Knights of the Old Republic Handbook
Writer: John Jackson Miller
Artists: Brian Ching, Bong Dazo, Harvey Tolibao, Dustin Weaver, Colin Wilson
Colors: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Dustin Weaver
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (01/19/2008)
A sourcebook for the series, including entries for major characters, enemies, starships and planets from the first twenty four issues of Knights of the Old Republic.
Obviously, this special one-shot is not a standard story-driven comic. It's an essential guide-type sourcefile akin to the Star Wars Handbook series from 1998-2000 (comprising volumes for X-Wing: Rogue Squadron, Crimson Empire and Dark Empire). But since those were published after the end of their respective series, they covered all the information. On the other hand, KotOR is an on-going series, and since this Handbook sports a "#1" on the cover maybe we can hope for more issues to follow as the series adds more characters, starships and events to its roster.
After a short intro titled "Flight of the Old Republic," the first part "Outlaws of the Old Republic" includes entries on the main characters of the series: Zayne Carrick, Marn "The Gryph" Hierogryph, Slyssk, Jarael, Rohlan Dyre, Camper and Elbee. New information includes the fact that Zayne turned 19 while in captivity aboard the Courageous (issues #16-17); and that Gryph met several well-known personalities during his criminal career, including Gadon Thek (in issue #22 on sale the same week) and Davik Kang (both from the first video game). There is also an explanation of the difference/link between the T1-LB and T1 models.
"Knights of the Covenant" describes all of the "enemy" Jedi the heroes encountered in the series so far: Krynda Draay, Haazen, Lucien Draay, Q'anilia, Xamar, Raana Tey and Feln. It reveals that Lucien's mother was apprenticed to Vodo Siosk-Baas, and also specifies which Padawans were tutored by which Master at the Taris outpost prior to the Padawan Massacre.
"Ships of the Old Republic" contains brief descriptions of The Last Resort, the Moomo Williwaw, the Courageous and the derelict Arkanian Legacy, while "Warriors of the Old Republic" lists several allies and enemies that Zayne's crew encountered (or heard of) during their adventures: Squint, his master The Revanchist; Republic officers Admiral Saul Karath, Lt. Carth Onasi and Commander Dallan Morvis; and Mandalorian warriors Demagol, Mandalore and Cassus Fett. We learn that Alek "Squint"'s last name is Squinquargesimus, that Admiral Karath started his career under Captain Vanicus (from the Tales of the Jedi series Dark Lords of the Sith and The Sith War), and that Cassus Fett was responsible for the Onslaught on Serocco (from issue #15). Also, Carth Onasi's entry mentions his wife and son.
"Corporations and Hirelings" only has entries for Lord Arkoh Adasca and Jervo Thalien (from the upcoming "Knights of Suffering" story arc). Dob & Del Moomo's entry follows, but is labelled as part of the "Warriors" section (although they fit in either category). "Locales of the Old Republic" follows with short descriptions for eight of the main planets where events of the series took place, and includes their location on Dark Horse's Star Wars Galaxy Map. The last page is named contains the "first look at next year's exciting Star Wars crossover Vector!" mentioned on the cover and describes the Undercity of Taris. It is not too clear what link this brief entry has with the upcoming storyline, as it only mentions the Rakghoul plague and the Muur Talisman presumed to be located there.
The handbook has illustrations for each entry, most of which are from the series. Some are new, like beautiful two-page cut-away illustrations of The Last Resort and the Moomo Williwaw by Dustin Weaver. Seen briefly in issue #6, The Revanchist has an entry, although he is covered by a heavy cloak. I do not agree with the art choices for a couple of the entries. The ones for Zayne by Ching and Dazo are really not the best representations of this main character, and Saul Karath's half-portrait from the cover of issue #17 is really not his most flattering. But overall, all the other entries are very well represented by the various talented artists who worked on the series so far. And how about that cover by my favorite KotOR artist! It is a truly amazing tableau showcasing all the featured entries of the book in a movie poster-like fashion. And Squint look more like Malak than ever before...
Only complaint: the entries are too short, and there are not enough of them! Highly recommended if you are new to the series, or for long-time reader who want to learn some new tidbits about their favorite characters.
Rating: 9 / 10 Highly Recommended