the next guest to be the Revanchist Leader, a Jedi crusader with several few followers who are trying to convince the High Council to get involved in the Mandalorian Wars. But the Leader being occupied elsewhere, he sent his friend and apprentice Alek AKA Squint AKA Malak (more on that later). Jarael is very happy to meet Squint again, and although she doesn't put up as much of a display she has very warm feelings of friendship toward him. That's when Rohlan walks in, prompting an explanation of why he ditched Squint and his group after their rescue on Flashpoint in issue #10. This time Adasca interrupts Jarael before she can give any sign of being in held against her will.
When Adasca is informed another Jedi is arriving, he figures the Revanchist Leader has finally decided to come, and so leaves to meet him in his private lounge. Instead, he finds someone who is totally unexpected, his old "acquaintance" Lucien Draay (who was sent by Haazen last issue to investigate what Adasca is up to). It's clear that Adasca doesn't agree with Lucien's path in life, abandonning his father's business to join the Jedi. But he quickly gets rid of this uninvited guest by offering the Jedi a drink from his "special" vintage wine. In fact, I think Lucien is fooled a bit too quickly for a Jedi Master, and falls unconscious as soon as he takes a sip.
Back to the main observation deck, the two parties in attendance are pretty much disgusted with Adasca for creating such a horrid weapon. But Admiral Karath asks what Adasca wants in exchange, probably more interested in preventing other parties to gain control of the exogorths. Just at this moment, the final guest announces his arrival. It is the special guest that Rohlan was asked to contact last issue, the Mandalore himself, much to the horror of the other guests. But Adasca assures them his ship is neutral ground and Mandalore has agreed to a temporary truce with his enemies. This creates a very interesting situation to be explored next issue. Equally interesting is when Zayne finds himself tied up with another prisoner, his mortal enemy and former master Lucien Draay!
I mentioned Malak before. There are a few rumors around that Squint will later be known as Darth Malak, and I agree with this theory. First, he mentions the "Revanchist" as being his Master and they are at odds with the Jedi Council about their stance on the war. Second, he mentions that his hair is not coming back after Demagol's experiments... that's enough evidence for me. If this is true, then when we see Squint with Admiral Karath on page 16 it may be the first encounter of two main villains from the first Knights of the Old Republic game.
Aside from setting up the intrigue for things to come, this issue has a lot of humor mostly coming from Lord Adasca's aide Eejee. Some of his comments made me laugh, like when Jarael jumps on Zayne after a brief silence Ejee tells his boss "you wanted her to greet our guests..." Later when Jarael shouts Squint's name, Ejee says "do what?" The issue is rounded out with a text at the end representing an Adascorp meeting report from 33 years before, and the first letters page for this series. The very interesting report recounts the moment when Gorman "Camper" Vandrayk decided to leave the company (at the time governed by Arkoh's father Argaloh) when he learned what they were planning to do with the exogorths. He leaves the meeting to go get his notes aboard his survey ship, which is probably the Last Resort and loyal readers will know what really happened next.
I'm only familiar with Bong Dazo from his work on the Sherlock Holmes-meets-Cthulhu Mythos graphic novel The Irregulars from Dark Horse (which I consider a lost tale from the Shadows Over Baker Street anthology since both books are co-written/edited by Star Wars author Michael Reaves, but I digress.) With Michael Atiyeh's coloring, Dazo's art has some elements reminescent of previous series artists Dustin Weaver and Harvey Tolibao's styles. For the most part, it is enjoyable, but two things come to mind that are a bit weak. One is Eejee's various Looney Tunes-esque expressions, and the other is the very last page where Lucien's and Zayne's faces look very odd. But it's really that bad, just not as good as the high standards set by the previous artists in my opinion.
All of Lord Adasca's guests are coming together, with some explosive reactions surely to come. Another very enjoyable story by Mr. Miller.
Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended