Knights of the Old Republic #26
Vector Part 2 (of 12)
Story: John Jackson Miller
Art: Scott Hepburn
Inking: Joe Pimentel, Dan Parsons
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dustin Weaver
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (04/22/2008)
Zayne and Gryph accompany the Jedi Celeste Morne to the Mandalorian planet Jebble. They manage to sneak inside the Ice Citadel base and discover Pulsipher's horrible plans to spread the rakghoul plague during Cassus Fett's attack on Alderaan.
Last issue left off with Zayne and Gryph following the Jedi Sentinel Celeste Morne who was following a group of Mandalorians who took possession of the Muur Talisman. We now find out that they snuck aboard Pulsipher's ship Mar'eyce headed for the ice world Jebble. Hiding in an air duct, they witness Demagol's former disciple ramble to himself about Jedi and Sith artifacts granting Force powers to anyone who possesses them. And then the talisman takes ahold of Pulsipher's left hand and momentarily controls him, making him kill one of his men. Then the ship lands somehwere near the Ice Citadel base where Pulsipher's lab is located, and while the two Jedi and Gryph sneak out Celeste splits off to do her own thing. Zayne and Gryph get mistaken for some of the numerous dar'manda, non-Mandalorian "recruits" that have been brought to Jebble in preparation for an attack on the Republic. There is a funny scene where Gryph meets Wargo and Frazznik which he left on unfriendly terms back in issue #3. They are then given a field course on the Mandalorian way of life, the resol'nare, and instructed about their next target which they will join Cassus Fett's army to attack: the peaceful world of Alderaan.
The recruits are then instructed to retrieve species-adjusted Mandalorian armor from the Citadel's war forge, but Zayne is then distracted by the distant form of Celeste sneakign around a supply area. Zayne catches up to her, much to her chagrin, and Gryph joins them armed and armored with Mandalorian gear. They then plan to infiltrate the citadel's data center so Gryph can look up some Jedi Master's financial records (which he overheard Pulsipher talking about) and Zayne can warn the Republic about the attack on Alderaan. As they pass through the war forge, an accidental shot by Gryph creates an avalanche and he is separated from them. The two Jedi are then confronted by a group of Mandalorians, which they find out have been infected with a mutated rakghoul virus. After dispatching the first wave (with difficulty), they come out on a balcony on the other side of the citadel, and see a staging area filled with thousands of troops and dozens of transport ships (much like the Trade Federation in The Phantom Menace). Celeste then realizes that not only do the Mandalorians, led by Cassus Fett, intend to attack Alderaan, they plan to invade. And Pulsipher probably wants to spread the rakghoul virus as well, having already infected some of his own people (with or without Fett's knowledge remains to be revealed).
Although the story is intriguing, and the characters and dialogue are very well-written, I can't help but feel that Miller is somehwat restrained within the "Vector" storyline. A lot of events and characters' actions feel like they happen by force, just so the story will come to a pre-determined point. For example, the fact that the independant Celeste Morne suffers the two guys tagging along seems forced (although she complains a lot about it); and the reason why Pulsipher's ship is not allowed to land at the citadel is a little bit too convenient. But this is easily overlooked. I really love the plot about the Mandalorian mad scientist experimenting on the rakghoul virus, and possibly taking control of them with the Muur Talisman. Miller is one of my favorite writers, and he is very prolific (books always on schedule, write tie-ins outside of the comics like a RPG sourcebook and a short story, etc.) There is nothing bad I can say about his work on the series so far, except the boundaries imposed by the cross-over storyline which are probably not his fault but over which he still had a lot of input. I don't know why Alderaan is chosen as the target for an invasion, but I'm sure it has to do with the next installment of "Vector" in the pages of Dark Times.
I am definitely not a fan of Hepburn's. His style just doesn't fit the Star Wars universe. I'm not going to ramble on, but the worst is the character's faces. Zayne has an elfic, pointy chinned face, and Celeste's jaw is larger than her forehead. I'm sure the two inkers did the best they could, but you can only change the original art so much. It's a very good thing that Atiyeh is coloring, as his wonderful work adds some quality to the poor artwork (although I'm not certain if Zayne's lightsaber blade should be yellow). At least my favorite artist from the series did the cover art.
The story is very good, too bad the artwork brings the rating down.
Rating: 6.5 / 10