Claws of the Dragon Part 1
Story: John Ostrander, Jan Duursema
Script: John Ostrander
Pencilling: Jan Duursema
Inking: Dan Parsons
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Travis Charest
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (10/26/2007)
Cade Skywalker is on a mission to rescue Jedi healer Hosk Trey'lis from the Sith Temple on Coruscant. But first he has to evade a squadron of Imperial Predator-class starfighters and hide his ship the Mynock. He leaves a message to his colleagues Jariah Syn and Deliah Blue to a Hutt underworld contact named Queen Jool. Then he sneaks inside the Temple and frees the Bothan Jedi, but is then confronted by Darth Krayt's two best warriors, Darth Talon and Darth Nihl, who manage to subdue Cade and plan to deliver him to their master.
No time is wasted in starting off this storyline. In this first part alone, Cade arrives on Coruscant, infiltrates the Sith Temple and finds Hosk Trey'lis. Which leads me to believe that the rest of the story will be about something else entirely. Of course, Cade is wanted alive by the Sith, so when he arrives on Coruscant his ship is first detected by Skull Squadron, the best Predator-class squadron in the Empire. The four pilots were first mentionned in issue #0: Captain Gunn "Gunner" Yage (daughter of Moff Rulf Yage), Tev "Crasher" Rimon, Brodie "Cannon" Coburn and Jae "Storm" Akura. But Cade evades them easily and pulls a Obi-Wan maneuver by anchoring his ship to a bulkhead. In a later scene, Skull Squadron return to their hangar and Moff Yage is very displeased with their failure. Cade still has Artoo-Detoo and leaves the droid aboard his ship telling him to give access to Deliah and Jariah in case they come by.
How does Cade infiltrate the Temple so easily? Well he mentions, via a holo recording he leaves aboard the Mynock for his two former partners, that he grew up in the rebuilt Jedi Temple, and the new Sith Temple is build right over it. That's the first we hear of it, since we've only seen Cade train at the Ossus Academy. He spent a lot of time as a youth sneaking out to the underlevels with his fellow apprentie Shado Vao. But first he stops off at Rik's cantina, owned by a female Hutt informant named Queen Jool.
Jool is another character who was mentioned in issue #0, along with the bartender Finn and a pair of smugglers Cade meets there named Chak and Kee. Of course, Chak is the same Wookiee who appeared during the Clone Wars in the "Hidden Enemy" story arc (Republic #81-83). Wookiees live hundreds of years, so it's not surprising to see him still alive. Come to think of it, Chewbacca and Tarrful could also still be around. Anyway, Chak and Kee are looking for Deliah and Jariah, to whom they rented their ship the Grinning Liar but never saw them again. Cade assures them that he is also looking for them. The reason Cade came to the cantina was to give Jool his ship's access codes in case his two partners come by. Cade has no reason to think they would be on Coruscant, but it's probably a Force thing. He seems to trust Jool, even though she is an informant, hinting at a close relationship in the past. Of course in comics, nothing is done without a reason so I fully expect Jariah and Deliah to turn up at the cantina and get ahold of the Mynock. Cade is then ready to enter the Temple through underground tunnels the Sith wouldn't know about.
He wastes no time locating Hosk, who is still alive and ashamed that he revealed Cade's identity to the Sith during his interrogations. But Cade doesn't care, since the Bothan was their captive because of him. Soon enough, Darth Talon attacks them and Cade uses his lightsaber to defend himself. Using the Dark Side, he almost kills her but Darth Nihl arrives and strangles him with the Force. Talon reminds Nihl not to kill Cade, since he is wanted alive by Darth Krayt. Cade's use of the Dark Side is felt all the way to Ossus where Masters Vao, Wolf Sazen and K'kruhk are meditating.
This story arc starts with a bang. A lot of characters are introduced, and we discover even more about Cade's past. The whole setup is laid out very quickly, and now that Cade is captured by the Sith I'm beginning to wonder if this was not Krayt's plan all along. With Krayt's identity to be revealed next issue and an eventual confrontation between the two, this is only the beginning of what looks to be a very important story arc in the Legacy series.
Duursema illustrates a wide range of locales in this issue, each with equal skill and flair. From the shady interior of the cantina, to the pristine walls of the Imperial starfighter hangar and the slimy, dianoga-infested underlevels of the Sith Temple every location creates a mood and helps a lot with the story. As always, Duursema has a unique way to illustrate a lightsaber duel. Each of the fighting stances feel real and demonstrate the agility of Force users. It's also amazing how the creators took the time to create and flesh out four distinct members of Skull Squadron for such a brief role. Speaking of which, Captain Yage reminds me a lot of Starbuck from the new Battlestar Galactica because of her look and attitude. The coloring work is also plays an important role in the story, especially when showing Cade's orange-yellow Sith eyes when he turns over to the Dark Side.
The storyline about Krayt's origin gets underway very quickly. Everything is setup in this issue, so it's not to be missed.
Rating: 7.5 / 10 Recommended