Claws of the Dragon Part 5
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 (02/08/2008)
Cade Skywalker is a prisoner of Darth Krayt, who attempts to turn him to the dark side so Cade can heal him. But Cade attempts to escape, unknowing that his mother and friends are on the way to rescue him. However, Cade is caught and forced to confront Krayt's two fiercest fighters, Darth Nihl and Darth Talon.
The first part of this issue is a continuation of Darth Krayt's origin, which the Sith Lord is reciting to his captive Cade Skywalker in an attempt to turn him. Last issue, we learned that A'Sharad Hett went to Korriban after the Clone Wars and learned the Sith ways from the ancient spirit of Xoxaan. Apparently he stayed there for quite a while because when he emerged from the tombs, Palpatine and Vader were dead. Hett escaped to the Unknown Regions, where he was captured and taken aboard a Yuuzhan Vong ship. There he met a fellow Jedi-turned-Sith like him, Vergere, during some of his torture sessions. The Vong replaced his cybernetic arm and one eye with biological implants, and also experimented with coral seeds inside his body. Hett stayed there many years until he escaped at the time the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy started (i.e. Vector Prime). The self-named Darth Krayt returned to Korriban and Xoxaan's tutelage, went into stasis for lenghty periods of time, and waited until the time was right to reveal himself to the galaxy. That brings it up to around the time of issue #1.
I don't see how Krayt thinks this story would convince Cade to join the Sith, other than being a clever device to reveal his background to the readers. The devious Cade claims that he is not yet able to heal Krayt, but Krayt is convinced he will learn. Of course Cade escapes from his cell at the first chance he gets (teaches the Sith not to leave Cade in the Vong "embrace of pain"). As Cade heads toward his goal, the other captive Jedi Horsk Trey'lis, he is stopped by Darth Talon who quickly knocks him out and brings him before her Master. Now Krayt is really ticked off, and tries to force Cade into asassinating Trey'lis. Cade refuses to fall for it, so Krayt does the deed himself thinking that the act will feed Cade's anger. It almost works, except that Cade's father's ghost appears to him. Cade still gives in to the temptation and defeats Darth Talon. He is then giving a severe beating to Darth Nihl and making his way towards Krayt, when Morrigan Corde and team are approaching the palace. Close curtain.
Aside from concluding Darth Krayt's cool backstory and how it paralleled the stuff going on in the rest of the EU (even to the point of revealing spoilers for those who haven't read the Legacy of the Force books), this issue also shows Cade's strong willpower. Although he sometimes acts like a brat, Cade is very independent and finds it annoying that everybody finds him so important for different reasons. The Jedi want him, the Sith want him, the Galactic Alliance, the Empire... he is just getting fed up with all the attention and takes it out on the Sith Lords. I'm not even sure at this point if Krayt will actually get killed next issue. I certainly want to believe that Talon will stay dead, and that Nihl will probably die next issue. But killing Krayt would change the stats of the galaxy too much so early in the series. I still don't like Cade. The way he is portrayed, he whines more than Luke in A New Hope and keeps slipping in and out of the Dark Side. I guess it's hard to relate to a "hero" who doesn't want to take any side and tried to kill himself with deathsticks. This newfound honor in risking his life to right a wrong and save Trey'lis is uncharacteristic of him. Morrigan and crew (comprised of Jariah Syn, Deliah Blue, Kee and Chak the Wookiee) have a very small role, only appearing for a total of two pages, but I hope they will play a significant part in the big finale next issue.
Amazing work again by Duursema, Parsons and Anderson, not to forget Charest's eye-pleasing cover. I love seeing some Vong in action in a comic book after reading so much about them in the New Jedi Order series. Same thing goes for Vergere, which I think this is her first comic book appearance. The Vong ships (including coralskippers and another type that I don't recognize) and weapons look very nice. The fight between Cade and the two Sith henchmen is very cool and brutal. Cade makes good use of shards from a broken glass case where his father's lightsaber was being held.
Darth Krayt's origin concludes, and the stage is set for his duel with Cade in the final part of "Claws of the Dragon".
Rating: 6.5 / 10