Knights of the Old Republic #20
Daze of Hate Part 2
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Bong Dazo
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Chris Warner, Kelsey Shannon
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/06/2008)
Aboard Lord Adasca's Arkanian Legacy, Admiral Karath, Alek the Jedi and Mandalore witness a demonstration of the exogorths attacking a planetoid at the Arkanian's commands. The Mandalorian leader makes a tempting offer to the head of Adascorp, to the horror of the other parties present. Meanwhile, Camper and Jarael are both held against their will in different locations, but manage to briefly contact each other. Elsewhere aboard the ship, prisoners Zayne Carrick and Lucien Draay find a way to escape their bonds and form a temporary alliance. In the medical lab, someone steals an important discovery about Jarael's offshoot blood and what it is composed of.
Whereas he only appeared as a hologram last issue, Mandalore steps aboard the Arkanian Legacy and joins the others in the observation dome. Diplomatic immunity or not, Alek "Squint" attacks him right away (very un-Jedi like) but is overpowered by the Mandalorian overlord who uses his battleaxe forged from the melted scraps of Admiral Karath's flagship the Courageous. Rohlan, as Adasca's ambassador, confers with Mandalore and is somewhat surprised that he is no longer a fugitive. Mandalore tells him that Rohlan was killed honorably in battle and even had a funeral. Mandalore also informs him that Rohlan has gone down in legend as the Great Rohlan the Questioner, and gives him a new suit of armor so he can assume his new identity. Like a good soldier, Rohlan accepts the gift and asks Adasca permission to leave with Jarael as promised to pursue his task. But Lord Adasca is not quite ready to let her go yet, since he still hasn't found a buyer for his exogorths.
The proceedings are momentarily interrupted when Adasca catches Jarael secretly communicating with Camper who is inside the exogorth control station. We get to see the real Lord Adasca when he looses his cool and screams racist comments towards Arkanian offshoots while giving poor Jarael a beating. But Squint puts an end to it, and Lord Adasca convinces Gorman "Camper" Vandrayk to keep doing his job while he still holds Jarael hostage. Then after a brief demonstration of the exogorths' ability to consume a small planetoid, the bidding resumes. Mandalore says he is interested as well, if only to keep the weapon away from the Republic (represented here by Admiral Karath) and the Jedi (with Squint representing the Revanchists). In exchange for control of the exogorths, Mandalore offers an exclusive deal which would make Adascorp the main weapons supplier for the Mandalorians during the war. This offer is more tempting than the seat on the Republic Senate that Karath offered last issue. What will Adasca decide? What will happen if he accepts Mandalore's deal?
Elsewhere on the ship, Zayne is literally bound with his former Master and now enemy, Lucien Draay. It feels weird to hear them speak reasonably, after all the time that Zayne has been on the run. Being imprisoned together gives them both a chance to explain their actions, but not necessarily agree with them. Zayne mentions his friends and family who were put in danger or even died because of Draay and his Covenant's actions. Draay justifies it by reminding him of the vision the Jedi had where Zayne would bring the return of the Sith to the galaxy. They both have different views, but they agree on one thing: they have to find a way to escape. When serving droids bring trays of food to them, Zayne and Lucien use them as weapons to overtake their guards and free themselves from their binders. Of course the first thing Lucien does is retrieve his lightsaber and attack Zayne, but the young Jedi blocks the attack with his phrikite vambraces. Lucien then says they should resolve their differences after they deal with the immediate threat of Lord Adasca.
The issue ends with a little bit of intrigue. Shortly after Carth Onasi was excused from the proceedings by Admiral Karath to return to his ship, and after Zayne's and Lucien's escape, a dark figure attacks the medical lab where Jarael's blood sample was being studied. Eejee was there, after being ordered earlier by Adasca to meet with the doctor who reported he discovered something important. Both he and the Arkanian doctor are killed, and the shadowy figure claims that he's protecting the information that no one else should know. What is so important about Jarael's blood? And who is this mysterious killer? I can hardly wait to find out!
The story is developing very nicely, with lots of surprises and twists. In this issue, I especially enjoyed reading the developments of a few rivalries: Rohlan and Mandalore, Zayne and his former Master Lucien Draay, and to a lesser extent Jarael and Camper. The dialogue during those scenes is very well written and adds a lot to the narrative. The only thing that stretched my suspension of disbelief is the way both Camper and Jarael managed to sneak away and communicate between themselves. Sure, they are found out by Adasca, but they were able to finally talk since their capture and separation in issue #17 (which seems so long ago). I just find it very convenient that their respective guards would let them wander on their own, on the pretense of getting some air (aboard a starship?) in the case of Jarael, and needing more room inside the cramped control station in the case of Camper. Jarael feels guilty of putting them in their current situation, but Camper doesn't blame her saying that he should have informed her about Adascorp's way of treating offshoots. Overall, so far this is a great ongoing story.
I'm not a big fan of the art. Dazo has a lot of talent, but his style just doesn't fit this series. Characters look different from one panel to the next, and sometimes the action is not that clear. An example of this is when Zayne and Lucien starts fighting the HK droids during their escape. I had to scrutinize the panels to see exactly what they were doing. At one point Lucien squeezes a droid by the throat with his bare hands? The coloring is amazing as usual and makes up for the weak artwork. The art on the cover is a lot better, and for once represents the story faithfully.
Mandalore is in the house, Zayne and Lucien are loose, and there is a killer on board! The story is great as usual, the artwork not so much.
Rating: 8 / 10 Highly Recommended