Knights of the Old Republic #33
Vindication Part 2
Story: John Jackson Miller
Penciling: Bong Dazo
Inking: Joe Pimentel
Coloring: Michael Atiyeh
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Brian Ching, Michael Atiyeh
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (12/30/2008)
While mounting an assault against the Covenant's estate, the Jedi are surprised by a counter-attack. Meanwhile, the mastermind behind this trachery, Haazen, thinks back to how he came to be in service to the Draay family for so long and how he prepared for this day to come.
This issue offers a break in the main storyline, while still being very much part of it. Aside from the first and last pages, where Zayne only has time to ask his former Master Lucien who this guy is, the whole story is a flashback to Haazen's past. An "Untold Tales of the Jedi" story indeed. It starts about 10 years before the Sith Wars with Haazen being late at a ceremony held by Alok Adasca on Arkania. He's late because he's being bullied by a female Nautolan smuggler named Dossa. Haazen has been working for the Draay family for years, and Barrison Draay is about to become a Jedi Knight. Another Jedi named Krynda Hulis also come back from an interview with Master Vodo Bass. Both of them are later knighted by Arca Jeth in his Praxeum.
Haazen has never been a good Jedi, and was only accepted because of Barrison's influence. Still, he feels very slighted and jealous when he is not chosen to become a Knight. Much like Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, Haazen throws a fit in front of the Jedi Master, and even insults his friend Barrison when he comes to comfort him outside. Haazen expresses his jealousy of Barrison for being rich, having a relationship with the beautiful Krynda, and now being a Jedi Knight. Even so, Barrison tells him that he will always have a place as a servant of his family.
Then years later on Toprawa, towards the end of the Sith Wars, Haazen is standing on the sidelines after Barrison led his fellow Jedi to victory against the Sith and Massassi warriors. He meets Dossa again, and finds out she works for the Sith. Because she knows Haazen's past, she offers him his chance to finally take Barrison's place and get everything he has. Haazen leads the Jedi into the Ansharii caverns and right into a trap when Dossa triggers an explosion. All the Jedi, including Barrison, are killed and Haazen is badly mauled. This was not the way he wanted his life to be, and it's even worse when he wakes up with Sith cybernetic limbs attached to him. Aside from being a loser all his life, he now looks like an abomination. He is not too happy with what Dossa did to him.
Then it jumps to a time reight before the beginning of the series, with Haazen reporting to Lady Krynda whome he has been continuing to serve for all these years. She never knew that he killed her husband, nor did she know he had a contingency plan in place to use the Covenant to take over the Jedi. Which brings the story back to the present situation. I really enjoyed the issue; it is a story about someone who wants what his betters have, who hangs out with winners in hopes of becoming one without making any efforts, and who builds up a secret hatred for years. I love how Haazen's story ties in to the Sith Wars and reveals a lot about Lucien Draay's parents: especially how, when and why Lucien's father died. It will give me a new perspective once I go back and read the early issues. Again, John Jackson Miller shows how talented a storyteller he is, with lots of intrigue and details. He knows this time period of the Star Wars EU very well.
Dazo's art is rich and detailed, but it does not always show clearly what is happening on the page; sometimes only the dialogue explains what is happening on the page because the depiction is too confusing. Not my favorite style of artwork, it also pretty cartoonesque and expressions are exagerated. Anyway, again the story is saved by the text, but it's always better to be able to follow it visually as well. The art should be telling the story as well, which is does not all the time in this issue.
An origin story of sorts for Haazen, who is revealed to have been the evil mastermind behind the Covenant all along.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended