The Wrath of the Dragon
Story: John Ostrander
Art: Alan Robinson
Coloring: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Cover: Dan Scott
Reviewed by: JF Boivin (05/25/2008)
Emperor Krayt is angry about the theft of his new flagship. He is even more angry that one of the Mon Calamari conspired against him, and Krayt fully intends to make an example of the whole population of Dac. Meanwhile, Monia Gahan manages to escape Dac with the help of two Imperial Knights and rejoin Admiral Gar Stazi's fleet. Stazi wants to ally his forces with those of Roan Fel and asks one of the Knights to announce his intentions to her master.
Darth Krayt is not pleased! This is very much a direct sequel to the "Indomitable" storyline (issues #20-21) and features most of the same characters, with some new ones thrown in. After the theft of the Advanced Star Destroyer Imperious, Krayt wants to make his anger public and teach someone a lesson. Making a rare off-planet appearance on Dac/Calamari, the Sith Lord and Emperor himself carries out the public execution of Senator Gial Gahan who helped Galactic Alliance Admiral Gar Stazi accomplish his goal. But before Gahan receives a quick death, he suffers the horrible fate of his own people: Krayt declares that Mon Calamari are to be put in labor camps and all records of the species will be erased. Even worse, any who resist will be killed on sight, and 10% of the population is to be executed immediately starting with the politicians who are attending the conference. The stormtroopers and Darth Azard don't even care that the execution includes the Quarren people as well.
Aboard his newly captured ship, Admiral Stazi witnesses the massacre on the broadcast, but is powerless to do anything about it. His forces are to small and any attempt to stop the Sith would be senseless suicide. The Admiral also has to accept the loss of the members of Rogue Squadron who are still on Dac. But meanwhile, one of those pilots, Gahan's niece Monia, is on the run from stormtroopers. She is unexpectedly saved by a duo of Roan Fel's Imperial Knights named Treis Sinde and Sigel Dare. The two were on a mission to sabotage the Imperious which they accomplished before the ship was stolen by Stazi. Now their new purpose is to warn Stazi of the explosives aboard his new flagship. Roan Fel's Empire remnant and Stazi's Galactic Alliance don't agree on a lot of things, but they have a common enemy: the Sith.
The two Knights are determined to send Monia off with a message to Stazi, but she won't leave unless they rescue the rest of her squadronmates. They do that, not without encountering resistance, and come up with a plan to disguise some of them as stormtroopers who are leading the others as prisoners. Dressed as an Imperial officer and using a mind trick, Master Dare brings the group aboard Lord Azard's personal shuttle. They depart just before Azard arrives, but Master Sinde jumps off the shuttle to duel with the Sith Lord and give his allies a chance to escape. The battle is fierce, and it ends with Sinde falling off a platfrom while Azard is thrown off by an explosion. Monia, Dare and the others reach the Imperious, where Stazi announces his intention to once again suggest an alliance with Roan Fel (which they previously attempted back in issues #9-10 "Trust Issues"). To reflect this new turn of events, Stazi renames his new ship the Alliance.
This issue is fast-paced and a quick read. It's a good continuation to what was set up previously, and an important part of history. The Sith declaring genocide on the Mon Cals and Quarren is truly horrible, and made even more poignant when you realize that Darth Azard is a Quarren himself ("I am not one of you! I am Sith!") The two new Imperial Knight characters are cool additions to the saga, and even more intriguing by their conflicted views regarding Gar Stazi. Somehow, Dare knows that Master Sinde survived and joined the Mon Cal resistance, as it is depicted in one of the panels, and I'm sure we will hear more from him later. Once again a good job by Ostrander, a great story filled with action and tragedy.
Alan Robinson's artwork is a bit cartoony and exaggerated, but the action sequences are so dynamic and the character poses and expressions are so dramatic that it hardly matters. Somehow his style reminds me a bit of Scott Hepburn's work on Knights of the Old Republic #25-28 but it's way better. I love the way he conveys the ease with which the two Imperial Knights use the Force. They appear to slice down enemies and move large objects around effortlessly. And the duel between Treis Sinde and Darth Azard is fun to follow. Good job on the art, although not the best (especially when compared to Jan Duursema).
And about the incredible cover: I think this has to be the best one this year, if not of the entire series so far! I love the detailed, realistic close-up of Darth Krayt as painted by Dan Scott. I hope he does more covers.
The end of a population. The appearance of two new characters. The roots of an alliance between Roan Fel and Gar Stazi. Do not miss this issue!
Rating: 7 / 10 Recommended