Ready to Die
Story: John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
Script: John Ostrander
Art: Colin Wilson
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Jan Duursema, Brad Anderson
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/23/2007)
After a successful mission to Munto Codru, Darth Kruhl is sent to infiltrate Bastion and assassinate the deposed Emperor Roan Fel. But when he arrives, he finds that Fel was ready for him and a duel ensues. Kruhl is defeated and Fel then sends the treacherous Governor Vikar Dorn back to Darth Krayt with a message: Kruhl's lightsaber.
A nice one-shot issue which features Roan Fel (not seen since issue #9) and introduces a new Sith lord. It starts out with an outdoors meeting of Codru-Ji clan leaders on Munto Codru. The most respected one, Rikkar-Du, announces that he was approached by the Sith and asked to unite all the clans in anticipation of the new base the Sith plan to impose on their planet. But Rikkar-Du suspects that the Sith really want to control Munto Codru, and so he asks for the clans to join forces but to fight off the conquerors. Word of this defiance reaches Darth Kruhl who is on the planet, and so he kills Rikkar and his son Jassar, while clan leader Kassek-Ka kills Rikkar's wife Tassa and accepts to ally the clans with the Sith.
Once back on the orbiting Star Destroyer Dauntless, Darth Kruhl meets with Governor Vikar Dorn and is given a new assingment by Darth Maladi. Once the Sith found out that Fel was holding out on Bastion, it was inevitable that they would act on it. The reason why they don't simply launch an all-out attack is explained by Darth Maladi when she explains the mission to Kruhl: the loss of ships and personnel required would be too high and leave the Sith too weak to maintain control of the galaxy. so they do the next best thing. Inspired by Kruhl's success on Munto Codru, Maladi sends him to infiltrate Bastion to assassinate Fel.
They accomplish the insertion with the help of former Governor Vikar Dorn, who for some reason agrees to serve as a diversion by pretending that the entire crew of his Star Destroyer Dauntless wants to join Fel's insurrection. Once Dorn's shuttle lands, he meets with Imperial Adjunct Tohri Challon and asked to wait for the negotiations since Fel is currently meditating in the Pellaeon Gardens. Kruhl, who hears the comment, secretly dissembarks and sneaks into the shadows straight towards his target. Once in the gardens, Kruhl raises his lightsaber to strike but finds that Fel was waiting for him. Well, not for Kruhl in particular, but he was expecting an attack by the Sith and he sensed his arrival through the Force. A lightsaber duel ensues, but is cut short when Kruhl's blade touches Fel's cortosis gauntlet. Kruhl lashes out with Force lightning and telekinesis, but Fel sustains the attacks. Fel then takes Kruhl by surprise by shooting him with his "backup" blaster. There is a great line, to which the title of the story refers to, where Darth Kruhl says "I am prepared to die," to which Fel replies "Good. I'm prepared to kill you."
It then cuts to Governor Dorn reporting to Maladi that he is the sole survivor since Fel executed the whole Dauntless crew (although it's hard to believe that Fel would be so cruel; I think he would have asked them to join his cause at least). Maladi cuts Dorn down, his usefulness now over, and reveals to Darth Krayt that this was part of her plan. She says that the next time, Fel will be less prepared to be attacked by another individual, but from within. Krayt warns her that her scheming better be succesful because he really wants Fel dead.
The story is fairly short, and because of that the Munto Cordu sequence at the beginning is extended prehaps more than it should be. On hindsight, that event is pretty insignificant in the scheme of things and at 9 pages long it takes up almost half the issue. It would have been okay to have a couple of pages to introduce Kruhl and the end of his mission, just like in James Bond movies, and then move on to the main story. It doesn't help to have an extended scene just to have the antagonist killed at the end. Despite that bit of misjudgment on the writers' part, the pacing for the rest of the issue is good. Plus I'm a big fan of Star Wars aliens so it's cool to find out more about the four-armed Codru-Ji, who are born as wolf-like animals and become humanoid as they mature.
Wilson is back, after illustrating the "Trust Issues" story (Legacy #9-10). I like his gritty style, which is especially good for starships. However, the abundance of lines in characters' faces make them look old and wrinkled in some instances, but it's just part of his style. Once again, we have a Sith whose design is based on Darth Maul: red body paint and black tattoos. Not very original, but is there a purpose behind this? Also, the coloring is great and fits vry well with the tone of the art and the story. As a bonus, the issue has a double-page painting by Sean Cooke of a Galactic Alliance straship fleet and a cover by the always amazing Jan Duursema. A visual delight overall.
Shows off Fel's fighting abilities, and the first and last appearance of Darth Kruhl. The story is quick, but not an essential read. The artwork is great.
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended